Despite the strong winds and big waves that hit Azores and the North of mainland Portugal in the first days of February, Madeira started this Carnival month with sunshine, light wind and much smaller waves although on the 2nd week a lot of rain poured down. Manx shearwater and Cory's shearwater are 2 seabird species that are back to our waters and can be seen on a Bird, dolphin & whale watching trip! So far, the vagrant bird species in this archipelago are very much the same that landed here last December:
First of all, Happy New Year for all of you! We hope you have a joyful 2017 with plenty of bird observations and great unique records! Here is the list of birds that have visited Madeira on this first month of 2017:
December is a low season for tourism in Madeira, so it is the ideal time to take our own holidays! This is why there are no earlier bird records this month. But let's see which sightings has Santa arranged for us this festive season...
It seems November will be a month for more interesting visitant birds to Madeira...at least judging from the first week records...
At Lugar de Baixo
2 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
2 Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
>2 Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
3 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
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!