Azorian Adventure

We’ve just returned from a weeks holiday, with friends Bob & Sue, birding on The Azores, visiting just two islands of this Atlantic archipelago, Sao Miguel and Terceira. Winter is probably not the best time to visit but with flights at less than £50 per person, very good value accommodation and excellent food, it was too good an opportunity to miss. In the end we managed a total list of 66 species, including: 17 species of duck and water birds – seven of which were American, 16 species of wader including two American, eight species of gull including two American and both common ‘white-wingers’ and a few other odds and ends like Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Great Northern Diver and, of cause, Azores Bullfinch – subject of my previous blog. Not too shabby an outcome really. Definitely to be recommended.

Azores Bullfinch or Priolo – the only totally new bird of the trip

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Several of the more common residents have endemic races, like Buzzard, Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and this Blackcap

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Glossy Ibis was a bit of a surprise as it flew over our heads at Paul da Praia 

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We saw seven species of American duck and water birds – most were on the ‘town pond’ of Paul da Praia, on Terceira. These are two male Blue-winged Teal

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Followed by three Lesser Scaup 

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This Redhead – looking not unlike our own Pochard, was usually in the company of the Ring-necked Duck. We had up to three males and two females, but they never came particularly close

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American Wigeon was the fifth species of New World duck we saw on the ‘town pond’ of Paul da Praia – one of two rather flighty males

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Equally difficult were these two male Wood Duck – seen on Largoa Azule

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To round off this section, American Coot at Cabrito reservoir – our 7th species of American wildfowl and water birds for the trip

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Of the fifteen species we saw at the amazing wader hot-spot of Cabo da Praia quarry, Semi-palmated Plover was by far the rarest – looking not unlike our own Ringed Plover, it was at times, difficult to find

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There were plenty of winter Sanderling coming and going. This one is with Little Stint – one of three seen

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Curlew Sandpiper, again in winter plumage, could have been mistaken for Dunlin with just a cursory inspection

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Kentish Plover, along with Sanderling, were the default wader species at this remarkable spot

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Knot are always nice to see, even in their rather drab winter plumage

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The gull action came mostly in the form of two American species, this Bonaparte’s Gull appeared to spend most of it’s time at Canada do Quinhão Grande – roosting at Cabo da Praia quarry. At least we think it was the same bird. Photographed here, at the first site with Black-headed Gull

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And again at the quarry

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These American Ring-billed Gull – four in total were seen on the beach at Praia da Vitoria with a single Common Gull

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Further gull action came in the form of the two common ‘white-wingers’, Glaucous and Iceland. The first, a 1st winter Glaucous on the beach at Praia de Monte Verde

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The other, an Iceland Gull – 2nd winter, at the marina in Ponta Delgada

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To finish off with a couple more regular but no less interesting species, beginning with Spoonbill, feeding unperturbed, near the cafe at Sete Cidades

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Waxbill, a well established escape, seen at several locations around Sao Miguel

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The Azorian race of Common Buzzard, seen here in the rain – not an uncommon weather feature of these islands!

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Cattle Egret, one of two, seen at Canada do Quinhão Grande – a bit of eye-balling go on here

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And to conclude, Great Northern Diver – in the outer harbour at Praia da Vitoria

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For a full annotated species list from our trip, click this link.

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This entry was posted in Birding.

3 comments on “Azorian Adventure

  1. avian101 says:

    Impressive variety of birds! Great gallery. 🙂

  2. […] birding on the Atlantic archipelago of The Azores. I’ve posted a few photos from our trip on TrevorOnTour. Looking forward to getting back to ‘local patch’ birding very soon – weather […]

  3. […] quite the American duck species we’ve been seeing over the past week in The Azores but a nice view of one of the two Tufted x Ferruginous Duck hybrids on the […]

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