29 DECEMBER 1997. CHILE; CLIMATE & SEABIRDS

Thousands of Guanay cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii) are moving southwards. During 21 th December at least 5,000 birds were observed near Algarrobo (33 21`S) and on the 26 th December near 15,000. These point counts are surely underestimates. This same situation has been observed near Valparaiso (33 06`S) and has become common since the last week.

Breeding of seabirds at Pajaros Niños island (33 21`S; 71 41`S): Only 1/3 of the Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) that bred last year are breeding at present. Also, many breeders arrived late in the season (one month delay). Until 26 th December no Chilean Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus thagus) were nesting. At this site, between 1,000-2,000 pairs have breed in the last two years, starting to lay eggs in early December. A considerable absence of these birds has been noticed in the area. Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus) are breeding in the same numbers as in the last season 96-97 (ca. 500 pairs) and started normally to lay eggs in early November. No apparent changes in clutch size and chick mortality have been noticed.--Alejandro Simeone <asimeone@valdivia.uca.uach.cl>

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