sábado, 7 de noviembre de 2015

Miscellaneous sightings, Late October - Early November 2015

 Juvenile Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea). Photo: Antonio Camacho Lorenzo

There have been a number of interesting migrants on the island in recent weeks, including the birds featured in the present post...

On Nov 3, at one of the irrigation ponds in Los Barros, a residential zone located above the town of Los Llanos de Aridane, a local observer (Antonio Camacho Lorenzo) discovered the juvenile Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) shown above. This species is a passage migrant to the Canaries (all islands except El Hierro), but is recorded irregularly on La Palma, usually in spring rather than autumn.

 Pale morph Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus). Photo: Oivind Egeland

The Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) is becoming a regular visitor to the island, with solitary birds being recorded almost every year. The pale morph individual shown above was photographed near Santa Cruz de La Palma by Oivind Egeland on Oct 28. I saw what was probably the same bird yesterday, Nov 6, in the same part of the island.

My thanks to both observers for sending me the details of their sightings.

 Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)

It has been a poor autumn for migratory waders so far, but there have been up to nine ducks of various species in the irrigation ponds in Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane). The highlight of recent weeks has undoubtedly been the Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) featured in two previous posts, which was the second record of this American vagrant for La Palma, with only 20-odd records for the Canaries as a whole.

The other Anatidae discovered in the same area include the female Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) shown above, and an eclipse male Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), plus the following two species:.

 Common Teal (Anas crecca)

Common Teal (Anas crecca), 5 females/juveniles.

Garganey (Anas querquedula)

Garganey (Anas quequedula), 2 individuals.

At the tidal pools near the airport, there are presently about 3 Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), and one or two Common Sandpipers (Actitis hypoleucos). The results of my trip to the Laguna de Barlovento reservoir were described in the previous post.

Surprisingly, no wintering Coots (Fulica atra) have turned up on the island this autumn.

viernes, 6 de noviembre de 2015

Juvenile Spoonbill

Yes, you recognised it: we're back at my "favourite" bird-watching location on La Palma, the Laguna de Barlovento reservoir, this time with some water in it. See the Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) in the bottom right-hand corner? That gives an idea of how close you get to whatever birds turn up at this difficult location. I have cropped the second image slightly, but the bird still looks like a mouse on an airport runway. Fortunately the Spoonbill is large, white, and hard to miss...

Not so with the second species of the day, two female Wigeon (Anas penelope) seen foraging near the water's edge. Both birds had very grey heads and necks; possibly American Wigeon (Anas americana)? Even with my scope, it was impossible to say with certainty. The photos I managed to get are not really worth posting.

Juvenile Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). Photo: Oivind Egeland

Different bird? On October 26 the juvenile spoonbill shown above was photographed at the tidal pools near the airport. It could possibly be the same bird observed at the Laguna de Barlovento reservoir yesterday (Nov 5). Thanks for the picture, Oivind.