Sunday 31 October 2010


Back to the patch. I met up with the Sutton Ramblers this morning and walked them through a load of mud without seeing too much of note. Then did a stake out over the lake with 'the boys'. Good numbers of Teal (200+), Shoveler (40+), a Dunlin flew over, 3 Redwing over, a group of 30+ Greenfinch and about 12 Snipe.
November is a potentially good month for me at Beddington as three of my bogey birds are November specialities : Hen Harrier, White-fronted Goose and Snow Bunting. I am hoping this November will be the one- so will be doubling efforts this time round.

Saturday 30 October 2010

The 'Nagoya Protocol'

Perhaps a bit of good news for the natural world. 190 members of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) reached agreement on the adoption of a protocol which basically aims at placing a monetary value on ecosystems . In essence this should mean that if big business develops a drug or other commercial product from, for example, a rainforest, than that big business should share the profits with the communities that own that rainforest. By turning ecosystems into 'equity share units' it should mean that everyone on the planet who benefits from these ecosystems, contribute towards maintaining and preserving them.

Good to see the ideas of 'madmen and mavericks' from 20 years ago being implemented into global policies today.

Thursday 28 October 2010


What do you call a collection of articles?- I think I may have invented a word. Nevertheless here is mine (and my writing partners) 'articleography' to date:

PS I just googled it- I did invent a word!! Yesssssssss!

Tuesday 26 October 2010


Great to see our Corvo article in the latest edition of Dutch Birding- The finest birding periodical for the WP region.

Saturday 23 October 2010


A quick stop of at Ponta Delgada before returning to Gatwick and the trip ends how it started- with the American Black Tern.
For the rest of the autumn from the Azores:

Next on Non-Stop Birding- follow barrel scraping local patching in Croydon and the near-hopeless and pain staking progress of a blindly optimistic project to create an environmental dreamscape in 'Cackbridge' and Beddington Bog Dump.

Friday 22 October 2010


Pics (top to bottom) Lincoln's Sparrow, Northern Flicker, American Black Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Simon and David, Bosse Carlsson (Birding Azores pioneer), Vincent and David and Corvo Birders.
It's not over yet on the Azores. Vincent is still on Corvo for another week and is being joined by Richard Bonser and a westerly airflow, while other birders are still scattered across the other islands. However it is more or less over for me. Highlights for me this year were the WPs first Lincoln's Sparrow and finally getting to see the Northern Flicker. Supporting cast included Rough-legged 'Hawk', Cedar Waxwing, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, American Black Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Snipe and from Europe; Lapwing and Garden Warbler.

Thursday 21 October 2010


Things are taking their toll. My knees are swollen and I can hardly walk anymore. Vincent fell asleep for the afternoon on the sofa and several birders have left for the tranquility of Flores (or rather a hire car instead of relentlessly walking the steep volcanic slopes of Corvo).
Despite being semi-crippled I still got an Azores tick- a Common Kestrel mobbing the Rough-legged Hawk from the Guesthouse balcony. The rest of the day was spent pointing the camera at common birds (Blackcap above)
Laurens Steijn brought a Birding Breaks tour here today and they jammed into the Northern Flicker within a couple of hours!!

Birding Corvo in the European News

Looks like it is not just birders interested in birding on Corvo; although I have no idea what these Belgian newspapers are going on about:

Top Ten Hit

Non-Stop Birding is currently No. 6 in the world's birding blog chart :-))

Wednesday 20 October 2010


More of Vincent's Corvo rarity photos:

I finally saw the flicker today in Fojo (image 2 is how I saw it) after five days of searching. In the afternoon we arranged a hunt for a Snipe that has been flushed several times and suspected of being a Wilson's Snipe. We managed to find it and got some photos that confirmed the identification.

More from David here:

Vincent Legrand and David Monticelli in action


Wilson's Snipe hunt.

More videos of Corvo Birding here:

and here:

Tuesday 19 October 2010


Pics top to bottom: Rough-legged 'Hawk', Yellow Wagtail, me in the crater and Vincent Legrand.
Caught up with the Rough-legged Buzzard/Hawk in the crater but it involved a climb to the top to get a decent view which has left me blistered and in pain. Vincent and I dipped the 3 Buff-bellied Pipits that were also in the crater but we got White-rumped Sandpiper.
The afternoon was spent wasting time looking for that b##t##d flicker which was seen again by Christian, who has seen it eight times while some of us haven't seen it once!
A Yellow Wagtail in the village continues the eastern theme- another Azores tick for me.
More bird news from the Azores as ever and always:

Monday 18 October 2010


7 Skylarks, 1 Lapwing, 1 Common Redstart, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail and the odd Willow Warbler on Corvo today is all good for the Azores Club 100 list . I got two ticks, Skylark and Lapwing.
We don't talk about the Northern Flicker now :-) as it was not seen or heard by anyone today and four people, including myself, did not see it.


