Thursday 27 October 2011

Corvo Highlights 2011

Some of the best birds from autumn 2011.
All photos by Vincent Legrand
More here:

White-tailed Tropicbird

Blue-winged Warbler


Red-eyed Vireo

Marsh Hawk

Tennessee Warbler

Swainson's Thrush

Philadelphia Vireo

Purple Martin

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

For all the news from Azores:

Wednesday 26 October 2011


I am arranging a couple of trips for next year targeting Azorean endemics/specialities and also looking for vagrants.

WINTER MINI-EXPEDITION Azores Bullfinch, vagrant waterbirds and gulls
FEB 2012

General Itinerary:

JUNE or JULY 2012
Azores Bullfinch, Monteiro's Petrel, Expedition for vagrant seabirds. Cetaceans and other marine life.

Highlights of 2011 trip here:

Photo by Gareth Knass

If you are interested in joining one of these mini-expeditions please email me on for further information. Cost is dependent on numbers.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Depart from Corvo

Corvo. Only those who have ventured there understand :-)

The weather calmed down and the plane arrived as planned.
Yesterday evening we went to an Azores birdwatching meeting on Sao Miguel island. Great slide shows, interesting discussion about the future of birding on the Azores, a fascinating presentation (i think it was fascinating- it was in Portuguese) by Pedro Rodrigues about genetic studies on 'Azores Chaffinch' and other endemic Azorean passerine 'sub-species' and a good chance to meet up with other Azores ornithologists/birders.
Back to the local patch tomorrow but will post up a highlights of Corvo 2011 asap.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Tempest Borne Tanager

The storm has produced! Summer Tanager at Fojo/Cancelas today found by Stefan and David. This is the 4th for the WP (I think)- the 3rd one for Corvo.

Also a new Yellow-rumped Warbler found by Stefan.
Before news broke of the Tanager we were in the caldera seeing not too much- 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Teal, 1 Shoveler, 9 Blackwit, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Pintail, 8 Mallard, 1 Black Duck type, 20+ Snipe and a couple of Grey Heron.
If the plane comes tomorrow this will be our last full day on Corvo. Bonser and Co arrive tomorrow to take the late autumn shift.

Saturday 22 October 2011

La tempete est arrivee

All I saw today was a load of wind. However Eric found an American Merlin and a Common Yellowthroat and there was a Greater Yellowlegs found on Flores.

Friday 21 October 2011

There's a Storm Coming

Forecast for tomorrow showing low latitude depression over the Azores

Azores Chaffinch
I was supposed to go home today but on seeing this storm coming I decided to stay on until Monday. The wind shifted to the west by mid morning and by the afternoon a Chimney Swift and a new Yellow-billed Cuckoo arrived. The weather is set to become pretty wild.
Most other birders left today leaving a team of six of us to search through the storm.

Here's a link to our Dutch Birding Paper about Corvo Birding:

Thursday 20 October 2011

Killing Time on Corvo

Northern Parula still present in Do Vinte by Vincent

Vincent waiting to be woken up by a calling wood warbler

Me passing time with the locals

Despite the continual unfavourable winds a new Yellow-billed Cuckoo was found today. Other birds still present included the Parula, Swainson's Thrush and an Osprey was also seen.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Easterlies continue

Leach's Petrel

Vincent on TV.

SPEA, Azores birders and the locals
Another quiet day on the rock as the easterlies continue. A few European migrants have arrived over the last couple of days including 2 Kestrels, 1 Ringed Plover, 18+ Snow Bunting and also Short-eared Owl on the beach rocks this evening.

A Leach's Petrel (above) was picked up exhausted by the SPEA team and released this evening at the harbour.

Vincent and I spent the morning with Luis from SPEA making a documentary.

The Parula was seen again in De Vinte today and the Swainson's Thrush, Purple Martin and Red-eyed Vireo were still present yesterday.

Monday 17 October 2011

Quiet day on the Rock

Waiting for the Swainson's Thrush

Clouded Yellow- common on the island

Golden Twin-spot?

Scar Bank Gem (?)
Christian relocated the Swainson's Thrush at De Ponte today (after 9 days) and a few of us glimpsed it before it disappeared again. There was also a Red-eyed Vireo in the same valley. The Purple Martin was seen again (with a smaller hirundine; perhaps the Cliff Swallow has returned). A Spotted Crake was found at the top end of De Ponte.
The sea was very quiet- just the Pom again.
Butterflies/day flying moths on the island include Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Large White, Long-tailed Blue, Slender Burnished Brass (?), Scar Bank Gem, Crimson Speckled, Hummingbird Hawkmoth and Convolvulus Hawkmoth (larvae).

Sunday 16 October 2011


Glossy Ibis (presumed) flew in this evening

Purple Martin still around

Atlantic Canaries



A fairly quiet day on Corvo as winds persist from the north east. 3 Spoonbills arrived on Soa Miguel and a Glossy Ibis here so perhaps we should expect more arrivals from the continent. The Purple Martin is still present, a Buff-bellied Pipit still at the reservoir and a Red-eyed Vireo was in De Ponte.

The Fea's type Petrel is still offshore and an adult Pomarine Skua is also around.

Saturday 15 October 2011

White-tailed Tropicbird

A successful twitch for the White-tailed Tropicbird. Lots of Great Shearwaters on the journey over. Been a significant influx of seabirds to Corvo/Flores this year with reports of 1000+ Great Shearwater, 1 Trindade Petrel, 1 Fea's/Zino's Petrel, 1 Madeiran Petrel, 2 Leach's Petrel, 1 Grey Phalarope, Fulmar and of course the Tropicbird so in all points towards a displacement into our region. Jammed into the juvenile Marsh Hawk on Flores and the Purple Martin was flying around the guesthouse when we got back.

Friday 14 October 2011

Purple Patch

Purple Martin by Vincent Legrand. More photos from Vincent here:

Getting like Scillies out here!

Seen something like this on the Portland website recently.

Caught up with the Cliff Swallow and saw the Purple Martin this morning as did all the others. A couple of lucky observers found a Blue Grosbeak and 28 unlucky observers spent all day walking randomly around the pig fields looking for it.

Now news of a White-tailed Tropicbird on Flores means we are all jumping island tomorrow.

Thursday 13 October 2011


Purple Martin- 2nd for Azores and 3rd for WP found today on Corvo.

Sedge Warbler- a first for the Azores

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron- 4th for the WP.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth


View from Corvo looking over to Flores

Started off this morning by dipping both the Tennessee Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler and finding a Sedge Warbler was little compensation (but later found out it was a first for the Azores). I managed to see the Yellow-crowned Night Heron but apart from a couple of Wheatears it was turning into a rather slow day.

Then one hour before dark a Purple Martin flew in off the sea over mine and Eric's head and all hell broke loose. Most people were at sea looking for the Trindade Petrel so the boats returned to harbour and then we met the Israeli's who showed us some photos of two hirundines they had photographed earlier- one was a Cliff Swallow and the other a Purple Martin so looks like the Purple Martin had arrived earlier. Despite searching it was not seen again this evening.

Also had the Spotted Flycatcher so three Azores ticks today.