The 2014 Red List of Birds update gives birth to a new European species, the Desertas Petrel, classified as Vulnerable.
The first time I heard about the Desertas Petrel, all I wanted to do was to climb on the peak of Bugio, one of the Desertas islands part of the Madeira archipelago in Portugal, where the bird breeds, and see this funny little pal with my own eyes.
What I didn’t know while climbing up was that Bugio would offer me an unforgettable wildlife experience: the red rock of the cliffs gives way to a plateau, 342m above sea level, with no trees or shrubs, but hundreds of seabird nests. As the birds were spending their day at sea or guarding their deep nesting burrows, we could only see them at night – at the time, we didn’t have burrowscopes that would allow us to look inside burrows during daylight.
That was back in 2003 and we believed that the petrels on Bugio were the same species as those breeding in Cape Verde, so-called “Fea’s Petrel”.