Friday, August 13, 2010

Pelagic off Fuzeta today - Wilson's Storm Petrels & more

Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) an adult in heavy moult. Photo: Rolf Svennson.

We went out quite early this morning (7.20 a.m.) with Passeios Ria Formosa from Fuzeta. A beautiful sunrise and stunning morning light when we crossed Ria Formosa at high tide. We spotted 4 Audouin's Gulls (Larus audouinii) on a sand bank close by during our passage. The sea then was calm and we had a weak northerly breeze. Plenty of small fishing boats were out there and some bigger trawlers. Those attracted hundreds of seabirds, mainly Gulls (mostly Larus fuscus and L. michahellis) but also about a dozen or so Balearic Shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus), starting from the water and landing again (birds in moult) and Cory's Shearwaters, some of them looking very good for Scopoli's (Calonectris (diomedia) diomedia) but let's wait for the promised photos to confirm the Id... we also saw one very contrasting and slim bird - or P.yelkouan or P.puffinus but again we are hoping for the photos because we could not see details of the face (whitish ear-coverts ?) nor any toe-projection...
Here we also had the first Wilson's Storm Petrels (Oceanites oceanicus), up to 9 birds at the same time, some of them pretty close to the boat and feeding in a loose flock. We just saw one single European Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) during the trip ! Almost missed a Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) on its own passing by in western direction (Thanks Magnus !). A single Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) gave good views, too. A wonderful and successful trip !

Pelagic with Passeios Ria Formosa
off Fuzeta (eastern Algarve)
c. 7.20 - 10.15 a.m.
High tide, sea calm
Northerly breeze, hot and sunny

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia) 50+
some of them showing characteristics of Scopoli's Shearwater

Manx Shearwater (P. puffinus) or Yelkouan Sw. (P. yelkouan) 1
waiting for photo confirmation...

Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) c. 20

Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) 1

European Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) 1

Wilson's Storm Petrel
(Oceanites oceanicus) c. 20

Northern Gannet
(Morus bassanus) c. 10

Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) 1

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) 3

Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) 1
plus 4 in Ria Formosa

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) 1

Great Skua (Stercorarius Skua) probably 1st summer. Photo: R.S.

Watching Wilson's Storm Petrels. Thanks to Rolf Svennson (left) for sharing his marvelous photos.

Two Wilson's Storm Petrels (Oceanites oceanicus) Photo: R.S.

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia) Photo: R.S.

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