Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Join us in Portugal in 2013

A unique opportunity is available for volunteers to join our storm petrel project in Portugal for 10 days during June 2013.
The birds...
Storm Petrels (or “stormies”) are tiny sparrow-sized seabirds that traverse the globe on their migrations, only rarely coming to land.
A storm petrel carrying an individually numbered ring. This bird was originally ringed in Scotland, and subsequently re-caught in Portugal.

A "stormie" at sea

The Research…
Since 1990 stormies have been the focus of one of A Rocha Portugal's long-running research projects, on the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. The project examines the links between climate, oceanography, marine food-webs and the diet and migration strategies of storm petrels. See the numerous other postings on this blog for further details of our research and to see photos of previous storm petrel teams in action
Members of the research team hard at work
The participants...
Each year, we welcome volunteers from all around the world and of all ages, to take part in this exciting and topical research project. Small teams of 6-8 volunteers stay for 10 days each, working alongside scientists from Cardiff University and A Rocha Portugal. No previous experience is necessary, just enthusiasm and a reasonable level of physical fitness; all necessary training is provided.

Manuela, a volunteer from Italy

The location...
You will be based at A Rocha Portugal’s Bird Observatory on the Algarve coast.

Stormies are captured at night at a beautiful and remote location near the western Cape. Sound recordings of the storm petrel's songs are used to lure the birds into mist nets, from which they are carefully extracted by trained bird ringers, then weighed measured and quickly released.

Good food, a warm welcome and impressive facial hair are the observatory’s specialities!

The project staff...
Gui Rethore, A Rocha biologist and coordinator of A Rocha's Ecoservices enterprise, providing exciting encounters with Portuguese wildlife throughout the year. One of Gui's many roles is to host the Storm petrel project teams and coordinate the bird ringing data collection.

Dr Renata Medeiros, post-doctoral researcher at Cardiff University (Wales, UK); storm petrel project coordinator.

Dr Rob Thomas, lecturer in Biosciences at Cardiff University

2013 dates
Team 1: June 3-12
Team 2: June 12-21
Team 3: June 21-30

2013 prices: £ 550 per person for 10 days Includes accommodation, good food and all research expenses
(travel to Portugal and travel insurance are not included).
A number of student/pensioner discounts may be available (details available on request: contact renata_jorge@hotmail.com )

Further information and BookingsTo find out more about joining the project in 2013, or to make a booking, please contact the project coordinator:
Dr Renata Medeiros, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, Wales, CF103AX, UK.
Email: renata_jorge@hotmail.com

We look forward to hosting you in Portugal in 2013, for the A Rocha storm petrel project's 24th year!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

2012 catches

The 2012 storm petrel season is underway, and off to a cracking start with 75 birds caught by team 1, including two previously ringed in the UK! Team 2 caught another 144 stormies, including two more UK-ringed birds and one Danish-ringed (presumably from the Faroe Islands). Team 3 caught 84 stormies, including 1 Spanish ringed, 2 more UK ringed and a night of 33 -the biggest single-night catch since 2009.

Team 1
June 5th-6th: 8 stormies, 1 UK-ringed control
June 7th-8th: 28 stormies
June 8th-9th: 13 stormies
June 10th-11th: 8 stormies, 1 UK ring
June 11th-12th: 18 stormies

Team 2
June 14-15th: 24 stormies, 1 UK ring
June 15-16th: 28 stormies, 1 Danish ring
June 16-17th: 19 stormies
June 18-19th: 27 stormies
June 19-20th: 26 stormies, 1 UK ring and a classic vomit sample containing 5 isopods!
June 20-21st: 20 stormies, and RAIN! The nets were shut for two periods before 4am, when catching had to end completely.

Team 3Team 3
June 23-24th: 18 stormies
June 24-25th: 18 stormies
June 25-26th: 11 stormies, 1 Spanish ring
June 27-28th: 17 stormies, Cory's shearwater over the nets!
June 28-29th: a fantastic 33 stormies, 1 UK ring PLUS, 1 Cory's shearwater!!!!!
June 29-30th: 5 stormies, 1 UK ring

Team 4 (for one night only!)
July 5-6th: 1 stormie
End of season barbecue!
Grand total for 2012: 322 stormies, 6 UK rings, 1 Danish ring, 1 Spanish ring, and a Cory's shearwater.

Hot news for this month is the acceptance for publication of Renata's latest PhD paper:
Renata Medeiros et al. Molecular evidence for gender differences in the migratory behaviour of a small seabird. PLoS One

...and another of our research group's papers is published this month:
Louise Soanes, Rob Thomas & Mark Bolton. 2012. Evaluation of field and analytical methods for estimating the population size of burrow-nesting seabirds from playback surveys. Bird Study, iFirst 2012 1-5.

First bird out of the net in 2012, wearing a British ring -what a start!