European Storm-petrel group photographed by Steve
Scilly; British Isles. All photographs remain the
property of the photographer.
British Storm-petrel. Harrison (1983) uses
Breeds on rat free islands off Norway, Faeroe
Islands, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, in the Mediterranean
and the Canary Islands. From April to September.
The author encountered this bird breeding
in a stone tower called a broch on the Island Mousa near
Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.
www.mousaboattrips.co.uk runs a boat trip to Mousa.
From May to July there is an evening boat that leaves at
11 PM and returns at 1 AM. With a torch (flashlight) you
walk to the broch to see the Storm-petrels entering and
leaving their nests. After the first of July it stays
light much longer and he does not make the night trips.
On August 3, I went on a day trip which left at 12:30 in
the afternoon and returned at 5 PM. We walked to the
broch which is an Iron Age structure unique to Scotland.
A broch is a short double walled tower with a staircase
between the walls. Archeologist are not quite sure why
they were built or what they were for. I climbed to the
top and on the way up heard one of the Storm-petrels
making a soft purring noise within the wall.
Disburses in the Atlantic south to
South Africa, primarily on the eastern side where in
stays mainly in boundary zones between shelf littoral
and deep ocean. November- March.²
Where To See
This bird is only rarely been seen in waters off New
England and Canada and is likely to be overlooked due to
the abundance of Wilson's Storm-petrels. Advanced
birders should learn the characteristics that
distinguish the bird from Wilson's Storm-petrels and be
on the lookout especially on offshore trips. Since it is
a northern hemisphere breeder it is most likely to be
seen in fall and early spring. Has not been seen on
recent New England trips. It has been reported on
Cape Hatteras pelagics.
Like Wilson's Storm-petrel the European Storm-petrel
follows ships and can be attracted by chum. Feeds
by pattering on the surface with wings raised above the
horizontal in a steeper V than Wilsons Storm-petrel. Attracted to fish oil and known
to follow fishing boats. Found in groups.
First of all look for a bird that is slightly
smaller than a Wilson's Storm-petrel. Look
to see if the feet protrude behind the tail.
Upper wing should be more lightly marked and the
underwing has a
distinct white line on underwing. Be sure to
announce that you are on a smaller storm-petrel so that
others can get on it too. Take pictures.
||Viewed from the top, the
upper wing has a fainter covert bars and from a
distance may appear to have no wing bar at all.
Notice feet do not trail behind the tail and the
straight edge to the tail. Also the angled
trailing edge to the wing.
Photo by Steve Rogers
|Here is the distinct
white bar formed by white greater under
wing coverts. on the under wing. This can
be harder to see on birds with worn plumage.
Notice also that the white
rump extends underneath as in Wilson's
Photo by Steve Rogers
photographed by Steve Rogers off the Isles of
Scilly in Great Britain. The identification
problem for New England birders is that we will
never see a flock of European Storm-petrels but
rather one small bird in a flock of hundreds of
of European Storm-petrel
To see more photographs of
the European Storm-petrels go to the web page
http://birdguides.com . Select
photo gallery at the bottom of the home page. Then
search for European Storm-petrel.
Photographs on this page were kindly
shared by Steve Rogers. Steve in his own words is a keen birder and
photographer based in Cornwall.
"Cornish born and bred, I live in
Truro. I started birding at the age
of ten and 35 years later, the hobby
is still strong. In my spare time
I also run the optics shop in Truro!
I rarely bird outside of the county
now, preferring to stay local except
for organized birding holidays
abroad. My main interest is
migration, an aspect of birding that
Cornwall lends itself to perfectly.
Sadly my shop commitments don't
allow me to be birding every day but
I will do my best to post all the
interesting images and blog when time allows."
To see more of his
excellent photographs see his blog http://www.swopticsphoto.blogspot.com/
² 2007 Flood, Robert L and Thomas,
Bryan Indentification of 'black-and-white'
storm-petrels of the North Atlantic ; British Birds
vol 100 p. 407
& Shearwaters of the World by Derek Onley and Paul
Page author: Emmalee