Saturday, 26 September 2009

Band-rumps and Little Shearwater

Highlight of today was swimming the shark infested waters onto Lagoinhas Islet (bottom photo) in the North of Santa Maria. I had to do it in my boxers as I didn't have any proper gear. We got a camera across in a water proof bag. We found evidence of prospecting/breeding Band-rumped Petrels which is a new site. To me the corpses look fresh plumaged like juvenile birds which could suggest Monteiro's Petrel but will need to confirm the age (any suggestions?).
Also saw a couple of Little Shearwaters (photo 2) today and using our Petrel liquid gold we pulled in about 7-8 Band-rumped Petrels (all petrels in this post including the dead ones) for the last minutes of day light at sea.

Band-rumped Petrel corpse. If this is a juvenile than this would be a hot season breeder- also known as Monteiro's Petrel- a suggested cryptic species split (involving the mythical process of sympatric speciation). It is possible that it is a cool season prospecting bird which has undergone a recent moult (I think there is some contrast in the coverts?)- hence the very fresh primaries. I spin out when considering the moult i.d. concept between hot and cool season breeders because juvenile hot season breeders will look fresh as will adult cool season- so no idea what the hell you are looking at. Perhaps a worn bird suggests a Monteiro's but there are hot season 'Madeiran Petrels' in Macronesia that might disperse into the Azores- showing a similar moult strategy to Monteiro's and on top of all that there are first summer birds- so it aint easy. I guess that's why it's called a bloody cryptic species.

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