Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pelagic boat trips

The dates for the next pelagics are:
3rd and 11th of September(from Fuzeta, 35 € p.p.)
and on the 12th of September (from Portimão, 50 € p.p.)
I will be "out of the office" for the rest of the month and might be only able to reply to e-mails on the 1st of September.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Discover birds & birdlife - courses with CCMAR

A series of field-ornithology courses at the University of Faro has been scheduled starting in September 2010. The courses will be held in English language. Inscriptions are open. Please visit:

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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pelagic Trip off Portimão

A pelagic boat-trip with the marine operator Ecoceanus is scheduled for 7.30 a.m. on the 12th of September. In the comfortable 11m catamaran we will be heading out for about 15 miles and do a chumming session to attract the seabirds. Target species are Wilson's Storm Petrel, Great Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater among others. Trip duration is 7h's. Price: 50 €.
Group size is 10 people plus 2 crew members, 4 places are still available for now.
Interested ?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Western Olivaceous Warbler - capture

This juvenile bird has been captured and ringed by Thijs Valkenburg on the 04-08-2010 near Silves (West Algarve).
It shows all characteristics (and biometrics) of Hippolais opaca (Western Olivaceous / Isabelline Warbler) - a species that is an extreme rare breeder in the country.
I have heard and observed a Isabelline Warbler in May with clients near Faro (bird was on passage) and a friend of mine managed some record shots the same day (see the blog-entry here).
The bird moved on and the photos led to some discussion, because some features, namely the undertail coverts (quite long, not white, graduated rectrices ?) did not look so "ideal" (at least compared to illustrations, like in Svensson et al.)
So, now again an opportunity to compare - the undertail coverts fit ! Also the broad bill base JT pointed out on the bird seen in May.

Photos: Thijs Valkenburg, 04-08-2010, Silves (West Algarve).

A nice video of an adult bird in hand is here.