Friday, 23 October 2015

Cabo da Praia Quarry, Terceira, the Azores- Wader mecca

Juvenile/first-winter Least Sandpiper
 Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plovers 
 Semipalmated Plover 1 (The usual resident adult that always moults into the same winter plumage, with washed out coverts?). A Short-billed Dowitcher in the quarry last year also moulted straight into winter plumage. Video below of resident Semi-p Plover.

Presumably the same bird in 2002! Same place (back of the pool), same plumage (contrastingly pale coverts) and same behaviour (tame, runs away, short flights)
Semipalmated Plover 2 - a pale juvenile doing a good impression of a Piping Plover 
Semipalmated Plover 3- non-breeding adult?
Semipalmated Plover 4- not actually sure how to age these? Not a lot of visible edging to the upperparts but what about first-winter moult? Check out the stints in this post which show the first-winter feathers coming through clearly. Looks here to be a contrast between darker grey-brown edged scapulars and lighter grey feathers- so could be a first-winter. 
Juvenile (clear edging to mantle and scaps) Ringed Plover for comparison- lack of eye ring, no visible palmations between toes and dark lores which all separate Ringed from Semi-p Plover.
Just to confuse matters here's a plover from Corvo 2006 (photo by Vincent Legrand) with relatively dark lores (even more extensive on the right side), limited palmations and a weak yellow eye ring. However the bird called repeatedly like a Semipalmated Plover. Like all things in nature- rules are always held lightly (i.e. There are no rules)
Adult Ringed Plover moulting into winter plumage. Many of the Ringed Plovers in the quarry appear very dark on the upperparts. Considering the location, presumably they are tundrae (let's not forget the North American race of Ringed Plover psammodroma which is also a possibility in the quarry)- but this one appears light on the upperparts so that don't help. There's a lot of variation between the races of Ringed Plover. Also to throw into the mix, Semipalmated Plover and Ringed Plover overlap in their breeding grounds in Northeast Canada so presumably hybridization is a factor to consider too. 

And from Europe
First-winter Little Stint
Pintails (not just waders in the quarry- also Common Waxbills, Collared Doves and other local passerines)
The Quarry

Had a great morning in 'The Quarry' yesterday. 
10+ White-rumped Sandpipers, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Least Sandpiper, 4 Semipalmated Plovers, 3 Ringed Plovers, 5 Little Stint, 2 Ruff, 5 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Knot, 50+ Sanderling, 40+ Turnstone, 1 Redshank, 3 Grey Plover and 2 Curlew Sandpiper. 

A great end to a great trip. Great birds and people! 

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