In terms of vagrant birds, birdwatching in June is normally less interesting than in May but when talking about birds we never know... Let's see what which bird species are blown out of their migration course into Madeira:
At Porto Moniz - observed by Hugo Wieleman and Michel de Lange (NED)
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis - The observers recognise that due to the short observation time a hybrid can not be excluded. The bird was flying west. If confirmed this would be a first record for Madeira!
The first Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition of 2018 was quite hard for the participants, due to the weather and sea conditions, but at the end, it was rewarding as we got all the targeted species!
May started with some cooler temperatures and light winds which is not so good to blow migrating birds off their migration route into Madeira. Breeding birds are already in Madeira and some of them already have chicks, like the Roseate Tern. By mid-May we had quite an invasion of Dunlin as numbers were high when compared to previous years. Maybe the strong north/northeast winds on the previous days push them away from their migrating course and into Madeira. Let's see what May brings us in terms of vagrant birds:
22nd of May 2018 at Ribeira Brava
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
8 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
4 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
It's April and bird migration is starting to move northwards! Let's see which species the winds will blow into Madeira, as we are out of migration routes...
21st of April 2018 at Ribeira Brava
> 15 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
At least 5 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
3 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
4 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
>10 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica - observed 30 min later by Goujon Gérard (FRA)
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!