Despite the very cold weather in Europe, Madeira is still above 15ºC as the easterly winds bring some of the warmth of the North of Africa. Lets see which species will follow these winds from North Africa to Madeira archipelago:
6th of February 2019 at Seixal
Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica - the bird was found at the beach and despite our efforts to recover it, it died of the day after, possibly of exhaustion. This is an exceptional species to Madeira with less than 5 records on the last 50 years.
Happy New Year to all of you who read our Madeira birding news! This year started with light southerly winds which usually do not blow any migratory birds into Madeira but we'll keep looking for them!
December started with strong easterly winds and very warm temperatures, beating the records of the last 50 years. Lets see if these inviting temperatures and the winds pushed some any interesting birds into the Madeira archipelago.
30th of December 2018 at Caniçal
2 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus - flying off the coast
Great Skua Stercorarius skua - off the coast
21 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea - at the fish farm
46 Little Egret Egretta garzetta - close to the fish farm
2 Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
2 Sanderling Calidris alba
11 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
27th of December 2018 at Ribeira Brava
2 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus - flying westwards, off the coast
It's November and air and sea temperatures are still above 20ºC... Perfect conditions for the migrating birds to stop by and rest for a few days before continuing their journey! So let's see which bird species will visit Madeira during this month:
October started as a summer month in Madeira with high temperatures. Migration is on the go though on the continent strong easterly winds were felt and these can push some birds into the Atlantic so let's see which species will be lucky enough to find Madeira archipelago as a landing spot.
18th of October 2018 at Machico
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
3 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
12 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
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!