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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
Home  > Where to watch > São Miguel
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São Miguel
São Miguel is the largest of the Azores islands and harbours a great variety of habitats that include lagoons, farmland, peat bogs, forests (native and exotic), and costal areas (cliffs, beaches and ports). Ornithologically speaking, the island is best known for being the last refuge of the Azores Bullfinch, endemic to the Laurel forest patches of Serra da Tronqueira, in the Northeast part of the island. We advise a visit to the Azores Bullfinch Environmental Centre to know more about the species and the conservation work dedicated to it. Some of the best birding sites are included in São Miguel island Natural Park.
The cast of resident birds present is like most of the other Azorean islands, with Common Buzzard, Wood Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Blackcap, European Robin, Goldcrest, Common Starling, Chaffinch and Island Canary being the main species. Some of these constitute subspecies endemic to the archipelago.
Cory’s and Little Shearwaters are two of the main breeding seabird species. 
The possible presence of Nearctic and Palearctic vagrants from Northern latitudes is one of the main attractions for birdwatchers in the Azores, mostly during the post-breeding migration season. Some common continental Europe waterbirds like Turnstone, Sanderling or Whimbrel are assiduous presences in S. Miguel, and some scarcer American vagrants are also regular, like White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmed Plover, American Wigeon, Blue-winged-Teal and Ring-necked Duck.


Municipalities: Lagoa, Nordeste, Ponta Delgada, Vila da Povoação, Ribeira Grande and Vila Franca do Campo






Hotspots

  • Nordeste/Tronqueira - the best place for spotting the Azores Bullfinch. Also good for most of the more common resident species
  • Planalto dos Graminhais - peat bog area, and one of the best places in the archipelago for Wilson's Snipe, or smaller vagrants like Snow Bunting 
  • Lagoa das Furnas - one of the best places to look for vagrant/wintering waders and ducks
  • Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul) - perhaps the main lagoon for waterbirds and wildfowl, including vagrant/wintering waders and ducks, or the more irregular vagrants like Pied-billed Grebe
  • Mosteiros - Rocky coastal area, can produce interesting wintering/vagrant waders or passerines
  • Ponta Delgada harbour - best place in the island for seagulls, but can also produce some interesting herons or waders


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