After hibernating for 6 months 'Oceanodroma' rhib is running Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expeditions again and with a great start! 7 Zino's petrel, 7 Madeiran storm petrel and 7 Barolo's shearwaters where watched properly on the 3 consecutive afternoons! As we feared, it was a bit early for Fea's/Desertas' Petrels as this is the time they start to arrive from their migration... Good number of cetacean species as well!
19th May 2022 - West wind between 0 and 4 knots, 0.5 meters swell
Sooty shearwater Puffinus griseus
7 Barolo’s shearwater Puffinus baroli
5 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
May is a good month for birdwatching everywhere in the world! It's peak Spring and birds are active, either cleaning their nests or displaying or, (in Madeira at least) already feeding their young ones! But it is also a good time for migration!
April should be a Spring month when most birds are singing, displaying and preparing their nests but this year April started wetter and colder than usual and with snow up on the highest peaks which forced us to postpone the first Zino's Night Expedition... Anyway, birds still have to migrate northwards and we hope to watch some passing by Madeira.
After a couple of difficult years we had some days off so the bird news about Madeira where a little slow for a while... March, despeite being a Spring month brought some strong winds and some very low temperatures for Madeira.
27th of March 2022 at Funchal - observed by Roger (UK)
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus - in the gardens of the English Church
Great Skua Stercorarius skua - while seawatching from Lido area
This month Wind Birds is celebrating its 18th year of birdwatching tours in Madeira and we sure hope to celebrate it with some interesting vagrant species around! Some of the resident species are already behaving like its Spring as temperatures have been quite high for this time of year. And winds are blowing from Southeast which may divert some birds from its northwards migration to this little bit of land in the Atlantic...
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!