After the previous pelagic expedition, in early August, we foreseen a greater activity of migrating seabirds for this final pelagic of 2016 though it turned out a bit quiet, specially for Max Shearwaters and for Skuas... Well, that is birdwatching!! But what it really counts is that we (Wind Birds & customers) managed to see and ID Zino's Petrel in all 2016 pelagics! So this deep sea expedition was another successful one and a great ending for the 2016 deep sea pelagics' season!
Now its time to book your place on a Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition for 2017!
September is normally a good month for vagrant birds as migration is going on... It has been a bit quiet regarding seabirds' migration, as seawatching from Porto Moniz hasn't been much motivating, but maybe later in the month it may get more interesting...
Another great pelagic expedition with the highlight of 2 Barolo's shearwater seen on 2 different days and positions! Skuas and Great shearwaters have been watched which means migration season is starting for the seabirds!
2nd of August 2016 - Northern wind up to 12 knots and waves up to 1.2 meters from NNW
1 probable Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta on the way up
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis on the way up
2 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
3 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
August is when we start to get some vagrant birds to Madeira, not only in land but also at sea.
During the second week of August wildfires hit Funchal and burnt a lot of people's homes and part of the Ecological Park of Funchal where Manx shearwaters have one of their nesting colonies. Fortunately Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus have already fledged in July so only next January they will visit their breeding area again. This time Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira were safe as the fires did not get close to their nests and they are still visiting their breeding colony.
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!