Peniche is without any doubt one of the world’s top destinations for surfers, offering the most incredible perfect waves ! But what about birdwatching? Peniche is one of the best places in the world to watch seabirds. In 2014, 29.000 Northern gannets (Sula bassana) crossed Peniche, turning seabird passage into one of the most amazing natural shows !
Peniche Seabird Count – the project
The Peniche peninsula breaks off the Portuguese coast and functions as a migration obstacle for seabirds following the Iberian coast heading south to African waters in autumn. The seabirds have to round the peninsula and are therefore easy to observe in the right wind conditions.
Off the peninsula lies the Berlengas Islands which hold internationally important numbers of breeding Cory’s Shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) and Madeiran Petrels (Oceanodroma castro). The waters off these islands are deep and rich in nutrients and are an added attraction to feeding seabirds. Despite these possibilities, the migration past Peniche is poorly documented compared to European migration watchpoints further north.
The scope of this project is to document the numbers of seabirds migrating past Peniche during 15th August – 15th November 2015. Particular attention will be paid to the Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus).
Seabirds will not just be counted, but flock sizes, flight directions and – where applicable – age categories will be quantified for later analysis.
Source: Peniche Seabird Count