Aug 30, 2015

Black-headed Bunting at Herdlevær!!!

Eating breakfast I got a report of a male Black-headed Bunting at Herdlevær, found by Bjørnard Skjold. Easy choice, so Robin and I headed out for it. After a few moments of waiting it hopped into view. It was quite shy however, so not the best pics. Anyhow my own.
It had a ring on the left foot, so it may well be Utsira's bird, that was there for a large part of the summer.

Black-headed Bunting

Aug 29, 2015


Yesterday free, end of august. Tried the Sanderling at Flesland without any luck. A walk at Herdlevær and Breivik produced quite a lot of Ruff and the first autumn warblers: three Willow Warblers and a Song Thrush...
At the Tveitevannet a quick scan for gulls, but only the local Common Gulls. Tried my lens with satisfying results.

second summer Common Gull

juvenile Common Gull

close up of the same juvenile

Aug 9, 2015

Madeira at sea

North Atlantic seabirds are fun! So we planned a short week with family on Madeira for birding and relaxing. So we did.
I took the well known three afternoon pelagics with Madeira Wind Birds, run by Hugo Romano and Catarina Fagundes. Both are specialised in finding seabirds in Madeiran waters. New taxa in red.
The first two afternoons we had very little wind and a bit more on the last afternoon. We had good birding and photo opportunities on all three days, but saw just one Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira in the almost dark at sea on the second day.
We saw one Desertas Petrel Pterodroma desertas at close range, but that one flew all too fast for photo's. Further three unidentified, but probable Desertas. Many Cory's Shearwaters Calonectris borealis and Bulwers Petrels Bulweria bulwerii around all the time. Otherwise 8 Wilson's Storm-petrels Oceanites oceanicus, two Madeiran Storm-petrels Oceanodroma castro, two European Storm-petrels Hydrobates pelagicus, three or four Great Shearwaters Puffinus gravis , one Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus and five Long-tailed Skuas Stercorarius longicaudus!
Earlier in the week I joined the night expedition to the breeding colony of the Zino's Petrels and heard them very good and even saw one at very close range (maybe two meters) as a recognisable silhouette in moonlight!

On the island all the endemics: Madeiran Barn Owl Tyto (tyto) schmitzi (heard only), c 10 Trocaz Pigeons Colomba trocaz, Berthelots Pipits Anthus berthelotii madeirensis, Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Madeiran Firecrests Regulus madeirensis and Madeiran Finches Fringilla celebs maderensis.
Other birds included Common Buzzard, Kestrels canariensis, Yellow-legged Gulls atlantis, Plain Swifts, a few Pallid Swifts, Atlantic Canaries, one Spectacled Warbler (heard only), Blackcaps, Goldfinches and Siskins. No tits on the islands!

We also saw a few Bryde's Whales Balaenoptera edeni, a few groups of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins Stenella frontalis (absolute "feel-good" animals) and a Blue Shark Prince glauca feasting on the chum.

Bulwer's Petrel

Wilson's Storm-Petrel

Long-tailed Skua

Cory's Shearwater

Berthelot's Pipit

Atlantic Canary

male Madeiran Finch

female Madeiran Finch

Aug 3, 2015

Madeira with a good start

We are on Madeira for a week holiday. The plan is of course to see all the special birds; I booked a three afternoons pelagic and a night tour to the Zino's Petrel breeding grounds.
We arrived on sunday and only after an hour we had already seen three taxa: some ten or so Trocaz Pigeons, lots of (juvenile) Madeira Firecrests and a Madeira Chaffinch (maderensis) in Paleiro Gardens northeast of Funchal. In the evening some Pallid Swifts and lots of Plain Swifts over Machico.

Trocaz Pigeon, a madeiran endemic