Followers of this blog will be familiar with the Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) which has now been at the airport pools on La Palma for about one month. Just to recap, here is a brief summary of the story so far...
Oct 4: The bird was discovered and correctly identified by Tom Brereton and Marcus John, about 45 minutes before they were due to catch their flight back to the UK. They observed the bird through a telescope, but failed to get satisfactory photographs. That evening, I received the following, extremely concise email from Tom: "Semipalmated Plover airport pools".
Oct 5: Not entirely convinced that the alert wasn't some kind of practical joke, I headed for the site with my photographic gear, and within minutes of arrival had found the mega-rarity. The first photos were posted on my website the same day.
Oct 8: I returned to the airport pools and posted another set of pictures on "La Palma Birds", including a couple of views of the not very scenic location and surroundings.
Oct 18: The bird was observed at the same spot by a visiting birder, Javier Orrit (pers. com.)
Oct 19: An early visit with good light conditions and absence of disturbances produced my best pictures of the bird so far. The various differences between semipalmatus and hiaticula were now evident, thanks to the convenient proximity of the latter.
Oct 23: Javier Orrit and myself observed the bird with a telescope.
Oct 27: I checked to confirm that the bird was still present.
Oct 29: Another visiting birder, John Perry, informed me of his personal sighting.
Oct 31: Together with two visitng birders, Juan Sagardía and José Portillo, the bird was observed again. Juan also filmed, recorded, and photographed it. (José Portillo is presently the presumed leader of the Spanish version of "The Big Year" - an unofficial twitching race to see the largest number of bird species in 2013 within Spain, including the Canaries, Balearics, Ceuta and Melilla. With the total number of Spanish species standing at 569, and another two months to go, José Portillo is already nearing the 400-mark. The Semipalmated Plover at the airport pools on La Palma has been another valuable addition to his list. More details of the competition and an interview with José Portillo at http://rbsbt.blogspot.com.es/2013/07/el-gran-ano-2013-medio-camino.html in Spanish).
The bird confidently associates with a small flock of Ringed Plover, a species which regularly winters on La Palma...so there is a very good chance that the semipalmatus will stay with them.
Nov 9: 14h The bird was still present at the airport pools.
Nov 10: Observed by a visiting birder, Óscar Llama (pers. com.).
Nov 15: The bird was still present at the same site.
Nov 19: It was seen by Clemente Usategui at the same location (pers. com).
Nov 22: I observed the bird at the same spot.
Nov 24 & 25: Still present (Sergi Fernández)
Nov 27: Still present at same site.