Azores: birding in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

KappensturmtaucherThe Azores are well-known among ornithologists mainly for the fact that many American bird species occur, mainly in fall. Although this group of islands is part of the Western Palearctic (even Europe) on some islands, more Nearctic than Palearctic species have been found. In addition, several endemic taxa breed on the archipelago. The island group is particularly important for seabirds, which breed partially in large numbers. Migration of Seabirds in fall is another highlight. A sighting of a Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris borealis) is guaranteed.

Before an offshore (pelagic) tour, however, you might save some time to visit the famous coastal areas of the different islands. An example is the wetland area in Cabo da Praia on the island of Terceira. From the beginning of September till end of October, the Nearctic waders are piling up: Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca),  Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) and Dowitchers (Limnodromus sp.) you might see searching for food in the shallow waters of the bay. In addition, preferentially in the ports of the island, Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii) can be found. The species has its most important breeding ground in the world in the Azores. However, a large part of the population will already be moved off in fall to their wintering grounds, which are located on the West African coast.

The island of Flores, together with Corvo the westernmost island of the Azores, has a different birding focus. Birders are attracted to these remote islands by the fact that many different American bird species occur on migration in fall. More Nearctic than Palearctic species can been found on both islands which are located already on the American tectonic plate. We voted for Flores as our site to stay. Flores consist of mountainous terrain, characterized by large ravines, gigantic cliffs, numerous lagoons, and streams with caudal throughout the year.

It is an island with great potential for birdwatching, especially for American migratory birds, including passerines, due to its western location and the wide variety of habitats. However, its large size and large expanse of vegetation cover decrease the likelihood of observation compared to the neighboring island to the north, Corvo.

Due to the maritime climate, there is not really a best season to name. So, in general Flores is a perfect birding all-year-destination, maybe except summer

In order to satisfy the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of Western Palearctic, Bird-lens.com has undertaken dedicated trips to nearby and distant bird areas. This is to be able to do anything to provide excellent images of the birds of the Western Palearctic. Sometimes the yield of images is enriched by bird species, which are very unlikely to show-up in the Western Palearctic. The results in images even of rare Western Palearctic birds are very good.

The beautiful images of the blog are only a first impression of what you will find in behind “Picture  Shop” very soon. Simply contact bird-lens.com if you need an image of a bird before the newest images are online.

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