January 2021 birding observations for Madeira archipelago

Happy New Year!!! And we sure hope this year will be better than the last one!!! Despite the cold weather it seems that some migratory birds decided to spend the New Year in Madeira:

13th of January 2021 at Santo da Serra
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

12th of January 2021 at Ponta do Pargo
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
7 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
4 Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

At Paul da Serra
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
2 Lesser Black-backed Gull

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December 2020 bird sightings in Madeira

It is finally the last month of this very weird year... Birdwatching tours are at its lowest in Madeira but birds are still visiting the island, so lets try to get some good weather and go outside looking for these visitant bird species!

30th of December 2020 at Funchal
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

At Machico
12 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Between the 27th and the 30th of December 2020 at Tanque, Porto Santo - observed by Claudia and Manuel (POR)
2 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
2 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
2 Northern Pintail Anas acuta
2 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
3 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

at Porto Santo Golf Course - reported by Claudia (POR)
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
8 Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

28th of December 2020 at Ponta, Porto Santo - watched by Manuel (POR)
27 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
Various Yellow-browed warbler Phylloscopus inornatus

27th of December 2020 at Porto Santo Golf Course - reported by Manuel (POR)
2 Red-throated pipit Anthus cervinus
2 Mediterranean Gulls Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
1 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

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Birding in Madeira, November 2020

In November temperatures start to decrease and rain gets more often. Depending on the winds direction, we may get some interesting species landing in Madeira:

21st of November 2020 at Machico - reported by Miguel F. (POR)
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

7th of November 2020 at Ribeira Brava - observed by Miguel A. (POR)
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

5th of November 2020 at Funchal
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

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October 2020 - birding in Madeira

In October we start to feel the autumn, although they say it starts by the 21st of September... Temperatures are a bit less warm and some rain starts to fall. Depending on the winds, this is a good time for some migrating birds be blown into this archipelago, out of their migratory route. So let's see which species October 2020 brings to Madeira:

31st of October 2020 at Funchal
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

23rd of October 2020 at São Vicente
7 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

At Machico
2 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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Birdwatching in Madeira - September 2020

In September starts the autumn and so it is time for some migratory birds to fly to their wintering grounds... If we get the right winds in Madeira, we might get some species blown off their migratory course...

27th of September 2020 at Porto Moniz - observed by Cheech (ZA)
Gull-billed tern Gelochelidon nilotica

Between the 25th & 28th of September 2020 at Tanque, Porto Santo - photographed by Claudia (POR)
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
2 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
2 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

24th of September 2020 at Porto Santo - reported by Natasha (POR)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

23rd of September 2020 at Faial
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

At Machico
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
12 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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