Our Man In Madeira

Hoopoe and Junior today

Technically I’m not in Madeira, I’m back on Porto Santo where I spent a week last autumn. I came here with Jane then, but she can’t get the leave so this time I’m on my own. Someone decided to teach me a lesson for coming away on my tod as there was a delay due to an air traffic control strike in France, the plane aborted its first landing late in the day and when I did get on terra firma TUI told me the hotel I was due to stay in hadn’t opened.

Anyway when I did get sorted yesterday my first birding activity was to walk up the hill to Porto Santo Golf, checking the fairways before having a beer at the clubhouse overlooking pools which are a big draw for waterbirds.

It was fairly quiet on the fairway fringe. There were a couple of Coot, and when I did reach the clubhouse there were plenty more including families groups.

At the main ponds a Common Tern was making metronomic circuits in pursuit of play, a new bird for me on the island. There were very few waders, but the handful that were present included Grey Plover which are apparently quite scarce in the archipelago. The pictures of both are a bit grim, in my defence the Grey Plover were miles away.

After tea I had a scan of the sea from the back of the hotel on the off chance of Bulwer’s Petrel or something even better. In the event I saw only a couple of hundred Cory’s Shearwaters, and this bizarre load on the vessel Isla Da Madeira which included a tiny boat perched on top of one stack of containers.

Better pictures and better birds to follow. I’m writing this at the end of Day 2 so you can trust me…

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