Thursday, 13 August 2020

Azores 1

Ok so i'm in the Azores. It's one of two autonomous regions of Portugal (the other being Madeira) and is an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the Macaronesian region of the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360kms west of continental Portugal. It's literally in the middle of nowhere! 



And before you start to criticise about travelling during this pandemic, i'm not doing anything wrong and it's perfectly legal and we've followed the relevant government's advice.... You may have a different opinion and that's your prerogative but we've got to live alongside this virus as it's not going away anytime soon.

Anyway, I had a Covid-19 test done in the UK and it's negative (of course!), so after a 4 hour flight on an empty plane we arrived in Terceira Lajes airport, I quickly did the formalities and was soon on the way to our lovely accommodation in Praia da Vitoria. Ten minutes later a taxi whisked us off to the shorebird hotspot of the Western Palearctic at Cabo de Praia.... We noted Common Quail, flocks of Common Waxbills and an Atlantic Canary walking along the lane.



I must admit I was expecting to find an American shorebird or two very quickly and easily. But in birding I should know not to expect anything. Arriving at a little after 6pm there appeared to be very little about, but scanning from the vantage point depicted above eventually revealed 4 Eurasian Whimbrel, 10+ Ruddy Turnstone, 20+ Kentish Plovers, 8 LRP's, 3 Little Stints (and boy I really tried turning them into something else!), 1 Common Greenshank, 6 Common Snipe, 1 sum plum Red Knot, 3 Ruff, and over 18 superb Sanderlings in various stages of moult. To say I was disappointed is an understatement and I don't wear it well. But walking around to the other side, watching flocks of Common Terns passing by and scoping a big stream of Cory's Shearwaters along the way, we scanned again....

Eventually, I picked up an apparent juvenile Common Ringed Plover at the back of the pools and my heart began racing. It had to be right? Thin breast band and those dark lores do look like they meet the bill above the gape line.... Hmmm... After watching the bird for a good while I was happy with the identification of Semipalmated Plover - a bird from the USA that has been fairly regular here, but it's just a shame it was too far away for photos. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.... 

3 comments:

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