Monday 24 May 2010

Lemon Cake Lures in Endemic Lizard and Zino's Perform fantastically!

Sunday 23rd May
A very relaxing first day on Madeira produced some good sightings. A trip to Lugar de Baixo pool, famous for its rarities produced a lone Dunlin and the now almost resident drake Green-winged Teal. This pool has had a history of turning up nearctic vagrants including Sora Rail, American Wigeon and Wilson's Phalarope in recent years. We then headed onto the lighthouse on the western side of the island at Ponta de Pargo where it was rather sickening to see much of the habitat where I had previously seen Spectacled Warbler has been trashed due to the construction of a new golf course! The optimistically hoped for Hammerhead Sharks were not seen, but Berthelot's Pipit and Kestrel were the only birds of note. A stop at a nearby restaurant produced a fanatstic home made Lemon Cake that was so good, even the endemic Madeiran Wall Lizards were lured in to taste it!

We then headed onto the infamous Pico do Arieiro home of the breeding Zino's Petrel and a truly spectacular place at 1,800M above sea level and well worth a look in daylight prior to any night Zino's excursion. It certainly makes the old legs turn to jelly when peering over the edge and amazing to think that Zino's Petrel return here every spring to breed. Only an estimated 85 breeding pairs in the world and still at great risk from rat predation and feral cats. At about 10pm, we met with Catarina and Hugo from Madeira Wind Birds and a few other UK birders and returned to the steep sided valley in darkness. Here we were treated to the truly atmospheric experience of seeing and hearing Zino's Petrels as they chased each other across the moonlit sky but always keeping in the shadows. You could even track them in bins across the sky. Truly awesome. Looking forward to getting out to sea tomorrow and throwing up in between bouts of pterodroma action!

1 comment:

  1. Looks a beautiful place! I'm looking forward to seeing your stunning Zino's shots you get at sea.