There’s another birdwatching business on Madeira. It’s called Birds and Company. I would give you a link to their website, but it’s expired. That happened just after I had a tour with them. Maybe I was the final straw?
Luis Dias is the owner and he’s giving me a 1:1 tour of the birding hotspots. There’s certainly plenty of different habitats here, although being a volcanic island, isolated in the Atlantic, there are very few species. Luis says there are only 42 breeding species.
Here’s the view from one of the mountain refuges that you can hire to stay in. Maybe I’ll try staying here next time.
Our first stop is for the Spectacled Warbler, Sylvia conspicillata. As you can see, it specialises in only appearing with Twiggy McTwigface.
Now this is what I call a habitat:
It’s the view from Pico do Arieiro. I’ve been here before but I don’t tell Luis that.
I manage to get closer, and closer, and closer to the Spectacled Warbler:
But then another twig got in the way.
There’s also a Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus canariensis, on the stone wall which prevents the car crashing into the ravine below:
It’s the same subspecies I saw in Gran Canaria:
I got much better views there as they were very common in the open habitat of Gran Canaria.
We stop for lunch overlooking one of the more remote villages on the Island. It would have been almost completely cut off before the building of the comprehensive system of tunnels and viaducts which spaghetti the Island.
There’s a plant I still haven’t identified. It’s the size of a large bush, has massive leaves and potato / tomato-like flowers. I’m sure someone will identify it for me soon.
There are also Berthelot’s Pipits here. This is the Madeira subspecies, Anthus bethelotii madeirensis, which is different from the Gran Canaria subspecies.
Cute, aren’t they? Here’s the Canary Island subspecies, Anthus berthelotii canariensis:
There’s time to go on the trail of the Trocaz Pigeon, Columba trocaz. It’s one of the endemic species of Madeira. It’s like a Woodpigeon but separated by a few million years. They are very difficult to see, still persecuted because of crop damage and found only deep in laurel forest. That is, unless you go to the hotel garden:
Here’s they strut their stuff without fear of a farmer’s gun amongst the camelias.
It’s still a challenge to get close, but I’m always up for a challenge:
I like this one up a tree.
But this one is a better pose.
We had a great day.