Last week I had the pleasure to attend the San Diego Bird Festival (California) for the first time. I went to represent Birds & Nature Tours, since I work has one of the main guides for the company.
The festival kept me busy, between talks and staying at the company booth. But I had also the opportunity to co-lead a field trip with my friend Stan Walens, and also doing some birding in my free time. I would like to thank Richard and Stan for their time on taking me out to see some California specialties and Jackie and Craig for their kindness. It was a pleasure to review friends from trips I lead in Portugal and Spain.
Below is the list of species that I observed during my stay in California. This was my first time on the West coast, which resulted in 35 new species and a total of 115 species seen.
All photos taken with the versatile Canon SX50HS.
1. Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens)
Four birds seen near Tijuana border, this birds had been reported before.
2. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
3. Green-Winged Teal (Anas crecca carolinensis)
4. American Wigeon (Anas americana)
5. Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
6. Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera)
7. Ring-Necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
8. Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
9. Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
10. Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
11. Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
12. Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
13. Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
14. Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
15. Western Greb (Aechmophorus occidentalis)
16. Rock Pigeon feral (Columbia livia)
17. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaoto)
18. Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
19. Anna´s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
20. Allen´s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)
21. American Coot (Fulica americana)
22. Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)
23. Black Oystercatcher (Haemantopus bachmani)
24. Black-Bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
25. Whimbrel (Numenius hudsonicus)
26. Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
27. Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)
28. Surfbird (Calidris virgata)
29. Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)
30. Wilson´s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)
31. Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)
32. Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana)
33. Willet (Tringa semipalmata)
34. Red-Necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)
One bird flying at sea.
35. Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)
36. Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
37. Heermann´s Gull (Larus heermanni)
38. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
39. California Gull (Larus californicus)
40. Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
41. Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
42. Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus)
43. Red-Throated Loon (Gavia stellata)
44. Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)
45. Common Loon (Gavia immer)
46. Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)
Stunnig record of 2 birds just off La Jolla.
47. Northen Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis rodgersii)
48. Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris)
49. Pink-footed Shearwater (Ardenna creatopus)
50. Black-Vented Shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas)
51. Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
52. Brandt´s Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus)
53. Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)
54. American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
55. Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
56. Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
57. Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
58. Great Egret (Ardea alba)
59. Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
60. Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
61. Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)
62. Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
63. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
64. White-Tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
65. Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
66. Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
67. Cooper´s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)
68. Red-Shoulder Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
69. Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
70. Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
71. Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
72. Nuttal´s Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii)
73. Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
74. American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
75. Merlin (Falco columbarius)
76. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
77. Red-Masked Parakeet (Psittacara erythrogenys)
78. Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
79. Say´s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)
80. Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)
81. Cassin´s Kingbird (Tyrannus vociferans)
82. Californa Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)
83. American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
84. Common Raven (Corvus corax)
85. Tree Swallow ( Tachycineta bicolor)
86. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
87. Northern Rough-Winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
88. Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)
89. House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
90. Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
91. Bewick´s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)
92. California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica)
93. Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata)
94. Western Bluebird (Sialis mexicana)
95. California Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum)
96. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
97. Scaly-Breasted Munia (Lochura punctulata)
98. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
99. House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)
100. American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
101. Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)
102. Orange-Crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)
103. Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
104. Yellow Warbler (Sethaga petechia)
105. Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)
106. Townsend´s Warbler (Setophaga twonsendi)
107. Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)
108. California Towhee (Melozone fusca)
109. Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
110. White-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
111. Dark-Eyed Junco (Junco Hyemalis)
112. Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
113. Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
114. Brewer´s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
115. Great-Tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)
During the last two and a half days I guided, for Birds & Nature Tours, Geoff (Ornithology professor) and Wendy (Mammalogy professor), from Alabama, USA. Some of the highlights of this winter tour included Great bustard, Common crane, Hoopoe, Iberian imperial eagle, Black-bellied sandgrousse, Greater flamingo, Marsh, Hen and Pallid harrier. Long-eared and Eurasian eagle-owl. Here are some photos of our days out in the field:
For any information about tours in Portugal and Spain, please visit Birds & Nature Tours website - here
At the beginning of June 2018, we decided to go for a week of family vacations on the island of Madeira, with a day in Porto Santo. This would be my first visit to the islands. Although bird watching was not the main objective, whenever there was an opportunity, I kept my binoculars up. I was particularly interested in seeing Trocaz pigeon and Madeira firecrest. I also had the opportunity to do a four-hour pelagic trip off Funchal, with Birds & Company. The pelagic trip proved to be a success, and is, undoubtedly, an excellent addition to the itinerary for any birder that visits Madeira. Species like the White-faced storm petrel and two putative Bugio petrel made the boat trip unforgettable. Sadly I did not have the chance to see the elusive Zino´s petrel (Pterodroma madeira).
