Sunday, 14 October 2012

Birds still arriving

 It's been a pretty decent couple of days, although don't let the long lists of birds fool you - finding and seeing birds out here is just as hard (and exhausting!) as ever.

Yesterday was a day devoted to the valleys. We started in Fojo where I flushed the Wood Thrush from its usual spot 'behind the wall', although views were again brief and poor - frustrating! Waded down to the bottom of Fojo for the following hour or so seeing nothing. Pierre and I subsequently worked both Cantinho and Cancelas - again nothing save a (the) Barn Swallow flying north over Cantinho towards Lighthouse Valley.

It was turning in to a quiet day as I ambled my way through the upper fields during the evening, but the radio then crackled in to life announcing a wood-warbler - probably a Tennessee - in the middle fields! I headed down but missed the little critter, although as we were charging around the fields Pete re-found the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, which suddenly appeared in the tamarisks! Flying to a more distant patch of tamarisks, it revealed a bright red underwing (= male), and proceeded to give excellent views - a real bonus; thought it had done one! Long and short, there was no further sign of the Tennessee, which it was confirmed as thanks to more excellent shots from Vincent.

This morning started in Fojo yet again, although there was no sign of the Wood Thrush early doors and, while ambling down through the north slope of the wood, David's dulcet tones calmly relayed news of a Dickcissel in the middle fields, which he had just found. Mass panic once more as people ran, scrambled or simply fell out of Fojo in the bid to reach the nearest road. Half an hour later, we were all watching the bird - a first-winter male (quite a lot of yellow in the head pattern and breast) as it scrotted around with House Sparrows and regularly gave a high-pitched 'spink' from exposed
perches. Nice - much nicer than I had anticipated!

Other bits today included a brief view of the grosbeak again in flight and, this evening, excellent views of the Tennessee Warbler which was relocated in the middle fields by Eric. Although mobile, it was much better behaved than last year's bird but was silent. In other news, Pierre found a Philadelphia Vireo in da Ponte (seen, then gone again within minutes), while I walked all over the mountain and through lots of fields yet still failed to find a landbird of any kind. Nevertheless, a really showy juvenile White-rump was on the reservoir road as was a Semipalmated Plover, eating worms from a small wet patch by the side of the concrete - ridiculous! Also had a further four Semi-pees flying around the village and two Indigo Buntings in Lapa - they've been there for a few days now.

Juv White-rump on a hill.

Semipee in typical habitat (road).
Juvenile Cory's showing well by its nest in Lapa.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. The wind is still in the west, and it's raining. Tomorrow promises calmer weather - maybe a good finding day...

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