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Recent Records
 

Other Fauna & Flora

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2 Apr:  A Peacock Butterfly Aglais io, was seen in Camp Bay.  This is the first record of the species for Gibraltar, a butterfly whose closest distribution is the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada.  The butterfly was seen during a mass migration of the Painted Lady butterfly, and may have come across the Strait from Morocco.  The butterfly flew low around the tables by the Dolphin Bar, and landed on my daughters jumper, whereby I was able to identify it.

 

2014

 

01 July:  Two Fin Whales Balaenoptera physalus were seen exiting the Mediterranean past Europa Point in the late afternoon.  The species is fairly common in the Strait where most sightings occur during the period late April to Sempember.

 

2 Apr:  A Peacock Butterfly Aglais io, was seen in Camp Bay.  This is the first record of the species for Gibraltar, a butterfly whose closest distribution is the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada.  The butterfly was seen during a mass migration of the Painted Lady butterfly, and may have come across the Strait from Morocco.  The butterfly flew low around the tables by the Dolphin Bar, and landed on my daughters jumper, whereby I was able to identify it.

 

 

2012

14 Jul:  In the last week migrating Blue-fin Tuna have been sighted in the Straits of Gibraltar moving out of the Mediterranean.  Nicholas Ferrary has been lucky to have encountered them feeding on bait fish and has managed to capture some impressive shots of these magnificent fish (see also homepage).  He has also come across at least six Turtles also swimming in these waters.

Blue-fin Tuna feeding on bait fish off Europa Point.                                                                                        Photo:  Nicholas Ferrary

Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta in the Strait of Gibraltar.                                                                            Photo:  Nicholas Ferrary

06 Jul:  Large whale off surfaced three times 400m off Europa Point, most probably a Fin Whale but Sperm Whale not totally ruled out.

01 Jul:  Infestation of Jellyfish off beaches on both sides of the Rock.

09 Apr:  There were four bats flying around the area of the Gib Oil refuelling berth at Waterport next to Watergardens.

2011

 02 Jul:  Three Green Turtles Chelonia mydas, were sighted swimming off Eastern Beach heading south to the Straits of Gibraltar. 

27 Jun:  A Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus was seen in the Alameda Botanic Gardens this morning.  It was feeding on the flowers of the Lantana bushes that are prolific in the gardens.  The species has been present in the Gardens with occasional colonies and overwintering individuals seen.  This year was mild although rather wet, and we lost the species until this one turned up.  We hope it is a female that will lay eggs on the Asclepias curassavica plants that have been grown especially for them.

24 Jun:  First Cicada of the season uttering its shrill call around the Botanic Gardens.

09 Mar:   A  small shoal  of Brown Meagre Sciaena umbra was reported in the vicinity of the South Mole by Shane Shacaluga.  The fish was fairly common in the past and could be seen in relatively shallow waters passing under the Viaduct bridge and even within the yacht marinas (A. Guerrero pers. comm.).  This is a welcome sighting as it had not been reported in the last six years.

01Mar:  The jellyfish Portuguese Man o War Physalia physalis continues to be reported in Gibraltar waters.  One was sighted off the Calpe Rowing Club, inside the harbour, and others were seen washed up on the beach close by in La Linea. (A. Yome & S. Shacaluga)

2010

06 Sep:   A small shoal of juvenile Slender Sunfish Ranzania laevis  (Pennant, 1776) was reported today in Ocean Village marina.  It is a widespread species and native to the Mediterranean but it is the first time there has been a confirmed report of this species being present in Gibraltar’s waters.

There are around fifteen of them and they have been present for a few days

Growing to a maximum length of 1 metre (the ones present there were between 22cm & 33cm), they are generally found in the open sea and not so close to land.  As adults they are generally solitary.

They feed on planktonic crustaceans and jelly fish as does the common sun fish Mola mola.

They move very fast in the water with just the use of their tail fins, they are very colourful at this stage of their life, which in this case has attracted quite a number of onlookers.

