Birdwatching around Madeira in September 2022

September is starting with some easterly winds which during migration are good to blow some birds out of their course, into Madeira...

22nd of September 2022 at Funchal harbour - reported by Neil (UK)
2 Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
4 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

21st of September 2022 at Machico
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularius
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

15th of September 2022 at Machico
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe

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Birding in Madeira, August 2022

In August starts some of the migration and depending from where the winds blow, Madeira might get some vagrant birds passing/stopping by...

31st of August 2022 at Machico
14 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
2 Sanderling Calidris alba

30th of August 2022 off Porto Moniz - observed by Michel (NED)
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
41 Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
101 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
3 Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
7 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Great Skua Stercorarius skua
66 Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

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Light wind delays migration - pelagic August 13-15 pelagic 2022

Light wind does not help seabirds' migration and it gets more difficult to watch Madeiran storm petrel as well... Anyway, it was a comfortable pelagic expedition with some great views of different species, especially Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii who are constantly passing by the chum slick.

15th August 2022 - SW breeze shifting between 0 and 5 knots with westerly swell of 0.5 meters
2 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - sitting on the water on the way up
2 Great shearwater Puffinus gravis
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus - flew by a bit far
2 Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus graellsii
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
18 Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - flew by far from the boat
Pterodroma sp.

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Windy pelagic but without storm petrels...3rd-5th August 2022

A hardcore pelagic with oblivious participants makes us worry more about the birdwatchers safety and the equipment safeguard than the birdwatching itself... Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were present everyday but this time no storm petrel were watched. Though seabirds migration has started as some different species have passed by the chum!

3rd August 2022 - NNE wind between 6 and 8 knots, 2 meter swell from Northeast
Great shearwater Puffinus gravis
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus intermedius
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
6 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
3 Common tern Sterna hirundo
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira

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All in 1 (day) pelagic expedition, 24th-26th July 2022

What a start for a Zino's Petrel Pelagic Expedition! We saw all the aimed species in a single day, even White-faced Storm Petrel which has been scarce in the last 4 years! The 2nd day was completely the opposite but then the 3rd day was again a really good one! As usual, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were our companions during the 3 days.

24th July 2022 - 14 knots wind and 1 meter waves both from the northeast
3 Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - 2 on the way to the chumming position
3 Pterodroma sp.
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
4 Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro
White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus graellsii

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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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