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