Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Madeira complete species list

Cory's Shearwater
Calonectris borealis
Bulwer's Petrel
Bulweria bulwerii
Desertas Petrel
Pterodroma deserta
Zino's Petrel
Pterodroma madeira
Band-rumped Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma castro
Common Buzzard
Buteo buteo
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Accipiter nisus granti
Yellow-legged Gull
Larus michahellis
Common Tern
Sterna hirundo
Roseate Tern
Sterna dougallii
Numenius phaeopus
Calidris alba
Ruddy Turnstone
Arenaria interpres
Common Ketrel
Falco tinnunculus canariensis
Falco peregrinus
Trocaz Pigeon
Columba trocaz
Feral Pigeon
Columba livia domestica
Eurasian Collared Dove
Streptopelia decaocto
Plain Swift
Apus unicolor
Berthelot's Pipit
Anthus berthelotii
Grey Wagtail
Motacilla cinerea schmitzi
Eurasian Blackcap
Sylvia atricapilla
Common Whitethroat
Sylvia communis
Madeira Firecrest
Regulus madeirensis
European Robin
Erithacus rubecula
Common Blackbird
Turdus merula cabrerae
Madeiran Chaffinch
Fringilla coelebs maderensis
European Goldfinch
Carduelis carduelis parva
Atlantic Canary
Serinus canaria
Common Waxbill
Estrilda astrild
Brydes Whale
Balaenoptera brydei
Madeiran Wall Lizard
Lacerta dugesii
Perez's Frog
Pelophylax perezi
Danaus plexippus
Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta
Clouded Yellow
Colias croceus
Small White
Pieris rapae
Lang's Short-tailed Blue
Leptotes pirithous
Speckled Wood
Pararge aegeria
Madeiran Grayling
Hipparchia maderensis

Monday, 13 August 2018

Madeira Day 5

Ventura do Mar; Desertas Islands trip
32.512719, -16.509508 ~ 32.646104, -16.910663
We awoke early in the morning and after a couple of hours had made our move to leave the island. The Berthelot’s Pipits and Atlantic Canaries were still hanging around the camp; showing as well as they had been the previous day.
The journey back was much the same as the crossing coming, with exceptional views of Bulwer’s Petrels and Cory’s Shearwaters. The Pterodroma petrel count was up to 19, with most moving past distantly, but with the occasional bird coming quite close. As before, all the birds that we were able to identify we assigned to Desertas Petrel. The highlight of the return trip was an awesome Bryde’s Whale which emerged from the waves not far from the boat. We saw it emerge a few times, each time giving an impressive spout. It was fortunate that the animal was as close to the boat, the choppy nature of the ocean otherwise making it difficult to pick out cetaceans against the waves.
Upon our return to the Madeiran mainland we made our way back to the hostel where we gathered our things and headed off to the airport for our return flight.
-Bryde's Whale
-Pterodroma Petrel
-Cory's Shearwater

Species List:
Ventura do Mar; Desertas Islands trip: Cory’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Desertas Petrel, Common Tern, Yellow-legged Gull, Berthelot’s Pipit, Atlantic Canary, Bryde’s Whale, Madeiran Wall Lizard,

