Birding in Madeira, August 2022

In August starts some of the migration and depending from where the winds blow, Madeira might get some vagrant birds passing/stopping by...

12th of August 2022 at Garajau
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

8th of August 2022 at Funchal harbour - reported by Keith (UK)
Great white egret Ardea alba

7th of August 2022 at São Gonçalo - observed by Keith (UK)
Carrion Crow Corvus corone

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Windy pelagic but without storm petrels...3rd-5th August 2022

A hardcore pelagic with oblivious participants makes us worry more about the birdwatchers safety and the equipment safeguard than the birdwatching itself... Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were present everyday but this time no storm petrel were watched. Though seabirds migration has started as some different species have passed by the chum!

3rd August 2022 - NNE wind between 6 and 8 knots, 2 meter swell from Northeast
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus intermedius
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
6 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
3 Common tern Sterna hirundo
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira

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All in 1 (day) pelagic expedition, 24th-26th July 2022

What a start for a Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition! We saw all the aimed species in a single day, even White-faced Storm Petrel which has been scarce in the last 4 years! The 2nd day was completely the opposite but then the 3rd day was again a really good one! As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were our companions during the 3 days.

24th July 2022 - 14 knots wind and 1 meter waves both from the northeast
3 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 2 on the way to the chumming position
3 Pterodroma sp.
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
4 Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro
White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus graellsii

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Harsh seas, great petrels' show, 19th - 21st July 2022

This was the roughest pelagic so far. It started with quite tolerable wind and sea conditions but got worst as the days went by... But, what is not so comfortable for us is great for the seabirds and we did get a good show of Pterodromas and, of course, the always present Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii.

21st July 2022 - 14 to 18 knots knots of Northeast wind, NE swell up to 2 meters and 0.5 meter wind waves
4 Pterodroma sp. - 3 on the way to the chumming position
14 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 5 on the way up and 3 were at the same time on the chum slick for a couple of minutes
2 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis - flew by on a feeding frenzy and was only seen by a couple of people
4 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis
Bryde’s whale Balaenoptera edeni
Short-finned pilot whales Globicephala macrorhynchus

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13-15th July 2022 - Unexpectedly good pelagic expedition!

After loosing a couple of customers due to strong winds at the airport that diverted the airplanes and consequently cancelled the flights to Madeira, the next days were with very light winds. The 3 pelagic evenings had no more than 10 knots of wind which normally is not enough to attract storm-petrels to the chum but somehow they showed up and made this another great Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition! Flocks of Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis sitting on the water and some Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii flying were watched everyday.

15th July 2022 - It started with 10 knots of NNW wind dropping to 3 knots and 1 meter waves from north
3 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 1 on the way to the chumming position
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Common tern Sterna hirundo
3 Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus graellsii
16 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Bottlenose dolphinsTursiops truncatus
Baleen whale Balaenoptera sp. - a glimpse of a dive
Short-finned pilot whales Globicephala macrorhynchus

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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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