A few observations around Funchal by Totti Toiskallio

Hello Madeira birders,
I was staying in Funchal from 7th February to 13th February for a non-birding holiday with my wife. Although this was a "family vacation", I had my binoculars and my camera with me. So, I thought I'd send you a short list of my observations during the week, since I haven't come across any recent ones from the capitol area. Some of the species' listed below may not be of interest or anything special, but I'll list them anyway :)

8th Feb, Funchal bay boulevard (at the point were Ribeira de Santa
Luzia and Ribeira de Joao Gomez run to the sea)

Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus, at least 5 2cy birds
Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicencis, 2 birds present
Several Yellow-legged Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls of the race graellsii
Grey Wagtail, 2
Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, 1

10th Feb, Lido (near Ponta da Cruz & the statue of Zarco)
Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, a flock of 10 birds present

11th Feb, Funchal bay boulevard
Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis, 1 2cy bird (present for at least 3 days until 13th Feb)
Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus, about 10 2cy birds
Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicencis, at least 1 ind.

Levada walk from Camacha to Jardim Botanico
Madeira Firecrest, Regulus maiderensis, at least 15 individuals
Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs (of the local subspecies), about 10 birds
Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, 7 individuals
Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, 4-5 individuals
Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita (probably of the nominate subspecies, although the call was quite straight "veest") 1 at Jardim Botanico
Swift sp. (probably Apus unicolor?), about 20 birds near Lido

12th Feb
Cory's Shearwater, 3 individuals (a sea trip about 3 miles outside the shoreline)
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, 1, Funchal marina
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea, 1 flying over Lido, being chased by a Kestrel
Swift sp. (Apus unicolor?), 3 at Lido

Canaries Serinus canaria, Blackbirds Turdus merula and Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla were common almost everywhere, Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea a little bit more scarce, but I counted about 20 individuals during our trip. Kestrels Falco tinunculus were common too. I left the Swifts mentioned unidentified, because I had no scope with me and because I wasn't "in the mood" for ticking a lifer for me just on the grounds of a little bit different behavior than our normal Common Swifts (Apus apus)...

Some photos of the birds mentioned, and a small story (only in Finnish, sorry!) can be found on our birding blog.
Wishing you good observations for the days, weeks and months to come,
Mr. Totti Toiskallio (Lappeenranta, Finland)

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