Working for birds in Africa

First documented records of Sanderling Calidris alba for São Tomé and Príncipe

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Premières observations documentées du Bécasseau sanderling Calidris alba pour São Tomé et Príncipe. Le 5 novembre 2012, un Bécasseau sanderling Calidris alba a été photographié dans l’estuaire de la rivière Papagaio, à Santo Antonio, Príncipe. Deux individus ont été observés trois jours plus tard, le 8 novembre, au même endroit. Il s’agit des premières mentions documentées pour São Tomé et Príncipe, deux observations antérieures, de six individus sur la plage de la ville de São Tomé le 1er octobre 2002 et d’un individu sur l’estuaire de la rivière Papagaio, Príncipe, le 5 octobre 2002, n’ayant pas pu être confirmées.

On 5 November 2012, I noticed a Sanderling Calidris alba foraging on the mudflats at the Papagaio estuary, Santo Antonio, Príncipe (01°38’26”N 07°25’30”E). I observed it for c.40 minutes, but it never came closer than 300 m, making ageing impossible (Fig. 1). Three days later, on 8 November, I observed two individuals feeding along the shore (Fig. 2). They were present from 10.00 hrs for approximately 1.5 hours before flying out of sight, not to be relocated again. This time, close views allowed them to be aged as moulting juveniles, as they both showed retained blackish tertials, wing-coverts, scapulars and body feathers, in stark contrast with the rest of the all-grey plumage (Hayman et al. 1986, Svensson et al. 2009). Despite the poor quality of the photographs taken of the first bird, it is possible to speculate that it was also a juvenile.

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