Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Quiet 15th, crazy 16th

Another couple of days to report back on. Yesterday (Monday 15th) proved a difficult day. I started in the Lighthouse Valley with PAC and Eric; we had 'my' Red-eyed Vireo from GWW day, but little else. Climbing out the valley, we were greeted by a text suggesting a possible Mourning Warbler in da Ponte. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the day there - no MW, and not much else to rave about.

Today was much more promising. Many went back to da Ponte for second helpings of the MW dip. I continued on to Fojo, and spent the morning walking up and down the slopes about the picnic area. In four hours of staring a dense laurels, I saw precisely nothing so headed up and out of the wood and on to the lighthouse road. Meeting Ernie Davis, we decided to work the upper part of Poco d'Agua and see what happened. Absolutely nothing, to be precise! Although both Hannu and Ernie saw a thrush with a red tail, which we will all check out tomorrow morning.

I decided to head towards the reservoir, working the upper parts of Lapa as I headed there. Nothing in Lapa, but 9+ White-rumped Sandpipers and 2 Semipalmated Plovers bombing around the reservoir. Finally, Hannu located the Solitary Sandpiper showing well on the small muddy patch of the north side of the reservoir which eventually showed to two metres..!

Hannu and the Solitary.

My heart sunk shortly after when Vincent and Pierre found a Common Yellowthroat in the yams at the top of Lapa; I'd walked this spot just an hour before and had nothing but a Snipe - bollocks! Decided to head back down and try it out, while PAC went up towards the reservoir. After a few minutes there was a loud 'tsiip' and Vincent and I were expecting the yellowthroat to pop back out. No sign, so I walked up the valley and pished - bang! Small warbler with white spots in the outer tail feathers... it lands... fuck! Northern Parula! I was more relieved than anything, being happy just to have finally found something decent out here. The bird was mobile, although showed well on and off over the following couple of hours.

Back down in the village, Gordon, Ernie and I set out on an evening lap of the airfield to see if anything turned up. One of the gulls hanging in the wind over the west end of the airfield this evening proved to be a messed up, near-adult Herring-type - further scrutiny when it finally landed on some rocks (after floating around on the sea with wings open, looking half dead!) showed plenty of features suggestive of American Herring Gull - which it must be, given the weather. As we watched this bird, Ernie radio'd with news of a Canada Goose flying west towards us from the windmills! Sure enough, the goose flew over our heads shortly afterwards, before turning back and heading out to sea to the southeast. Looking at the size and structure (as well as dark breast) it looks a decent candidate for interior (Todd's), not too dissimilar to the bird I found in Co. Mayo in January.

Knackered smiths and big breakers

Digibined record shot; note the mantle colour looks so dark as the bird is soaked!

Presumed Todd's flying around over the airfield.

In the meantime, Gordon had found a moribund teal species by the windmills and had a Laughing Gull fly past! Vincent and I headed round for the teal, which I was easily able to pick up and put in my pocket. Although far from an obvious candidate, it looks likely thay this bird is a female Green-winged Teal (not surprising given the weather), although we'll take some feathers for DNA analysis to make sure either way. I took the bird down to the SPEA girls, who will rest it overnight and let us know how it is in the morning - it seems the bird is more tired than unwell, as it had plenty of fat left and seem fairly spritely despite being unable to fly off. Fingers crossed it makes a full recovery; a nice way to end an eventful day which ended in a genuinely dynamic manner - everyone seems optimistic that new birds will be found over the next couple of days...

The teal in the safe hands of SPEA.

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