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Madeira Day 4

Ventura do Mar; Desertas Islands trip
32.646104, -16.910663 ~ 32.512719, -16.509508
The plan for the last two days of the trip was to travel out to the Desertas Islands off the south-eastern corner of Madeira. The tour was organised by Ventura do Mar; consisting of a boat trip out to islands early afternoon, followed by a night on the island, and then a return boat journey the following day.
The boat journey produced excellent views of both Cory’s Shearwater and Bulwer’s Petrel. Both species could be seen flying at very close quarters alongside us. The birds we were really hunting for were Pterodroma petrels, and we had great success with at least eight individuals. Most individuals were distant, but those close enough to be identified were all Desertas Petrels, the less endangered species which breeds on Bugio, the most southern island of the Desertas Islands archipelago.
In addition to the tubenoses on display, we also had a cracking adult Roseate Tern sat on the pier within the harbour in Funchal. The personal highlight from the crossing was an incredible Atlantic Flying Fish, which flew out from alongside the boat, and proceeded to glide for some ten metres before dropping back into the water. It happened too quickly for photos, but it was amazing to witness!
-Roseate Tern
-Desertas Petrel
-Bulwer's Petrel
Once we arrived on Deserta Grande, the largest Island in the Archipelago and our home for the night, we were greeted by incredible views of Berthelot’s Pipit. Birds were running around our feet and almost taking food from our hands. We also had really good views of Atlantic Canary, with large flocks zipping around the area of our camp. The Madeiran Wall Lizards on the Island were even tamer than those on the mainland, regularly taking food from our hands, and any food left unattended was quickly set upon by them. We also had two island rarities; Collared Dove and Common Whitethroat, the latter being quite rare species for Madeira as a whole. As well as birding the island, during the afternoon we went for a swim, getting to see some of the amazing fish species.
-Berthelots Pipit
-Atlantic Canary
-Atlantic Rock Crab
-Madeiran Wall Lizard
-Common Whitethroat
The main reason for visiting the island was to enjoy the seabird colony there. Everywhere we walked there were burrows of Cory’s Shearwater and Bulwer’s Petrel and once night fell, the island came alive with birds everywhere. We regularly found Bulwer’s Petrels sat on the floor near their nests, whilst still more flew around our heads. The other species breeding on the island is Madeiran Storm Petrel, which we failed to see but frequently heard coming into their nests. We finally put our heads down at around midnight, sleeping on mattresses out in the open whilst the seabird extravaganza continued around us.

Species List:
Ventura do Mar; Desertas Islands trip: Cory’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Desertas Petrel, Madeiran Storm Petrel, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Yellow-legged Gull, Collard Dove, Berthelot’s Pipit, Common Whitethroat, Atlantic Canary, Madeiran Wall Lizard,

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Madeira Day 3

32.646465, -16.908382
After a late evening out in Funchal, we spent the majority of the day recovering around Phil’s Hostel. We walked down into town late morning where we spent some time birding the parks and lawns adjacent to the harbour. We had our first Common Waxbill of the trip, although they were only brief around a small allotment on the cliffside. The lawns around the city centre where popular with schmitzi Grey Wagtail, which we found to be fairly approachable given time.
-Banded Garden Spider
-Plain Swift
-schmitzi Grey Wagtail
-Lang's Short-tailed Blue

Species List:
Funchal: Cory’s Shearwater, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Feral Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Common Waxbill, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Monarch,

Vereda do Areeiro
32.734961, -16.928667
In the evening we went out on an evening tour with Wind Birds to the Zino’s Petrel colony in the mountains in the centre of the island. The wind battered us while we walked through the darkness along steep highland paths. It was quite the experience to say the least! The point where we would hear the petrels coming in to their nests was some distance along the paths. During quieter spells, when the wind dropped off, we heard single birds flying about but we did not spot any silhouettes against the sky.

Species List:
Vereda do Areeiro: Zino’s Petrel,

Friday, 10 August 2018

Madeira Day 2

Palheiro Gardens
32.663554, -16.871306
For our second and third day we hired a car so that we could explore more of the island and see as many island endemics as we could. Our first port of call was the Palheiro Gardens, in northern Funchal, to try for Madeiran Firecrest and Trocaz Pigeon. We found both species to be quite abundant around the gardens. At first we found the pigeons quite flighty and difficult to connect with, but as the morning wore on we soon found birds waddling around the lawns. In addition to the species endemics, we also connected with a number of the islands subspecies; maderensis Chaffinch, cabrerae Blackbird and granti Sparrowhawk.
In addition to the birds, the garden had a lot of other wildlife to offer, including our only amphibian of the trip; Perez’s Frog. We also enjoyed a wide variety of butterflies on the flowering borders including Monarch and the endemic Madeiran Grayling. We moved on from the garden late morning, and headed off to the north side of the island.
-Madeiran Firecrest
-Perez's Frog
-Clouded Yellow
-Trocaz Pigeon

Species List:
Palheiro Gardens: Common Buzzard, Eurasian Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Trocaz Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Plain Swift, Common Chaffinch, Eurasian Blackcap, Madeiran Firecrest, Common Blackbird, European Robin, Madeiran Wall Lizard, Perez’s Frog, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Clouded Yellow, Speckled Wood, Madeiran Grayling, Monarch, Small White,

