Terra Azul recent expedition in the Ocean looking for our flying friends was a great trip and we managed to find many Bulwer’s Petrels (Bulweria bulwerii) and, of course, Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) and Common Terns (Sterna hirundo). Bulwer’s Petrels are known as “Almas Negras” in Portuguese, which means “Black Souls”, and if you meet one at sea, you will definitely agree with this name as you watch their elegant flight above the waves! Have a look to the picture above captured by our guest Glenn Welch during the trip, not an easy job as these birds can easily reach flight speeds above the 30 knots!
Bulwer’s Petrels are not a common sight close to the coast of São Miguel Island and summertime is the best time of the year to spot them. That is, the only confirmed colony nearby gathers to breed in Summer in the Ilhéu da Vila of Santa Maria Island, around hundred kilometres South of Vila Franca do Campo, and we had to travel around 10 miles from our shores to find them. The colony consists of around 50 breeding pairs. Similarly to other sea birds of the Procellariidae family, their nests are burrows where they return at night and their calls are very peculiar. Listen yourself to this recording from James Bradley: The “barking dog” sound is the call of Bulwer’s Petrels, while in the background you can hear Cory’s Shearewaters!
To the next birdwatching expedition, and remember to check Terra Azul eBird account if you wish to have a look at our sightings! 😉