Sunday 17 October 2010


I missed the Northern F#!ker again. Also dipped the Grey-cheeked Thrush and could not muster up the energy to look for the Bobolink. Taking photos of common birds is a sign of utter and total boredom/ despair (above):-)

Saturday 16 October 2010


I still aint seen it!

I'm not talking tonight.

Friday 15 October 2010

Northern Flicker/ Willet - Mystery solved!

Northern Flicker (Pierre-Andre Crochet)
Well that solves that one- it was a male Northern Flicker and only four people out of 21 of us have seen it, despite intensive searching. The bird is very mobile and was flushed twice 2km apart. This is the bird that was presumably heard three days ago and yesterday. The bird was also heard calling this afternoon from thick cover in Fogo.
Also today, sightings include Grey-cheeked Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Indigo Bunting, 2 Red-eyed Vireo and American Golden Plover.

The Azores High

The Azores high pressure cell is blocking depressions from reaching these islands and deflecting them to the north. The easterly airflow on the southern flank of this cell is bringing in European migrants with 3 House Martin, 2-3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Garden Warbler on Corvo and a Spotted Flycatcher (a first for the Azores) on the neighbouring island of Flores.
However American birds are still being found/pinned down on Corvo- more later.

Thursday 14 October 2010


Cedar Waxwing (Bosse Carlsson)
Believe it or not, todays identification challenge involved a bird that was either a Northern Flicker or a Willet! It was a 'heard only' that was either coming from a valley or over it- heard by a few of the team.
I had an Azores tick- House Martin.
Other birds on Corvo today include the Cedar Waxwing (seen better today), a Summer Tanager, the Rough-legged 'Hawk' is still around, an American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Northern Waterthrush. No sign of the Lincoln's Sparrow.


Wednesday 13 October 2010


More of Vincent's excellent photos here:


Cedar Waxwing (Pierre-Andre Crochet)
Pierre, as usual, was still birding hard while the rest of us had made our way back to the guesthouse. He was at the top of village hill and called us to say he had re-discovered the waxwing sp. that he had found two days ago. It was a Cedar Waxwing. There was little hope of us making it to him as it was getting dark so we started scanning the top of the hill from the guesthouse- a distance of about half a kilometer. At sixty times we could see a small grey shape being mobbed by a Grey Wagtail and Pierre (10 meters from the bird) confirmed that this was the bird. It then flew up and for those who didn't get to see the grey speck in the scope at 60x then had a chance of getting on to it as it flew up high and over the hill. Those of us who decided we had seen a bird and not a speck of dust on the objective lens, started cheering! Let's hope we see it again.


The first Lincoln's Sparrow for the WP was still present today. For video see here
Also today the waxwing sp. from two days ago was finally pinned down and identified as a Cedar Waxwing by Pierre. The Common Yellowthroat is still present and I also saw one of the Baltimore Orioles, a Garden Warbler (an Azores tick for me), the Double-crested Cormorant and an adult Gannet.
For more Azores bird news:

Tuesday 12 October 2010


What a day! Hugues Dufourny found an american sparrow in the afternoon which after lots of discussion we decided looked good for a Lincoln's Sparrow. We sent the photos to David Sibley and Peter Pyle and the answer came back from both of them in a few minutes.....' 100% Lincoln's Congratulations!' That's another 1st for the WP for Corvo.
Oh yeah... also today Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Rough-legged 'Hawk', 2 Baltimore Oriole, 3 Indigo Bunting, 2-3 Red-eyed Vireo, 3 Buff-bellied Pipit, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Scarlet Tanager.

Monday 11 October 2010


Made it onto Corvo- with a bumpy landing into the tail end of Otto. Had a few hours looking around the village and saw the Double-crested Cormorant (pic 1), the Buff-breasted Sandpiper and we had an American Golden Plover (pic 2) fly in off the sea.
Spent the last part of the day looking for a Waxwing sp. that Pierre found by the power station. There is Northern Waterthrush still here which I will look for tomorrow as I need it for my Azores list.