Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) and others

This morning, we went out on the first boat-trip of the season - and saw some cracking birds!
Adult Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) c. 6 miles off Fuseta today
About six miles off Fuseta, we found an adult Sabine's Gull, following a small fishing trawler, feeding on the surface in a "light-winged" and elegant manner, next to two Wilson's Storm-Petrels (Oceanitis oceanicus) "dancing" on the water. Many Cory's Shearwaters (Calonectris diomedia) were patrouilling around the vessel and single Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) passed close along the side of our boat, in fast and direct flight. One Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) flew over and we had several groups (about 40 Ind. in total) of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) all moving west - almost exclusively birds in 2nd summer plumage, exept two of the third year. On the way out, we had already seen three, plus one single Balearic Shearwaters (Puffinus mauretanicus) crossing in front of the boat (west). A probable Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) was a bit too distant to be absolute certain about the ID (well, I was, actually...) and two distant Terns were probably Common Terns (Sterna hirundo). Also two more Petrel sp. remained unidentified. On the way in, we saw the first Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii) and found about 10 Ind. more on a sandbank inside Ria Formosa, close to the harbour of Fuzeta, next to Sandwich- and Little Terns.

The same Ind. in flight. Photo by Denis Keitel - thanks for sharing! 

In Portugal, there are no acknowledged records of Sabine's Gull in June so far. Most birds are seen in late autumn and winter on southbound migration along the west coast in recent years. An adult bird still around here as late as now, will most likely not successfully nest this year, high up in the Nearctic region, were it origins.

Here are further dates for Pelagic boat-trips already scheduled so far - join in!

Aug., 19th;
8th., 9th. and 20th September 2012 (all Portimão); 
7th,18th and 22nd September 2012 (Fuseta); 
11th October 2012 (Fuseta)

Trips from Fuseta are 40 €  p.p. now, further info here.
Info about the trips off Portimão is here.

I will be on board as a guide.

P.S.: Talking about pelagic species: A Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)- very rare here, entered Ria Formosa, just south of Faro yesterday, 5th of July 2012. What an impressive animal!

Watch the video here:  Humpback Whale near Faro