Porto Moniz
32.867846, -17.169424
We headed north to the town of Porto Moniz for an afternoon of Seawatching. The drive took us through the mountains with some spectacular scenery where we had a handful of Trocaz Pigeons fly across the road, as well as flocks of Atlantic Canaries adorning the roadside wires.
Once we arrived in Porto Moniz We set up on the seafront near the outdoor swimming pool and spent a solid five hours staring out to sea. Cory’s Shearwaters and Bulwer’s Petrels made up the vast majority of the birds. Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling were both welcome additions to the trip list, as was a young Peregrine that was watched pursuing a Whimbrel, the latter frequently ditching itself into the waves in an attempt to evade the predator. From beneath the waves we also spotted the protruding dorsal fin of at least three Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks. Due to the choppiness of the waves it was difficult to make out anything more than the fins, but from what we saw and what we have read about sharks in Madeira, we are confident that they were this species.
Around the town itself there were more birds; Atlantic Canaries were abundant in the fig plantations, and there were also Eurasian Blackcap and cabrerae Blackbird. The day took a rather unfortunate turn on the way back when our hire car broke down, but fortunately we were rescued by the company in fairly good time. We arrived back in Funchal early evening, in good time for the evenings stag do.
-Atlantic Canary
-Cory's Shearwater

Species List:
Porto Moniz: Cory’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Peregrine, Plain Swift, Trocaz Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Atlantic Canary, Common Blackbird, Eurasian Blackcap,

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Madeira Day 1

Phil’s Haven
32.647438, -16.886947
We arrived in Funchal airport late morning and, once the chore of airport security was behind us, we travelled to Phil’s Haven, the hostel where we were staying. The view from the hostel looked out over the Atlantic Ocean on the south side of the island, so from the balcony we were able to watch Cory’s Shearwaters and Bulwer’s Petrels, whilst Plain Swifts screamed overhead. The walls of the hostel were covered with Madeiran Wall Lizards, which would steal any food that was left unguarded.
During the afternoon we explored the area immediately around the hostel. The nearby cliff faces provided us with our first Atlantic Canaries of the trip; with sightings ranging from single birds to small flocks. Butterflies were also abundant along the cliff top vegetation, the standout species being Monarch, which we later found to be fairly common across the island.
Our evening plan was to head up into the mountains to the Zino’s Petrel colony, but our Wind Birds guide for the evening informed us that there had been an outbreak of forest fire, so rescheduled for the evening of the 11th. Consequently our evening entertainment involved sitting on the cliff top and watched the Cory’s Shearwaters come in to roost on the cliffs. Although we saw many birds illuminated by the lights of the clifftop hotels, the spectacle was more the noise of so many birds all calling at the same time.
-Madeiran Wall Lizard
-Lang's Short-tailed Blue
-Plain Swift

Species List:
Phil’s Haven: Cory’s Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Plain Swift, Feral Pigeon, Collard Dove, Atlantic Canary, Common Blackbird, Grey Wagtail, Madeiran Wall Lizard, Monarch, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue, Small White, Red Admiral,

