Friday 19 April 2013

Birding on Boa Vista, Cape Verde - part 3 - seabirds

This post is my final post on a birding trip to Boa Vista, Cape Verde in March.  This post concentrates on seabirds, which was my main area of interest on this trip.  The archipelago in general is extensive and to get to all parts in a two week period is difficult, so I had to give the north-west part a miss.  This was a bit of a shame as the largest seabird concentrations are in this corner.  That said, I managed to get out on a whale watching trip(65 Euros) and also as an observer on a deep sea fishing safari (60 Euros) to catch Wahoo and Tuna.  The latter trip lasted six hours and travelled 20 miles out - perfect.

The highlight was two White-faced Storm Petrels.  This charismatic species breeds fairly close nearby on an islet called Ilheu dos Passaros in the north east of Boa Vista.  However they only arrive on the islet at nighttime and are difficult to see in the day.  As you can imagine I was delighted to see this bird but disappointed that no photo's were taken.  I also saw several Cape Verde Petrel and two Red-billed Tropicbirds.

The commonest species was Brown Booby and they can be seen at close quarters along the surf of the beach as they dive at a low angle to catch fish, hence several photos are shown below.  The species breeds on the small offshore island of Currel Velho, about two kms east of the hotel.  There are about 100 pairs breeding here.  It was here that I saw what I originally thought was a Masked Booby though I am now pretty sure this is a young Brown Booby.  Comments are welcome on this.

In  addition to the common Brown Booby's, I also saw in total about ten Red-billed Tropicbird and a female Magnificent Frigatebird patrolling over Currel Velho.  The male was apparently sitting on the nest.  This pair is now the only two resident birds in the Western Palearctic.  Two females have not definitly been seen together for a many months (per Pedro, local birder) so it seems this pair will soon become extinct here.

About a km off the hotel beach, I was also very lucky to see a mother Humpback Whale and calf leaping out of the sea.  The image below is not the best but it does show the adult jumping and the splash to the left is the other one already going under.

Female Magnificent Frigatebird, with juv Brown Booby (sixth from left) and adult Brown Booby's

Presumed juv Brown Booby (centre)

Pair of adult Brown Booby

Adult Brown Booby at dusk

Pair of juv Brown Booby - the line is tangled fishing gut caught round its leg.

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1 comment:

  1. Great pictures Steve. Yet another place to add to our list of places to go. Sue