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”.
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.
But the good birdwatcher can always spot something interesting in mass, including this beautiful 3rd winter of Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans).
More frequent birds were Black-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), expecially not far from the shore line.
Similar were the almost pure white Mediterranean Gulls (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus): we observed at least 3 individuals.
Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) sometimes joined the banquet.
Showed very well 4-5 Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus), expecially a ravenous 1st winter.
Harder to find were Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus): 3 individuals were spotted.
We saw also a couple of very far Sandwich Terns (Thalasseus sandvicensis) and a solitary Great Spotted Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) in flight.
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!
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).