Karl-Bertil Gustafsson, Stefan Göransson, Ulf Karlsson & Niklas Holmström, Sweden
We booked a flight including accommodation and transfer from Stockholm via the Swedish travel agency Fritidsresor. We stayed at Hotel Casa Branca in the western part of Funchal, only a 5 minute walk to the sea (Lido) and 15 to the hot spot Ponta da Cruz. We rented a car (Renault Clio) from Moinho (best prize) via our travel agency. To get the best out Madeira's seabirds it is often necessary to get out onto the sea. Unfortunately we never get to the Desertas, because the boat only leave Funchal in optimal wind conditions. You have to check with Albatroz Organization (Phone:0-291-220327) every day. The sailing trip to Desertas cost 15,000 Escudos (45 GBP) per person.
However, we took the ferry to Porto Santo (9,000 Escudos/person) on 11 September. The problem was that we only had one hour birding before dusk on the way back from Porto Santo. To be true, the Porto Santo trip was not worth the money, even if we had excellent views of Cory's Shearwater and Bulwer's Petrel. But, note that many trip reports previous years could tell otherwise with Fea's/Zino's Petrel, Little Shearwater, Madeiran Storm Petrel, White-faced Storm Petrel and much more.
The trip to Desertas probably offer the best chances and excellent views of seabirds, especially Fea's/Zino's Petrel. But you never know: John Oates and company did not seen any Fea's/Zino's on the trip on 23 August 2000, but Rolf de By (NL) did see up to 30 birds on 9 September 2000. So, one could never take it for granted that a trip to Desertas (or Porto Santo) would produce these species.
Hot and sunny, mostly between 24 and 28°C, the whole period. On the northern parts there are often more or less cloudy.
Madeira, an attractive birding destination, Juha Laaksonen, Alula 4/99
A birdwatchers Guide to Potugal and Madeira, C. C. Moore, G. Elias and H. Costa
5/9 Airport-Funchal-Botanic Garden-Lido pm 6/9 Ponta da Cruz am and pm 7/9 Porto Moniz 8/9 Funchal am-Balcoes am-Prainha pm-Ponta do Rosto pm 9/9 Porto Moniz am-Ponta do Pargo pm 10/9 Ponta da Cruz am-Botanic Garden-Funchal pm 11/9 Porto Santo 12/9 Ponta da Cruz-Airport am
There are many headlands on the island that look as they should produce good views of seabirds under the right conditions. The current knowledge suggests that they are mostly disappointing and one reason is that many presumed hot spots are placed too high over the sea, such as Ponta do Rosto. The best and most consistent seawatching spot is Ponta da Cruz, the most southerly point of the island, or at Lido. Here a westward movement in the morning and an eastward movement in the evening should be visible representing birds traveling to and from the Desertas. The winds were predominantly light on the southside of the island and always more brisk along the northern coastline. Seawatching elsewhere was even less productive with the very notable exception of Porto Moniz - an excellent and low placed spot. We did seawatch from here on two days and the first day (7th September) was outstanding, se table below. All Great, Sooty and Manx Shearwater headed towards west, probably true migraters. It was a feast for the eye to watch this species in very good conditions and many close views! A memory for life! We found the best place to watch from was the shore parade, between the two natural swimming pools.
Fea's/Zino's PetrelPterodroma feae/madiera
1 -Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am. Unfortunately the only observed bird on the trip!
Bulwer's PetrelBulweia bulwerii
20 - from Lido in the evening 5/9. 25 - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am and 17:00 to 20:15pm. 17 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. 12 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm. 6 - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 07:30 to 10:00am. 8 - Porto Santo Ferry 11/9 08:00 to 11:00am and 19:00 to 20:15pm.
Cory's ShearwaterCalonectris diomedea borealis
150 - from Lido in the evening 5/9. 800 - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am and 17:00 to 20:15pm. 800 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. 1000 in one big flock! - Ponta do Rosto 8/9 17:40 to 18:50pm. 460 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm. 90 - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 07:30 to 10:00am. 270 - Porto Santo Ferry 11/9 08:00 to 11:00am and 19:00 to 20:15pm. 80 - Ponta da Cruz 12/9 07:20 to 08:30am.
Birds feeding and resting on the water can be seen almost everywhere particularly from headlands and during the ferry trip to Porto Santo.
Great ShearwaterPuffinus gravis
219 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. Mostly single birds or pairs. Small parties of 3-4 birds were also seen. 195 of the birds was counted between 15:00 and 20:00pm. Distant large shearwaters was not counted, but could have produced more of the Great one. 1 - Ponta da Cruz 9/9 in the morning (Stefan Göransson).
Sooty ShearwaterPuffinus griseus
5 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. A very unexpected shearwater on this trip!
