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Natura Algarve

Bird watching and marine life boat trip report

04.11.2010 // Natura Algarve

When: 19 October 2010

Where: Pelagic trip between Deserta and Armona Island. Santa Maria Cape.

Group: 8 person (Portugal and Holland) + 2 guides (Sónia Manso - marine biologist and Tiago- skipper and marine biologist)

Distance from the coast: around 4miles

Time: 9AM - 11PM (no chumming)

Weather conditions: blue sky, SE wind, wave ≤1m, 20 oC

Introduction

Ria Formosa Natural Park is located in Algarve and includes the southernmost point of continental Portugal - Santa Maria Cape. The pelagic boat trip started from Olhão, we navigated along the main channels of Ria Formosa Natural Park in direction of the ocean.  Main goal: look for marine birds and dolphins!

The trip

After a brief introduction about the bird watching boat trip and security procedures we started our fantastic morning. Inside the lagoon, the tide revealed some muddy areas but not yet their usual waders, so we crossed the area straight to the ocean. Once on sea, we didn’t have to go far to find a large flock of Northern Gannets diving down for fish, surrounded by a few traditional fishing boats. Perfect moment for photos!

Some minutes later we started to look for petrels and shearwaters. As the boat navigated, they started to glide in front of us. It was amazing to see the Wilson’s Storm Petrels “walking” on the water and the way they catch small food particles at the surface. We had also very good views of Cory’s shearwaters gliding on the surface and the nostrils details.

The wind started to blow a little bit stronger and we decided to turn direction. It was a good decision (not only because it became warmer) but also because we had the chance to find a small group of common dolphins (4-6 individuals on the surface). They easily approached the boat but yet not for too long. Anyway, it is good to know that they stay on these waters during the winter time.

The birdwacthing and marine life boat trip continued with several sightings of Northern gannets, Cory’s shearwaters and Great skuas. Once inside the lagoon the tide already revealed more marsh areas and we still had the chance to look for some waders: oystercatchers, godwits, wimbrel, dunlin, grey plovers, egrets and storks.

aves-marinhas_500.jpg

Birds and cetaceous list

  • Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus)
  • Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia)
  • Wilson’s Storm Petrels (Oceanites oceanicus)
  • Great Skua (Stercorarius skua)
  • Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)
  • Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus)
  • Yellow legged gull (Larus michahellis)
  • Black headed gull (Larus ridibundus)
  • Black backed gull (Larus fuscus)
  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicencis)
  • Caspian tern (Sterna caspia)
  • Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
  • Bar tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)
  • Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
  • Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

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