jueves, 10 de abril de 2014

Wood Pigeon

 Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

The Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) may well be a typical resident of suburban gardens and parks in mainland Europe, but it is a rare passage migrant to the Canaries, with only 10 records altogether (Lanzarote 4, Tenerife 3, Fuerteventura 2 and Gran Canaria 1). Most sightings have been in spring, with five in April, three in March, one in February and one in July. ["Rare Birds of the Canary Islands" E. García-del-Rey and F. J. García Vargas, Lynx Edicions June 2013].

This solitary bird was discovered on April 9 at the saltpans in Fuencaliente, hardly an appropriate spot for the species. The bird appeared to be resting, but immediately took flight when I attempted to get closer. It flew about 300 yards inland and landed in an area of rocks and volcanic ash, where it was still visible through binoculars.

In flight, the white transverse bands on the upper wing were clearly visible. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first record of Columba palumbus on La Palma.

viernes, 4 de abril de 2014

Semipalmated Plover - last photos?

 Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

The Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), first discovered back in October 2013, was still present at the tidal pools near the airport this morning. This American vagrant has spent the entire winter on La Palma, in the company of several Palearctic waders.

Also present at the same location today: 2 x Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), 2 x Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), 2 x Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), 1 x Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and 1 x Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). All these migrants will soon be flying north.

Just to recap on the main hallmarks of semipalmatus: there is conspicuous webbing between both inner and outer toes; a fine, but clearly-defined eye-ring can be seen; and the bill is short and conical in shape. All these details can be appreciated in the present series of images.

Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus

The last two images allow comparison with C. hiaticula: this bird lacks an eye-ring, has darker, orangey-coloured legs, a longer bill, and an overall sturdier build...and note the absence of webbing between the inner toes.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)