Manx ShearwaterPuffinus puffinus
334 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. They passed very close and we probably missed many flocks when looking after larger shearwaters. 78 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm. 1 - Ponta do Rosto 8/9 17:40 to 18:50pm.
Little ShearwaterPuffinus assimilis baroli
20 Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm (all were seen in the morning). As for Manx we surely missed some birds.
Little EgretEgretta garzetta
1 - Funchal Harbour 8/9. 1 towards east - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 07:30 to 10:00am.
Grey HeronArdea cinerea
6 + 10 - Ponta da Cruz 6/9. 6 - Porto Santo 11/9.
SparrowhawkAccipiter nisus granti
5 birds were seen in total.
Widespread and conspicuous. At least 45 birds were seen in total (5 at Ponta do Pargo 9/9).
KestrelFalco tinnunculus canariensis
Widespread and conspicuous. Seen daily.
Red-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufa hispanica
2 - Fonte da Pedra (7 km south Porto Moniz) 9/9 at dawn. The birds were heard playing.
The commonest wader found on Madeira. One or two could usually be found on rocky beaches and Harbour walls (15 - Funchal Harbour walls 8/9).
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
1 - Porto Moniz 7/9. 1 - Funchal Harbour 8/9. 4 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm. 1 - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 07:30 to 10:00am.
Pomarine/Arctic SkuaStercorarius pomarinus/parasiticus
1 distant bird - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm.
Atlantic Herring GullLarus michahellis atlantis
Common on the coast particularly around the Port at Funchal. Birds were also seen on the high plateau of Paul Da Serra.
Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscus graellsii
2 juvenile - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am and 17:00 to 20:15pm. 1 adult - Funchal Harbour 8/9. 2 adult - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 07:30 to 10:00am. 1 adult - Ponta da Cruz 12/9 07:20 to 08:30am.
Common TernSterna hirundo
20 -/ from Lido in the evening 5/9. 34 - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am and 17:00 to 20:15pm. 15 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm. 15 - Funchal Harbour 8/9. 20 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm.
Arctic TernSterna paradisaea
1 adult - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 07:20 to 11:45am and 17:00 to 20:15pm. 5 - Porto Moniz 7/9 07:50am to 20:00pm.2 - Funchal Harbour 8/9. 1 - Porto Moniz 9/9 08:20am to 14:40pm.
Feral PigeonColumba livia
Common, but we did not find many 'Rock Dove', except for 40-50 "pure" birds at Ponta do Pargo 9/9.
Long-toed PigeonColumba trocaz
2-3 - between Faja da Cedro Gordo and Riberio Frio 8/9 15:00pm.
Barn OwlTyto alba schimtzi
1 - Casa Branca 6/9. 2 - Ponta da Cruz 6/9 at dawn. Probably breeding birds. Exellent views and also heard frequently. 2 - Canhas in the evening 7/9. 3 - Ponta da Cruz 10/9 at dawn. 1 - Ponta da Cruz 12/9 07:20am.
Plain SwiftApus unicolor
3 - Ponta do Pargo 9/9 16:00 to 16:45pm. 1 - Porto Santo 11/9.
Grey WagtailMotacilla cinerea schmitzi
Common and can be seen almost anywhere.
Berthelot's PipitAnthus berthelotii madeirensis
10-15 - Prainha 8/9. 2 - Ponta de São Lourenço 8/9. 10 - Ponto do Rosto 8/9 (all three spots located at the western tip of Madeira). The birds at Ponta do Rosto was nearly tame and feeded successfully with bread! 2 - Ponta do Pargo 9/9 16:00 to 16:45pm. 2 - on the high plateau of Paul da Serra 9/9. 2 - Porto Santo 11/9.
Heard and seen almost everyday.
BlackbirdTurdus merula cabrerae
Heard and seen almost everyday.
BlackcapSylvia atricapilla obscura
Heard and seen almost everyday.
Spectacled WarblerSylvia conspicillata bella
2 - Ponta do Pargo 9/9 16:00 to 16:45pm.
Madeira FirecrestRegulus ignicapillus madeirensis
15 - Balcoes 8/9 12:00 to 14:10pm. It was best seen and heard (the call slightly like Yellow-browed Warbler) by walking along levadas through Laurel forest such as the walk to Balcoes.
ChaffinchFringilla coelebs madeirensis
4 - Balcoes 8/9 12:00 to 14:10pm.
Beware of this species which are both common and extremely vocal. The calls sometimes is very like Linnet, Greenfinch, Twite and Goldfinch! Large flocks were seen at Ponta da Cruz and Ponta do Pargo.
GoldfinchCarduelis carduelis parva
6 - Funchal Garden 5/9.
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
20 - Porto Santo 11/9.
Dolphins (not identified) were seen on several occassions from Ponta da Cruz and the Porto Santo ferry.
Compiled by: Niklas Holmström
Jakob Ulfssons väg 8 C
SE-647 32 MARIEFRED