Wednesday, 29 August 2012

25 NM WSW Cascais pelagic Part II

Recent proposals for a new taxonomy for "Madeiran" Strom-Petrel Oceanodroma castro, based on DNA, morphology, and vocalization into 4 taxa (Friesen et al. 2007, Robb et al. 2008) : Grant´s Storm Petrel, in the Macaronesian Islands, except Cape Verde, including Berlengas; Madeiran Storm-Petrel in Canaries and Madeira; Monteiros Storm-Petrel in the Azores and Cape verde Storm-Petrel in Cape Verde.

The bird seen off Cascais seemed fresh with no active moult on flight feathers by late August, though possibly indicating a winter breeding bird from the Macaronesian Islands, most probably from the Berlengas colony close by.

After 1 or 2 hours using "eau du chum" at Monte dos Ursos bank, 1 ind. came by only to be seen by brief minutes....

shallow fork on tail in some angles but it gives an impression of a square ended tail most of times

narrow rump patch and  dull upperwing covert bars.....

long and angular wings....and very diferent travelling/foraging flight from the Wilsons nearby, Madeiran/Grants make very long and fast glides when compared with the more busy flight of Wilsons

At the 2nd stop point around the 13 NM, Corys and great shearwaters were clearly more abundant...

Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis, one of the few seen mostly between 9 and 13 NM

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

25 NM WSW Cascais pelagic

Last Saturday 25-August-2012, the pelagic trip running from Cascais planned by Luis Gordinho and 11 brave men including me, couldnt went better than it did, 20  bird species have been seen along with the 2 major target species, Sabines Gull Xema sabini and Long-Tailed skua Stercorarius longicaudus plus 1 Madeiran-Strom Petrel Oceanodroma castro and although the Berlengas  breeding colony is close, Madeiran SP have very few records from the coast and not many more offshore.

Calonectris diomedea borealis 75+ between the 9 and 13 NM
Puffinus gravis 5 a 8 inds.  mostly at13 NM
Puffinus griseus 4
Puffinus puffinus 5 mostly beyond 13 NM
Puffinus mauretanicus 3 before 13 NM
Oceanites oceanicus +/-50 (30+ Monte dos Ursos, 5+ at 13 NM, +/-15 on the way back)
Hydrobates pelagicus 10+ mostly at 13 NM
Oceanodroma castro 1 Monte dos Ursos
Morus bassanus 7+
Stercorarius pomarinus 10 a 15, mostly ad. and subad. at 25 NM
Stercorarius parasiticus 3 (2 pale and 1 dark morph), 2 at 13 NM
Stercorarius longicaudus 1 ad. + 1 juv.  Monte dos Ursos
Stercorarius skua 5
Xema sabini 1 juv. + 2 ad.  Monte dos Ursos
Larus fuscus 10+ at 13 NM
Larus michahellis 1 ad. at 25 NM
Chlidonias niger 3
Sterna sandvicensis 1
Sterna hirundo 40+ ad & juv
Sterna paradisaea  1 juv.

We went off Cascais on 10 meter long fishing boat at 5 am, trying to reach the 10 NM at dawn. At this distance the continental plataform ends and depth increases rapidly reaching -2000 meters around "Monte dos Ursos" bank, our hope was to benefit from the nutrient rich upwelling and also from the distance from shore, Northern winds prevail in Portuguese coast, making seawatch dispointing most of times, and although Long-tailed Skuas are regurlarly seen from land in harsh westerlies chances are higher offshore.....

breaking dawn at 10 NM off cascais........
WISP Oceanites oceanicus "dancing with the waves" feeding on the slick, judging the numbers envolved Wilsons are probably the most numerous Storm Petrel offshore continental Portugal during July/August.
juvenile Sabines Gull Xema sabini and WISP at "Monte dos Ursos" bank 

adult Sabines Gull Xema sabini starting body moult to winter plumage...
the 2nd adult Sabines Gull present....
adult Long-Tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus at "Monte dos Ursos"bank, 25 NM offshore Cascais
unfortunetly this adult had no tail-streamers on tail....
adult Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus.....
3th/4th cy or adult moulting into winter plumage? Ageing Skuas could be quite tricky....
an adult in breeding plumage....
my guess is adult moulting into winter plumage, note the plain collar on the necksides, but now replacing plain mantle and upper-tail coverts for barred ones....
adult Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus.....
to be continued.....Part II

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Wilson´s Storm Petrel

A few photos made during my mini-pelagic trip at  Fuzeta, Algarve in the company of Georg Schreier, who runs birdwatching-algarve. The Algarve calm waters are one of the best places to watch Wilsons Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus during the summer months, we went only 6 nm offshore during a 3hour mini trip, sometimes no chum is needed if you check the fishing boats nearby.

Rafts of Cory´s Shearwaters are common offshore ....
 juvenile Audouin´s Gull Larus audounii.....
After several fishing boats were checked we finally found Storm petrels feeding: European Storm Petrel Hidrobates pelagicus, and Wilson´s Strom Petrel Oceanites oceanicus.
EUSP Hidrobates pelagicus
EUSP Hidrobates pelagicus
EUSP Hidrobates pelagicus
EUSP Hidrobates pelagicus
WISP Oeanites oceanicus
WISP Oeanites oceanicus
WISP Oeanites oceanicus
A large group of Bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus, decided to show up...these amazing animals are far more beautiful in the wild than in any sealife park....amazing!!!!
Time to go back onshore, but with a hudge smile on my face!