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  BIRDING AZORES

Untitled Document
  Record influx of Blue-winged Teals Anas discors to the Azores in October 2009
 


Blue-winged Teals Anas discors at Cabo da Praia, Terceira (Photo 2009-10-21: Carlos Pereira).

In the autumn of 2009 westerly winds were dominating during most of October, and apparently new migrants from the west turned up under a rather long period. There were no extreme strong winds or low pressures moving eastwards from the Nearctic, but more of a continuing rather slow air current. One exception was a rather heavy low pressure around the 24th which also gave the first cancelled flights in the western islands.
   The first Blue-winged Teals turned up in early October in a rather normal quantity, but already around the 14th it was clear that they were more than usual. Then there was a new influx around 9 days later when the numbers reached their maximum. Highest numbers in the west were 8 on Flores the 17th (Lagoa Branca and Lagoa Seca), in the central islands a flock at Cabo da Praia with a maximum of 19 the 22nd, and in the east several scattered small groups where the maximum was 15 (8+7) in Achada das Furnas area the 24th.
   Most of the birds where seen on the central and eastern islands (Terceira and São Miguel), but many birds where also discovered in the western group of islands, as well as the first ever for Graciosa and the second for Santa Maria. In the Birding Azores bird database the number of reported birds are separated (to avoid double counts), and the total number for the autumn of 2009 is at the moment calculated to 64. This can be compared with the normal yearly average of 8 (2000-2008), or the previous total up to spring 2009 which was 95.
   The Blue-winged Teals mostly occupied known and well visited lakes and pools, but a few were also noted in more remote areas like in Ribeira de Lapa in Corvo, a wooded stream with the largest open water only a few square meters. The coverage from visiting birders was good this autumn, but since they mostly visit the same islands, the number of missed birds in other islands like Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Santa Maria is probably still a few.
   The figure below demonstrates the occurrence in time divided into the three groups of islands. Note that arrival maximums are a few days later in the eastern group. The numbers were at their highest the 24th when 52 were counted
   The birds seem to have disappeared in late October or early November, and visiting birders in mid or late November have found rather few. It remains to see if some of them will turn up in the Azores or mainland Europe next spring.

 

 

Staffan Rodebrand, Sweden

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