Day One 290712
Day Two 300712
Terceira and ferry crossing to Graciosa
Hudsonian Whimbrel at Cabo da Praia- one of two birds present. Also Semipalmated Plover and adult Least Sandpiper.
Northern Botttlenose Whale (I think)- seen from ferry
Sowerby's Beaked Whale- seen from ferry. Also a pod of Spotted Dolphins, one Minke Whale, 3 Bulwer's Petrel and 2 Band-rumped Petrels
Day Three 310712
Graciosa viewed from the Bank of Fortune
Monteiro's Petrel- moulting inner primaries indicating a hot season breeding indiviudal
Band-rumped Petrel- a fresher looking individual. The brownish cast indicates an adult bird (juvenile hot season birds ((Monteiro's)) are sooty black) suggesting a cool season breeding bird (sometimes called Grant's Petrel)
Band-rumped Petrel (non-moulting bird). Cool season breeding birds are beginning to return to the Graciosa colonies and mixing in with the hot season breeding Monteiro's Petrel. Monteiro's can be identified by moult with birds beginning to moult their inner primaries at the end of the breeding season. Fresh looking birds are presumably either Grant's (cool season) or juvenile Monteiro's (but should be sooty black).
Day Four 010812
Graciosa (The Bank of Fortune)
Swinhoe's Petrel- found on the Bank of Fortune and attracted to the boat with chum. The first documented record for the Azores (one to two birds were reported in the past by seabird researchers but no further details)
Swinhoe's Petrel. Typically the bird is holding the tail closed in travelling flight (more obvious in top photo)
Swinhoe's Petrel. The bird appeared about the same size of a Band-rumped Petrel but the wings looked slightly longer with deeper wing beats in flight. The size and slightly forked tail eliminates the possibility of Matsudaira's Petrel.
Fea's/Desertas/Zino's Petrel. While waiting for the Swinhoe's, this flew into the chum slick and had a look around before moving on
Fea's/Desertas/Zino's Petrel. The dark underwing and relatively heavy bill seems to eliminate the possibility of Zino's Petrel. (However see here for better photos and post trip analysis ZINO'S PETREL!
Wilson's Petrel. As we had discovered a small group of Wilson's on the Bank of Fortune last year in June we were expecting to find larger numbers this year later in the southern winter. However we only found 4-6 birds.
Day Five 020812
Graciosa (The Bank of Fortune)
Risso's Dolphin- a pod of 20-25
In the calm weather conditions we didn't find too many birds on the Bank of Fortune. Band-rumped Petrels were found in rafts- presumably waiting for the wind to get up. Bird of the day today was Solitiary Sandpiper that flew over the boat calling heading towards Terceira! (photos to follow)
Bulwer's Petrel- about 15 seen today
Sperm Whale- 3-4 seen. Also a pod of Spotted and Striped Dolphins, several Loggerhead Turtles, Hammerhead Shark and a 'Medusa' jellyfish.
Day 6 030812
Barolo Shearwater - one of two seen
Olof and Harro. Also present on this trip were Vincent, Richard, Erica, Ingvar, Chris and the boat crew http://www.divingraciosa.com/index.html
. Happy punters all round. Trip report and more photos to follow.
Going out again next year (probably August again- maybe a bit later). If you would like to join please email me email@example.com
For more information on birders trips to the Azores see Trips to the Azores on the links bar above.