miércoles, 10 de octubre de 2012

Early October 2012

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Although these images of a Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) have been drastically cropped, they are still quite effective, I think. They illustrate how well migratory birds are able to adapt to the far-from-ideal habitat in Las Martelas, an area of manmade ponds on the outskirts of Los Llanos de Aridane.

This species is a regular passage migrant to the island, and often turns up in small numbers at irrigation tanks like the one shown here. However, due to ongoing drought, very few of the ponds have the necessary layer of mud or soft sand in the bottom - in fact, many are completely dry at the moment.

Somehow, this solitary specimen manages to feed in the shallow pool of stagnant water in the bottom of an almost empty tank, where a Greenshank (Tringa totanus) and a Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) were also foraging.

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

The Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) shown here is a Transatlantic vagrant with records from all the main Canary Islands except La Gomera (Fieldguide to the Birds of Macaronesia, García-del-Rey, E., Lynx 2011). This bird, first detected on the evening of Oct 9, is my eighth sighting of this species on La Palma.

Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

Several key identification features can be seen in the present images, including the abruptly ending neck streaks, which clearly contrast with the white underparts.

The leg colour and bill characteristics are also diagnostic. This sighting will be submitted to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.

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