Tag Archives: Wildlife

Herons and Crabs

The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta, Seidenreiher) feeds in the tidal wetlands of Rabat’s city river Bouregreg , but also does not hesitate to search food in the city garbage

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During low tide fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator, Sandfiedlerkrabbe) abandon their holes in the muddy wetlands. They ingest particless of mud. Males have one extra large pincer.crab-7565

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Atlantic Ocean Wildlife

We did again encounter bottlenose dolphins (Tümmler) – a school of thirty or more followed us for half an hour.  Only few species of birds visit the sailor on the open ocean, a hundred miles or more away from land. One of those are Cory’s Shearwater (Puffinus diomedea, Sepiasturmtaucher). They breed on land, but live on the ocean. As in North France, Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus, Basstölpel) occasionally showed up. By the way, it was a brilliant passage from Rabat, Morocco to the Canary Islands. Good winds, moderate atlantic swell and four dark nights without moon, but with a clear sky and the milky way.dolphin-7968-3

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Cory’s Shearwater (Puffinus diomedea, Sepiasturmtaucher):Sepiasturmtaucher-8342

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Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus, Basstölpel):basstölpel-8195basstölpel-8203

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How to swallow a fish?

See gulls do not only follow fishing boats looking for the left overs (link), but they also know how to catch their own fish. This yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis, Mittelmeermöve), observed in Rabat, however, encountered a problem. It caught a rather large fish. Fish should be swallowed head first always.

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Cormorants

Cormorants (Kormorane) are fish-eaters and excellent divers, some have been found to dive as deep as 45 metres. They have relatively short wings due to their need for economical movement underwater, and consequently have the highest flight costs of any flying bird. These were observed at the Islands of Cies, National Park Galicia, but they range around the world, except for the central Pacific islands. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant)

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Hunting for Fish

When crossing the Channel and sailing in Britanny, quite often we encountered the northern gannet (Basstölpel, Morus bassanus) far away from land. It is native to the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and breeding in Western Europe. They search for food during the day, generally by diving at high speed into the sea. Birds that are feeding young have been recorded searching for food up to 320 km  from their nest. They dive for fish from between 11 and 60 m. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_gannet)

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The common tern (Fluseeschwalbe, Sterna hirundo) we observed at the river Odet at Marina Benodet, South Brittany.  They fed by plunge-diving for fish in the river. When seeking fish, they flied head-down. They circled or hoverd before diving.coconutmilk-de-4482

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Diving and Snorkeling

Diving and snorkeling is not so easy on the Cape Verdian Islands. You have to overcome vicious shore breaks and currents. Wet suits are recommended.

Underwater, however, you may enjoy coral reefs, 639 species of fish including Mantas, sharks and turtles. (Which we did not see, unluckily).  More Information: Stewart, Murray. Cape Verde (Bradt Travel Guides)

A School of Twenty

Pilot whales are highly social and swim in groups of twenty and more if there is enough  squid or fish. Most dives are to a depth of 30–60 m, but they may dive 600 meters. The whitish calfs nurses for three years. The “playful” clapping of the caudal fin, is it to scare prey?  

More than 17 species of whale and dolphin, including the humpback whale, which breeds here, may be watched in Cape Verde.