                                                       Slender Sunfish                       Photo EShaw/GONHS

 

07 May:   Two Orcas were sighted off Europa Reef and were seen from the Jews' Gate Observatory on the Upper Rock by Rob King, Jutta Kuester and other observers who were there watching raptor.  The observers noticed the large black triangular fin of the species, that was apparent even from this distance.

2009

23 Nov: The November survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat Miniopterus schreibersii colony was conducted. Sunset was at around 1805hrs with some light Levanter cloud over the Rock but not affecting the roost site. The first bats emerged about 20mins later and continued to do so until 1910hrs. The count was terminated at 1920hrs, with a total of 228 individuals counted. This total was lower than November 2008, when the count was conducted two weeks earlier.

 

27 Oct: The October survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat Miniopterus schreibersii colony was conducted. Sunset was at around 1830hrs (clocks had gone back on the 25th) with Levanter cloud over the Rock but not affecting the roost site. The first bats emerged 20mins later and continued to do so until 1920hrs. The count was terminated at 1930hrs, with a total of 51 individuals counted. This was disappointing given the higher count the previous month and under half of the figure for the previous year.

29 Sep: The September survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat Miniopterus schreibersii colony was conducted. Sunset was at around 2010hrs with Levanter cloud around the area of the roost site. The first bats emerge promptly about 15mins later and continued to do so until 2050hrs. The count was terminated at 2100hrs, with a total of 149 individuals counted. This is the start of the second year of the survey.

19 Sep:  A Fin Whale was seen heading south along the east side of the Rock towards Europa Point.

30 Aug: A member of the Bat Group conducted a survey at the entrance to the Schreiber's long-fingered bat roost. A total of forty-two individuals were counted. This completes the first year of monthly counts at the roost.

31 Jul: Caves & Cliffs Section inspected the Schreiber's long-fingered bat roost, following the very low count in June and once recorded a marked increase to over fifty individuals.

16 Jul:  A member of the public reported that he had seen four brown Rabbits on the Great Sand Slopes just above the northern end of Both Worlds residential area.  He stated that they were coloured dark brown so they may well be of wild origin, although intentional release of unwanted pets cannot be ruled out.

30 Jun:  The first Cicadas of the year were heard in the Botanic Gardens this morning.  As temperatures continue to increase these insects will produce their familiar loud and shrill sounds that will reverberate throughout the summer months.

18 Jun:  At least two Monarch Butterflies were observed feeding on the flowers of the Botanic Gardens this week.  The wet and cold weather of the winter decimated the population, and it is hoped that these individuals may lay eggs and continue the colony.

17 Jun: Caves & Cliffs Section inspected the Schreiber's long-fingered bat roost, following the very low count in May and once again a very low count of just two individuals.

28 May:  Large numbers of Painted Ladies in Town and the Botanic Gardens once again suggested an influx of migrants.

On the same day three members of the Bat Group / Caves & Cliffs Section inspected the Schreiber's long-fingered bat roost, following the very low count in April.

This visit revealed just one bat roosting in a cavern.

Photographs were taken of what appeared to be urine stains on the rock (left) and a corresponding guano mound on the ground (right)

The solitary bat was not disturbed and the team left shortly afterwards.

26 May:  A Basking Shark with a remora attached swam past a fishing boat at the entrance to the Bay close to Punta Carnero.

17 May:  A further two Fin Whales were off Europa Point.

10 May:  Six large baleen whale, most probably Fin Whales, were seen just off Europa Point.

04 May:  Large numbers of Painted Ladies on wild flowers at West View Park suggested an arrival of these butterflies from across the Strait.

22 Apr: The April survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat colony was conducted. Sunset was at around 2100hrs with Levanter cloud beginning to form over the Rock and Strait. Conditions seemed ideal around the roost site, with significant insect activity.

