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Pelagic Tours - Bird Watching
Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)

PELAGIC TOURS AROUND THE ISLAND OF PICO

The aim of our pelagic tours is to take you into the deep ocean and introduce you to some of the pelagic life that can be found there.

The emphasis is on finding seabirds, particularly the enigmatic tubenoses (the petrels and shearwaters) but we will also seek other marine life such as sea turtles, sunfish, sharks, tunas, big game fish and of course the cetaceans.

These trips are very exploratory and can be tailored to suite the specific aims of groups. For example in the summer we can offer special trips out onto the Azores bank to see the Wilson’s storm petrel (Oceanites oceanicus).

We can also run more general tours especially targeting events where marine life becomes particularly concentrated such as at ‘bait balls’ where predatory fish and/or dolphins drive shoals of fish near the surface. These scenarios can be very exciting to watch.

BIRD WATCHING

Perhaps the most easily seen seabirds on land are the Yellow-legged gulls (Larus michahellis atlantis) and terns (both Common terns Sterna hirundo and Roseate terns Sterna dougallii).

The gulls are year round residents but the terns only come here to breed in the summer.

At sea the most regularly seen seabird is the Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) or ‘Cagarro’ as it is known locally.
These nest in their thousands around the island. They only return to shore at night and when they do it is possible to hear their eerie calls virtually anywhere around the coast.
 The nest of the Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia)

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedia) at sea
Photos by Justin Hart

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) Bulwer's petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis atlantis)
Photos by Justin Hart

OTHER TUBENOSES AND MIGRATORY SPECIES

Other tubenoses also breed around the local islands and islets but are much more rare, these include the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), Macaronesian shearwater (Puffinus baroli), Bulwer’s petrel (Bulweria bulwerii), Madeiran storm petrel (Oceanodroma castro) and Monteiro’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma monteiroi).

Some species can also be seen on passage migration. In late summer these include the Great shearwater (Puffinus gravis) and Wilson’s storm petrel, but in winter and early spring also Leach’s storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa).

Trindade Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana)
Photos by Justin Hart

UNUSUAL AND RARE SPECIES

More unusual species and real rarities are also possible such as Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus), Trindade petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana), Black-capped petrel (Pterodroma hasitata), Bermuda petrel (Pterodroma cahow), Feas/Zino’s petrels (Pterodroma feae/madeira) and White-faced storm petrel (Pelagodroma marina).

Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus)
It is possible to see other species of seabird outside the breeding season too. These species include Great skua (Stercorarius skua), Pomarine skua (Stercorarius pomarinus), Parasitic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) and Northern gannet (Sula bassanus) as well as various species of auk and gulls (both from mainland Europe and North America).

In general the seas around the Azores are not well watched for birds and frankly almost anything could turn up!

THE IMPORTANCE OF A KNOWLEDGEABLE TEAM

The organisation and logistics of our Birdwatching and Pelagic Tours are taken care by ornithologist Justin Hart. He is the author of all the pictures published in this page.

Justin has done research on birds for the last 15 years and has a license for ringing them in both the UK and the Azores.

Justin Hart with a Cory's shearwater chick

"O CAGARRO" TOURS (Cory's shearwater)

Join our exclusive boat trips to photograph Cory's shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea borealis) at sea.

Specifically tailored for wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers and photographers, we offer a unique 2 hour trip into the Canal between Pico and Faial to spend more time getting 'up close' to Pico's "albatross".

With CW Azores resident biologist and photographer Justin Hart, we offer the very best opportunities to take great portrait and action shots of the birds in flight, feeding, diving or just resting on the water.

Photographers will especially benefit from the low, close to the water angle our boats provide.

In the picture below you can see these birds hunting boarfish (Capros aper).

PRICE LIST AND CONTACTS

White-faced Storm-Petrel (Pelagodroma marina)

PELAGIC TOURS (4-5 hours)

Type of offer Price Notes
Individuals 100 Euro/person minimum of 4 participants
Groups
(4+ people)
80 Euro/person maximum of 8 participants
Private charter
(4-5 hours)
480 Euro maximum 8 participants


'O CAGARRO' TOURS
(Cory's shearwater, 2 hours)


Type of offer Price Notes
Individuals 49 Euro/person minimum of 4 participants
Groups
(4+ people)
39 Euro/person maximum of 8 participants
Private charter
(2 hours)
250 Euro maximum 8 participants

Do you want to know more about our spectacular Bird Watching and Pelagic Tours?

Do you want to add to it the lifetime experience of meeting the whales and dolphins?

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us!





You may be also interested in the following pages:
Cory's shearwaters feeding on Boarfish


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Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving Discover the Azores
Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving The Azores

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