Birdwatching in Madeira, August 2018

August started with very hot temperatures in mainland Portugal but Madeira is been keeping its mild temperatures and even some rain, so lets see if which birds prefer this temperate climate of Madeira archipelago to spend a few days or weeks.

15th of August 2018 at Machico
2 Sanderling Calidris alba
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

14th of August 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

10th of August 2018 at Porto Moniz - observed by Michel de Lange (NED)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus attacking a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

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Petrels and Cetaceans pelagic 25-27th July 2018

Another pelagic with light winds which is great for cetaceans but not so good for storm petrels... 5 species of Odontoceti (toothed whales) were observed and great sightings of Zino's Petrel and Desertas'/Fea's Petrel as well.

Desertas' Petrel and Cory's Shearwater

25th July 2018 - West wind up to 5 knots and westerly waves up to 0.3 meters
Some Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis
Dozens Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii
2 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Pterodroma sp.

Short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis
Striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba
Common Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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July 2018 birding observations around Madeira

July is not the best month for vagrant birds though there is always a chance to find some lost bird in Madeira...

30th of July 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus

At Caniçal - observed by Jan Heckmann, Sönke Tautz & Kirsten Kraetzel (GER)
3 Audouin's gull Ichthyaetus audouinii

24th of July 2018 at Caniçal
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

23rd of July 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
2 Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

At São Vicente
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

18th of July 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

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Great views of Pterodromas on the Pelagic Expedition early July 2018

This pelagic expedition was not as breezy as we would like and although we got good observations and numbers of Zino's Petrels and Desertas Petrels we missed a few storm petrels which were expected to be seen at this time of year, such as White-faced Storm Petrel and Wilson's Storm-petrel... Oh well, that is Birdwatching!

Zino's Petrel and Cory's Shearwater

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26th to 28th June 2018 pelagic - calm... but with great observations!

This pelagic expedition started with a very light wind which normally is not so good to watch seabirds though we did manage to observe them all very close! Cory’s shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were a constant in all 3 afternoons though very low numbers on the 28th June.

European, Madeiran and Wilson's Storm Petrels

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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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