One more of the small Islands of the Azores to visit. This time Graciosa. Small place with just a few thousand inhabitants and very few tourists. Here the Monteiros Storm-petrel nest and we had booked a pelagic trip with Calypso Azores. The place to visit is called Bank of Fortune and is situated at least an hour off shore. On the way out we enjoyed the massive amount of Cory’s Shearwater. They gather in rafts, floating.
On the way out to the Bank we also see a few Bulwer’s Petrel. A lifer for all of us.
Once out on the Bank, the Crew spilled about a liter of shark-liver oil into the water. The oil has a very strong smell and it almost instantaneously started to attract Storm-petrels.
The Monteiro’s Storm-petrel nest on the Islets outside of Graciosa. It’s a summer breeder. The id of these birds is difficult (to say the least) . Alternative birds are Grant’s Storm-petrel which is a winter breeder. The Grant’s should arrive to Graciosa now, or maybe soon. Yet another alternative is Madeiran Storm-petrel. They exist on the Azores, there are sound recordings of Madeiran from the colony of Monteiro’s. We believe the birds above are Monteiro’s though. A good id article can be found on Birding Frontiers.
On the way back, we enjoyed the Cory’s again, as well as quite a few Bulwer’s Petrels. We saw thousands of Cory’s, maybe 15 Bulwer’s and 3 Great Shearwater. Inside a raft of Cory’s we found a lone Manx Shearwater.
The bird we were hoping for didn’t show up though. The Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel has been seen off Graciosa this time of the year in recent years.
We returned to the port of Praia later in the evening, and got good scopes views of a pair of Sooty Terns nesting on the Islet.
Next day, we had planned for yet another pelagic, it got cancelled due to bad weather. And today, when I write this the weather is even worse. Thus, of three days on Graciosa, two were spoiled due to weather. Thus, most probably Swinhoe’s Storm-petrel is a lost bird for us on the Big Year. This makes it the third bird which is definitely lost, the other two being Goliath Heron and African Skimmer from Egypt.