Spring migration season - April 2018

It's April and bird migration is starting to move northwards! Let's see which species the winds will blow into Madeira, as we are out of migration routes...

18th of April 2018 at Ribeira Brava
5 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
5 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Lugar de Baixo
Little Crake Porzana parva - female
4 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Ponta do Pargo
3 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

At São Vicente
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

11th of April 2018 at Funchal - heard by Bruce Kerr (UK)
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix

9th of April 2018 at Tanque pond, Porto Santo - observations by Martin Wadewitz (GER)
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
6 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

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Birdwatching in Madeira during March 2018

The first two weeks of March were very stormy with heavy rain, strong winds from western quadrant and rough sea. Not safe nor comfortable conditions to go out birding... But birds might be caught up on these storms and may be blown off their migration course and 'thrown' into this small piece of land called Madeira.

29th of March 2018 at Lugar de Baixo
2 Little Crake Porzana parva - a pair
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

At Lido area, Funchal - reported by Kerry Sutton-Spence (UK)
8 Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

28th of March 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus

At Ribeira Brava
4 Little Egret Egretta garzetta

At Lugar de Baixo - observed & photographed by Mark Murray (UK)
Little Crake Porzana parva - male

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February 2018 bird visitors to Madeira

February is a transition month, while some passerines start displaying, like Spectacled warbler, other birds are still in their winter schedule. In Madeira February started cooler than normal, with snow up on the highest peaks and also windy and wet. Not the best conditions to go out birding though...

24th of February 2018 at São Vicente
4 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
2 White wagtail Motacilla alba alba

At Ribeira Brava
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca - female
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
9 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Ponta do Pargo
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

22nd of February 2018 at Machico
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
8 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

At Caniçal
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

21st of February 2018 off Porto Moniz
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus - adult

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January 2018 birding observations

Happy New Year for all birders around the world!!! It seems clear that climate is changing and although in some parts of the globe temperatures are really low, in others, like Madeira, January started feeling like a spring month with temperatures as high as 24ºC in the first week. So lets see which bird species will fly away from the cold and land accidentally in this warm archipelago:

31st of January 2018 at Ponta do Pargo
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
>30 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

At São Vicente
3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus
White wagtail Motacilla alba alba

At Ribeira Brava
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca - female

30th of January 2018 at Caniço
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

At Machico
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Northern Pintail Anas acuta - drake
15 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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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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