Due to its stealthy habits the Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) is one of the least observed regular birds in Europe. Essentially active at twilight and at night the Woodcock is the least known birds among the islands of the Azores as well. It is, however, one of the most unique species of the Azorean avifauna. The fact that Scolopax rusticola (named Galinhola in portugues) has different names on different islands, Cagarrona (Santa Luzia, Pico); passaroa (Terra do Pão, Pico); marreca (by several people in some localities of Pico) indicates, that people have something in mind with this bird.
The Woodcock is essentially resident on the island and breeding records are noticed from all the islands, with the exception of Santa Maria and Graciosa. Although the occurrence of migratory individuals (a bird was ringed in São Miguel in 2006 and recaptured a few months later in France), the real importance of these movements is not known. The Woodcock is less common in Corvo but is relatively abundant in Flores. Good spots to look for the bird on Flores are in general damp wooded areas or the environments around lagunes and lakes (zona das lagoas) on Flores. A decent spot to observe seems to be the Aldeia da Cuada near Fajã Grande. This is a romantic place where nature – is said – still keeps its mysteries. Abandoned in the ’60s, when its inhabitants emigrated to the Americas, the Aldeia was restored in a combination between a rustic style of the past and the modern comfort needs of the present
But the image of the blog was shot at the inner plateau near Lagoa Seca on a secondary road through a forest with introduced pine with water running along the margins of the road. The bird was standing in the grass of the wet road und obviously disturbed in foraging for food. When the car arrived the bird stopped searching for food but did not disappear. Some traffic is on the road and the Woodcock seems to be accustomed to that. After some shots and starting the engine again to approach the bird closer, the Woodcock did not feel in comfort anymore and flew off in the dense pine forest.
Fajã Grande on the island of Flores is a huge area, formed by the accumulation of materials resulting from the collapse of overhanging cliffs. Cascades are running down the cliffs, forming a dazzling scenery. Fajã is a flat area situated on the seafront of the most western sea shore of Europe. Fajã Grande has a great potential for birdwatching, especially for American migratory birds, including passerines of several habitats. Habitats include lagoons, streams, woods, coastal areas, small pastures and agricultural fields. This wide variety of habitats allows the observation of an interesting range not only for migratory but also for resident birds.
Fajã Grande is convincing not only birding-wise. A few minutes from the village there are several natural swimming pools, bathing facilities under the waterfalls, two restaurants and a few small pubs, a balneario with a children’s swimming pool and shower facilities.
And in the evening enjoy the “westernmost sunset of Europe” over the Atlantic …
The Woodcock is a wader of the same family of Snipes (as Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) and the Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)) These birds have many morphological similarities. The wingspan of the Woodcock however approaches more the size of a partridge. The plumage, in shades of brown-red, serves as a perfect camouflage in the places it frequents. It has a strong and long beak (about 7 cm); a short tail and its wings are long and rounded.
On São Miguel – the main island to the east – you might try for the woodcock at the Lagoa do Canário, Cova da Burra, Lagoa de São Brás and Serra da Tronqueira.
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.
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