January 2017 - reports for vagrant birds in Madeira

First of all, Happy New Year for all of you! We hope you have a joyful 2017 with plenty of bird observations and great unique records! Here is the list of birds that have visited Madeira on this first month of 2017:

15th January 2017 at Machico - sightings by Brian Toms (UK)
American Wigeon Anas americana
2 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

13th January 2017 at Gaula, Santa Cruz
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

12th January 2017 at Machico
American Wigeon Anas americana
2 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
2 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
8 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Caniçal
27 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
18 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
>40 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina

At Lugar de Baixo - reported by Manuel Ribeiro (POR)
Great Northern Loon Gavia immer
2 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
13 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

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Visitant birds to Madeira in December 2016

December is a low season for tourism in Madeira, so it is the ideal time to take our own holidays! This is why there are no earlier bird records this month. But let's see which sightings has Santa arranged for us this festive season...

30th December 2016 at Ponta do Pargo -observed by Manuel Ribeiro (POR)
9 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

28th December 2016 at Ponta do Pargo
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

São Vicente
2 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

27th December 2016 at Machico
American Wigeon Anas americana
2 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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Birdwatching in Madeira, November 2016

It seems November will be a month for more interesting visitant birds to Madeira...at least judging from the first week records...

20th November 2016 at Palheiro Gardens, Funchal - observation by Julian & Jill Aburrow
2 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

12th November 2016 at São Vicente
2 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

At Ponta do Pargo
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
13 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
2 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe

At Lugar de Baixo
2 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
2 Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
>2 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
3 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

At Ribeira Brava
Gadwall Anas strepera
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

At Machico - recorded by Michel de Lange (NED)
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

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Vagrant birds in Madeira during October 2016

It seems that migration this year has been a little delayed but this is October already so we sure hope to get some interesting bird species accidentally stopping by Madeira...

31st October 2016 at Caniçal
5 Red Knot Calidris canutus
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
15 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Ponta de São Lourenço
16 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
20 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus

At Ponta da Cruz - reported by Steve Bright (UK)
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

At Curral das Freiras - sighting reported by Christine Thompson (UK)
2 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

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Birdwatching in Madeira

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!

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

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