Pelagic trip in the Adriatic sea

I took part to an amazing pelagic trip organized in the southern part (Ferrara province) of Po delta. A quite big boat went offshore for tens of miles in the Adriatic sea while a friend of mine, Fabio, provided a big quantity of sardines to a large crowd of Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahellis). Inside the flock we managed to find a some interesting local rarities!

It’s never an easy job to spot strange gulls in the “wild bunch”.

Gulls mix

Gulls mix

Probably the 95% of birds are Yellow-legged Gulls, the commonest species in the Mediterranean sea, breeding with thousands of pairs in the Po delta.

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But the good birdwatcher can always spot something interesting in mass, including this beautiful 3rd winter of Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans).

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More frequent birds were Black-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), expecially not far from the shore line.

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Similar were the almost pure white Mediterranean Gulls (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus): we observed at least 3 individuals.

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Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) sometimes joined the banquet.

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Showed very well 4-5 Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus), expecially a ravenous 1st winter.

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Harder to find were Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus): 3 individuals were spotted.

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We saw also a couple of very far Sandwich Terns (Thalasseus sandvicensis) and a solitary Great Spotted Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) in flight.

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But the species of the day were 30-35 Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan), a rather unfrequent sea-bird along the Italian coasts of Northern Adriatic sea. The biggest flock included 26 individuals together, but we had some very close single birds that were just gorgeous!

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The funniest observations of the day were some unexpected migrants in the middle of the sea: a Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) risking to be preyed by gulls, a single Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and a flock of 9 Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis).

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Luca Boscain

 

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