South Landing, Flamborough
Sometime humans go all nocturnal in order to see nature that only comes out at night. Night before last (20th-21st July) was a very well organised such event. The YWT’s Living Seas Centre -where a certain lovely (so says her dad) Abigail Garner works 🙂 – hosted the event in collaboration with the RSPB, the Yorkshire Naturalists Union and the Flamborough Bird Observatory. Neil Glenn had joined me for a day around Flamborugh and we got treated to a feast of moths and the hoped for Storm Petrels appeared with one trapped at 12:30 am and a second bird around the nets.
Did You Know?
- European Strom Petrel is (yes or no?) the smallest bird in world with webbed feet
- 2 (cryptic) species in Europe (one a potential vagrant to Britain/ Ireland)
- St. Peter and the Virgin Mary are invoked in vernacular names
British Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus, South landing, Flamborough, 21 July 2013. Not that long ago considered to only occur in the North Sea as rare storm blown waif in the autumn, rather than the summer visitor in some numbers. The brownish coverts visible here may not be part of the plumage of Mediterranean Storm Petrel Hydrobates melitensis making this shorter billed bird with brownish wing coverts-a bird ‘showing characters’of British Storm Petrel.
Song and Calls
I had a couple of opportunities to hear and record the eerie songs and calls of British Storm Petrels on Mousa, Shetland, this spring.
Listen to singing male etc <HERE>
(famously described as “the sound of a fairy being sick”)
Anthony Hurd, welcomes nocturnal creatures to YWT’s Living Seas Centre at South landing.
Local keen lepidopterists lead by YNU show techniques and displayed an excellent selection of species
Living Seas Centre provided excellent base for viewing moths and giving presentations
British Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Mediterranean Storm Petrel Hydrobates melitensis
Wonderful wirte-up on Mediterranean Storm Petrel by Magnus Robb in Petrels: Night and Day . Also more in Flood and Fisher’s Storm-petrels and Bulwer’s Petrel . Increasingly viewed as 2 separate, cryptic species. Mediterranean Storm Petrel has reached the Atlantic (Algarve, Portugal) and a bird ringed on Malta has reached the Netherlands, though not as a nestling it may have been a British bird which wintered in the Mediterranean (lots more in Magnus Robb’s write-up). At least those trapping birds in tape luring can bear in mind biometrics especially length and depth of the bill.
Bill length was carefully measured as the potential vagrant (species) the Mediterranean Storm Petrel has on average a slightly longer and deeper bill. Anything over 12 mm could have raised the stakes. Our guy had a bill length of 11mm.
Last petrel ringing I attended 2 years ago when we saw this bird at Spurn
with grateful thanks to Sal Cooke, Ant Hurd, Andrew Lassey and all the other folk- involved. Also to Neil Glenn- fine day together birding the Great White Cape