The morning arrived and I felt a little tired and decided to take the morning easy. A stroll around paul da Praia produced nothing more than a single grey heron even though I did check for the great blue I was unable to locate it this morning. I then decided to have a coffee and check out the ferry schedules to see what the options would be for an inter-island ferry service. I sat there having my coffee taking in the view (above and below) and it appeared the ferry option would be Sao Miguel. I like the Azores at all times of year but the mid-late summer period is always nice, due to the fact the waders are starting to move in. The weather is usually ok and the inter island ferry services are still running a service outside of the central islands group. Be it Asia or the Azores I do like the odd island hop and so I got a return ticket and boarded the boat mid afternoon. The open deck area is closed off this year due to a near fire and so I was disapointed with the thought of doing this journey and having to sit down below deck for the duration. Luckily I recognised one of the crew from before and who also recognised me and I advised that the Captain usually allows me on the bridge to search for whales and dolphins. They spoke to the captain on my behalf and I was allowed access to the back upper deck. The journey was pleasant but uneventful with great & cory's shearwaters being the most abundant species. A large pod of atlantic spotted dolphins were a nice treat as they came in to the side of the boat. I always feel privileged and can't help but smile when I see these great creatures. Arrival in Sao Miguel was ok but the wind had picked up. There was not the option to get a cabin on the boat this year so I checked in to a hotel for the night. There was a storm out at sea with lightening clearly visible from the hotel window.
"Azores Day 3" was very rough at sea, the sun was burning brightly from above the wind and sea state had changed dramatically over-night. The journey was bumpy to say the least and the birds were very few and far between. At one point I went below deck to something to eat and drink and as I was just sinking me teeth in to my cheese and ham slice I could hear the sound of sick splattering in to bags and on to the floor. I looked up and was amazed at how many people were being sick. This in turn made me feel a bit queazy to say the least and so I took my food and diet coke back on the upper deck where the fresh air helped. Arrival in Terciera was just after 13:30hrs and so i decided to head to the quarry.
I began scanning the back edge of the pool when I heard a van pull up and there was a bird tour group just disembarking the van. (tour group above).
I went to the right hand side of the quarry and began scanning where I managed to locate a nice juvenile Least Sandpiper. Today's totals worked out at: Short Billed Sandpiper 1 juv, Lesser Yellow Legs 1, Semi P Sandpiper 4, Least Sandpiper 1 juv, White Rumped Sandpiper 1, Pectoral Sandpiper 4 (1ad, 3 juvs (photo above)) Semi P Plover 4 (1ad, 3 juvs (photo below) Curlew Sandpiper 2 ads, Little Stint 3 juvs, Sanderling 120+, Turnstone 60, Whimbrel 1 & an interesting looking Dunlin.
At one point today whilst watching the Whimbrel I actually thought it looked like it had a dark rump but it was just the angle of the bird and so yet again I was seeing Eurasian Whimbrel and yet again "lucking out" on Hudsonian. Later that evening back at the hotel I found myself scratching my head and wondering why I just keep "Lucking out" on this particular species. I thought back to where I have seen my biggest counts of Whimbrel back home and this comes from Fobbing marsh. So with this in mind I have decided that tomorrow I will concentrate my efforts on looking for this species in the area of fields either at the airport, the fields near the quarry or both. Whilst at the hotel the wi-fi network wasn't working so well and so the guy behind the counter allowed me to use my lap top with a wired connection. He gave me a beer (sarges) and we began chatting about working at nights and how it can affect your digestive system, your sleep pattern etc. Then I asked what had happened at Zig Zag's. He went onto advise me that the 2 brothers sold it and that it was now a strip club. Jesus" a strip club in praia, this isn't so good.