1-3 June 2024 - Petrels and Storm-petrels display!

Perfect wind and sea conditions on this Zino's Petrel pelagic Expedition allowed us to have very good views of the petrels breeding in Madeira and a good list of storm-petrels! As normal, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were a constant, everyday.

1st June 2024 - 8 to 10 knots of NNW wind and NE waves up to 1.7 meters
2 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
2 Common tern Sterna hirundo
Leach's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
3 European Storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus - 2 at the same time
Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
4 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
1 possible Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira - came together with the 2nd Zino’s but quickly flew away from the chum slick

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Birding in Madeira - June 2024

June should be a summer month though there is still some late migratory birds being blown off their course into Madeira islands. Let see what June 2024 will bring us...

6th of June 2024 at Machico - sighting by Tim (UK)
3 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

4th of June 2024 at Machico - reported by Tim (UK)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

1st of June 2024 at Machico - photographed by Tim
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops

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Petrels pelagic, 27-29 May 2024

Another successful pelagic expedition with the perfect wind conditions but some choppy sea! As always, Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii were the most common species watched everyday.

29th May 2024 - Leaving Machico the wind was blowing strong, around 17 knots but as we went offshore it dropped down, so at the chumming position there were 8 to 10 knots of North wind while the waves came from Northeast up to 1.8 meters
3 Pterodroma sp. - on the way up, too far to ID them, though the closest one was probably Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
4 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
7 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus
15+ Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro
2 Wilson's Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus
European Storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Common tern Sterna hirundo
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta

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Zino's Petrel show - 13-16 May 2024

Another rough pelagic expedition but very successful as we observed all the aimed species! We even took a break of 1 day to try to get some lighter wind but it insisted in increasing for the end of the day... As usual, Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii and Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis were our company during the evenings at sea.

13th May 2024 - Left the marina with 17 to 18 knots of wind but as we sailed offshore it decreased to 10 to 13 knots from NNW. There was a North swell up to 1.7 meter and 1 meter waves from NNE - choppy!
3 Common tern Sterna hirundo - on the way up
4 Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
7 Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus puffinus - 4 on the way down
9 Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
Possible Desertas/Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta - flew by too quickly for a positive ID
Barolo’s shearwater Puffinus baroli - on the way back

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Birding in Madeira, May 2024

May tends to be a very good month for migratory birds to be blown off their migratory course into this small peace of land that is Madeira. Let see which species may be visiting us this May!

30th of May 2024 at Ponta São Lourenço
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

26th of May 2024 at Machico - reported by Alfred (SWI)
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

24th of May 2024 at Calheta - observed by Simon (UK)
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus

11th of May 2024 off Porto Moniz - sighting by Michel (NED)
2 Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - flying towards Porto Santo

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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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