Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Wilson's snipe!

Today saw little advancements in terms of landbird discoveries. The Rose-breasted grosbeak found yesterday in Fojo was relocated in the morning while a second bird was found a few hours later in the lower part of Da Ponte by Jesper Segergren. The debate remains open on whether this latter individual is the one discovered by René-marie yesterday (rather high along the Caldeira road) or is a new one as none of these two sightings have been documented with a photo. The maximum number of Rose-breasted grosbeaks found on Corvo during a single season is two (this happened both in autumn 2005 & 2006), so we are presently missing an opportunity to raise the annual record for Corvo to 3! During the afternoon, a new Red-eyed vireo was discovered by Richard Ek in Poço de Agua and a House martin was observed and well-photographed by Jesper at the Mirador.

Other noteworthy records for today include a snipe self-discovered from the taxi during the early morning drive from the guesthouse to the wooded valleys. Some of us managed to photograph the bird directly from inside the taxi (thanks to our very cooperative taxi driver, Joao) and brief flight views were also obtained. After careful examination, both flight views and photographs of the bird on the ground pinpoint towards a Wilson's snipe. Some of the features that could be studied based on the images obtained and that are indicative of this species include heavily barred flanks, barred tertials, rufous tail and nape, cream-coloured stripes on back, and a rather short bill and typical facial pattern. The bird was also briefly observed in flight and presented a very thin white trailing edge to the wings, which is strongly indicative of Wilson's as opposed to Common snipe.

Wilson's snipe, 2 October 2013, Fields close to Da Ponte, Corvo
During late afternoon, a photo shoot of Semipalmated/Ringed plovers was the only activity that Mika Bruun and I found entertaining as the presence of two birds (two 1st winter individuals) side by side on the western rocky shore provided an interesting opportunity to study the differences between these two species both in the field and later based on the images obtained.

Semipalmated plover (front) and Ringed plover, 2 October 2013, western shore, Corvo
Sanderling (left) and Ringed plover, 2 october 2013, western shore, Corvo

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