Storm Petrel

When I was interviewed to come and work out on Skomer I was asked what my favourite seabird was. My answer was the Fulmar because of their masterful flight and the subtlety of their almost monochrome plumage. But I am slowly being swayed by another black and white bird, the European Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus).
These small seabirds are only the size of a Swallow and yet spend the vast majority of their time out at sea, being buffeted by storms and waves. They feed on oily scraps on the surface of the water and wander vast distances, returning to land once a year to breed.
Storm Petrels nest in cracks and crevices on rocky shores, and are mostly nocturnal, so are very hard to observe on land but now that I have a bit of free time on Skomer I’m giving it a go. These birds are quite vocal and can be prompted to call by playing them a recording of another petrel. This is useful to survey them as you can go along a shoreline and identify nest sites by playing the recording and noting down any responses. If you fancy hearing a Stormy for yourself go and visit Xeno Canto – a brilliant site for recordings of most bird species’ calls.

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  1. Another Season | YatesPhotographic

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