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

July at Spurn

Junes Squacco Heron remained around the area for the start of July, and I occasionally spotted it as it flew between the various water bodies that compose the triangle and the wetlands. Birding was generally pretty slow for the most part during the start of the month, with very few birds turning up in the nets. A young Great-spotted Woodpecker was the best we managed in the net, and we also finished off the Barn Owl chicks and ringed an unwell Guillemot that we had been tasked with restoring to health. We also targeted the Marsh Warblers on Beacon Lane and caught the male bird, but obviously had to remain quiet as a result of the breeding attempt. The birds fledged three chicks, making it a very successful breeding attempt. An impressive arrival of Silver-Y moths was a none avian highlight, with any flowering bush covered in them.
-Squacco Heron
-Marsh Warbler
The month really kicked off on the 14th when a Greater Sand Plover was found on the beach at Beacon Ponds. Sadly I was at work when it was discovered, and when I clocked off it was already dark. Given that waders at Spurn usual make a swift exit from the area I was not optimistic of it still being around. The following morning the bird was rediscovered in the same place, but sadly I was not at Spurn until late morning after which the bird had disappeared. Of course the damn this reappeared once I started my shift and was unable to twitch it. I managed to negotiate a half an hour break mid-afternoon to finally see it, much to my relief.
On the 19th we ringed the Sparrowhawk chicks in the nest behind the pub, but ringing was otherwise very quiet until the 23rd when we started using Corner Field. On our first day we managed an impressive 56 birds of 11 species including; 28 Swallows, 2 House Martins and a few Sand Martins. Sadly the nets never really reached this kind of numbers again as when we opened them, but we still caught a few nice birds there.
On the 25th the highlight of the month was discovered down the canal; a cracking male Southern Migrant Hawker. I was away for most of the day twitching Franklin’s Gull, and when the news broke that a SMH had been seen at Spurn it very much took the glamour of the twitch away. The journey back was filled with suspense but fortunately the dragonfly remained in the same location for the whole day and the following days, so I was able to see it and really appreciate this stunning rare insect.
-Southern Migrant Hawker
-Emerald Damselfly
On the 27th July, whilst hungover as hell early morning, news filtered through of a probable Semipalmated Sandpiper on wetlands. It took a while for everyone to be satisfied with the identification of the bird, but it showed fairly well allowing for good photos to be taken. It was a really smart little wader, and a nice end to the month.
-Semipalmated Sandpiper
Ringing remained slow at the end of the month but a couple of Stock Dove pulli were a nice addition to the Spurn ringing yearlist.

Species List:
Spurn Bird Observatory: Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Gannet, Cormorant, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Whimbrel, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Common Tern, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Cuckoo, Swift, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Wheatear, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Dunnock, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting,

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Scaling Dam twitching Franklin's Gull

Somehow I found myself with a day off, and this helpfully coincided with the reappearance of a Franklin's Gull in Cleveland. With nothing else on the cards I decided to head up with IS and RJS. We set off at around 7.30, but had we set off any later we would certainly have missed the bird. When we arrived it was still sitting in front of the hide, but was asleep and largely obscured by Black-headed Gulls.
Once it did finally wake up, it flew to the front of the hide, where it had a quick drink and a preen, before then flying over the hide not to reappear again. In total we probably saw the bird for less than 15 minutes, and of those most of the time it was poor views. 
-Franklin's Gull
Given its behaviour the previous day, we decided it probably wasn't worth waiting around for, so we headed off back towards Spurn. On the way back we called in at Wykeham for honey buzzards but sadly drew a blank there. A cracking singing male Crossbill was the highlight of the hour or so that we spent there.

Species List:
Scaling Dam: Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Franklin's Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Ringed Plover, Willow Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Woodpigeon, 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Thorne and Hatfield

Over the summer Tim was working on ringing Nightjars on the peat bogs between Doncaster and Goole. I managed to negotiate a day off work and had the pleasure of going out with him. During the day we worked Hatfield Moor tracking individual adult Nightjars with radio transmitters in the hope of finding some nests. We found three nests; the first had some fledged chicks we Tim stumbled across by chance, the second had two mid-sized chicks one of which I was able to ring, and the third nest had two chicks that had just hatched. At the final nest we also caught the female, on whom we put a data logger.
In the evening we went out onto Thorne Moors where we set up nets to try and catch adult birds to retrieve data tags. We caught three adult birds, a female and two males. All the birds were already ringed , but it was still fun to hold the birds whilst the tags were put on them. The mosquitoes were an absolute nightmare but it was worth the pain. 
Thorne and Hatfield are both excellent sites. Whilst out on the reserves we had excellent views of Turtle Dove and Hobby, and we heard the Cranes calling distantly, although we did not see them. We also had plenty of dragonflies including hundreds of Black Darters, plus Southern, Brown and Common Hawker, the latter (My favourite dragonflies) are the first I have seen for some years. 
-First Nightjar chicks
-Younger Nightjar chicks
-Adult female Nightjar

Species List:
Thorne and Hatfield Moors: Greylag Goose, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Hobby, Kestrel, Little Owl, Pheasant, Grey Partridge, Lapwing, Redshank, Turtle Dove, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker, European Nightjar, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker, Common Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter, Black Darter, Emerald Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Large White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral,