Thursday, 8 March 2012


Deathly quiet on the bird front with a nasty spell of weather on the way and cold northerlies seemingly holding up the migrants along the north African coastline. Just 4 birds noted over the past 48 hours- a white wagtail, a black redstart, a chiffchaff and today a solitary swallow. We took advantage of the 'calm before the storm' today and bunkered at sea. Always a tricky operation with the tanker/support vessel just 150 metres ahead of us. All went smoothly and we loaded just under 700 metric tonnes of fuel which should give us much needed stability over the weekends' anticipated blow. The seabirds have dissipated too, with just a handful of yellow-legged gulls and several Cory's shearwaters recorded. Although I cannot offer any scientific 'proof' I have noticed over the years that seabirds often appear restless and then 'disappear' just prior to a storm! Strange how scanning the ocean for long hours with little seabird and cetacean activity makes me more tired than if I was doing full- on counts!   

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