Yelkouan Shearwater colony walk at Majjistral (FULLY-BOOKED)

February 3, 2023 2:06 pm

Date: Saturday, 11 March 2023
Time: 17:00-21:00
Location: Majjistral Nature & History Park

Join Majjistral Nature and History Park and BirdLife Malta’s LIFE PanPuffinus! project team for the first shearwater colony walk of 2023.

At this time of year Yelkouan Shearwaters are starting to breed in Malta (Photo by Aron Tanti)

At this time of year Yelkouan Shearwaters (Garnija in Maltese) are starting to breed and will lay their single egg in their deep nesting burrows during March. Shearwaters are often vocal at the colonies once darkness has fallen and listening to their calls is one of the best ways to appreciate these birds locally. Malta is home to around 2,000 breeding pairs of the threatened Yelkouan Shearwater, and Majjistral Park is a great place to try and hear them with around 300 pairs nesting in the cliffs there.

LIFE PanPuffinus! is the current seabird project led by BirdLife Malta, focusing on the Yelkouan Shearwater. Therefore, the walk will not only be an opportunity to listen to these secretive birds’ calls, but also to learn more about them and how we can help in their conservation.

Shearwaters are sensitive to bright light, so we use red light to avoid distrubance (Photo by BirdLife Malta)

We will meet at 17:00 and start the walk together at 17:30, walking to a suitable place to listen to shearwaters in the Majjistral Park boulder screes at Rdum Majjiesa. We will listen for shearwaters for around an hour and we’ll be back to the starting point by 21:00. On walking to the cliffs before sunset we will also have the opportunity to do some birdwatching together with Majjistral Park and BirdLife Malta staff. If we’re lucky we’ll perhaps spot the first spring migrants or a breeding Blue Rock-thrush.

Good footwear and ability to walk on rough terrain close to cliff edges are essential. We will be walking 1.5 km on rough and rocky paths back and forth. We will walk back in the dark so sure-footedness is essential. BirdLife Malta will provide torches with red light for participants who don’t have any. We use red light to avoid disturbance, since shearwaters are sensitive to bright light.

We are visiting a Natura 2000 site, with protected and vulnerable species. Keeping our disturbance to a minimum is essential. Finally, shearwater-calling behaviour is variable and we have no guarantee that we will hear them, but we are sure it will be an enjoyable experience, nonetheless.

This event is free but donations are welcome. You can donate to Majjistral Nature & History Park here and to BirdLife Malta here. Although no fee is being charged to join this event, participation will be capped to a maximum of 15 persons, so booking is needed. Please book by clicking on the button below to fill in the Google Form.

The exact meeting point at Majjistral Park will be shared with booked participants after booking is closed.

Please note that children of 15 years or younger have to be accompanied by an adult. In case of unfavourable weather, the event will be postponed to a later date and booked participants will get the first opportunity to re-book.

What to bring!

Essentials: Sturdy footwear, drinking water, warm and weatherproof clothes.

Optional: Torch with red light and binoculars (pre-sunset birdwatching).