27th to 31st December 2016 - Madeira

There were a couple of other days out birding and a trip to Gran Canaria before the end of the year but none of these produced much so I've skipped them in favour of a great trip had between Christmas and New Year to Madeira.  It was the first time we'd been to the island and it was even better than I had hoped.  We got a cheap last minute deal through BA Holidays, leaving on Boxing Day and coming back on NYE.
Madeira Firecrest (if you think this photo is bad then be happy
I didn't subject you to the one of the Trocaz Pigeon)

We relaxed in our hotel for the afternoon of Boxing Day and then headed out for our first experience of the birding on the 27th to Ribeiro Frio.  This was to prove ridiculously fruitful as we saw the 2 endemic species we had been hoping for within about 15 minutes of arriving.  Nice!  The Madeiran Firecrest were flitting around in the trees on the path up to the viewpoint and at times came very close (but being me, I didn't get any decent photos.  Of course).  Next, we scanned the forest down below the viewpoint and saw numerous Trocaz Pigeon flying around, eventually managing to get the scope on a perched one, which we watched for a good while.  After this successful first day we rather eased off on the birding, exploring the rest of the island and the Madeira wine lodges instead!

Speckled Wood (Madeiran or not?)


A visit to the lava tunnels added Sparrowhawk (a species we've since heard is fairly uncommon on Madeira?) and Whimbrel to the list and a quick trip to Ponta do Pargo before we left saw Bertholet's Pipit, Spectacled Warbler and White Wagtail added to the list, among others.  A very relaxing yet productive birding holiday we felt!



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