The wind did blow for this Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition! In some places a bit too much as we could not go to one of the positions where we get more Storm petrels... Anyway, the show of 2 Zino's petrel on the chum slick on the last day was amazing! Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were, again, the most observed seabirds everyday.
In August starts the migration and so Madeira always get a few vagrants passing by on their way to the South. Though we are out of most of the birds' migration routes, we do get a few interesting species:
This Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition was named as "One of Each" with the nickname of "Half Noa's Ark" as, despite the good wind we had on the first 2 days we only got 1 bird of each species, except of course for Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis which were all around and for Fea's petrels who were seen at least twice. But these birds were well observed close to the boat.
This Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition was marked by light winds which are not the best conditions for seawatching. It makes the seabird's activity very slow and does not spread the chum smell much. Still we managed to see both Pterodromas while a lot of Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii and some Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis where entertaining the birdwatchers both during the ride and while drifting, everyday.
Madeira Archipelago offers good conditions to birdwatchers, not only in terms of breeding birds but also vagrant bird species. Though there are only 47 breeding species to these islands, about half of them are endemic species or subspecies to Madeira or to Macaronesia region (Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands).
Madeira has three endemic species: Trocaz Pigeon Columba trocaz which is associated with the native forest of Madeira: the Laurel Forest; Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis, normally observed on forested areas and the rare Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira, a threatened seabird that nests on the highest mountains of Madeira. Regarding the Macaronesia bird species, one may observe Fea's/Desertas Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro, Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria, Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotti and the Plain Swift Apus unicolor.
One interesting feature of birding in Madeira is the high number of endemic subspecies from which the ornithological highlights go to the bluish Madeiran Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs maderensis and the darker colours of Barn Owl Tyto alba schmitzi and Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea schmitzi.
However, seabirds are the major attraction for birdwatchers because there are several colonies of world importance. In Madeira archipelago one may find 8 breeding seabirds species namely the rare Pterodromas (P. feae and P. madeira), Barolo's Shearwater Puffinus baroli, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro and White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca. This last species being confined to breed in Selvagens Islands but observed offshore on Wind Birds' Pelagic Expeditions.
A pelagic trip on Madeira or seawatching from the coast gives you also the chance to observe some vagrant birds like Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis, Great Skua Stercorarius skua, Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus or European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus, between others;
Join one of Wind Birds tours and you will see not only Madeira birds but also amazing landscapes which are out of the common tourist routes!