Monday, January 28, 2013

The LIFE project had its official end in December, but SPEA's team remain active and Corvo Island is still one of our priorities! Meanwhile you can help keeping the results achieved with this project and other SPEA projects visiting the following site and sharing this campaign! Today the the Azores Bullfinch, tomorrow Corvo!

Did you know that in Portugal you can find one of the rarest birds of Europe? And that it is rare because in recent years it has been losing its habitat due to the action of Man?

In recent years SPEA has been struggling against the extinction of Azores Bullfinch, restoring their habitat. However this project will end and the survival of Azores Bullfinch is in risk again.

If you don’t want the Azores Bullfinch to become "Critically Endangered" again, please contribute to this cause. Any help is precious. If you can not contribute, please resend this email or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The Azores Bullfinch thanks you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

SOS Cory´s Shearwater 2012

And there they are again!
Last week we started the patrols through Corvo Village to rescue Cory's shearwater, Calonectris diomedea borealis, chicks which get lost because of the lights in the village. Once again the children have been our biggest support with their dedication and motivation. We appreciate as well the help of some teachers in the patrols and also to the local people who participate in the rescues and, of course, the support of Corvo Natural Park.

So remember "Save a Cory's shearwater, make a friend".

Friday, October 19, 2012

Translocation for Conservation

Directly from the smallest island of the Azores, we are into the 16th day of the translocation of Cory`s shearwater Calonectris diomedea borealis chicks, at Corvo Biological Reserve which is protected by a pest-proof fence. This is an innovate technique done for the first time with seabirds in Portugal, and so far everything is going sucessfully - all chicks are monitored daily, and are perfectly healthy.

We are pleased to announce that one of the chicks has already fledged, and is probably following her path in the ocean, south until Brazilian and south African waters. So we just have to wait and hope that in six to eight years she, the others and the next generations will return to breed at the "Cory`s Hotel" in our reserve, which will help in their conservation.

And that is all this week from the smallest.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Migratory visitor

And because this project is not all about seabirds and every bird is important, here we have an image of a wheater, Oenanthe oenanthe which is not very commom over here but is passing by around this time of year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Return to Corvo!

Hello! My name is Rosemary Sigger and I have returned to Corvo this week after completing my internship here over the summer. I am excited to be working with SPEA again, this time as an RSPB intern, on their translocation programme for Cory’s shearwater chicks.

The objective of the project is to investigate whether rearing the chicks in artificial nests will encourage them to return to breed there in the future. The chicks will be hand-fed every day until they fledge from the nests, which are found in Corvo’s Biological Reserve.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Perfect Island with an even more perfect Environment!

This is the slogan for the news of this week. Corvo now joins the remaining Biosphere Reserves, Flores and Graciosa, at the forefront of processing waste. On 25th September the Regional Secretary for the Environment and the Sea Prof. Álamo Meneses inaugurated the Waste Processing Centre on the Island of Corvo, and finally closed the waste disposal point, which stained the beauty of this island and attracted rats, cats and seagulls, which are a problem for seabirds. 

The following day, the LIFECorvo Project, the Natural Park and the City Council of Corvo united their distribution efforts of 150 recycle bins  by Corvo houses. Now it is up to these people to follow the slogan for a cleaner environment.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vila Franca Islet in the European Conference of Biological Invasion

From the 11th to 15th of September was held in Pontevedra (Spain), the European Conference of Biological Invasion.
The LIFE project "Safe Islands for Seabirds" was there and contributed with an oral communication showing the results on Vila Franca do Campo Islet. The project was well received by the european experts community.

Soon we will be in Geocamp Meeting, in Campo Maior, to present the importance of Geographic Information Systems for the protection of Seabirds.
Photo: Marta Corrreia

Friday, September 14, 2012

Looking for a geolocator

Once again the team had the opportunity to help our fellow researchers of seabirds, Maria Magalhães and Cristina Perry Nava, from the Oceanographic and Fisheries Department (DOP) to collect geolocators who were placed in some cory`s shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea borealis) from 2 colonies of Corvo island. The data will allow us to obtain information about wintering and feeding areas and about their migration. This information is very useful to understanding the ecology and biology of this species and other seabirds and essential to their conservation.

