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Hotspots

Fri, 01/18/2013 - 19:28 -- abc_admin
Common_Tern_Madeira

Common Tern Sterna hirundo, Caniçal Harbour, Madeira

Image Credit: 
John Caddick
Chaffinch_Madeira

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis male, Balcões, Madeira

Image Credit: 
John Caddick
Chaffinch_Madeira

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis female, Balcões, Madeira

Image Credit: 
Rubén Barone Tosco, 8th September 2009
Lagoa_do_Lugar_de_Baixo_Madeira

Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo, Madeira

Image Credit: 
John Caddick
Eurasian_Coot

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra, Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo, Madeira

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Funchal The beach and harbour area is good for gulls, terns and waders with a good list of vagrants. Seawatching from the harbour wall or just to the west at Ponta da Cruz is often excellent in the breeding season with regular sightings of Pterodroma petrels, Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis, Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and occasional Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro. White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagrodroma marina has also been recorded. Plain Swift Apus unicolor can be found easily in summer with smaller numbers also overwintering. Pallid Swift Apus pallidus breeds in small numbers and can often be found to the west of the harbour and in the west of the old town.

Eastern Madeira The route from Funchal to the far east of Madeira at Ponta da São Lourenço passes the towns of Machiço and Caniçal. Both have small harbours with gulls and terns and offer the possibility of seawatching from the harbour wall. Note that this route passes the airport. Ponta da São Lourenço is a rocky and arid headland and Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii madeirensis and Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis can be found.

Central Madeira The critically endangered and endemic Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira breeds in the high mountains of the islands. They are present from mid-March through to late October. Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz occurs in areas of laurel forest but is perhaps best found at Ribeiro Frio and by following the signposted walk to Balcoes. The endemic races of Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis and Madeiran Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla madeirensis can be found in this area. Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii madeirensis is found on rocky and moorland areas around the highest peaks.

Western Madeira Ponta da Pargo is the most westerly point of Madeira and Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii madeirensis and Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia occur here. Seawatching is possible from the area around the lighthouse but it may well require a degree of determination and good luck. Porto Moniz on the north-west coast is an excellent for seawatching with sightings of Pterodroma petrels, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro, Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis and Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea. A little to the east of Porto Moniz is the lagoon at the mouth of Ribeira da Janela which is a good place for migrants. The high plains at Paul da Serra have Madeiran Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla madeirensis and Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicallata has been found here. Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo on the south coast road from Funchal going west is a small lagoon with a breeding population of Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus and Eurasian Coot Fulica atra and the possibility of migrant waders.

Porto Santo Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia, Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis, Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii madeirensis and Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicallata are all easily found on this island. Waders, gulls and terns can also be found along the beach especially towards the southern part. Also the boat trip on the ferry from Madeira to Porto Santo Ferry is excellent for seabirds.

Vagrants

Vagrants can be found anywhere on the islands and are probably under-recorded because there are so few birdwatchers.

Probably the best site in the east of the island is at the town of Machiço. The small river which runs through the eastern part of the town is a mecca for migrants with a long list of rarities including Killdeer Charadrius vociferus, Semipalmated Plover C.semipalmatus, Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius, American Herring Gull Larus argentatus smithsonianus, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides and Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica.

Ponta da Pargo offers the chance of seeing migrants and rarities such as European Roller Coracias garrulus and Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus have been recorded.

Interesting migrants at Paul da Serra have included Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae and Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus.

Porto Santo Tanque near the airport is a hotspot for vagrants and Cliff Swallow Hirundo pyrrhonota, Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus, Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos and White-rumped Sandpiper C. fuscicollis have all been recorded.

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