October is usually a good month for migration and with some of these climate changes blowing hurricanes to the Northeast Atlantic it may be a good combination to deviate some birds from their migratory route into Madeira.
Migration is on its best this month so lets hope wind will blow some bird species this way to diversify the birding population around Madeira! Despite the 48 breeding species it is always good to watch different birds...
It was not the expected ending for 2019 as we missed a good view of Zino's Petrel. We saw it on all other 2019 pelagic expeditions though... The good part is that Storm-petrels and Great shearwater were well observed and, of course, the always present Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii. Another species we missed at the chumming position was Yellow-legged Gull which was weird...
22nd of August 2019 - NNE wind up to 8 knots and northern waves up to 2 meters
Pterodroma sp. on the way
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta on the way
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus on the way up
Atlantic spotted dolphin Stenella frontalis - on the way back
Finally things are getting back to normal with more species of Storm Petrels observed! Ok, White-faced Storm Petrel was literally taken out of a box, it was a rescued bird in land that Hugo and Catarina took to the sea to release. It went well as the bird fed for a while on the chum slick and then slowly flew away from us. Although Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis are still in less numbers than previous years.
6th of August 2019 - North wind up to 6 knots and waves from same direction up to 0.5 meters
Pterodroma sp. - on the way up
3 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris
In August migration starts and so there is always a good chance to get some interesting vagrant bird species stopping or passing by Madeira archipelago. Roseate Terns, for example, this year seem to have departed Madeira for their migration earlier, in July, as we can not find them around anymore... So let's see what August 2019 brings for the birdwatchers visiting Madeira this month:
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!