  Thank you for the visit and to the 7 cory`s who brought the geolocators back.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Another visit to IVFC

This week the team had once again the opportunity to visit and monitor fieldwork in the islet of Vila Franca do Campo (IVFC). However, since the summer struggles to appear over here the results were not the best, leaving us with the usual and totally wet , note that the endemic vegetation (heather and fire trees) grow easly, download the data of Automatic Recording Units (ARUs), ring some cory`s shearwater to the islet population census and trying to listen the calls of seabirds to end the evening.

Back to Corvo and to the "different summer" plaguing the archipelago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SOS Manx shearwater 2012

One more year...and once again manx shearwater juveniles start to abandon their nest and to appear in Vila do Corvo. We appreciate the precious help of people who have rescued these birds, which in Azores, only breed in the Western group.
So, I say goodbye with the feeling of having started the day well and with good wishes to those who course the unknown ocean for the first time.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mapping - the last days

These last days of summer and good weather we are trying to complete the alien vegetation map of Corvo Island. With the help of Beatriz and Rosemary we were able to map around 60% of th island total area. They finish the volunteer program but the work goes on.
The preliminary data show the Great leaf Hydrangea has the most abundant specie that occur in higher altitude of Corvo.
The image below is possible to see:
- in black the distribution of Big Leaf Hydrangea
- in red the distribution of Tamarisk
- in blue the distribution of the Australian Cheesewood

Soon we will update this information and publish online.
We appreciate all the help given by the volunteers.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hello, we would like to share two photos with you.

Because it is at this time of year when Cagarros are born, the first photo is of a newborn chick in the nest.

 The second photo is of another chick of the same age but this one had more bad luck than the first. It was killed by a cat, which threw it out of the nest eating only a small part of its body.

Unfortunately, the number of cats on the island of Corvo continues to grow, since the owners still have no option to sterilize their cats.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Endemics plants

Bom dia!
This very last weekend we (the new volunteers!) had the great opportunity to travel to Pico Island and to reach the highest summit in Portugal. Pico is located in the Central Group of the Archipelago, and its peak is 2351 m high! We managed to walk all the way to the top experiencing all kind of weather conditions: fog, cloud, rain and, luckily, when reaching the top crater and the Piquinho we could enjoy a clear blue sky and sun all around .

 We took this chance to compare the vegetation between islands and we were surprised by the abundance and diversity of endemic plants that are spread over Pico. Plenty of Azorean Heather, Azorean Cedar, Azorean Holy tree, Azorean´s not what we are used to seeing in Corvo!While here (Corvo Island) the endemic species are reduced to small patches (some of them unreacheable up in the Caldeirão), in Pico they make up the main characteristics of the landscape. We learnt about a few more species such as Daboecia azorica and Calluna vulgaris, not present here in Corvo. All together they make a beautiful mix, as one day in the past they did everywhere in the Azores.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mapping trough the island

Four weeks have passed and the team continue to map the exotic vegetation existing on Corvo island. The mornings pass between maps, pens and binoculars on the hands, good physical shape and a dose of good humour. During the afternoon the job is to transfer the maps onto the computer. 

Creating the maps allows us to visit places that we already miss and enjoy the good weather which has finally decided to show up on the island. And it was during the mapping of an area close to the Biological Altitude Reserve where we observed the heathers (Erica azorica) and Azorean endemic shrub (Viburnum treleasei) which we planted a few months ago. And fortunately the latter is growing fast and is totally adapted to the moss.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Most wanted Rodents at RBC?

