Birdwatching in Madeira - September 2020

In September starts the autumn and so it is time for some migratory birds to fly to their wintering grounds... If we get the right winds in Madeira, we might get some species blown off their migratory course...

13th of September 2020 at Caniçal
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

11th of September 2020 at Caniçal
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

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(No) migration pelagic expedition, August 24-26 2020

Another pelagic with a low number of species though quite rough sea and at least 1 well observed Zino's Petrel! It seems the coronavirus also affected the travelling of seabirds as it was supposed to be migration time and we hardly saw any of the seabird species we normally watch around Madeira by this time of year... As usual, Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were a constant everyday.

Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira

26th August 2020 - ENE wind up to 18 knots and waves from northeast up to 1.3 meters
6 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 2 on the way up
14 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
2 Pterodroma sp. - not close enough for a definite ID
2 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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Birding in Madeira - August 2020

August should be a good season for some migratory birds to be blown off their course and be watched in Madeira archipelago though it has been a bit quiet around...

31st of August 2020 at Caniçal
2 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

18th of August 2020 at Ponta Delgada - observed by Gert (NED)
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes - Less than 5 records on the last 50 years, though last one was 2019

17th of August 2020 at Caniçal
11 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Off Machico
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis

15th of August 2020 at Porto Moniz
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
+20 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

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Another pelagic expedition but not so much for seabirds... 2020, Aug 10-12

The second Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition of 2020 was as weird as the year itself... The sea conditions were comfortable (maybe too comfortable!) as the wind was light and the waves were up to 1 meter but these were not enough to blow us a Zino's Petrel or/and a Madeiran Storm petrel :( . Despite this, we had Cory's shearwater and Bulwer's Petrel everyday and great views of sea mammals and some migratory seabirds:

Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis

12th of August 2020 - Northern wind up to 8 knots and 0.7 meter waves from north as well.
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - on the way up
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
5 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
5 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

Common Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus
Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus - great view on the way to the chumming position

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Finally the 1st pelagic expedition of 2020! August 2-4

After the cancellation of several Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition due to the coronavirus situation, we were finally able to welcome the 9 participants for the 1st Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition of 2020! Expectations were quite high and although we missed White-faced Storm Petrel we did get a few interesting species, beyond Cory's shearwater and Bulwer's Petrel which were present everyday:

Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira

4th of August 2020 - wind blowing from the northeast up to 15 knots and waves from same direction up to 1 meter
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - on the way up
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - on the way to the chumming position
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
5 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
2 Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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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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