Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dolphins close to shore and an unusually large number of Manx shearwaters

Today's tours were full of wild dolphin encounters. Throughout the day we had groups of common dolphins spread out everywhere! We also encountered bottlenose dolphins close to shore, and in the morning a few of our biologists also spotted some Atlantic spotted dolphins mixed in with one of the groups of common dolphins, while in the afternoon we re-encountered a group of only Atlantic spotted dolphins . We observed different behaviours from the dolphins, including mating and socialising, bowriding in front of our boats and feeding together with 3 different species of shearwaters (Cory's shearwater, great shearwater and Manx shearwater). In fact today we had an unusually large number of sightings of Manx shearwaters, especially in the afternoon tour during which we saw at least 8-9 individuals (this species is not sighted often in the Azores). So as well as dolphin watching it ended up being a great day for bird watching too! After our dolphin and seabird encounters we still had time to view the beautiful Vila Franca Islet (a natural reserve in the form of a volcanic crater with a natural lagoon inside). 

Photos from today:

Curious common dolphin jumping to look up at us

Common dolphins - mother and calf

Bottlenose dolphin

Watching bottlenose dolphins bowriding

Bottlenose dolphin ID photo for our catalogue - we take these photos for our scientific research

Atlantic spotted dolphin

Bird photography

Cory's shearwater

Two Manx shearwaters

Manx shearwater taking off

Bird watching - see if you can spot the Manx shearwater among the Cory's shearwaters!

Approaching Vila Franca Islet



Rock pigeons (an endemic subspecies) on Vila Franca Islet

Young yellow-legged gull (an endemic subspecies) on Vila Franca Islet

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