Birds visiting Madeira in April 2017

April is starting with some Easterly winds which are the best to blow vagrant birds out of their migration route between Africa and Europe... So lets see what April has to offer us in terms of vagrant bird species:

28th April 2017 at Funchal
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo - observed by Ron Shergold (UK)

At Machico
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

27th April 2017 at Lugar de Baixo
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

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Birding in Madeira, March 2017

Spring is here!!! Passerines are displaying and Common House Martin and Barn Swallow are on their way up North as they are already passing through Madeira... Now lets hope for some Easterly winds to bring us some interesting vagrant birds!

29th March 2017 at Ponta do Pargo
White Stork Ciconia ciconia
3 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
7 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

At Lugar de Baixo
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
12 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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Birdwatching in Madeira, February 2017

Despite the strong winds and big waves that hit Azores and the North of mainland Portugal in the first days of February, Madeira started this Carnival month with sunshine, light wind and much smaller waves although on the 2nd week a lot of rain poured down. Manx shearwater and Cory's shearwater are 2 seabird species that are back to our waters and can be seen on a Bird, dolphin & whale watching trip! So far, the vagrant bird species in this archipelago are very much the same that landed here last December:

28th February 2017 at Faial - reported by Tim Drew (UK)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
2 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

27th February 2017 at Porto Santo - observed by Tim Drew (UK)
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus - light phase
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus - 1 juv at sea

25th February 2017 at Porto Moniz
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

At Ponta do Pargo
3 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

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January 2017 - reports for vagrant birds in Madeira

First of all, Happy New Year for all of you! We hope you have a joyful 2017 with plenty of bird observations and great unique records! Here is the list of birds that have visited Madeira on this first month of 2017:

25th January 2017 at São Vicente
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
3 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

At Lugar de Baixo
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

24th January 2017 at Caniçal
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

At Machico
2 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
American Wigeon Anas americana
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
14 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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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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