The unsound approach

Madeira Photo Essay

Isabelle Sillero and I spent a week on Madeira in August 2008, completely minimal report presented here as birding is very easy, all the information you'll ever need is online here. Its a cheap, girl friendly holiday where in theory you can see everthing in a day. Seawatching is apparently great in autumn - I tried for an hour off Porto Moniz and had 100 Cory's and 3 Bulwer's one evening. Otherwise we saw all the regular dross, Pigeons in Ribeiro Frio are even easier to see than putting on a hat, the Firecrest is common everywhere and there are a few other endemic forms plus Canaries, Plain Swifts etc. For €25 you can go out on a boat trip to the Desertas where at least after mid August Pterodromas are reliable; we had about 20, some of which blazed past the boat at 40 m range. Mungus. The trip to Pico do Areeiro is fantastic (although apparently not a girl-friendly experience) and you can wrestle with your conscience about ticking shapes in the night....


Arch recordshot of Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz), taken from the Balcões watchpoint at Ribeiro Frio - we saw about 30 birds here in 40 minutes. 

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea borealis)

Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera brydei), one of two seen on the crossing between Madeira and Deserta Grande.

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis), one of a pod of 7 bow-riding our vessel 

The research station on Deserta Grande; Bugio, haunt of Monk Seals and the Freira de Bugio, can be seen in the distance.

Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) found under a rock on Deserta Grande, I was also shown a Cory's Shearwater chick here.

Berthelot's Pipit (Anthus berthelotii madeirensis) on Deserta Grande

Distant Fea's/Zino's Petrel (Pterodroma feae/madeira), one of 20 seen on the crossing between Madeira and Deserta Grande.

presumed Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma (feae) deserta), 4 miles NW of Deserta Grande, this bird passed close to the boat such that an appreciation of bill size and structure was possible.  

Madeiran Wall Lizard (Teira dugesii), a hyper common though attractive endemic

'Madeiran' Chaffinch (Fringila coelebs maderensis)

Madeiran Speckled Wood (Pararge xiphia)

Zino's Petrel (Pterodroma madeira) at the Museu Municipal, Funchal New Folder/dan ireland winter/A. Lees, Zinos's Petrel, August 2008.mp3  

sound recording of calling Zino's Petrels (Pterodroma madeira)

ID challenge.

View from Pico do Areeiro at dusk....

All images (A. Lees)