Good start of pelagic's season, 28-30 May 2023

Despite the uncommon wind direction (Southwest) for this time of year which blown the most common seabirds, like Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis and Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii away from the south side of the island, we observed good bird species during the 3 day pelagic expedition:

30th May 2023 - 7 knots of WSW wind and 0.5 meter waves from SW which developed to 1 meter by the evening
3 Desertas / Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae/deserta
2 European Storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Leach's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
2 Lesser Black-backed gull Larus fuscus
Sabine's gull Xema sabini
2 Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis
some Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii

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Bird sightings for Madeira archipelago, May 2023

May the birds be with us! Despite the bird flue that is hitting hard quite a few species around Europe, in Madeira archipelago so far it was not detected and a few vagrant birds are still visiting us:

27th of May 2023 at Ponta do Pargo - reported by Vincent and Jordy (NED)
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus

At Machico - photographed by Quentin (FRA)
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

21st of May 2023 at Lugar de Baixo - observations by Michel (NED)
2 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina

At Machico
9 Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

19th of May 2023 at Porto Moniz - sighting by Michel (NED)
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

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April's 2023 birdwatching records for Madeira

First week of April started with summer temperatures and some eastern winds which is a good combinations to divert some migratory bird species out of their routes into Madeira...

29th of April 2023 at Caniçal
2 Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flava
4 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

26th of April 2023 at Machico
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
7 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
50 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus - flying towards east

20th of April 2023 at Lugar de Baixo - photographed by Mark (UK)
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
2 Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

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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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