At the beggining of the afternoon of the 21st December the wind was moderately blowing from SW, as a result of a low barometric pressure that was moving towards the Bay of Biscay. When the low pressure hit the Finisterra area, there was a good weather corridor formed between the Portuguese coast and a cold-front. Looking at the weather chart, sitting at my computer, this looked promissing for some seabird movement, forced to move south by the low pressure. Before driving to Peniche, I texted Pedro Ramalho, and we arranged to meet at the usual spot, and share one car.
When we arrived to Cape Carvoeiro (Peniche), we noticed right away some regular Gannet movement, and soon after, the first flock of Black-legged kittiwakes.
With my eye glued to the scope, I noticed this pale shearwater type bird, flying just short form mid-distance. In December a bird with this jizz really stands out, due to the lack of Cory´s shearwaters! Fulmar just came to mind right away: the white underparts, grey upper body and an obvious pale head, were a giveaway. I shouted this bird to Pedro, he picked it up right away, and I jumped into the challeging task of trying to make any kind of media record. Below you can see my poor results of the Fulmar entering the field of view from the low right corner and going out the left corner of the image.
After this distraction we continued our task of tally Kittiwakes, and after one hour we finished with a total of 333! Other highlights included a flock of 6 Northern pintail, and, sadly, very few alcids and scoters.
This was a brief movement, but it´s quite rewarding when one sits at a computer and dares to predict seabird movements, just to find out that it works! But, I must say, most of the time it doesn´t!
He began birding at the age of 11 and has never stopped since. His involvement in bird ringing has developed over the years and he has a special interest in moult in passerines. He currently works as a bird guide for Birds & Nature Tours in Portugal and Spain.
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