This article is intended to be an annotated checklist of bird species observed during my trip to Madeira and Porto Santo islands.
1. Petrel (Pterodroma sp.);
Probably Bugio petrel (P. deserta), two inds. were observed during the pelagic trip (June 5th). Unfortunately I could not get any photos.
2. Bulwer´s petrel (Bulweria bulweri)
About seventy inds. observed during the pelagic trip, some very close to Funchal. More birds observed during the ferry crossing to Porto Santo.
3. Cory´s shearwater (Calonecris diomedea)
Fairly abundant during the pelagic trip.
4. Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)
Ten inds. observed during pelagic trip.
5. White-faced storm petrel (Pelagodroma marina)
One ind. came to "chum" during the pelagic trip.
6. European storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus)
One ind. came to "chum" during the pelagic trip.
7. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
One ind. at the river mouth of Câmara de Lobos.
8. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus granti)
One ind. at São Vicente river valley.
9. Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Two inds. observed at Ponta do Pargo.
10. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus canariensis)
One ind. observed at Ponta do Pargo.
11. Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis atlantis)
Several inds. at beaches and ports.
12. Common tern (Sterna hirundo)
Several inds. near Funchal and Caniçal.
13. Roseate tern (Sterna dougalli)
Three to four inds. inside Funchal´s harbour.
14. Trocaz pigeon (Columba trocaz)
Several inds. seen at Miradouro dos Balcões (Ribeiro Frio) and on the slopes near Porto Moniz.
15. Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaoto)
Several inds. seen in Porto Santo island.
16. Plain swift (Apus unicolor)
Seen at different locations around the island, it was particular abundant around Caniço.
17. Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)
One ind. seen near Caniço.
18. Berthelot´s pipit (Anthus berthelotii)
Several inds. at Ponta de São Lourenço and Ponta do Pargo.
19. Grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea schmitzi)
Several inds. seen at diferent locations around the island.
20. European robin (Erithacus rubecula)
One ind. seen at Funchal.
21. Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula cabrerae)
Several inds. seen in the gardens of Funchal.
22. Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla heineken)
Several inds. seen and heard around the island.
23. Spectacle warbler (Sylvia conspicillata bella)
One male singing at Ponta do Pargo and another one at Eira do Serrado.
24. Madeira firecrest (Regullus madeirensis)
Several inds. seen and heard in Funchal and Ribeiro Frio.
25. Spanish sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
Several inds seen in Porto Santo island.
26. Atlantic canary (Serinus canaria)
Several inds. seen around the island.
27. European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis parva)
Two inds. at Ponta do Pargo.
28. Madeiran chaffinch ( Fringilla coelebs madeirensis)
Several inds. around the island. Very approachable at Miradouro dos Balcões.
He began birding at the age of 11 and has never stopped since. His involvement in bird ringing has developed over the years and he has a special interest in moult in passerines. He currently works as a bird guide for Birds & Nature Tours in Portugal and Spain.
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