Low wind, deep sea pelagic expedition - 13th to 15th of June 2021

A group of British were brave enough to come to Madeira even with Portugal on the amber list of Covid-19 which will require them to self-isolate for 10 days when arriving back to the UK... The wind conditions were not the best for the seabirds but good 3 comfortable trips... As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii were present everyday in very good numbers.

13th of June 2021 - Northern wind between 7 to 9 knots and northwest waves up to 1.3 meters.
At the chumming position:
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
5 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Several Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus
6 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Pterodroma sp. - the bird flew too far from the boat
1 Possible Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - the bird flew a bit far from the boat but had a lot of white on the underwing
6 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - 2 birds at the same time on the chum

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Birdwatching in Madeira, June 2021

June... a summer month! It started with some strong winds which may still blow some bird species into this piece of land... Temperatures are quite high already, as well as the UV lights!

18th of June 2021 at Machico
5 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

15th of June 2021 at Santo da Serra - photographed by Pete (UK)
2 Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba

9th of June 2021 at Caniçal
3 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

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First 2021's Zino's Petrel Pelagic - May 26th, 27th and 28th

Finally we are back to the ocean to look for some of the rarest seabirds in Western Palearctic! Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulweriiare a constant on the 3 days pelagic. Despite the record being 10 birds at the chumming position on the 28th of June 2016, on the 1st day of this pelagic we had great views of 6 Zino's Petrel which is above average!

26th May 2021 - NNE wind up to 13 knots and northern waves up to 2 meters
2 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
6 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - 2 birds at the same time on the chum
4 Pterodroma sp. - 2 flew by too fast on the chumming position and 2 on the way back
4 European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
8 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

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Birding in Madeira - May 2021

Finally the Sars-Cov2 restrictions are lifting up again and tourism is slowly coming back to Madeira! So we are resuming our tours and sea trips from the last week of May! Despite the easing for non-essential travel, it seems there are not many birds willing to come to Madeira this month... Of course it also has to do with observer effort!

25th of May 2021 at Ponta São Lourenço
3 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

22nd of May 2021 at Caniçal
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

19th of May 2021 at Faial
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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Birdwatching in Madeira - April 2021

April is a Spring month when many bird species return from their migration to their breeding grounds. With the right conditions of wind we can get some blown off course species, turning birdwatching in the island more interesting...

8th of April 2021 at Ponta do Pargo
4 Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
Several Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Some Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

4th of April 2021 at Ponta de São Lourenço - reported by Ben (SWI)
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
2 Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

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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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