Zino's Petrel show - 13-16 May 2024

Another rough pelagic expedition but very successful as we observed all the aimed species! We even took a break of 1 day to try to get some lighter wind but it insisted in increasing for the end of the day... As usual, Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were our company during the evenings at sea.

13th May 2024 - Left the marina with 17 to 18 knots of wind but as we sailed offshore it decreased to 10 to 13 knots from NNW. There was a North swell up to 1.7 meter and 1 meter waves from NNE - choppy!
3 Common tern Sterna hirundo - on the way up
4 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
7 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - 4 on the way down
9 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Possible Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - flew by too quickly for a positive ID
Barolo’s shearwater Puffinus baroli - on the way back

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2024 1st Zino's Pelagic Expedition, 9th-11th May

A rough start for our 1st Zino's Petrel pelagic Expeditions of 2024 with strong wind and quite choppy sea but we had amazing views and number of Zino's Petrels! As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were the commonest species observed everyday.

11th May 2024 - The wind was Northeast blowing around 18 knots as we left the marina but as we went offshore to the chumming position it dropped down between 9 and 13 knots. The ocean was quite choppy with 2 meter waves from NNE direction
5 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
6 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - 4 at the same time flying in pairs: 2 by the beginning of the slick and 2 by the end of it. 1 was on the way back.
Common tern Sterna hirundo
8 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus

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Birding in Madeira, May 2024

May tends to be a very good month for migratory birds to be blown off their migratory course into this small peace of land that is Madeira. Let see which species may be visiting us this May!

11th of May 2024 off Porto Moniz - sighting by Michel (NED)
2 Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - flying towards Porto Santo

7th of May 2024 at Ponta do Pargo - reported by Michel (NED)
Sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala
7 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
> 10 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

4th of May 2024 at Ponta do Pargo - observed by Michel (NED)
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
4 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
5 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

3rd of May 2024 at Caniçal
2 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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April's 2024 birdwatching records to Madeira

In April Spring should be 'well installed' and so northwards migration should be on and in Madeira one can watch birds displaying, nesting or already feeding their chicks! Last month was very low for visiting bird species to Madeira, so let's see if April will be more exciting.

30th of April 2024 at Caniçal - observed by Olivier (FRA)
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

27th of April 2024 at Lugar de Baixo - sightings by Olivier (FRA)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

At Câmara de Lobos
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
6 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

26th of April 2024 at Ponta São Lourenço - noted by Olivier (FRA)
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe

20th of April 2024 at Água de Pena
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

At Ponta do Pargo - photographed by Ueli (SWI)
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus

At Lugar de Baixo - reported by Neil (GB-SCT)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina

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Vagrant birds in Madeira, March 2024

March should mean Spring though in Madeira it looks like we are 1 season delayed so Winter atmospheric conditions only arrived now... It has been very quiet in terms of vagrant birds in the island...

29th of March 2024 off Porto Moniz - observed by Michel (NED)
2 Great shearwater Ardenna gravis

26th of March 2024 at Santa Cruz
5 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
3 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

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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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