A short report about a pelagic trip off Agadir on 30 October 2017 by Arnoud B. van den Berg:
“More than a month ago, high numbers of six shearwater species were seen on a Limosa pelagic trip c 15 km offshore from Agadir, Atlantic Morocco. No wind, so most were floating on the water. Also three skua species in various plumages (Great, Pomarine and Arctic) and two dolphin species came close.
Officially, Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is still a vagrant for Morocco, and Manx Shearwater (P. puffinus) had vagrant status until a couple of years ago. We counted totals of 32 and 28, respectively, including flocks of five, which indicates that there is still much unknown about (sea) birds in Morocco.
From photographs, it was figured that less than 10% of some 500 ‘Scopoli’s/Cory’s’ concerned Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris borealis), so the majority was Scopoli’s Shearwater (C. diomedea), on migration from Mediterranean to southern Africa.
Two to three Sooty Shearwaters (P. griseus) and Balearic Shearwaters (P. mauretanicus) were also photographed”.
Indeed the Great Shearwater is still relatively rare close to Moroccan shores although the species is a regular migrant further offshore. The 32-bird flock reported here is probably the second best number after the 60-bird flock observed by Benoit Maire on 5 November 2011 also at Agadir Bay (in Bergier et al. 2013). The other observations involved singles or 2-4 birds.
Bergier P., Franchimont J. & CHM. 2013. Les oiseaux rares au Maroc. Rapport de la Commission d’Homologation Marocaine, Numéro 18 (2012). Go-South Bull. 10: 1-16.