An old man was feeding Iguanas (Leguane) at the Tug Boat Beach in Curacao. He knew that the smell of moisture atracts these herbivorous lizards. And I knew that Iguanas are commonly eaten in Curacao, as soup or stew (Eintopf). I asked wether he eats them, an he answered: “This is Curacao”. I took that for a yes.
The largest lagoon in Curacao, Spanish Water, is used by boats and marinas, tourist resorts and golf clubs. There is, however, some nature left, and its vegetation is dominated by cactus that grows in this subtropical but dry climate. The Caracara is a bird of prey and a scavenger, often found sitting on a cactus.
Spanish Water is a sheltered lagoon in Curacao surrounded by mangroves, a carribbean “hurrican hole”. Orincoco is stationed there this summer. Many small mangrove trees, growing in brackish water, are nearby. It is easy to spot a lot of animals there, including Brown Pelicans, Snowy Egrets (Silberreiher). They are resting there after a day of hunting. Bare eyed pigeons (Nacktaugentaube) are also common.
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
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.
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.
Cory’s Shearwater (Puffinus diomedea, Sepiasturmtaucher):
Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus, Basstölpel):
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.
After weeks of cold water at the Atlantic coasts of France, Spain and northern Portugal, the Algarve, with its nearly mediteranien climate, invites to snorkeling and diving.
Sesimbra and Sines, busy fishing harbors south of Lisbon on the way to the Algarve. Never before did we see so many seagulls in one place. Luckily, the gulls did not fight our drone.
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)
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)
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.