Thursday 11 October 2012

Corvo: days 1 to 2

I'm afraid there's not too much to blog about here; sure there have been some fantastic birds in the first 24 hours of being on the island but no images - not having an SLR essentially renders you useless on Corvo in terms of photos to show off.

After meeting Jens S√łgaard Hansen at Lisbon airport early yesterday morning, we spent a few birdless hours on Faial before our plane to Corvo. The best bird was a Wheatear by Horta harbour - amazing to think this boy has just flown 2,000km to get here, and is now about to do the same distance across to Africa for the winter.

Greenland Wheatear at Horta, Faial.

Finally arriving on The Rock at around 15:45, we were in da Ponte by 16:30 where an incredibly similar situation to last year panned out. Within five minutes of arriving at the bottom of the valley, I had relocated Gordon Beck's Magnolia Warbler - no more than a few yards from where we first saw last year's Blue-winged. Incredible start!

Wasting no time, I ran up to Fojo to meet PAC in the hope the Wood Thrush might show. On the way, I had two Cliff Swallows feeding over fields near Poco d'Agua with four House Martins. Nice distraction, but was soon on my way again. To cut a long story short, we didn't see the thrush by 18:45 when we left although, on the walk down, the Indigo Bunting popped in to the usual tree at da Ponte - being a Corvo novice, another new bird for me.

This morning, first stop was Fojo. Within five minutes of arrival, I picked up an obscured bird scrotting around in the leaf litter in the 'usual' spot - sure enough, it moved slightly revealing itself to be the Wood Thrush as suspected, although views were distant and it quickly disappeared. Over the next two hours, I only had flight views of the bird as it zoomed past us down the valley - I'll be back there again tomorrow morning. In the meantime, man-of-the-moment Gordon Beck (along with Ernie Davis) had found a wood-warbler just 50m from where we were standing. Shortly after I heard a couple of contact calls and we scrambled up the slopes and quick were on to the bird. Christian and I enjoyed superb views at just five metres' range and, as Ernie and Gordon suspected, the bird was a crisp-looking Blackpoll Warbler - cracking!

The rest of the day was spent exploring the rest of Fojo, as well as do Vinte and the little wood on the slopes just south of there. I saw a grand total of nothing before heading down to the village late afternoon, where my plan was to explore the fields and perhaps photograph some waders. I popped back to my apartment (I have a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and lounge all to myself! Photos soon) and managed to fall asleep until around 18:30. A quick walk down to the windmills produced nothing of note, and that was my day. With birds at a premium, my best discovery of the day were eight cannabis plants in do Vinte; evidently one of the islander's prized crop and, by the looks of things, several different strains as the buds were different shapes and colours. Sadly it later transpired that David had already found them yesterday, so not one for the self-found list..!

Cannabis close-up

Yank habitat in do Vinte.

I've decided to update the blog every two days; internet is much worse than I remembered here and the connection in my room doesn't work at all. Hopefully have some more arrivals to report back on soon and, all being well, some photographs too.


  1. How I wish you were talking about Scilly, Josh.

  2. Maybe with the wheatear and cannabis I am...? Perhaps not the latter.

  3. cannabis??????!!! and you told me nothing??!! here I am busting my tush making beds to make some cash and theres cannabis laying about??!!wtf?! awaiting geographical coordinations in my email box thank you... =P