It's Wind Birds' 17th anniversary and to celebrate it in these times of furlough and lockdown Catarina & Hugo decided to run a Big (birdwatching) Day to count the most number of species possible on this 2nd of February 2021. Madeira is in lockdown between 19:00 and 5:00 am during weekdays, so we started at sunrise (8:00am) at the westernmost point of Madeira, Ponta do Pargo, and finished at 18:00 at Ponta de São Lourenço, on the easternmost tip. In these 10 hours around Madeira, we drove about 230 km and observed a total of 41 bird species from which 26 species are breeders to the island (below in bold) and 15 are vagrant species:
2nd of February 2021 at Ponta do Pargo
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Common Blackbird Turdus merula cabrerae
Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina guentheri
Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
At Santo da Serra
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
European Robin Erithacus rubecula rubecula
3 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Happy New Year!!! And we sure hope this year will be better than the last one!!! Despite the cold weather it seems that some migratory birds decided to spend the New Year in Madeira:
It is finally the last month of this very weird year... Birdwatching tours are at its lowest in Madeira but birds are still visiting the island, so lets try to get some good weather and go outside looking for these visitant bird species!
Between the 27th and the 30th of December 2020 at Tanque, Porto Santo - observed by Claudia and Manuel (POR)
2 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
2 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
2 Northern Pintail Anas acuta
2 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
3 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
In November temperatures start to decrease and rain gets more often. Depending on the winds direction, we may get some interesting species landing in Madeira:
In October we start to feel the autumn, although they say it starts by the 21st of September... Temperatures are a bit less warm and some rain starts to fall. Depending on the winds, this is a good time for some migrating birds be blown into this archipelago, out of their migratory route. So let's see which species October 2020 brings to 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!