January 2022 - birdwatching observations in Madeira

Happy New Year! We sure hope this year will be better than the last ones, at least healthier in all ways! January started with quite warm temperatures which is not common for this time of year... Despite the low demand for birdwatching tours, let's see which vagrant species will pass by Madeira this month:

17th of January 2022 at Funchal - observed by Donato (POR)
60 to 80 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris - an unusual high number for Madeira!

At Santa Cruz
8 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

12th of January 2022 at São Vicente
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
3 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

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2021 December birdwatching in Madeira

With summer temperatures during this winter month let's see which species will visit the island... Happy Holidays to all!!

31st of December 2021 at Funchal
5 Little Egret Egretta garzetta - flying at night, disoriented by the fireworks

30th of December 2021 at Machico
10 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

29th of December 2021 at Rabaçal - photographed by Stephen (GER)
Black Stork Ciconia nigra

23rd of December 2021 at Caniçal - reported by Stephen (GER)
2 Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica - both dead at the beach

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Birding in Madeira in November, 2021

Despite the summer temperatures at the beginning of this month, migration is on and so some birds are still visiting Madeira...

30th of November 2021 at Calheta marina - reported by Nigel (UK)
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra

28th of November 2021 at Ponta do Sol
2 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

27th of November 2021 at Machico - photographed by Sarah (UK)
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus - fishing in the river

25th of November 2021 at Machico
2 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
2 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
4 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

24th of November 2021 at São Vicente
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
2 White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

At Ponta do Pargo
2 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra - a pair, male and female
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
> 40 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

23rd of November 2021 at Pico do Areeiro - sighted by Isabel and Tania (POR)
2 Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

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October 2021, birding records for Madeira

This time was our time for holiday, as Madeira is beautiful but can sometimes be too small for the ones who live it in... So the bird records for Madeira this month are very few as it is the number of birdwatchers in the island. Anyway, thanks to some local help we can still put up some birding news:

29th of October 2021 at Machico - observed by Ralf (GER)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
2 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
18 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
2 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

At Água de Pena
Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus

28th of October 2021 at Ponta São Lourenço - reported by Ralf (GER)
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

27th of October 2021 at Machico
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
8 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Caniçal
3 Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis

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2021, September bird records for Madeira

September should be a good month for migration although the temperatures in Madeira are still quite high, resembling mid-summer... Let's see if the winds blow any interesting species out of they migratory course into this small rock in the Atlantic Ocean...

28th of September 2021 at Caniçal
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
6 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula

27th of September 2021 at Fanal - observed by Ivan (UK)
Black Kite Milvus migrans

23rd of September 2021 at Machico
2 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
5 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula

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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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