Scopoli’s Shearwater

2nd record for Canaries

by Martin

They shouldn’t be called pelagics; they should be called ‘super pelagics!’ A species I haven’t mentioned yet, seen on the Lanzarote Pelagics at the end of June 2012 was Scopoli’s Shearwater. As if Wilson’s, Madeiran, Storm, White-faced and Bulwer’s Petrels wasn’t enough! I was fortunate to pick up a Scopoli’s candidate coming  into the chum. I yelled it out to Dani and we both did the only sensible thing: fire off a bunch of photos to see if the impression of ‘extra white’- would add up. Thankfully the bird hung around and we got nice repeat views, to compare with hundreds of Cory’s Shearwaters seen over the day.

Scopoli’s Shearwater

Here’s the bird, only the 2nd record in the Canaries. You can see the extra white extending as white fingers into the underside of the outer primaires. It also has only 1 dark spot on outermost greater under primary coverts (needs thinking about- that one!).  In the field it looked slimmer winged and paler/ greyer headed. It also had a more obvious dark ‘W’ across the upper wing. Have  a look and compare with the Cory’s further down. Scopoli’s Shearwater, N of Lanzarote, 30th June 2012. all photos Martin Garner

Cory’s Shearwater

With upwards of 600 Cory’s Shearwaters seen the same day- there was plenty of comparison. Here’s a few. Normally the border between underwing coverts and under side of primaries form a nice dark ‘scoop’. However some have  paler fingers (usually not on p10) giving some Cory’s ‘extra white’.  They have 2 dark spotted outer primary coverts where the Scopoli’s have one and the upperparts are more wholly dark, lacking a more distinct ‘W’. The right lighting is essential to see these things properly!

Cory’s Shearwaters, N of Lanzarote, 30th June 2012. all photos Martin Garner …and huge thanks to the wonderful Dani and Juan, founders of the ‘super pelagics’. Will be back there soon. Bring it on!