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Post Info TOPIC: Madeira

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Two weeks staying in the orca Praia Hotel, West Funchal, Madeira 02/12/16 - 16/12/16.
28 species in all. The endemic species and sub-species count was good but the sea was very quiet due to the time of year so only one pelagic species seen. I used the Helm guide to the Atlantic Islands which proved very useful. Any interesting sub-species (ssp) are highlighted. The list is by date and place with any subsequent sightings in brackets:

West Funchal 02-16/12/16

Yellow Legged Gull ssp atlantis (seen everyday throughout holiday in all locations in large numbers max count 198, but more by coast as would be expected)
Blackbird ssp cabrerae (These were throughout the island at all altitudes in modest numbers)
Eurasian Collared Dove (1 seen in Camara De Lobos along with 3 seen in Santana on 07/12/16. it looks like this species is now colonising Madeira)
Lesser Black Backed Gull (seen in ones and twos most days from hotel)
Kittiwake (seen from hotel during Atlantic storm NNW force 6-7 in first two days)
Common Kestrel ssp canariensis (seen every day round hotel and many other sites subsequently)
Little Egret (seen passing over the sea a few times in the two weeks in small numbers)
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon (feral form in a number of towns with a few showing sign of classic Rock Doves)
Plain Swift (only 2 seen one day on 03/12/16)
Island Canary (The most numerous bird on the Island and seen everywhere)
Ring Necked Parakeet (seen a few times in the parks of Funchal)
Blackcap ssp heineken (seen every day most places and very common, notably smaller than nominate form)
Black headed Gull (seen most days in small numbers)
White Wagtail ssp alba (seen a few times in Funchal)
Turnstone (seem most days on rocks off coast from hotel)
Grey Wagtail ssp schmitzi (seen in a number of places from Funchal city to many of the river outlets to the sea around the island)
Sparrowhawk ssp granti (a pair were in residence and seen a couple of times above Camara De Lobos)
Common Buzzard (2 seen in Porto Moniz on 07/12/16 and subsequently Monte and Ecumedia)
Mallard (seen in a Funchal park)
Mute Swan (also seen in a couple of Funchal parks)
Bertelot's Pipit ssp madeirensis (2 seem only at Ponta de Sao Lourenco, surprised not to see more)
Common Waxbill ssp jagoensis (seen a couple of times near the hotel in flocks of 20+)
Red Legged Partridge (3 visited me as I was reading on my sun lounger and proceeded to call for over half an hour)
Muscovy Duck (these duck now seem to have a feral breeding population on the island with over 30 seen at Ribera Brava and a number seen in many other river mouths)
Macronesian Shearwater (3 seen passing hotel on 15/12/16 in ssw wind of about force 4 to 5, the only time I had this wind direction which may be telling as these were the only pelagic species seen and it may be that as I was on the south coast the prevailing northerly winds prevented close passes at this time of year)

Robiero Frio 05/12/16 and 10/12/16

Madeira Firecrest (many seen in Laurel forest on 2 walks to Balcoes from Ribiero Frio, 1 also seen in Monte Tropical Gardens)
Common Chaffinch ssp maderensis (many seen in Laurel forest on 2 walks to Balcoes from Ribiero Frio, a few also seen in in other parts of the inland mountain areas, noticeably different vocalisation to nominate along with distinctive plumage differences)
European Robin (a few seen in Laurel forest on 2 walks to Balcoes from Ribiero Frio)
Trocaz Pigeon (Only 2 seen in Laurel forest on 1st walk to Balcoes from Ribiero Frio, both were in flight from above so identification was easy, but the views were brief)

An excellent two weeks with most of the targeted land species found. I was not expecting much pelagic action due to the time of year but the Macronesian Shearwater was a great bonus. However I was a little surprised by how little was seen on the sea. It was great to get the endemic Madeira Firecrest and Trocaz Pigeon and the new subspecies of Common Chaffinch, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk and Bertelot's Pipit. I have only counted 28 as the total but the Muscovy Duck is on the list as from what I hear it now has a self sustaining population. The one dip was the Rock Sparrow just like on Tenerife so I will have to keep looking for that one. A re-visit on one May or June will be made as that would be best for the pelagic species and a trip out to the Desertas islands would be ideal for this. What a shame I'll just have to go back.

L Hindley
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