Birdwatching in Madeira, February 2017

Despite the strong winds and big waves that hit Azores and the North of mainland Portugal in the first days of February, Madeira started this Carnival month with sunshine, light wind and much smaller waves although on the 2nd week a lot of rain poured down. Manx shearwater and Cory's shearwater are 2 seabird species that are back to our waters and can be seen on a Bird, dolphin & whale watching trip! So far, the vagrant bird species in this archipelago are very much the same that landed here last December:

17th February 2017 at Paul da Serra
6 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

At Pico do Arieiro - Reported by John Wheldon
2 Black Kite Milvus migrans

15th February 2017 at Caniçal
5 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
35 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
9 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

14th February 2017 at Ponta da Cruz - Observed by Malcolm Russell (UK)
2 Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis - this is a rare vagrant bird to Madeira

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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:

25th January 2017 at São Vicente
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
3 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

At Lugar de Baixo
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

24th January 2017 at Caniçal
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

At Machico
2 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
American Wigeon Anas americana
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
14 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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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 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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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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