It is with great excitement that I write of the events of the night of Saturday thirteenth of December 2014. On an expedition to the Canary Islands – a Spanish colony located in the Atlantic Ocean some miles off the Western Saharan coast – I joined a group of locals as they visited the breeding colony of a bird they call "paiño". These locals were rather civilised, knowing as they did how to cook using a stove heated using natural gas. They procured a meal of tinned beans and a local sausage known as "chorizo". Accommodation was a cave located near to the sea. We consumed our meal of beans and "chorizo" near to the cave mouth.
At approximately 22:30, I caught sight of a "paiño" making a series of swift turns in flight around the entrance of the cave. It reminded of the Common Stormy-Petrel, a species I am familiar with from the northern United Kingdom. Using my battery-operated torch, I illuminated the bird, at which point it alighted on volcanic rocks some seven yards from where we were located. I sent my man forth, a young Spaniard with an impressive knowledge of the Kingdom's avifauna. With nothing but his bare hands, he secured the bird.
The bird was examined in some detail. It was an adult female, sexed by the cloaca distended following egg laying. I find it peculiar that this species should be breeding during the winter months, though the climate in this location is much more favourable than that encountered by the more northern Common Stormy-Petrel
In appearance the bird was sufficiently similar to the Common Stormy-Petrel, except for: it was larger (the wing measured five-and-one-quarter inches), possessed a narrower white area below the saddle, and held a bill of thicker dimensions and stronger bite. It appears to be the case that, whilst this form is obviously known to the natives of these islands, it has not yet been formally described by the scientific community. I propose this bird be known as the Grant's Stormy-Petrel.
Also of note is our continued observation of the Barolo Little Shear-Water, a scarce breeder on the cliffs of the Canary Islands.
I am indebted to Juan Bécares for the photograph of my Spanish boy assistant in action.