Thursday, July 7, 2011


Following on from the recent Corsica trip, decided to keep the island theme with a trip to Madeira. Decided on 10 days so could also do the seabirds and perhaps some relaxation!

This is the airport runway from below. Apart from some high elevation plateaux in the middle of the island there are no flat areas so they had to make their own. The only way to do it was to put everything on stilts.

Bloody high stilts! Click to enlarge

Was a bit disappointed at being greeted on arrival by low grey cloud but as we drove west things improved considerably.
Spent the afternoon around the Villa. First up a male Canary.

One of the local Blackbirds. These are of the island race cabrerae. Slightly smaller birds than nominate with a longer bill, certainly looks longer on this shot. Also males have blacker bellies

Also some Plain Swifts flying about. If you think Common Swifts are manic you should see these guys, more like Common Swifts on speed! They do look a bit smaller and more rakish and have a deeper fork but these features didnt always seem strikingly obvious. Seen well, one thing is obvious and that is the lack of an obvious white chin area seen on Common Swift

Listening to the calls, to me they did sound different. Seemingly higher in pitch than Common Swift and a bit thinner and whispier being prone to regularly break up as though they were losing their voice. Ending also had a downward inflection.