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Hardcore Madeira Madness - 15 - 20 June 2022 (1 Viewer)

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Supporter
A Windbirds pelagic has been on my bucket list for a while now, but the 3-day list for a not-inconsiderable outlay is not that impressive TBH. The Pterodroma petrels and high chance of Zino's is obviously a big draw, but for storm-petrels and the commoner shearwaters I've had much more bird-rich experiences in a couple of hours off Sagres for considerably less cash.
As Ken says though, the chance of a white-faced storm-petrel still makes it an attractive proposition, but your trip report emphasises how good the catamaran trip can be. Multiple Bulwer's plus beer compares very favourably!
Owen, I don’t think they’ve had White-faced Petrel for a while. Tey are possible but rare. Don't think they have had any since I have been watching their blog in June or July. Have a look at their blog.

Www.madeirabirds.com

I’m going on a 2-night cruise in September with Lanzarote Pelagics for about the same cost as the 3-day Windbirds package, at least 60% chance of getting WF Petrel.

Maybe the Windbirds ribs are better in some respects than catamarans, more eyes etc. but I wonder how many sightings of gadfly petrels you might get on a VMT Madeira catamaran cruise with a team of birders rather than one notoriously dosey, dopey, half-awake birder like me. Of course if they find a gadfly on the water, they will stop whereas the catamaran won’t. But I was more than satisfied with the multiple views I got over 2 trips. Mostly views were fly-bys but 2 of the 17 birds were sat on the water, over the 2 catamaran trips. I think most of the gadflys seen on Windbirds are also fly-bys, maybe they chase them to get closer though.

Ventura do Mar sailing boat should be back sailing soon as a day-trip alternative, and Bonita do Madeira too - both offer sailing day trips to Desertas with facilities for 80 euros.
 
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GMS

Well-known member
Owen, I don’t think they’ve had White-faced Petrel for a while. Tey are possible but rare. Don't think they have had any since I have been watching their blog in June or July. Have a look at their blog.

Www.madeirabirds.com

I’m going on a 2-night cruise in September with Lanzarote Pelagics for about the same cost as the 3-day Windbirds package, at least 60% chance of getting WF Petrel.

Maybe the Windbirds ribs are better in some respects than catamarans, more eyes etc. but I wonder how many sightings of gadfly petrels you might get on a VMT Madeira catamaran cruise with a team of birders rather than one notoriously dosey, dopey, half-awake birder like me. Of course if they find a gadfly on the water, they will stop whereas the catamaran won’t. But I was more than satisfied with the multiple views I got over 2 trips. Mostly views were fly-bys but 2 of the 17 birds were sat on the water, over the 2 catamaran trips. I think most of the gadflys seen on Windbirds are also fly-bys, maybe they chase them to get closer though.

Ventura do Mar sailing boat should be back sailing soon as a day-trip alternative, and Bonita do Madeira too - both offer sailing day trips to Desertas with facilities for 80 euros.
I've done the windbirds trip this year in June. Absolutely fantastic overall with good numbers of Zino's to North of Island amd both Zino's/Desertas to South of Island. Didn't see Wilson's or WF Petrel but we knew they wouldn't be guaranteed. 1000s of Bulwers on last day was spectacular. That said, not a trip I will ever do again. A 2.5+ meter Atlantic swell was an experience that I'm not keen on repeating. Easy to say keep your eyes on the horizon but you can't actually see it! Zino's night time trip was magical in the moonlight. Personally didn't find the walk long or difficult. The path is solid. As for the endemics they were all easy. Firecrests were numerous but some of the party weren't able to hear them any longer.

