APRIL 1998. MEXICO (BAJA CALIFORNIA): SEABIRDS AND ABALONES

Isla Natividad (28 N, 115 W): "I observed sooty and/or short tailed shearwaters in the Canal de Dewey off isla Natividad, Baja California Sur Mexico almost daily from April 14 to April 28. In 1997 these birds were common in large flocks, but the first birds were not seen until June 21 of that year. In addition, the numbers of black-vented shearwaters breeding on isla Natividad are significantly reduced. In 1997 60% of the burrows on the island contained breeding birds and all eggs were laid before April 5. This year only 20% of the burrows have breeding birds and birds were still laying in late April. The fishermen on the island say this is the worst year for harvesting abalone since 1981/82. The abalone are very thin and there is little algae on the rocks for them to graze. Much of the Macrocystis around the island was killed during the October hurricane, and it has not regrown this year."--Bradford Keitt <bkeitt@cats.ucsc.edu>

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