Trip Report: Madeira, October 6-15, 1995
Tuula and Juha Piipponen;
Weather was mostly clear near the coast. 9.10. Was rainy on the
north side. A couple of mornings (at least 13.10) had rainy weather in
Funchal, too. Wind was not wery hard an mostly from the south (or from
the sea maybe).
We had two nights in Canical, which is very good point for birding,
especially the harbour and the easternmost tip of the island (Ponta
de Sao Lourenco). During this time we also visited Ribeiro frio and
the Balcoes (great view, I was a bit afraid) to see the endemic pigeons.
The next two nights we spent in Sao Vicente making trips to Paul da serra
and Porto do Moniz. The rest of the time we spent in Funchal checking the
harbour and the beach every day exept 12th on which we visited Porto Santo.
The Ship to Porto Santo was not a fast hydrofoil at this time of the year.
It was an old British Steam Ship 'Lady of Mann'. The route took two and
a half hours one way (1.5 with hydrofoil) and it was quite easy to watch
birds from the deck although telescope (30x Kowa TSN-1) was practically of
no use even though the weather was wery calm.
Only about 40 (but interesting) species were seen, so it is easy to list
observations of different species:
Cory's Shearwater (Calconectris diomedea)
About 30 in one and a half hour seawatch near Canico 7.10. evening.
Some tens seen from a ship between Ponta de Sao Lourenco and Porto Santo
12.10. Most common and most easily found seabird.
Little Shearwater (Puffinus assmilis)
2 between Ponta de Sao Lourenco and Porto Santo 12.10. Seems very
tiny compared to cory's
Mediterranean/Manx Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan/manx)
1 north of Ponta de Sao Lourenco in the 7.10. morning.
Many unidentfied shearwaters were seen also, (far away and
in bad light conditions as the shearwaters tend to be) a bit
more experience would be not bad at all!
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
One flying over Funchal (towards the sea) 14.10.
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
One at Ponta de Sao Lourenco in the 7.10. morning and one in a canal
in the centre of Machico the next day.
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
A Couple of observations between Machico and Canical
Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Very common, seen almost everyvhere
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Even more common than Buzzard. Eats maybe reptiles as little enough
mamals are very few (not at all). There is only one species of reptiles but
there are plenty of them (one even tried to get into my wife's
beer can at Ponta de Sao Lourenco, you can imagine the noise...)
Oystercatcher (Haematopus Ostralegius)
2 at beach in Funchal 11.10.
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
One at Funchal beach 13.10. evening. (There had been rain in the morning)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
One at Canical Harbour in the 6.10.evening
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Five at Ponta de Sao Lourenco 7.10. and 8.10.
One at Sao Vicente 8.10.
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
One with Common Greenshank at Canical Harbour in the 6.10. morning.
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
One with Common Redshank at Canical Harbour in the 6.10. morning.
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
2 at Canical Harbour in the 6.10. morning (with a couple of shanks...).
Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
The most common wader (maybe because of the numerous stones to turn
at the beaches). One was seen 7.10. In Canical, 3 at Sao Vicente 8.and
9.10. Always about 30 in Funchal scattered around the harbour and the beach.
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
One fine winter-plumaged individual at fishing harbour in Canical
6.10. (a good place for waders).
Herring/Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans (atlantis?))
Everywhere at the coasts. About 500 in Funchal Harbour.
Lesser black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Few scattered here and there. most seemed to be some kind of
subad birds (3rd calender year ??)
Black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus)
1 flying around near the beach in Funchal 14.10.
Common tern (Sterna hirundo)
Here and there, but never more than two or three at a time.
Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
They were here and there too. Not wery many at one place, exept
9.10. in Porto do Moniz: 16 individuals at one rock in rain.
Rock dove (Columba livia)
At many places (Machico-Canico, Sao Vicente, Ponta de Sao Lourenco )
sometimes hard to make difference between 'real' Rock Doves and the
ones in the villages.
Madeira Laurel (or long-toed) Pigeon (Columba trocaz)
A few seen at Balcoes in Ribero frio 7.10. (one tail feather was found
from the levada path !). Two birds flew over the road some kilometers
south (or in fact more upwards) of Sao Vicente in the morning of
Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) (of course, escape)
One white and blue -coloured individual near Canical Harbour
tried hard to join a flock of canaries and golfinches who
escaped many times maybe regarding the parrot as a bird of prey.
Intresting to watch!
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
1 at P. de S. Lourenco 7.10. in the morning. Next morning two
were found. 12.10. In Porto Santo 1 at the center of the village
and one near the Horse area.
Plain Swift (Apus unicolor)
Found everywhere, largest flocks at Paul da Serra (several hundreads)
Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Quite common, near every little stream and in villages. Quite
Berthelot's pipit (Anthus bertheloti)
Very dense population in dry areas (e.g. Porto Santo, P. de S. Lourenco
Paul da serra). Not very shy, quite easy to get photos unlike
all the other pipits in Europe.
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Common, heard especially in the laurel forests.
(Northern) Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
3-4 at P. de S. L. 7. and 8.10. and 2 at Paul de Serra 9.10.
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Heard everywhere but seldom seen...
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common especially in laurel forests.
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis)
Seen and heard everyvhere in the laurel forests.
Intresting race, which might as well not be just a race.
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs madeirensis)
Comments just the same as with firecrest, calls and alarms
differ very much from the sounds of Northern Europe birds
Canary (Serinus canaria)
Very common. Everywhere
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
A flock of about 50 birds with a flock of canaries near
Canical Harbour (7.10). About 40 in park near the satue of Cristovao
Colombo in Funchal 15.10. Some in other places too. The similarity
of call with one voice of canary made Goldfinch harder to notice.
(It is the same with linnet, I think I heard on at P. d S. L.
but I'm not sure because of the great varaiety of voices of canary)
Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)
About 10 in the garden in the center of Sao Vicente (10.10.,morning).
Seems to be present in Madeira also.
Spanish sparrow (Passer hispanolensis)
Few individuals seen In Canical an Funchal, many on Porto Santo
Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia)
Two with a canary flock near one 'Miradouro' (View point) at
Ponta de Sao Lourenco (6.10.).
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14, 1995 (amended January 8, 1997)