The observers were disappointed when the first bat did not emerge until around 40 minutes after sunset, significantly later than on other occasions. The total of 4 bats, until the survey was abandoned at around 2215hrs, was by far the lowest since regular surveys were commenced in 2008. A single European free-tailed bat Tadarida teniotis was heard near the roost site as the observers left the area. At around sunset, Blackbirds and a male Barbary partridge were heard calling. A rustling bird, heard well after dark may have been a Scops owl. A Scops owl was later seen on Signal Station Road.

29 Mar: The March survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat colony was conducted at 2040hrs, with the first bat emerging at 2109hrs. Last individual seen at 2130hrs (approx.). Survey terminated at 2140hrs.

The total was low at 30 individuals, although with no data from other years to compare this to. Lower figure than February (64) but higher than January (22). Observers Albert Yome and Gian Alvarez.

At sunset Winter wren, Blackbird and Barbary partridge were heard in the immediate area, as well as numerous Yellow-legged gulls. Conditions: Clear, but cold for time of the year (10.5°C near the site). Emerging bats would have seen lightning flashes over the Spanish shore of the Strait and later over Jebel Musa and Tangier.

Some insect activity was observed and we European free-tailed bats were detected overhead, as well as being seen. A switch to 15kHz on the detector allowed the team to receive strong signals from these echolocating bats.

24 Feb: A visit by several members to the East of the old parade ground at sunset was somewhat disappointing, as the Easterly gusts picked up after a fine, calm day.

Nevertheless, there were several contacts on the bat detector, which had been set to around 13kHz - the peak frequency for the European free-tailed bat Tadarida teniotis. Another unidentified species was also noted, when it was sighted in the twilight as it hawked over the still vegetated area. Bats of an unidentified species have been seen at this location, which warrants further investigation during calmer conditions.

18 Feb: The February survey of the Schreiber's long-fingered bat colony resulted in a total of 64 individuals being recorded. The first bats emerged at 1925hrs, with the last at approximately 1950hrs. Air temperature near the site was 10 degrees Celsius and considerable insect activity was observed.

12 Feb: An evening walk around town resulted in 5 Soprano pipistrelles over The Convent garden, another hawking over planted areas at Rooke and another 2 over Edinburgh House estate.

11 Feb: An Iberian Wall Lizard Podarcis hispanica basking on a wall at West View Park after the recent adverse weather, provided a glimmer of hope that this species can recolonise West View Promenade, should the former public park, destroyed by a storm on 10 October 2008, ever be restored.

30 Jan: At least 6 Soprano pipistrelles were observed feeding between Picton and Ross House on Red Sands Road. 

29 Jan: Two Soprano pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus were seen feeding over the water at No.4 Dock, Queensway

27 Jan: Sunset predicted for 18:42, but difficult to determine because of clouds on the horizon. Very little bat activity, which was not surprising given the recent weather. Northerly breeze, with 8C being recorded in the surrounding area.

Just 22 Schreiber's long-fingered bats Miniopterus schreibersii bats being recorded between 19:15hrs and approximately 19:35hrs. Count stopped at 19:45hrs after no bats recorded for around ten minutes. At least 2 European free-tailed bats Tadarida teniotis foraging in the area

 

2008

Dec

10 Dec: A visit to the site of the Schreiber's bat colony yielded a count of 193 individuals. They again emerged around 25 minutes after sunset (1805hrs/1830hrs). It is possible the the colony send out 2 or 3 'scouts' as the first bats to leave the roost return very shortly afterwards, before others have left the roost. Perhaps they are able to communicate information about meteorological conditions and or insect activity to the rest of the colony? Although it was a cool evening (9 degrees C at the end), this was the same temperature as on the previous month's survey.

Nov

9 Nov: A further visit to the site of the Schreiber's bat colony yielded a higher than expected count of 292 individuals. Bats mate in the autumn and it is possible that the augmented population may include females that come to pair off, before returning to maternity colonies in the Spring and then giving birth in late June or early July.

