Dull pelagic expedition - 18-20 July 2024

This was the slowest pelagic expedition of 2024 in all aspects! Light wind conditions although increasing a little bit every day and quite hot temperatures of air (max around 28ºC) and ocean (between 24º and 25ºC). Maybe these conditions all together scared the seabirds and cetaceans away... Anyway, as usual, Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were watched everyday but not such in big numbers as in previous pelagics.

20th July 2024 2024 - 9 to 10 knots of Northern wind and 1 meter NW waves
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
2 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - one on the way back
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - flew past in a distance

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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July 2024 birding observations around Madeira

July, as a summer month does usually bring much vagrant birds to Madeira though with all these climate changes it is just "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get!"

21st of July 2024 at Lugar de Baixo - sighting by Sean (UK)
2 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

20th of July 2024 at Caniçal harbour - reported by Gill (UK)
Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla - less than 5 records in the last 50 years!

10th of July 2024 at Porto Moniz - reported by Michel (NED)
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

9th of July 2024 off Porto Moniz - seawatched by Michel (NED)
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus - 3cy

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Slow but not bad Pelagic Expedition, 12-14 July 2024

After a month of rough ocean and strong wind we got a much calmer pelagic expedition. It did not bring so many seabird species as in the previous pelagics but it was 3 comfortable trips with very good views of the birds and, on the last day, of cetaceans as well! The most common birds, watched everyday were Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis.

12th July 2024 2024 - 5 to 7 knots of North wind and northwest waves up to 1.2 meters
4 Pterodroma sp. - all on the way up
Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 1 on the way up
2 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
2 Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Barolo’s shearwater Puffinus baroli - flew past in a distance (as usual!)
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - on the way back

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The rarest were the most common! 27-29 June 2024 pelagic expedition

During these 3 consecutive afternoon we had more Zino's Petrels than Desertas Petrels and more White-faced storm petrels than any other storm petrel. Thousands of Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and a few hundred Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were observed during the 3 days.

29th June 2024 - 13 knots of Northeast wind and 1 meter waves from same direction
6 Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 4 on the way up, 2 of them sitting
9 Pterodroma sp. - 6 on the way up
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
At least 10 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus

Portuguese man-o-war Physalia physalis
Atlantic Spotted Dolphins Stenella frontalis

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Has White-faced returned to our pelagics? 22-25 June 2024

We sure hope so!! This was a very rough pelagic expedition but with most Madeira breeding seabird species well observed! We even postponed 1 day to get smoother conditions but we finally we got back the White-faced storm petrel that feeds in the chum slick for a good while! We have not seen that behaviour for more than 5 years!

25th June 2024 - Northern wind between 7 and 9 knots. NNE waves up to 1 meter.
3 Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
White-faced storm petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca
2 Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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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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