Members of the East Coast Pelagic Birders (ECPB) made a breakthrough in the survey of pelagic birds by recording the sighting of three species of rare birds off Chennai coast on Saturday.

K. Gnanaskandan of ECPB said the group which ventured into the sea recorded the presence of Wilsons Storm-Petrel, Swinhoes Strom-Petrel and Pomarine Skua.

Pelagic birds are found on the open sea or oceanic waters and feed on fish and other marine life.

Mr. Gnanaskandan said, so far, there were no records of these birds. In the early 1990s, a couple of tourists who travelled from Chennai to Andamans by ship brought stuffed specimens of these species. Apart from that, there were no records of these bird sightings, Mr. Gnanaskandan said.

The members assembled at Kasimedu fishing harbour around 6 a.m. and with updated information on the weather, ventured into the sea. A total of 13 members from different parts of the State took part in the survey.

Around mid-day, when the team was in the middle of the sea, a large group of bottle-nosed dolphins surrounded their boat. The team also sighted two different species of flying fish during the survey, said Mr. Gnanaskandan.

For the team, this is the third pelagic bird survey. The first one was organised in September last year, organised between Chennai and Puducherry. The second survey was done on the Tuticorin coast, Mr Gnanaskandan added.

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