Corvo works in mysterious ways

First day of this blog post, which is day 7 for us on Corvo, we decided to go up to the famous Caldeira, that is the actual crater of the vulcano.  This is one crazy beautiful place. Mårten walking up the Caldeira.

caldeira

Our main target in the Caldeira was the elusive and difficult to id Wilson’s Snipe. We walked all the moorlands inside the crater flushing snipes trying hard to get photos of all the flushed snipes. Here is Mårten wetting his boots.

Flushing snipes
Flushing snipes

All flushed Snipes were deemed to be Common Snipe. It’s not easy though, and observation just though the bins might look perfect, but once you see the pic – not so much. Birding the village in the afternoon.

Next day, day 8 on Corvo, Oct 13, rainy day. We started out with some sea watching. Plenty of Cory’s Shearwater and one Sooty. Other birders found a dying Leach’s Storm-petrel in a garden. In the evening rain stopped, PAC found a Blackpoll warbler in the tamarisk above the garbage dump. Everyone went there.

Blackpoll twich
Blackpoll twitch

At the time, we all got decent views, however the bird, or actually birds, there were two, stayed and are still here, and we later get good photos.

Blackpoll warbler
Blackpoll warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler

Day 9, Oct 14 – our big dip day. We started out by making the most idiotic decision we have done this year by splitting up. Mårten and Erik were  so eager to work hard and I was – well not. They go with the first taxi-bus to Ribeira Fojo and I bird the village. Idiotic. They did find two REVs, nice but not a year tick.

Red-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

I was birding the village and a Common Yellow-throat was reported above the Rubbish dump. I go there and assume they will somehow get the news of this and get down to the village. Hectic. The Yellowthroat is kinda gone so nothing lost. Once we get in contact, an alarm on an unidentified sparrow (very very interesting) as well as an alarm in the Ribeira furthermost on the island, the Lighthouse Valley on a Black-throated Green Warbler. Dip. And even more horrible, after we gave up the on the Black-throated Green in Lighthouse Valley, the one birder, Per Forsberg, that stayed got the bird.  Later in the same day  Vincent Legrande sees and alarms an Upland Sandpiper, we go there – dip. Also, the impossible-to-see Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen. So, all in all this was a most horrible day, several fantastic birds seen on the island – and we see zero.

Day 9, Oct 15 turned out to be the day. Now it turned. We started out in the village by trying to relocate the Yellowthroat. Maybe at 10 o’clock Mika Bruun sees and alarms a Blackburnian Warbler in Tennessee  Valley, this is 5th for WP. Everyone runs, we on the other hand are so pissed with the experience of yesterday so we (STUPIDLY) decided to stay and continue the search for the Yellowthroat. After maybe an hour, we get more reports that the Blackburnian is re-found and we decide to go there. Once at the site, up the mountain, the bird is just not there. After maybe an hour or so of waiting, a new alarm arrives, unidentified warbler further up on the same mountain. We all run, and soon we got certain id of Yellow-throated Vireo. All birders are running up, except a few that stay on the Blackburnian site. Just 5 minutes after all birders except just a few left the Tennessee Valley  site of the Blackburnian Warbler, it’s reported on the radio that the damned Blackburnian shows again – at the original spot. We all run towards the Vireo instead and we got it just in the nick of time.

Yellow-throated Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Returning from the Yellow-throated Vireo site
Returning from the Yellow-throated Vireo site

Just after we saw the Vireo, it disappeared, never to be seen again. We went back to the site of the Blackburnian and sat down to wait. After a short time, it’s seen further up the valley and – again – all birders run. We all got to see the bird, albeit poorly. Lots of adrenaline.

Once down in the village, I’m sort of dead, whereas the young guns still have energy and keep on birding.  Again PAC (In PAC we trust) finds the bird we need and they call me and I get running again. Wonderful views of Common Yelllowthroat.

Common Yellow-throat
Common Yellow-throat

PAC flushed the bird for us, and we all got it good. Together with WP top birders Ernie Davies and Chris Bell.

WP top 1 and 3
WP top 1 and 3, Ernie Davies and Cris Bell

Top day, 3 new year ticks in a day.

Day 10, Oct 16. Winds have been exceptionally good last days and they appear to continue to be so. This morning winds are very strong westerlies together with heavy rain. A juvenile Surf-Scoter was resting in the harbour.

Surf Scoter
Surf Scoter

Once the rain subsided we decided to walk up to the reservoir, searching for the Upland Sandpiper, the alleged Greater Yellowlegs seen there and of course Wilson’s Snipe. We see a few Snipes, but the winds are too strong to get decent photos of flying Snipes. We see a flying Yellowlegs, but it was a lesser. A Semipalmated Sandpiper on the way back was all we had.

Semipalmated Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Corvo works in mysterious ways”

  1. This is a fascinating story. The Azores have become a tourist destination but almost all tourists go to Saõ Miguel which is the biggest island, also where Ponta Delgada the capital is situated. Some tourists also find Terceira or Faial. Peter’s café which is well-known to sailors is in Horta the only town on Faial.
    But Corvo is the smallest and most inaccessible island with only about 425 inhabitants. Autumn birding must be a boon to its tourist trade. You seem to have a busy time.

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