Once again I am writing to tell you about our search  for rodents in Corvo`s Biological Reserve. So far this has only led to the capture of one "victim" of black rat Rattus rattus, which was a long time ago. This week, in addition to the usual monitoring of the bait boxes, we are trying to capture some rodents. If there are any rodents in RBC, watch your back because the team is watching you.

See you next week!

Common tern, boy or a girl?

Last week, we went down into the wonderful lagoon of Caldeirão, and by instinct or not we followed a different route than usual to reach the common tern's (Sterna hirundo) colony. By coincidence or not, we found one of these friends injured above a rock, close to the water.

So, after finishing the tern census, we brought him to recover at the Bird's Recovery Center in the village. It was on Pedro Domingo's watch that we dicovered that the boy was in fact a girl, after an egg appeared!
The female tern is at the Center with a great appetite and feeding by herself, and will stay there until she has made a full recovery - which we hope will happen very soon.
So we wish her a fast recovery.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LIFE human flag at Corvo

Like we promised, here we have the link video of the Human flag that was made on Corvo, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of LIFE program which has been contributing to the management and conservation of Nature. I hope that you like and enjoy the magnificent view of Caldeirão lagoon and above all have fun with it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A look over IVFC

Today I am writing directly from Vila Franca do Campo islet, LIFECorvo "control" base, which I had the opportunity to visit for the first time. A place where the team have been developing field work, where heathers and firetrees occupy space between giant reeds and where the Cory`s shearwater call invades the night and continue until the dawn.

So, I say goodbye with the hope that the effort and will of those who are contributing to the restoration of the Reserve, will help conserve the place that some seabirds call "nursery".

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One day to "Feel the Spirit"

At the end of the school year, there is nothing better than contribute to a cleaner environment. An iniciative of the Natural Park of Corvo Island and the Science Club who spent the afternoon cleaning the Coast trail.

Can you see the difference? Do you feel the spirit?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Veronica dabneyi in bloom

New Volunteers

Hello everyone!!

We are Rosemary and Beatriz and we just arrived in little beautiful Corvo last week. Rosemary is from England and I am from Spain. We are here to develop our field experience in environmental science and management, which we studied at univeristy.We came as here as part of Ecotrain programme, financed by Leonardo Da Vinci from European Comission.

We are staying here for nine weeks helping the team of SPEA. We will be mapping the invasive plant species around the island using GIS and satellite photos, and wandering around surveying the vegetation and enjoying the amazing sourrounding views.

During the last week we´ve been learning already how to identify the plant species. We were helping as well programming and setting the ARUs that capture the calls of the Cory´s Shearwater breeding colonies. We were lucky to see a Cory sat on its nest inside a stony wall near the cliffs! And we also found one sitting on the path near the beach while setting the mammal traps at midnight.

We also have participated with the local children on a litter pick on the beach. It was very hot and sunny and we almost got burnt as we forgot to use any sun cream!! But it was all worth the effort, as the beach looked so much better. Afterwards, we went for a well earned coffee and a pastel de nata!!! This is an amazing Portuguese cake and had been made just a few minutes ago at the café.

This week we are hoping the fog will clear so we can start our project work mapping the plants, and keep enjoying such beautiful scenery!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First Little sherwater of the year

Once again, the team had the opportunity to release a juvenile of little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis), which was found by a corvino. To all the corvinos which have been part in the release of juveniles, Thank you Very Much.

Have a nice trip, friend!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Corvo Human Flag in Caldeirão

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the LIFE Program and the Natura 2000 Network, SPEA has organized a human flag in the Island of Corvo.
This initiative involved 20 Corvo inhabitants and had the support of the local school and the Natural Park of Corvo.
In this Natura 2000 site, one of the most beautiful landscapes from Corvo, the participants draw a LIFE logo 20m across that turned into the number 20, to celebrate this special date and enhance the importance of these two Nature Conservation tools.
Our thanks to all involved and we are working on the film that we intend to release soon!