Birds visiting Madeira for season holidays - December 2018

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.

6th of December 2018 at Machico - observation by Diana (UK)
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

1st of December 2018 at Ribeira Brava - sightings by Max & Paula (UK)
2 Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus - 1 with colour ring green with white alpha/numeric code R2JT

At Funchal
2 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

At São Vicente - observed by Claudia (POR)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

At Porto Moniz
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

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Birdwatching in Madeira, November 2018

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:

19th of November 2018at Machico - observed by Dave (UK)
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
10 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Ribeira Brava - by Michel de Lange (NED)
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo - flying east

18th of November 2018at Porto Moniz - seawatching by Michel de Lange (NED)
216 Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis

17th of November 2018at Porto Moniz - by Michel de Lange (NED)
3 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
2 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

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Madeira, birdwatching in October 2018

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.

31st of October 2018 at Camacha
7 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

At Santo da Serra
3 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

28th of October 2018 at Ribeira Brava - recorded by Miguel (POR)
8 Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
2 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

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

At Santa Cruz - observed and photographed by Claudia (POR)
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris - female - this is an exceptional vagrant bird to Madeira, with less than 5 records on the last 50 years!

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September 2018 bird observations in Madeira archipelago

September is normally a good month to start watching some vagrant birds - birds who got lost on their migration route and were lucky enough to find a piece of land (Madeira!). So let's see what the winds will blow this way during this month:

28th of September 2018 at Faial
3 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

27th of September 2018 at Machico
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
13 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

26th of September 2018 at Baía d'Abra fish farm
4 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea - 1 dead between the fish farm nets
2 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo - dead between the fish farm nets

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Migrating seabirds pelagic, 23-25 August 2018

Great shearwater Puffinus gravis

A nice pelagic expedition which started with a Madeiran Storm Petrel as soon as we dropped the first block of chum - a good sign as on the last pelagic we missed this species! We had very good views of at least 14 seabird species but unfortunately missed the one that named these pelagic expeditions. Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii, again were the commonest species observed everyday.

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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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