Start of fall migration confirms ‘disappearance’ of gannets and skuas

bird flu kills gannetsXabier Vázquez Pumariño / / Chasula Birds

The fall’s first ocean-going expedition confirmed the worst.this Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) It has wreaked havoc on northern populations of the Atlantic gannet (Morus bassanus) (called “mascato” in Galicia) and great skua (Stercorarius skua).

During the observation period last fall Board the boat of nature “Chasula” There have been warnings that these hardy pelagic birds may be among the birds most affected by bird flu.

Sabine gulls were in the spotlight along with other seagulls, gulls, storm petrels and gannets during the first ocean-going expedition of the “Chasula” nature vessel in September.

Now the new fall migration begins, as evidenced by the first Sabine gulls crossing the lower bay, experts on board Natural Floating Classroom who is the captain Isidro Marino confirmed the brutal decline of both.

no great skua

Evidence for this is the absence of great skuas during the first movement of the month over the continental platform about twelve miles offshore, and Only 18 “mascatos do Atlántico” were found, In previous years they might havelocated in hundreds of units Fish on islands such as Vones and Salvora.

Pelagic Life once again focused its activities on the Chasura.

Last November, when the disease was already wreaking havoc on the species, the expert crew of ‘Chasula’ Xabier Vázquez Pumariño, biologist and environmental consultantsigned bird,lie in 301 gannets, some have characteristics corneal edema Constitutes the stage preceding keratitis.


This is one of the consequences of the deadly bird flu as it causes blindness and Prevent them from moving and eating.

A sick gannet.

a disease Also appreciated in September 2022when in North Atlantic region This is Alcatraz’s usual residence Numerous cases reported by veterinary authorities Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is present in this species, which is “Possible origin of the cases detected in Galiciarelated to the annual southward migration of these birds,” they said in board.

north atlantic

Don’t forget that the gannet is a seabird that nests in the North Atlantic, forming groups of thousands of pairsand which are young specimens migrating south Find subtropical or tropical waters West Africa (West Africaespecially in Mauritania and Gulf of Guinea.

A peregrine falcon perches after eating on a tray.

So one of the most striking aspects of Chasura’s first expedition, before the autumn migration that brings these gannets from the north to Africa, was the “absence, and very few numbers, of great skuas.” Gannets are the two species most affected by bird flu,” said the expert ornithologist on board.

That’s the bad news.Good news, as mentioned, the fall migration show is about to start, so Through the Rias Baixas first Sabine Gull, that progress From Greenland to Africa.

eyewitness Nearly a hundred copies This was the main reason for joy on an ocean expedition last Sunday.

North America and Eurasia

This is not surprising, since to find this species that breeds in the Arctic and has ring pole distribution, Mainly North America and Eurasia.

it is migratory birds flying south in autumn – that’s why it’s now starting to pass in front of the Galician coast – that’susually winter in the Pacific Ocean, while birds in Greenland and eastern Canada Crossing the Atlantic to the west coast of Europe winterto Southwest Africa.

Sabine Gull, named after her In memory of scientist Edward Sabin“difficult to find in Spanish waters”, witnesses were limited to Asturias and GaliciaEspecially in autumn.

“Chasula”, a floating classroom that doesn’t disappoint


that’s what they’re doing Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/BirdLife), Manages the O’Grove Bird Sanctuary.

Conservation organization confirms “The Sabine gull is a species native to the North American Arctic (Northern Canada and Alaska) Also breeds in Greenland and Siberia In autumn, it occurs in western Europe, mainly in british islands, As well as Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Caspian Gull

Finding these Sabine gulls from “Chasula” was one of Sunday’s “big prizes,” while leaving about seventy common petrels and “Great representation of the seagull”include a copy Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)a nearly known and Massive Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) its origin in black sea and caspian sea coastextending to ACentral Asia to Northwest China.

In Europe it also spread to the north and west, Currently living in Poland and Eastern Germany.

Diary on board the Chasura: Pelagic birds, dolphins and blue whales


They didn’t miss their date with ‘Chasura’ Gray Gull (Larus canus), 173 Laughing woman – Galician “gaivota chorona” -, Three blackhead fish (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) specimens, 6 herrings, nearly 2,000 yellowlegs, 617 gulls and About thirty Atlantic gulls.

peregrine falcon

The Chasura’s crew also highlighted the startling observation of a peregrine falcon, which had just flown by Feeds on ropes stacked in trays, seen in the blood Photo of this raptor by Xabier Vázquez Pumariño.

Here’s How You See the ‘Chasula’ Killer Whale

twenty four

But back in the ocean, what’s equally striking, if not more striking, is the The threatened Balearic Gull (Puffinus mauretanicus) is found in the Lower Bay area, It inhabits the Mediterranean and the Northeast Atlantic, but breeds only in the Balearic Islands, where 18 individuals were detected on the Chasura’s maiden voyage this month.

pigeon and oystercatcher

Along with the pigeon gull (Puffinus puffinus), its main breeding grounds are in United Kingdom, French Brittany, Faroe Islands and Icelandand 40 Cory Gull (Calonectris diomedea borealis)One of the largest seabirds in Spain and a pelagic species – it breeds only close to the coast – lives in in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Eurasian Oystercatcher, Great Plover, Turnstone, Little Sandpiper, Parasitic Skua, Lesser tern, common tern, arctic tern, petrel (68 individuals), cgreat olmoran (24), tufted (412), gray heron (35) and egrets (18) were the other species counted on last week’s cruise.

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