Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Azores Pelagic Exploration Trip Round Up

Top to bottom: 'Fea's Petrel', Wilsons Petrels and juvenile Atlantic Gull.
So that was the end of that little trip. The final log for the sea was 2' Fea's Petrel (presumed Desertas Petrel), 10+ Band-rumped Petrels (presumed Grant's Petrel), 70-80 Wilson's Petrel (a European record?), 3 Little Shearwater, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 100+ Great Shearwater, 1000's of Cory's Shearwater, 6 Manx Shearwater and 1 adult Long-tailed Skua. Other marine life included Common Dolphin, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Short-finned Pilot Whale, 3 Loggerhead Turtle, 1 Manta Ray and Blue Sharks.

Our visit to the quarry on Terceira also yielded Long-billed Dowitcher, Semi-palmated Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper and if I had made it to Corvo like Simon I would have bagged American Redstart too. Please tell me anywhere in the Western Palearctic that rivals this birding. Nada.

Our visit to the Lagoinhas Islet also looks like a new colony discovery of band-rumped Petrel for the Azores. If they were Monteiro's Petrel than that will be very significant indeed. Got the samples for the DNA test.


Chris Dunn said...

You learn somthing new every day. I had to read up on Monteiro's/Madeiran to get the gist of what you were saying here and in the earlier post, pretty interesting stuff. It will be intriguing to see what the DNA throws up.

Darryl said...

Manta Ray! Bloody 'ell, didn't know they were present off the islands. I assume you got flipping close views of the Pilot Whales? Will give you a call re next week.

Peter Alfrey said...

Hi Chris,
I have to keep reading it to get the gist too. Here a summary for my sake! It's pretty confusing.

Re: Petrels night and day, A Sound Approach Guide, 2008 by Magnus Robb, Killian Mullarney and the Sound Approach
Band-rumped Storm Petrel has been proposed as a four way split:

1.Grant's Storm Petrel- Cool season breeding band-rumped petrel e.g. populations on Azores, Berlangas, Canary Islands, Madeiran archipelago and Selvagens
2. Madeiran Storm Petrel- Hot season breeding band-rumped petrel e.g. populations on Canary Islands, Madeiran archipelago and Selvagens
3.Monteiro's Storm Petrel- Hot season endemic to The Azores
4.Cape Verde Storm Petrel- Hot and Cool season breeding band-rumped petrel of Cape Verde Islands

Peter Alfrey said...

The marine life is probably more amazing than the birds.
I'd never seen a blinking turtle before and the blooming dolphins made the sea boil at times.
Manta Rays are supposed to be easy off Formigas and Princess Alice Bank.
I got my new papers through from AA. If it is dead on the rock- it's back out to sea. We have got a killer petrel formula now.