22th December 2012 – Bosphorus Count

We conducted a coastal count today under cloudy and cold weather and there were moderate North winds throughout the fieldwork. As soon as we arrived to Rumeli Hisarı, we noticed the huge number of birds in the Bosphorus.

We observed hectic passage of Cormorants especially in the early morning hours. A total of 2012 Cormorants were counted. Of those, 1512 were heading towards Black Sea and 500 were Marmara Sea. We also recorded a Little Gull and significantly increased numbers of Black headed gulls. We expected to see some Common gulls but we didn’t.

(Cormorant Photograph: Alper Varon)

The movements of the Yelkouan shearwaters were very surprising.  In this time of year we are expecting to see an intense passage towards south but instead huge number of birds passed towards north today. According to our past studies, we know that it is very possible to record a great difference in the numbers and movements of Yelkouans between consecutive days. Today’s observation may be an example for this sharp difference between close dates in the same season. Although a seasonal pattern that we have revealed with the past studies there are still a lot of secrets to discover on Yelkouan’s behavior in the Marmara Sea.