Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Join us in Portugal - Stormies 2014

The Stormies Project is a unique opportunity to have an exciting time as part of a research expedition looking into the impacts of climate change on the smallest (and cutest) Atlantic seabird - the European storm petrel (stormie for short).
Anyone can join, no previous experience needed and you are guaranteed to have an amazing time with the stormies, while enjoying the sun and the beautiful food in the south of Portugal.

Team 1: 26th May - 4th June
Team 2: 5th - 14th June
Team 3: 15th - 24th June
Team 4: 25th June - 4th July

Prices (include, insurance, accomodation and food for 9 nights / 10 days and all the expenses related to fieldwork - transport, equipment, etc): £550 / 640 €

Please contact for more details.

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 )

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.

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!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Catches

June 3rd-4th: 1 stormie
June 5th-6th: 4 stormies
June 6th-7th: 1 stormie
June 9th-10th: 1 stormie
June 10th-11th: 2 stormies
June 11th-12th: 0 stormies :(
June 13th-14th: 3 stormies
June 14th-15th: 0 stormies (where are they?!?)
June 17th-18th: 5 stormies :)
June 18th-19th: 20 stormies (They arrived! Glory!!)
June 19th-20th: 11 stormies
June 20th-21th: 5 stormies
June 21th-22th: 5 stormies
June 23th-24th: 10 stormies
June 25th-26th: 5 stormies
June 26th-27th: 14 stormies
June 27th-28th: 3 stormies
June 30th-July 1st: 2 stormies
July 4th-5th: 1 stormie

2011 Running total: 93 stormies (no controls for the season)

Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 Catches

May 23th-24th: 1 faulty battery, 1 very bright moon, 0 stormies, 6 sleeping petrellers and 8 Pastéis de Nata.
May 24th-25th: 1 bouncing bird, 3 very desperate ringers by the net whole night, 1 armed policeman and 8 warm Pastéis de Nata.
May 25th-26th: 0 stormies, 6 Pastéis de Nata.
May 26th-27th: night off
May 27th-28th: 0 stormies, 7 Pastéis de Nata with a good discount.
May 28th-29th: 2 stormies!!!!!!!! Nevermind the Pastéis de Nata.
May 29th-30th: 0 stormies, back to Pastéis de Nata
May 30th-31st: night off, goodbye Team 1
May 31st- June 1st: night off, welcome Team 2
June 1st-2nd: 0 stormies; 0 Pastéis de Nata!! getting worse...
June 2nd-3rd: 2 stormies :))))
June 3rd-4th: 1 stormie, a retrap from 5th June 2009, weighing the same (26g)
June 4th-5th: 0 stormies! Ze wins the mars bar - again! 8 creamy doughnuts (later re-identified as custard by Abi Gordon, doughnut conniseur).
June 5th-6th: 0 stormies again -what is going on???
June 6th-7th: night off -boat trip tomorrow -maybe we'll find some stormies further offshore....
June 7th boat trip: 8+ common dolphins, 7+ stormies 6miles and 9 miles S of Lagos
June 7th-8th: 0 stormies, but a couple of birds very briefly over the net. We are taking solace in Odiaxere bakery products which are consoling us about Renata's depature as well...
June 8th-9th: End of team 2 party!
June 9th-10th: Night off, welcome team 3
June 10th-11th: 1 stormie, Cory's shearwater overhead. A bag of custard doughnuts and pasteis de nata was briefly sighted at dawn.
June 11th-12th: 4 stormies -Happy Days!!!
June 12th-13th: 5 stormies + 1 police-boat encounter
June 13th-14th: 0 stormies again, though 1 bounced at 3am.
June 14th: boat trip, 2.5 miles S of Lagos: 8+ stormies coming for mackerel amazingly close to the boat, including 1 ringed bird.
June 14th-15th: 2 stormies ringed, 2 seen off Ponta da Almadena at dusk.
June 15th-16th: 6 stormies, including 1 ringed in the UK
June 16th-17th: 5 stormies, including 1 uk ring
June 17th: End of team 3 -party!

June 27-28th: 22 stormies, including 1 UK ring & 1 Spanish ring

Hurrah for team 4!!!!

June 28-29th: 10 stormies

Running year total: 60 stormies in 21 nights of fieldwork.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2009 catches

May 24th-25th: 47 stormies, 3 carrying Spanish rings, 1 UK ring + 1 CORY'S SHEARWATER!!!
May 25th-26th: 24 stormies, 1 UK ring
May 26th-27th: 20 stormies, 1 Spanish ring
May 27th-28th: night off
May 28th-29th: 0 stormies (but amazing waves!)
May 29th-30th: 35 stormies, 2 UK rings
May 30th-31th: 21 stormies, 1 Norwegian ring
May 31th-June 1st: night off (Goodbye Team 1)
June 1st-2nd: night off (Welcome Team 2)
June 2nd-3rd: 2 stormies
June 3nd-4rd: 7 stormies
June 4th-5th: 3 stormies
June 5th-6th: 10 stormies
June 6th-7th: 11 stormies, 1 Spanish retrap from May 24th,
PLUS our 5,000th stormie!!!
June 7th-8th: 8 stormies
June 8th-9th: 24 stormies
June 9th-10th: night off (Goodbye Team 2)
June 10th-11th: night off (Welcome Team 3)
June 11th-12th: 8 stormies
June 12th-13th: 25 stormies, including 1 retrap from last night
June 13th-14th: 31 stormies, 1 UK ring
June 14th-15th: 59 stormies, 2 UK rings
June 15th-16th: zero stormies -perplexing!!!
June 16th-17th: 28 stormies
June 17th-18th: Night off (various island and isopod - related activities)
June 18th-19th: 7 stormies
June 19th-20th: End of season party!!!

2009 Running total: 370 stormies (4 Spanish, 7 UK, 1 Norwegian, 1 Portuguese retrap) + 1 Cory's shearwater
All-time running total: 5,198 stormies

On nights in green, the Secret Weapon (dimethyl sulphide) was used as a scent lure.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Storm Petrellers 2009 -Team 3

Team 3 at the Cape

Swimming near the Cape

A megalithic monument moment!

Walking home at dawn
Note to Rebecca's mum; we are feeding her well!
One bakery customer preferred to remain anonymous
Team 3 night off; all ready for the big night out in Alvor!