Friday 20 May 2011

More Madeira

Well another great day out on the water.  This is going to be a quick one as I am knackered and need to get to bed for an early start pigeon watching (serious!).

We headed out early afternoon again.  This time the wind was still up and the seas to the north would have been horrendous, so we headed out to the south to the western side of the Desertas Islands.  We ended up about 25 miles off Funchal, on the way seeing another loggerhead turtle and a small pod of short-beaked common dolphins, before getting to our chumming spot.

We ended up spending about 3.5 hours or so chumming, with a lot of Bulwer's petrels (200+) coming in over the course of the afternoon.  We had one Pterodroma come in twice within a short space of time midway through the chumming session.  The bird seemed to be very similar to those we had seen yesterday, structurally, and had quite a marked white area on the primary coverts in the underwing, and a bit in the secondary coverts.  Based on seeing the bird in the field, and a brief look at the photos I think most were leaning towards another Zino's.  The fact we didn't see any other Pterodromas, despite being not far off the Desertas suggests the Deserta's petrels are not yet back, and this probably was another Zino's.

We had a small black and white storm-petrel come up the slick, and it took some time for the cogs to turn over in my brain as it just looked like a Wilson's...that's actually what it was (damn it, all the way to Maderia to see white-faced and Wilson's storm-petrels!).  It stuck around for quite some time, showing really well.  It had disappeared when another bird appeared, and unfortunately this one didn't stick around for long, but just long enough for it to be confidently identified as a Madeiran storm-petrel, thankfully!  However, I had an absolute shocker with the camera and all of the 6 or so images I took were wildly out of focus!

We had two Sabine's gulls fly past at a real distance, but a third came right in and spent 10 minutes or so flying over the slick and feeding on the chum, before it got too fat and happy and then just sat on the water.  This has been a real bogey bird for me, with distant views of only a couple of birds in the past (inc one on the Isles of Scilly), so it was great to get up close and personal and get some photos as well.  Stunning bird!

We had a few Cory's drifting in and out, still more Bulwer's petrels, but nothing else of note materialised.  However, for much of the afternoon the light was just gorgeous, so I'm looking forward to going through all of my images.  But here are just a few for the moment.  It's definitely time for bed!

Bulwer's petrel feeding over the chum slick

Cory's shearwater banking hard

Mr Wilson

Our Pterodroma for the day...probably a Zino's petrel

Bulwer's petrel feeding

Cory's shearwater

Beautiful Sabine's

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