'Seabirds and marine mammals off SW Galicia, all year-round. Didactic, exciting experience at the best value!'

Monday, July 27, 2015

18/07/2015: the Greater Black-backed Gull of the 'ria'.

As usual, we left the harbour of O Grove at 8:00 a.m., while we took some coffee and muffins.

As we 'bent' the mole, the first Mediterranean Gull popped up and, further on, some Bottlenosed Dolphins were seen jumping off the water. The sea was calm, and we forecasted a good birdwatching day.

In the distance, still inside the 'ría', we saw a 'jewel' resting in a mussel raft: a Galician-ringed Great Black-backed Gull, born in the 'ría' de Arousa. On its right tarsus wore a green ring with white digits ZCJM. It was ringed as a chick on 3rd July 2013 in the tiny islet of Guidoiro Pedregoso, being one of the few Great Black-backed Gulls being ringed in the Iberian Peninsula ever.

A nest of Yellow-legged Gull with two eggs was found in the folded ropes of a mussel raft.

In addition to these birds we observe European Shag, Northern Gannet and the first Balearic Shearwater.

Further on, off Sálvora island Northern Gannets (90% of them immatures), Cory's, Great and Sooty Shearwaters, Great, Pomarine and Arctic Skuas, Common Terns and Dunlins in migration were spotted. A Sunfish was also noted.

Very quickly, the trip turned uncomfortable due to rough sea and prevented us to go further offshore; we had to sail towards Sagres archipelago, where big rafts of European Shags were observed along with feeding Balearic Shearwater, plus Sandwich Terns, many Yellow-legged Gulls at their nests, more Great Black-backed Gulls, more Bottlenosed Dolphins and Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls.

The Atlantic and their birds never disappoint us!

Here below is the detailed list of species, with highlights in bold and approximate numbers in italics:

And some pictures of the trip, all of them (c) J. L. F. Carnero.

18/07/2015 (SW Galicia) (c) Xosé Luis Fernández Carnero.
 Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), 18/07/2015 (SW Galicia) (c) Xosé Luis Fernández Carnero.
Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), 18/07/2015 (SW Galicia) (c) Xosé Luis Fernández Carnero.
Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea borealis), 18/07/2015 (SW Galicia) (c) Xosé Luis Fernández Carnero.

 Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus), 18/07/2015 (SW Galicia) (c) Xosé Luis Fernández Carnero.