Swimming a lot for dying on the shore

10 04 2012

“Energy in an isolated system remains constant over time”

– Law of conservation of energy, Isaac Newton.

The population of Tenerife is increasing and, as energy, it can’t disappear, just move from one place to another. When people left the middle heights, they colonized the coasts and, while pigeons were tooking profit of that, seabirds suffered the consequences. The gulls succeed in adapting to human presence and even found new sources of food such as rubbish dumps, but tubenoses were not able to do so. The Macaronesia is an extremely important breeding point for Little shearwater Puffinus baroli, Bulwer’s petrel Bulweria bulweri, Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus and some stormpetrels such as White-faced Pelagodroma marina and Madeiran Oceanodroma castro. The destruction of their breeding  grounds is not only due to new buildings, some mammals introduced by humans are also dangerous: the rats have settled the coast and its hungry doesn’t know limits and the cats, instead of erradicating the rats, are preying on tubenoses’ chicks. However, maybe the main problem is the artifitial light. Each year, lots of chicks and some adults die disorientated when trying to leave the nest or even during migration. They fall into the streets, always under a strong focus of light. Some others can be rescued thanks to the help of sensible people.

More or less one thousand Cory’s shearwater and 35 Bulwer’s petrels are found grounded each year in Tenerife. The Barolo’s shearwater deserves special atention since it’s one of my favourite birds and maybe one of the more threatened species of the island. The graphic below is made out of data from Rodríguez & Rodríguez, Ibis 2009, 151, 299-310. It shows the distribution of shearwaters found per year from 1998 to 2006. The situation is quite dramatic and some measures must be taken the sooner the better.

I had never seen Barolo’s shearwater from the shore until last saturday, when I saw 4 of them. The following days, I’ve seen 2 more Barolo’s and 8 Manx. What will I see tomorrow?




3 responses

10 04 2012
Antonio Acedo

Felicidades por el avistamiento de las pardelas chicas.Cuatro ejemplares en el mismo dia es algo excepcional.
Otra opción muy interesante para ver marinas desde nuestra isla es el ferry de la naviera Armas que une Los Cristianos con La Gomera.Con la ventaja de poder verlas muy cerquita del barco.
Un saludo!

10 04 2012
Marcel Gil Velasco

Si, ayer cogí el ferry! Muchas calonectris y delfines pero poco más… otra vez será!

10 04 2012
Antonio Acedo

Una pena,la suerte es la que manda en estos casos.Seguro que tendrás más oportunidades.
Otro sitio magnífico para Seawatching es el faro de Punta Rasca.La semana pasada eran miles las pardelas que pasaban junto a ese punto,algunas muy cerca de la orilla.

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