17 years birdwatching in Madeira - February 2021

It's Wind Birds' 17th anniversary and to celebrate it in these times of furlough and lockdown Catarina & Hugo decided to run a Big (birdwatching) Day to count the most number of species possible on this 2nd of February 2021. Madeira is in lockdown between 19:00 and 5:00 am during weekdays, so we started at sunrise (8:00am) at the westernmost point of Madeira, Ponta do Pargo, and finished at 18:00 at Ponta de São Lourenço, on the easternmost tip. In these 10 hours around Madeira, we drove about 230 km and observed a total of 41 bird species from which 26 species are breeders to the island (below in bold) and 15 are vagrant species:

19th of February 2021 at Airport's gardens
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola - a juvenile bird
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

2nd of February 2021 at Ponta do Pargo
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Common Blackbird Turdus merula cabrerae
Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina guentheri
Atlantic Canary Serinus canaria
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

At Santo da Serra
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
European Robin Erithacus rubecula rubecula

3 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Read More

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:

26th of January 2021 at Águas Mansas
7 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
2 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

19th of January 2021 at Porto Santo Golf course - observed by Anders
6 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

17th of January 2021 at Santo da Serra
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
3 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca - 1 male and 2 females

13th of January 2021 at Santo da Serra
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
12 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More