Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cory's shearwater peaked at posture a few days ago!

The same six Cory's shearwater colonies monitored last year by Ana Henriques, whose results are ready to be discussed on her Master thesis, began to be visited this year after Cory´s arrival in mid-March. 99% of the occupied nests last year were also occupied this year.

In Corvo, peak egg laying occurred on June 11 while last year it was on June 4. A week of difference compared to last year. Weather conditions could be the main cause, as we have seen in other places. However, it is too early to have concrete data on how it will be the breeding success of Shearwater this year.

It seems that some couples have trouble finding a hole to nest as you can see from the picture.

A few days after the peak of egg, some depredations have been detected.

We will keep the blog up-to-date on the current breeding season of Corvo Cory's!

A sound recorder arrives at the project!!

At the end of last week, we put on a cliff an automatic sound recorder for the birds in the Corvo island. The recorder was placed on the cliff near the Pingas area, which tends to listen Estapagados frequently.

This method can show what kind of seabirds use that area, and by comparison with the vocal activity recorded in other more accesible colonies, it can help to determine the size of the colonies in Corvo. If this method gives satisfactory results, in the future can be used recorders like this for the detection and quantification of the seabirds colonies.

Radar continued...

As you observed the June 8, the effect of radar exceeded all our expectations, so here are more pictures of this action on the blog.

These are images that me and Pedro, the project coordinator, saw in the monitors. They collected the amount of cagarros who were in the areas covered by the radar. The yellow dots mark the number of birds, and the blue dots the speed of flying.

The radar was placed at different locations into the island. On land we choose points on the cliffs, to capture better the nocturnal movement entering and leaving the nests, to understand the possible differences in habits. Finally, we put the radar on a boat sailing around the island, and we get better and more accurate measurement of cagarros residing in Corvo island.

The result was an entire success, the radar technicians and Pedro Geraldes were satisfied with the hard work at night.

The location of birds, plus the complexity of them, brings to
these events a very important step. We must consider that it is the first time that is performed this type of seabirds monitoring in Portugal.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Seabirds detected with radar!

National and International experts visit Corvo Island to test innovative systems for monitoring of seabird behaviour

This week a group of specialists is in Corvo island to test innovative techniques to detect seabirds using radar systems.

The study of seabirds has many technical difficulties to researchers, which are often difficult to overcome. Its nocturnal behaviour, together with the breeding habit of building their nests in burrows in the ground, often in inaccessible cliffs, makes it impossible to determine the size of some populations.

SPEA teamed up with Portuguese and foreign experts, to use radar detection techniques to study these birds for the first time in Portugal. The detection and study of birds using radar had been used for monitoring of wind farms and in studies of the New Lisbon Airport, although the detection of flying seabirds, due to their habits and places of occurrence, present other challenges and increased difficulties for their study. "For the first time we may know how many birds use the cliffs, which areas they prefer and whether it is possible to ID different species at long distances and without actually seeing the birds." says Pedro Geraldes, the project manager.

The results will determine the future operations of the project and might be an important milestone that opens new doors to the study of such birds in the archipelago."If we get good results with the use of radar, new possibilities for the study of seabirds in the Azores and elsewhere in the Atlantic will open up and will allow us to know details of the life of these birds that until now were impossible to determine" affirms Pedro Geraldes.