miércoles, 30 de noviembre de 2016

Autumn roundup 2016

 Part of a flock of 15 Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)

It has been a fairly poor autumn so far, at least in terms of vagrants. Despite consistent birding efforts throughout October, both by myself and by a visiting observer (J.O.), no Nearctic waders were discovered at the saltpans in the south, nor at the irrigation ponds in Las Martelas.

Otherwise, the season is playing out as as usual, with various common shorebirds arriving from September onwards, and the first ducks from about mid-November. There are currently 17 Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca), including at least three drakes, at the ponds in Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane), and a couple of juvenile Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) in the same area.

 Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Among the less frequent, but by no means rare visitors to the island,  the solitary Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) shown below added a discrete dash of colour to the drab surroundings it was found foraging in:

 Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Undoubtedly the highlight of autumn so far is the 1w Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) shown below, which was discovered at a partly-empty irrigation pond in Las Martelas on November 26.

My previous sighting of this species on La Palma was several years ago: it could nevertheless be a much more regular visitor, but being rather cryptic, easily goes undetected. Suitable habitat is provided by any abandoned irrigation pond with a layer of mud on the bottom, and there are lots to choose from in Las Martelas.

 Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus) 1w

 Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)

Despite its lack of a red throat, or any hint of rufous tones, the overall plumage pattern, bill colour, and foraging behaviour all point to Anthus cervinus, classed as a P3 (low fequency) migrant to the Canaries in the Field Guide to the Birds of Macaronesia (Lynx Edicions, 2011).

Not exactly a spectacular bird, but a welcome novelty on my regular trips to the area.

Note the bold streaking on the breast and underparts, clearly visible in the photo above.

In addition to the previously-mentioned species, small numbers of the following migrants have also been recorded on the island in recent weeks:

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), and Common Coot (Fulica atra).