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Just back from a cruise to the Azores & on an island tour of 'Sao miguel' spotted an Azorean Buzzard circling on thermals.

On a refreshment stop off I noticed a chinese family throwing bread near to where they had parked so had to check it out & was thrilled to see a few feeding Azores Chaffinch which are a sub-species of the Common Chaffinch but with beautiful rich blue & green markings - quite different to our own Chaffinch. Back in port a few Common Tern & a couple of Muscovy Duck were also seen.

A boat trip to see dolphins & whales on the island of 'Faial' produced many sightings of 'Cory's Shearwater' along with Common & 'Striped Dolphins' & a single 'Sei Whale' with numerous 'Portuguese Man O' War floating by.


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Did a week on The Azores mid Sept,main purpose of the trip was to see Sperm Whales,a species I've not really seen well before.With flights from M/c with Ryanair to Sao Miguel at only 49.99 each way the trip was a no brainer.Sao Miguel is the most easterly of the island group and therefore is not likely to get many Yanks,and has (as can be expected from an isolated island)a very small list of resident birds.We did see the the Azorean Bullfinch very well,which is now a tick(albeit a very unexciting one).We also saw all the resident species which are classed as sub species,such as Buzzard,Robin ,Blackcap etc plus plenty of Terns(Sandwich,Little,Roseate and Common)which frequent the harbour,and also good views of Azorean Yellow Legged Gulls which is another potential tick.Turnstone , Sanderling and Whimbrel were the only waders seen,but as there was very little habbo for them it wasn't surprising to see so few.
We did 3 whale watching trips and got amazing views of up to 6 Sperm Whales together,loads of Common and Bottlenosed Dolphins,but the only birds seen on the pelagics(apart from Y.L.Gulls)were good numbers of Cory's Shearwaters.
Food is still relatively cheap,restaurant meals starting at only 6 and a bottle of red wine starts at only a quid in the local supermarkets.All in all a very good,easy and not too expensive place to visit.

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