Birding in Madeira, February 2023 - it's been 19 years!

In February some of the breeding species start to display, as Spectacled Warbler and Atlantic Canary. As for passing birds, we already had a few records of Common House Martin and Barn Swallow in January, so we guess Spring is trying to get announced... Also, this month Wind Birds, as a birdwatching company, turns 19! So let's celebrate it with some interesting bird sightings!

1st of February 2023 at Machico
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Caniçal
2 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

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January 2023 birding observations for Madeira archipelago

Happy New Year! Rain and wind can divert some birds out of their migratory route into these little pieces of land named Madeira islands. Let's see what 2023 has reserved for us in terms of vagrant bird species:

29th of January 2023 at Funchal harbour - reported by Roger (UK)
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
3 Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus - all 2nd cycle birds

27th of January 2023 at downtown Funchal
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

At Baía d'Abra
4 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

26th of January 2023 off Lido, Funchal - seawatched by Roger (UK)
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus
5 Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus - four 2nd cycle and one 3rd cycle
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

25th of January 2023 at Madeira Archipelago - during the last week at least 57 Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica were found, most of them dead. According to Diário de Notícias da Madeira, 25th January 2023, 27 birds were found in Madeira (mostly on the North coast) from which only 2 were still breathing and 30 birds were collected in Porto Santo island, from which 4 were still alive. In mainland Portugal several birds have also been collected and were tested for avian flue but were negative, so the general though is that these birds were most probably caught on a storm associated to the movement of a glacier front into western Europe and now have difficulty finding food...

At Machico
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Socorridos Valley - sighting by Roger (UK)
2 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

23rd of January 2023 at Porto da Cruz - found by Lourenço (POR)
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica - dead bird at the beach

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December's 2022 visiting species to Madeira

December is usually a good time of year for some visiting ducks as the rains fill up some water reservoirs... Let's see if this is the case this year... The rain is falling well so we now just need the wildfowl!

31st of December 2022 at São Vicente - reported by Slawomir (POL)
2 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

30th of December 2022 at Santo da Serra golf course
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

At Machico
10 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

29th of December 2022 at Funchal harbour
>20 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus - had a lime green ring with D7VX inscription

28th of December 2022 at Fanal reported by Michel (NED)
2 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca

At Paul do Mar - photographed by Slawomir (POL)
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

27th of December 2022 at Caniçal
European Herring Gull Larus argentatus
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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Birding news for Madeira, November 2022

Deep in Autumn, November tends to be a good month for some migratory birds to stop by Madeira, normally waders and ducks... Let's see which bird species will pass by Madeira this year!

30th of November 2022 at Deserta Grande - reported by Andy & Kelly (UK)
Snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

29th of November 2022 at Caniçal
2 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

At Machico
Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

17th of November 2022 at Câmara de Lobos - observed by Stephen (UK)
Sanderling Calidris alba
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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Bird observations in Madeira, October 2022

October is normally a good month for vagrant birds and with the 'delayed' hurricane season in the Atlantic we might get some special vagrants being blown off their course and stopping by...

31st of October 2022 at Porto Moniz - observed by Michel (NED)
2 Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

30th of October 2022 at Ponta do Pargo - sighting by Michel (NED)
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe

29th of October 2022 at Porto Moniz - reported by Michel (NED)
5 Sooty shearwater Puffinus griseus

19th of October 2022 at Machico
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularius
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

16th of October 2022 at Ponta do Sol - observed by Isabel (POR)
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

15th of October 2022 at Porto Santo Golf course - reported by Stephen (UK)
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus alpestris

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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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