Madeira birdwacthing trip report by John Carter (UK)

We thank the collaboration of John Carter from UK who kindly sent us these interesting observations:

Mediterranean gull - Maximum count of 7 first-winter birds near the harbour at Funchal on 6th Dec. Other days between 3-5 were present at the same place (the small jetty opposite Praca da Autonomia).

Tern sp. - brief views of a tern in breeding plumage(!?) flew into the harbour on 6th Dec - looked like a roseate (long-tailed, dark bill with red base and very 'clean' looking) Despite my searching I could not relocate it. - Madeira wind Birds guides believe this will be a Roseate Tern as on the last couple of years a pair is seen by this time of year and in February 2008 there was an immature bird with an adult at Funchal marina.

White wagtail - 1 on the river mouth at Santa Cruz on 12th Dec.

Fieldfare - 1 on Desertas main island near the wardens' house on 11th Dec.

Blackcap - 1 male of the black-headed form in Machico on 8th Dec.

Chiffchaff - 2 together with a small group of blackcaps on Levada Nova near the pig farm on the Santo da Serra road.

Black Redstart - 1 female feeding at Baía d'Abra on 8th Dec.

Spanish sparrow - group of 7 birds at Canical on 8th Dec.

Also noted were good numbers of plain swift at a number of places including up to 20+ present most days at Santa Cruz.
Trocaz pigeon - 7 were seen at close quarters high in the valley above Santa Cruz on 7th Dec.

Not a single seabird was seen on the journey to and from Desertas Islands except 1 juv. Gannet!"

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