Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News from the 2008 field season

May 26th-27th: A wet first night by all accounts, but Renata and Jaime report 28 birds caught -a great start to the season!

A small flock of stormies ready for take-off

May 27th-28th: More rain, but another 20 birds. A Norwegian ringed bird was the highlight.

May 28th-29th: Rob's first night on the cliffs (having just finished all his exam marking). 58 birds caught -a remarkable catch for this stage in the season, perhaps due to the trial run of our "secret weapon" - more news on this to follow...

Renata releasing the 100th bird of the year

May 29th-30th: a Fishermens' strike meant no boats offshore, but still 23 stormies caught.

Jaime & Gui ringing stormies in front of this year's deluxe accommodation. Note the Jo Lello Memorial Picnic Blanket.

May 30th-31st: The fishermens' strike continues, but the Secret Weapon was deployed and 33 stormies were caught. Highlights on another soggy night were a Spanish-ringed bird, and some dramatic lightning flashes over the sea. Thanks to Jaime, who departs today (after eating record amounts of strawberry jam), for his hard work and enthusiasm.

May 31st-June 1st: Another 34 stormies, bringing the total to 196 birds in just 6 nights. Volunteer reinforcements arriving this afternoon :)

June 1st-2nd: Our new volunteers have arrived! Left to Right: Ida, Jenny, Lucy, Ingrid, Esther & Vanessa. A night off from the cliffs was much appreciated by Rob & Renata.

At the Cape

June 2nd-3rd: Fewer birds around tonight -a British ringed bird was a highlight. The fishermens' strike continues so no boats inshore to bring us stormies.

June 3rd-4th: Even fewer birds on a breezy night -we all got a bit of sleep. A Cory's shearwater was heard calling to our storm petrel tape in the darkness.

Continuing the tradition of eating enormous meals at Cruzinha

June 4th-5th: A cool night in the sea breeze, but the fishing boats were back and 30 stormies were caught, including a UK-ringed bird. Other highlights included Gui's candlelit birthday celebration on the cliffs at midnight, at which he was presented with his own sponsored storm petrel. Lowlights included someone sitting on a teabag.

Gui with his sponsored stormie: http://www.justgiving.com/sponsor_a_stormie_2

June 5th-6th: Local bird ringers Leila and Anna joined us for another productive night with 28 stormies caught and several others bouncing out of the nets. Another Cory's shearwater was heard and highlights included a French ringed bird and the re-filming of the Blair Witch Project using the infra-red video camera.

June 6th-7th: A strange night, which got off to a bad start for Rob when a stray dog ran off with his sardine sandwiches! With the Cardiff students on their Big Night Out in Portimao, we were a joined on the cliff by Sara Roda -a long time friend of the project -and Bebe and her foster daughter Diana. Once darkness fell and in perfect conditions, we got off to a busy start with 11 birds in the first hour, but then the rate fell and we finished on 32 birds including 1 from the UK. Other highlights included a mole cricket that flew into the net at dusk, and a lot of sleep for Rob and Tim later in the night.

The mole cricket.

June 7th: Daytime boat trip -Mike Whale!

European storm petrel & Cory's shearwater, by Renata

Yes its a whale, its just not a good photo -Ida, can you send me a bt=etter one?

June 7th-8th: Last night on the cliff for the Cardiff students, some of whom got straight onto the train at 6am! 30 stormies and no sardine sandwich problems -a good night!

Esther with storm petrel

June 8th-9th: We are all exausted -a much needed night off :) Our new vols have arrived; Rosie, John, Melissa, Sarah and Ricardo. We spent the evening hatching plans for tomorrow's voyages of discovery...

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