Pelagic birding in Tarifa – Birding the Strait

Final Saturday twelfth of June we run a brand new tour for pelagic birding in Tarifa. This time, our foremost goal was to look at and {photograph} shearwaters off the Strait of Gibraltar. At 7:30 AM we set sail from the port of Tarifa with very calm sea. Simply 10 minutes later we got here throughout a big raft of Cory’s Shearwater. A number of Balearic Shearwaters have been current too. To the delight of the group, the presence of each species was fixed for the following hour and a half.

Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters off Tarifa.
Blended group of Cory’s and Balearic Shearwaters. Strait of Gibraltar. twelfth of June 2021.

A lot of the shearwaters have been gathering in compact rafts, some totalling over 100 birds. Others foraged round us searching for meals. Some landed so near our boat that it was troublesome to {photograph} them!

Cory's Shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait.
Shut encounter with a Cory’s Shearwater off Tarifa. twelfth of June 2021.
Cory's Shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait
The overwhelming majority of the Cory’s Shearwaters we noticed have been “diomedea” just like the one on this picture, however we have been additionally capable of finding a number of “borealis”. Each taxa breed within the Mediterranean, the previous being probably the most quite a few. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.

The decision of the Shearwaters

To boost the expertise, we switched off the engine and remained silent near the birds. This fashion, we may completely hear the attribute name of the Cory’s Shearwater.

Cory's Shearwaters in the Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait.
Observing the shearwaters work together and listening to their calls have been two of the best moments of this tour. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.
Cory's Shearwaters in the Strait of Gibraltar, 12th of June 2021.
Cory’s Shearwaters within the Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.

It needs to be famous that shearwaters, like most tubenoses, are silent offshore. Just for just a few weeks a yr, within the breeding interval, can they be heard. As well as, this normally occurs at night time and within the neighborhood of their burrows. For that reason, we knew we have been having fun with an uncommon and privileged expertise.

Cory's Shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Cory’s Shearwater taking off. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.

From Chafarinas and Alboran

According to current knowledge, a lot of the shearwaters that feed within the Strait belong to the breeding colonies of Chafarinas. Nevertheless, birds from all of the colonies within the Alboran Sea go to the area. Within the weeks previous to laying, the females perform the pre-laying exodus. I doing so, they go to wealthy areas to feed and acquire weight to face the breeding interval. In reality, we have been roughly within the date on which the egg laying takes place, typically synchronized with the brand new moon.

Cory's shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Cory’s shearwater in flight at very shut vary. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.

Sooty Shearwater and Bottlenose Dolphins

Instantly, an sudden Sooty Shearwater appeared from nowhere. It was completely seen with the bare eye. Fortunately, it made two passes earlier than disappearing into the Mediterranean.

Sooty Shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar.
The wonderful statement of this Sooty Shearwater was an sudden and really nice shock. The few information that happen within the strait are typically notably later within the yr. This species breeds round New Zealand, the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.
A special view of the abovementioned shearwater.

This can be a species that we recurrently discover, in very low numbers, in our pelagic excursions off the Gulf of Cádiz. In flip, information within the Strait and, particularly, within the Mediterranean are notably uncommon.

Shortly after, a gaggle of Bottlenose Dolphins approached our boat. We had a good time watching them soar and fish alongside the shearwaters.

Pilot Whales

Extremely glad with the present thus far, we determined to maneuver additional south. We explored the central space of the strait, midway between Europe and Africa. As anticipated, the presence of shearwaters right here decreased significantly. Nevertheless, we have been fortunate to discover a group of about ten Pilot Whales. They have been peacefully resting on the floor. Once more, we stopped the engine to benefit from the scene. Little question, listening to the respiration of cetaceans is a calming and fantastic expertise. For larger satisfaction, an inquisitive pilot whales got here straight to look at us, standing lower than a meter from our boat!

Pilot Whale in the Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait.
This Pilot Whale or Pilot Whale, a species that lives within the space, got here to greet us whereas we remained observing his group with the engine of our boat stopped.

The primary Wilson’s of the season

Across the similar time a Wilson’s Storm Petrel confirmed up! The Wilson is likely one of the most sought-after species in our pelagic birding journeys in Tarifa and the Gulf of Cadiz. As well as, it’s a species for which now we have predilection since we saw it feeding with orcas in the Strait back in 2011.

Wilson's Storm Petrel in te Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait.
File shot of the Wilson’s Storm Petrel we noticed. That is the primary file of the species this season for the Strait of Gibraltar. We hope it bodes nicely for our pelagic excursions this summer time within the Gulf of Cadiz.

Balearic and Mediterranean? Shearwaters

On the best way again to Tarifa, we discovered an excellent focus of Cory’s Shearwaters once more. As well as, we got here throughout a number of teams of Balearic Shearwater in lively migration in the direction of the Atlantic.

Balearic Shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar. Birding The Strait.
Balearic Shearwater in lively migration throughout the Strait of Gibraltar. Presently of yr, a lot of the inhabitants of this critically endangered species leaves the Mediterranean in the direction of the Atlantic as soon as the reproductive interval is over.
Among the many shearwaters of the genus Puffinus we have been capable of {photograph}, together with the one within the picture, two confirmed Mediterranean Shearwater options. Nevertheless, the identification of this species out-of-range is controversial because of the existence of birds with blended phenotypes resembling these of the Menorca inhabitants. For that reason, we favor to go away the identification of those birds open as Balearic / Mediterranean Shearwater. {Photograph} obtained by Guillermo Rodríguez within the Strait throughout this tour.

At 11:40 AM we returned to the port of Tarifa. Extremely glad, we celebrated the expertise by having a drink and toasting the following tour.

Pelagic Birding in Tarifa.
Full observe of our tour for pelagic birding in Tarifa. twelfth of june 2021.

Subsequent Pelagic tour in Tarifa and the Gulf of Cadiz

Along with pelagic birding in Tarifa, this summer time now we have 5 scheduled boat journeys within the Gulf of Cadiz. In this link to our website, you could find extra data. Don’t hesitate to contact us in the event you want any additional particulars.

Cory's shearwater in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Cory’s shearwater up shut and private. Strait of Gibraltar, twelfth of June 2021.

See you on board!

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