No stormies pelagic but really nice anyway - 21st-23rd June 2022

Although we looked for Storm Petrels for 2 days, we had no sighting of any storm-petrel species... Spring was weird as we hardly had sightings of Wilson's and European storm petrels and they used to be common on our pelagics... White-faced storm petrel was common but for the last 4 years it has been scarce and, Madeiran Storm petrel decided to be tricky with us this year! But we had very good sightings of the seabird species described below and, of course, big numbers of Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis everyday.

23rd June 2022 - NNE wind between 8 and 12 knots. NE waves up to 0.5 meters but very short period
5 Desertas Petrel Pterodroma deserta - 4 on the way up
3 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
2 Pterodroma sp.
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis
2 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus
Atlantic Spotted dolphins Stenella frontalis
Blue shark Prionace glauca

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Patience is a virtue! Pelagic expedition 16th-18th June 2022

The ocean started rough and ended up flat but storm-petrels only showed when it was flat and late in the evening... Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus were the species entertaining us during the long wait.

18th June 2022 - North wind between 9 and 3 knots, waves 0.5 meters from same direction
3 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 1 on the way up
4 Pterodroma sp.
2 Madeiran storm petrel Oceanodroma castro - both at 9:20 pm
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
5 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Atlantic Spotted dolphins Stenella frontalis

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A rich deep sea pelagic expedition, 11-13 June 2022

The first two days were a bit rough on our bodies but with rich observations while the third day was a slow day for new species though with thousands of Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii, dozens of Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and a few Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus.

13th June 2022 - NE wind started with 6 knots and went down to zero. 1.5 meter northern swell which flattened during the afternoon
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - on the way to the chumming position
Pterodroma sp.
2 Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
9 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo

Short-finned Pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus
Atlantic Spotted dolphins Stenella frontalis
Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta
Sea pickle Pyrosoma atlanticum - a free-floating cylindrical colony of thousands of tiny marine invertebrates.

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Got them all! Pelagic 5th-7th June 2022

The wind conditions were good for the 3 days pelagic but the number of seabirds around were not as much as we are used to... Anyway, we got to see all the aimed species, including the White-faced Storm Petrel! Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus were watched everyday!

7th June 2022 - Northern wind between 8 and 10 knots. Waves from NE up to 1.5 meters
2 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta- 1 on the way up
4 Pterodroma sp. - too far to ID
2 Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus - 1 on the way up
White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca - fed on the chum slick for a while!
Madeiran storm petrel Oceanodroma castro
6 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Portuguese man-of-war Physalia physalis

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Birding in Madeira - June 2022

June is a transition month between Spring and Summer and usually Madeira is a stop over for some birds in migration...

23rd of June 2022 at Caniçal - reported by Simon (UK)
2 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

12th of June 2022 at Funchal - sightings by a group of birdwatchers (UK)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

10th of June 2022 at airport, Santa Cruz - observed by Simon and friends (UK)
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae

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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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