Zino's & Fea's Petrels Pelagic Expedition - July 2019

Despite the choppy conditions of the ocean the wind blew quite a few Pterodromas our way and we had great observations and photo opportunities of these rare species! Storm-petrels on the other hand were quite difficult... As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were watched everyday though number were reduced compared to previous years.

2nd of July 2019 - NE wind up to 14 knots and northern waves up to 1.5 meters
Pterodroma sp. - on the way to the chumming position
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - on the way up
2 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
3 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis

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July birding reports for Madeira, 2019

July tends to be a quiet month regarding vagrant bird species though in what regards to the weather it has been a bit weird as it seems more like a spring month than a summer one, with showers and not so high temperature as it used to be. Let's see what the winds blow this way during this month:

14th of July 2019 at Machico
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

4th of July 2019 at Caniçal
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

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Another great Pterodroma pelagic expedition! - 25th to 27th June 2019

Another great Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition for Pterodromas though not so great for storm petrels as in previous years we did get a few different species of these small petrels and also week for cetaceans... Anyway, the views of Zino's and Fea's Petrels were really good and we even got the 2 species at the same time flying over the chumming slick on the 1st day! As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were present everyday.

25th of June 2019 - Northwest wind up to 10 knots and swell from same direction up to 1.5 meters
3 Pterodroma sp. - 2 on the way up and 1 close to the chumming position
2 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
8 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
2 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
2 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
Great skua Stercorarius skua

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Pterodromas pelagic expedition - 19th to 22nd June 2019

A Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition with very light winds which is not the best conditions to watch seabirds... So in order to get the most of it we had to postpone one of the days to get some stronger winds. It ended up as a very good pelagic for petrels though not so good for storm-petrels. Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii are the guaranteed species everyday.

19th of June 2019 - no more than 4 knots of wind from NW for most of the afternoon and northwest waves up to 0.5 meters

6 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - 5 on the way up and 1 on the chum slick
8 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca - flew by a bit far from the chum
3 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Then, on the way back we watched:
1 probable Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
1 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
1 Pterodroma sp.
10 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus

Short-beaked Common dolphin Delphinus delphis

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June 2019 birding observations in Madeira

Temperatures already feel like August though we are still in June... Global warming is what is called! Let's see which bird species are blown to Madeira and out of their migratory route:

18th of June 2019 at Machico - observed by a group of birdwatchers from UK
Little Swift Apus affinis - this is the 2nd record for Madeira archipelago!

14th of June 2019 off Caniçal
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

12th of June 2019 at Ribeira Brava
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

9th of June 2019 at Ponta da Cruz - reported by Joe (UK)
House Sparrow Passer domesticus - male. This is an exceptional record with less than 5 on the last 50 years!

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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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