As it turned out, the latter came first in the form of a (relatively) smart female Blue-winged Teal wallowing around amongst the Muscovies at Paul da Praia. Not quite on a par with the half-dead juvenile seen on Scilly earlier this autumn, she was rather wary and just a few seconds were enjoyed before she bolted off in to the sky.
I didn't have to wait long for the soaking, though. Just a few minutes later the heavens opened as I conducted my first scan of Praia harbour, although through steamed up bins there seemed to be a fair few Common Terns bombing about the harbour. It took a while to get around to the fishing port (I spent around half an hour hiding behind various objects to avoid several nasty squalls), but on arrival a couple of decent bits were picked up - a 2cy Great Black-backed Gull amongst the Azoreans and two adult Roseate Terns giving stunning views at times amongst the Commons - wasn't expecting those so late on here.
With a more extended break in the weather now prevailing, I moved round to the notorious Cabo da Praia quarry, where I met Mauris, Per and Thomas. Amongst the gathered waders were 3 adult White-rumped Sandpipers, 2 juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers and a juv Pectoral Sandpiper - not exactly ground-breaking but decent enough. There was also a female Common Teal-type present, which looked rather interesting with a strikingly contrasted head pattern - presumably a Green-winged but better views need.
Mauris was very kind in that he offered me a lift as he was the only one in his car. So, off we went up towards the Lagoa do Junco area to look for Killdeer (via a quick look at the Roseate Terns in the harbour). The weather was still squally and in the time we were out the car here, I must have got soaked and dried out again about three times! No Killdeer nor Wilson's Snipe on the pool near Posto de Radio Americano, but 5 juvenile Pec Sands were impressive. A teal sp (again probably a Green-winged), a Greenshank and a Common Snipe were less so.
Keen to get out of the squalls and low cloud, Mauris and I headed back down to Cabo to re-check the quarry. The White-rumped Sandpiper flock had risen to four, a juvenile Ruff had popped in, and I heard a Semipalmated Plover. With the sun out the sandpiper photo opportunities came:
Semipee, White-rumped and mix-up
Followed quickly by a Semi-p Plover which was not the juvenile Mauris had photographed the previous day; looks more like the usual(?) adult:
Our next stop was Cabrito Water Reservoir. This probably isn't the best name for the site currently as water levels are phenomenally low. I had a bit of a surprise when a Black-necked Grebe popped up post-dive, but it now appears this bird has been around a while (shame). We checked Lagoa do Negro and Lagoa dos Patos but neither had anything on them.
Down at Angra do Heroismo harbour, I was reacquainted with an old friend:
Final few of stops of the day were Lagoa do Ginjal (nothing), Posto de Radio Americano (3 Common Snipe, 5 Pecs still, Greenshank still), and finally at the quarry again. The teal here I am pretty sure is a Green-winged not only due to head pattern being suggestive but also a dock-off buffy covert bar.
Writing this exhausted in Terceira airport. I'm going to try and get some sleep before I inevitably get woken up by security at some point in the night. Flying to Corvo in the morning, where there is now a Blue-winged Warbler. Please stay one night....
- Blue-winged Teal: female at Paul da Praia
- Great Black-backed Gull: 2cy in Praia da Vitoria harbour
- Green-winged Teal: female at Cabo da Praia, presumed female near Lagoa do Junco
- White-rumped Sandpiper: 4 adults at Cabo da Praia
- Semipalmated Sandpiper: 2 juveniles at Cabo da Praia
- Semipalmated Plover: adult at Cabo da Praia
- Pectoral Sandpiper: juvenile at Cabo da Praia; 5 juveniles at Posto de Radio Americano
- Black-necked Grebe: one at Cabrito Water Reservoir