Magnificent Frigatebird - 1st record for Madeira Islands

Observed by Steve Porter and Roddie Mavor

Steve Porter has kindly sent us his fantastic sighting of a Frigatebird (Magnificent) seen from the Porto Santo ferry at about 45 minutes (about 15 miles Southwest) away from Porto Santo, on the 8th of October 2008. From the birdwatcher's 5 minutes observation they say bird was either an immature or female as it showed some white in plumage.

Here is Steve's report for special birds during his holiday in Madeira Islands:

"My wife (Sharon) and I were on holiday on Madeira and decided to go to Porto Santo for the day, we went up on deck and the only other birders we saw were Roddie Mavor and his partner Karen so we started talking to them almost straight away. We stood with them at the stern seeing lots of Cory's and a few distant Soft Plumaged Petrels. My wife then went to sit down as she is not a good sailor. About 50 mins from Porto Santo my wife called me to watch our bags as she needed to go below deck. I sat on the back of a chair and just looked off the back of the ferry and immediately saw a large, dark, long winged bird, it dived down to the surface of the sea and then climbed back into the air it was then I saw the long forked tail and a patch of white I could hardly believe my eyes a Frigate Bird Fregata magnificens. I raced over to Roddie and Karen and told them, Roddie saw it almost as soon as I told him. The bird was clearly visible for about another 5 minutes but we were moving away all the time.

While on Porto Santo my wife and I walked up to Tanque Pond it was very quiet with only a Grey Heron, we sat and waited for 20 mins then walked across the top of the dam on reaching the top a large Pipit flew past we stood watching it for a minute or two when a boy on a motorcycle road accross and frightened the bird off and we could not relocate it. On checking I am certain the bird was a Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris." This will be the third record for Madeira Archipelago, 1st for Porto Santo Island.

"We also had excellent views of Trocaz Pigeon 0n 9/10/2008 at Risco Falls feeding on top of the Levada on the other side of the valley with good views of Firecrest and Chaffinch. We then went to Ponta do Pargo where we saw Rock Sparrows and a Spotted Flycatcher briefly." Spotted Flycatcher Musicapa striata is an exceptional vagrant which means its visits depend on certain wind directions and time of year.

"I also saw one Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus from Garajau on 10/10/2008" - uncommon passage migrant

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