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PORTUGAL

Madeira 2008

Birdfinders first tour to Madeira was extremely successful. We recorded a very high total of 47 species (well it is a small island!) and enjoyed excellent multiple views of the endemic Trocaz Pigeon and the endemic sub-species of Firecrest (surely to be split soon) as well as the two breeding endemic seabirds, Fea's and Zino's Petrels. During our three boat trips, we enjoyed 'close up and personal' views of Fea's Petrels and during a night walk in the high mountains witnessed the wonderful sight of Zino's Petrels coming into their breeding sites in the moonlight. In fact, we were also privileged to be in the company of Dr Frank Zino. Cory's Shearwaters were in abundance (including flying under the streetlamps at night along the coast) and we saw many Bulwer's Petrels both at sea and in their nest burrows. Add to this two Little Shearwaters and a lone Manx Shearwater and you can see that we did well for seabirds!

Macronesian endemics included Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit and Island Canary and the endemic sub-species of Chaffinch is surely also due to be upgraded to full species status. Surprising were in the shape of an immature Pallid Harrier and the long-staying drake Green-winged Teal. We also enjoyed close encounters with Bottle-nosed and Spotted Dolphins and at least two species of whale: Bride's and Fin, as well as many species of endemic butterflies, lizards, plants and even a frog! The hotel (and food) was excellent and we will be repeating the tour to this beautiful island.

Trocaz Pigeon

Trocaz Pigeon