May started quietly in terms of vagrant birds but on the 2nd half of the month the strong winds from the Northeast quadrant blown some interesting visitants to the island:
April has started with a nice influx of passage birds (vagrant birds) in Madeira as the eastern winds blow a few migrants off their course:
March means Spring and as one may consider that in Madeira it is Spring all year around, some of the resident bird species are already nesting and others displaying, so bird music is in the air... As for vagrant birds, lets see what Spring brings to Madeira:
31st of March 2015 at Lugar de Baixo
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus - Exceptional record
3 Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius curonicus
19 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
2 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
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!