North Atlantic seabirds are fun! So we planned a short week with family on Madeira for birding and relaxing. So we did.
I took the well known three afternoon pelagics with Madeira Wind Birds, run by Hugo Romano and Catarina Fagundes. Both are specialised in finding seabirds in Madeiran waters. New taxa in red
The first two afternoons we had very little wind and a bit more on the last afternoon. We had good birding and photo opportunities on all three days, but saw just one Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira
in the almost dark at sea on the second day.
We saw one Desertas Petrel Pterodroma desertas
at close range, but that one flew all too fast for photo's. Further three unidentified, but probable Desertas.
Many Cory's Shearwaters Calonectris borealis
and Bulwers Petrels Bulweria bulwerii
around all the time. Otherwise 8 Wilson's Storm-petrels Oceanites oceanicus
, two Madeiran Storm-petrels Oceanodroma castro
, two European Storm-petrels Hydrobates pelagicus
, three or four Great Shearwaters Puffinus gravis
, one Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
and five Long-tailed Skuas Stercorarius longicaudus
Earlier in the week I joined the night expedition to the breeding colony of the Zino's Petrels and heard them very good and even saw one at very close range (maybe two meters) as a recognisable silhouette in moonlight!
On the island all the endemics: Madeiran Barn Owl Tyto (tyto) schmitzi
c 10 Trocaz Pigeons Colomba trocaz
, Berthelots Pipits Anthus berthelotii madeirensis, Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Madeiran Firecrests Regulus madeirensis
and Madeiran Finches Fringilla celebs maderensis.
Other birds included Common Buzzard, Kestrels canariensis,
Yellow-legged Gulls atlantis,
Plain Swifts, a few Pallid Swifts, Atlantic Canaries, one Spectacled Warbler (heard only), Blackcaps, Goldfinches and Siskins. No tits on the islands!
We also saw a few Bryde's Whales Balaenoptera edeni,
a few groups of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins Stenella frontalis
(absolute "feel-good" animals) and a Blue Shark Prince glauca
feasting on the chum.
male Madeiran Finch
female Madeiran Finch