Despite being a popular holiday destination, the island of Madeira has virtually no beaches. Its flanks simply rise too steeply out of the sea to create them. As elsewhere in Macaronesia, the prevailing, moisture-laden wind means that the lushest vegetation can be found on the northern side. A special kind of forest called laurisilva, widespread in Europe millions of years ago, still thrives across much of Madeira, largely thanks to the incredibly steep topography which has made farming almost impossible. Laurisilva is home to a range of endemic taxa, such as Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz and Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis. Others such as Madeiran Scops Owl Otus mauli and Madeiran Rail Rallus lowei became extinct when Europeans arrived over 500 years ago. Most of these photographs were taken during a week in October 2006 when Magnus and René had planned to visit Bugio in the Desertas chain, southwest of the main island of Madeira. This treeless island is home to the only colony of Desertas Petrels Pterodroma deserta in the world. The weather had other plans, however, and it was not until 2011 that Magnus obtained recordings of Deserta Petrel. In October, few of the island’s specialities were singing, so many of the recordings presented here were made on previous trips to the island.

Madeira

Madeiran Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis, Fajã de Nogueira, Santana, Madeira, 22 October 2006 (René Pop)

Madeiran Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis, Fajã de Nogueira, Santana, Madeira, 4 April 2002 (Magnus Robb). Song of male, answering another in the distance. Background: Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis and European Robin Erithacus rubecula.

Madeira

Madeiran Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Ribeiro Frio, Santana, Madeira, 21 October 2006 (René Pop)

Madeiran Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Casa das Queimadas, Santana, Madeira, 3 April 2002 (Magnus Robb). Song of a male. Background: Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis, Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla, European Robin Erithacus rubecula, Madeiran Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis and European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis.

Madeira

Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria, Ponta do São Jorge, Santana, Madeira, 23 October 2006 (René Pop)

Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria, Ponta do Pargo, Calheta, Madeira, 5 April 2002 (Magnus Robb). Song of a male. Background: European Robin Erithacus rubecula.

Madeira

Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii, Ponta do Pargo, Calheta, Madeira, 19 October 2006 (René Pop)

Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii, Ponta do Altar, Machico, Madeira, 11:07, 1 July 2006 (Magnus Robb). Song of a perched male. Background: Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus and insects.

Madeira

Zino’s Petrel Pterodroma madeira, at sea north of Madeira, 18 May 2012 (René Pop)

Zino’s Petrel Pterodroma madeira, Pico do Arieiro, Funchal, Madeira, 00:56, 25 June 2006 (Magnus Robb). Nocturnal display flights over colony, located c 1600 m above sea level.

Madeira

Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz, Fajã de Nogueira, Santana, Madeira, 19 October 2006 (René Pop)

Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz, Fajã de Nogueira, Santana, Madeira, 11:58, 22 October 2006 (Magnus Robb).  Songs of several, very quiet despite being at a range of only a few metres. Background: Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis, Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla and European Robin Erithacus rubecula.