2021, September bird records for Madeira

September should be a good month for migration although the temperatures in Madeira are still quite high, resembling mid-summer... Let's see if the winds blow any interesting species out of they migratory course into this small rock in the Atlantic Ocean...

20th of September 2021 at Lugar de Baixo - photographed by Ivan (UK)
Northern Pintail Anas acuta

17th of September 2021 at Caniçal
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
5 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Santana
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

At Porto Novo
Black Kite Milvus migrans

15th of September 2021 at Santa Cruz
Black Kite Milvus migrans

11th of September 2021 at Caniçal - reported by José (POR)
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Sanderling Calidris alba
Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula

9th of September 2021 off Porto Moniz - observed by Michel (NED)
Great Northern Loon Gavia immer

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Another light wind pelagic expedition... August 24-26, 2021

Another light wind pelagic but this time with the wind blowing from unusual quadrants which did not bring us many migratory seabird species... Anyway, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii kept visiting the chum which helped to entertain us while we waited for other visitant species.

24th of August 2021 - NW wind up to 7 knots, north swell up to 1 meter and wind waves from NW up to 0.2 meters
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus

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Light wind pelagic... 2021, August 19-21

This was a pelagic with very light wind which blown us some interesting migrant seabirds but was not enough to attract a Madeira Storm Petrel to the chum... As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii were our companions everyday!

19th of August 2021 - NE wind up to 5 knots and northeast swell up to 1 meter
2 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - 1 on the way up to the chumming position
5 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
3 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus

Short-beaked Common dolphin Delphinus delphis

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Seabirds migration started - 2021, August 14-16

It started with a great 1st day despite the light breeze but the next days were quite poor in terms of seabird species... Only Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were the entertainment for the waiting hours at the ocean.

14th of August 2021 NNE wind up to 6 knots and NE swell up to 2 meters
4 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta on the way up, all at same time flying around the boat
7 Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus - 4 of them flying together eastwards, on the way to the chumming position
16 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
9 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus flying south on a V formation
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus - juvenile
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis

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Rough ocean but a good show of petrels - 10th-12th August 2021

A pelagic with two days of rough oceanic conditions... The first day the wind was two low to blow the chum smell distant enough to attract seabirds. The second day was perfect but the third day, while the forecasts were just about the same as on the previous day, the waves rose like walls and some broke against the boat, making us all wet. Quite rough! As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii were around everyday.

11th of August 2021 - NE wind up to 13 knots and waves from same direction up to 1 meter
2 Pterodroma sp. on the way to the chum
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus - flew distant from the chum slick
5 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro - 1 bird flew by a bit distant from the slick, not allowing everyone to see it
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - same bird came 3 times to the chum slick to be very well observed
4 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

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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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