Def no chasing of petrels, it would be impossible.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Supporter
I've done the windbirds trip this year in June. Absolutely fantastic overall with good numbers of Zino's to North of Island amd both Zino's/Desertas to South of Island. Didn't see Wilson's or WF Petrel but we knew they wouldn't be guaranteed. 1000s of Bulwers on last day was spectacular. That said, not a trip I will ever do again. A 2.5+ meter Atlantic swell was an experience that I'm not keen on repeating. Easy to say keep your eyes on the horizon but you can't actually see it! Zino's night time trip was magical in the moonlight. Personally didn't find the walk long or difficult. The path is solid. As for the endemics they were all easy. Firecrests were numerous but some of the party weren't able to hear them any longer.

Def no chasing of petrels, it would be impossible.
Thanks for offering perspective. I would say the nicely- balancing catamarans do offer excellent alternative opportunities for oldies like me to see Desertas, lots of Bulwers, possible Zino’s too.

The air is thin at Pico do Arieiro, but if you are fit it should be fine, though glad we didn’t walk on this section to get to the Zino colony….

www.youtube.com/shorts/IqQaQmJwpX8
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Can't think where I read it but someone in the last few days had a fantastic first evening out on the Windbirds rib with multiple Desertas and Zino's, Madeiran Petrel and White-faced Petrel.
Steve
 

mike nesbitt

Well-known member
Can't think where I read it but someone in the last few days had a fantastic first evening out on the Windbirds rib with multiple Desertas and Zino's, Madeiran Petrel and White-faced Petrel.
Steve
I went out to sea with Wind Birds last week. The third session was rough, very rough indeed and as I opted to sit in the front seat, I got the mother and father of all soakings. That said, the rough weather was good for Pterodromas with over thirty being seen during the three days including three definite Zinos, so it was job done! We also had a brief sighting of Band Rumped Petrel. An amazing Corys feeding frenzy was observed with hundreds of them following Dolphins that were feasting on Horse Mackerel, also in the mix were Brydes Whale, Pilot Whale, Several Pterodromas, a couple of Manxies and a Great Shearwater.
Up to last week, only one White faced Petrel had been seen this year, IIRC that was in June. Sightings of this species on the MWB pelagic are very scarce compared to just a few years ago.
Edit: a couple of images attached. These birds - for me anyway, are difficult to call.
First image I'd say is Zinos. Anyone like to call the second!
Mike.
 

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wolfbirder

Well-known member
Supporter
You stand a good chance on the Lanzarote trip. And maybe even Black-bellied. Have you thought about getting there on the ferry from Spain rather than flying? I think Bob Flood has done that in the past and seen great birds from the ferry.
Hi Steve

Yes I had earlier this year booked myself on the Lanzarote Pelagics two-night trip departing 6th September, but found out just today that it is likely to be cancelled due to lack of interest (they asked if I could transfer to a week later but I won't be there then). Bummer!! I will know for sure 1st August whether it is cancelled, and if so, yes, I am going to pay the currently-available £15 Ryan Air Stansted to Jerez flight to catch the Armos Naviera ferry from Cadiz to Arrecife, then return home on the flight I currently have from Lanzarote. I saw that report and the ferry offers outside chance of WF Petrel.

Thanks for the heads-up Steve, I will report back whichever trip I end up doing, and bore you all rigid!
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Supporter
Yeah this is quite fun. I actually wish you don't get the Lanzarote trip, because I am dying to hear what you could see from the Cadiz ferry - and how would such a long journey cause you all inventive sorts of suffering :)
Ha you know me too well Jan, I always stress about queues, airports, connections, sleep.....anything. Classic anxiety about bollocks stuff :)-.
I rather also hope that the ferry turns out to be the only option, because that would be far more relaxing...slow and cumbersome just like yours truly. And beer, snacks, sitting down..........perfect :)_. At least compared to 'Lanzarote Pelagics' cramped berth with a single smelly wc and people throwing up.

I should find out tomorrow or Monday which it is. He didn't seem very happy when I said I would want my money back, as he was losing money too, almost like it was my fault that he had had to ask me to go a week later, and that I can't go then. Lets see.

I think the ferry list of what I miss through nodding off or just missing altogether will be pretty damn impressive Jan
 

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