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Cape Verde - Spring 2019 (1 Viewer)

Mike Hunter

Well-known member
Hi BF

My wife and I are contemplating a trip to Cape Verde in the spring of 2019. Probably 10 days targetting all key birds.

The main logistical challenge with any such trip is getting to see Raso Lark. Initial enquiries with local guides have identified two general options:

1. A small boat, capacity for 4 people, cost of 400 Euros.

2. A larger boat, capacity for 12 people, cost of 700 Euros.

Timing and sea-swell is everything but I've read a couple of reports where the small boat option sounded horrendous. I've got good sea-legs but even so my preference is the larger boat which also increases the chances of seeing Cape Verde Storm-petrel.

Are there any birders out there planning on going to Cape Verde and wish to join up to share costs on a Raso island boat trip from Sao Nicolau?

Perhaps the toughest key bird to see in Cape Verde is Cape Verde Storm-petrel. Seems to be best seen from the above boat trip. Can anyone offer any other advice on the best way of seeing this? I can't see any operator does 'chumming' trips which might otherwise guarantee this.

Thanks in advance.

Mike
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Mike,

A friend and I recently were in CV. We split the cost of the larger boat between just two of us, but the larger boat is really worth it. Unless you have really flat seas, you will not want the smaller boat no matter what your party size. We only saw one CV Storm-Petrel, but it was from the boat. The boat captain is a very friendly German guy who lives there in Tarrafal and owns both of the two boats. We talked to him the afternoon before and he prepared us a whole bunch of chum - chunked up fish mixed with cooking oil which we then put in a mesh bag and tied to the back of the boat at our chumming spots. Fish extract/oil is not available there, bring your own if you can. We chummed in a couple different spots. The deepwater bank he knows about 2/3-3/4 of the way to Raso was the more productive location. Chumming closer back to Tarrafal along a current break line was pretty useless. Here's a link to my eBird list:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45251600

We didn't get Fea's Petrel from the boat but saw three distant birds from two seawatch sessions at Ponto do Barril. FYI we were able to rent a 4WD pickup in Tarrafal at moment's notice (from the gas station) for about 50-60EU for one day which made it easier to go to Ponto do Barril on our schedule. Here are my seawatch lists. It can be really windy at Ponto do Barril but there's a huge rock cairn (2-3m tall) a bit north of the lighthouse that is the best spot to watch from and that you can find shelter behind.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45251618
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45276670
 

Mike Hunter

Well-known member
... captain is a very friendly German guy who lives there in Tarrafal and owns both of the two boats. We talked to him the afternoon before and he prepared us a whole bunch of chum - chunked up fish mixed with cooking oil which we then put in a mesh bag and tied to the back of the boat at our chumming spots. Fish extract/oil is not available there, bring your own if you can. We chummed in a couple different spots. The deepwater bank he knows about 2/3-3/4 of the way to Raso was the more productive location. Chumming closer back to Tarrafal along a current break line was pretty useless.

Thanks Josh

That's really helpful - thanks for posting. And really helpful to know that chumming is in fact possible. Increases the chances and yet this still seems such a hard bird with you managing to see one.

Looking better folks - anyone interested in trying to see one of the WP's toughest birds next Spring?

Mike
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Last edited:

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
When we were in Tarrafal (May 2018) all answers we got were that it is illegal to land on Raso or Branco and we didn't find a boat captain willing to do it for us...
 

lewis20126

Well-known member
When we were in Tarrafal (May 2018) all answers we got were that it is illegal to land on Raso or Branco and we didn't find a boat captain willing to do it for us...

IMO any such arrangements should be kept off public platforms in any event.

cheers, alan
 

Mike Hunter

Well-known member

Thanks Paul

I think it probably is. I'll look into the feasibility and costs, thanks. It also opens up the possibility of an autumn trip as so far I've been looking at spring.

By the way, an excellent find for your crew but sadly it looks like this was just about the last CV Peregrine there was to see.

I've never been worried about not setting foot on Raso as I've not known a crew dip them from a boat - though better views would have been nice as would a break from the bobbing!

Mike
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Oriole Birding are planning a trip for next spring so maybe you could co-ordinate your dates and share boats??

Steve
 

Paul Chapman

Well-known member
Thanks Paul

I think it probably is. I'll look into the feasibility and costs, thanks. It also opens up the possibility of an autumn trip as so far I've been looking at spring.

By the way, an excellent find for your crew but sadly it looks like this was just about the last CV Peregrine there was to see.

I've never been worried about not setting foot on Raso as I've not known a crew dip them from a boat - though better views would have been nice as would a break from the bobbing!

Mike

Mike

Yes. The Peregrine was the highlight of being stuck on Sao Nicolau by the local airlines for longer than we were scheduled. I have a recollection of a photo of one since taken on Boa Vista by someone on a one week or two week holiday but I may be mis-remembering that.......

All the best
 

Mike Hunter

Well-known member
Mike

I have a recollection of a photo of one since taken on Boa Vista by someone on a one week or two week holiday but I may be mis-remembering that.......

All the best

Hi Paul

Seems that all the top avian predators are doing badly in CV for some reason. Now I look it seems there are just about annual records of Peregrine which shows how species/taxon can cling on. Gives rise to some hope but probably needs a New Zealand scale of conservation intervention to make it happen.

Mike
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Seems that all the top avian predators are doing badly in CV for some reason.

Mike

That's really interesting - I would love to know the reason why. I've found Barbary falcons a reasonable proposition in the right terrain in the Canary Islands I've visited; Cape Verde doesn't lack such terrain and there would seem to be a reasonable amount of food. Maybe the Cape Verde islands are that much further offshore that recolonisation from the mainland is more difficult? For what it's worth, on previous visits to the islands I've been able to see buzzards on the soar while travelling, without the use of binoculars; they're not as common there as in the more northerly east Atlantic islands but I wouldn't have guessed the population was down to (apparently) tens of pairs across the archipelago.
 
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