8th December 2012 – Land-based Counts

After a rainy week the project started on a sunny Saturday with a simultaneous coastal count at Dardanelles and Bosphorus. At both straits, the narrowest available spots have chosen for the counts. These are Rumeli Hisarı at the Bosphorus and Kilitbahir at the Dardanelles. The weather was sunny and the temperature was approximately 8 degrees in both areas whereas the wind was strong in Dardanelles. At the Rumeli Hisarı where we have been observing Yelkouan’s movements for almost three years, the passage towards the south (Aegean Sea) was very high as expected. We also observed that the number of the birds has increased significantly in the morning hours. Some flocks up to 450 individuals were observed.  The numbers fell steadily towards the midday hours. Since it is the very first count of the very first systematic monitoring program on Yelkouan shearewater in Dardanelles the team was very excited.  The passage of the birds was calm in the early morning hours. After midday -along with the increased wind speed- the number of the birds flying south (Aegean Sea) was climbed sharply. After a short while the team had to end the observation due to windy weather conditions. Yelkouan shearwaters were observed feeding together with Bluefin tuna and gull species throughout the fieldwork. Dardanelles count totally confirmed our hypothesis on the importance of this area for the seabirds.