 

Oct

27 Oct: A visit to the only known remaining roost of Schreiber's bats after sunset yielded a count of 110 individuals. They first emerged about 25 minutes after sunset, which was at 1830hrs and the last bat was seen leaving the roost at about 1915hrs. Light westerly wind, clouds in the sky but a clear horizon, giving brighter conditions than on the previous count.

Sep

25 Sep: A visit to the only known remaining roost of Schreiber's bats after sunset yielded a count of 116 individuals. This is comparable to a similar count conducted last year. The bat group now plans to return to the roost more regularly in order to monitor the colony.

Jun

30 Jun:  A Common eagle ray Myliobatis aquila was seen swimming just off West View Promenade in the evening, over the rocks at a depth of about 2m.

Mar:

24 Mar:  A couple of large baleen whales, probably Fin Whales, were seen from Europa Point this morning in very calm conditions that proved crucial in spotting the whales.  They were observed several miles to the south-east, blowing on several occasions and breaching twice before finally disappearing.

Warm weather conditions in early March produced an emergence of butterflies including Spanish Festoons, Cleopatras, and a very early Two-tailed Pasha, the earliest recorded.

Feb:

A Burnet Moth, Zygaena fausta gibraltarica, was seen in the Alameda Botanic Gardens in early February, an unusual date, as the moth only emerges in the warm weather in May with a second brood in September.  This is the second time a burnet moth has emerged at such an early date with another one in the winter of 2002.

Jan:

24 Jan:  A Monarch Butterfly has been seen flying in the Alameda Botanic Gardens close to the Dell area in the last few days.

21 Jan:  A pod of about twelve Bottle-nosed Dolphins was sighted close to the shore off  Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay, with some coming in as close as 50m from the shore.  The sea was calm and some of the dolphins appeared to be feeding and were accompanied by several dozen Yellow-legged Gulls.

 

2007

Oct:

A sighting of a Monarch butterfly Danaus plexippus in the gardens of The Convent on Main Street was the first for about 18 months, Large swarms of dragonflies have been observed at Gibraltar during late October.

Although large migratory movements of dragonflies always occur at Gibraltar during early and late autumn, those observed this year stand out for their magnitude.  Most of the dragonflies at Gibraltar are a darter species, Sympetrum fonscolombii.  Mature males are red whilst females and immature males are green.  Also common is the hawker species Aeshna mixta, a larger, bluish dragonfly.
 
Meanwhile, sightings of Monarch butterflies continue with 4 or 5 individuals observed in the Convent Gardens, with one also along Queensway and another on Europa Road.

On the 16th, following westerly winds, several migrant butterfly species were encountered on Windmill Hill, including many Painted Ladies Vanessa cardui, Clouded Yellows Colias crocea and Small Whites Artogeia rapae.  The sighting was striking following a very poor spring for butterflies when very few Painted Ladies were seen.  Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta, were amongst the most common butterfly on the Upper Rock, but also present were many Long-tailed and Lang's Short-tailed Blues, Lampides boeticus and Leptotes pirithous, and a Southern Brown Argus Aricia cramera.

June:

An Ocean sunfish Mola mola was seen near the surface coming very close to Europa Point on the 27th. Seeing its large dorsal fin break the surface, it is easy to see how bathers at local beaches mistake this species for sharks.

A pair of Fin Whales Balaenoptera physalus were seen off Europa Point on the 24th.  The whales broke the surface briefly before submerging out of sight heading in a westerly direction into the Strait.

 

March:

The population of the wild Caper Capparis spinosa discovered in 2006 in the Buena Vista and North Gorge area has been confirmed after consultation with botanist John Ackeroyd to be the wild variety C. s. rupestris.  It was thought possible that the population was an old garden escape, but this confirms it as a species that can be considered native to Gibraltar.  This is a plant found characteristically in Mediterranean gorges near the sea but is not known from such habitats in Spain south of Almeria.

Its range in Gibraltar is very limited to the crags of the south-west of the Rock, and so it is vulnerable to development and cliff works.

        Capparis spinosa rupestris from North Gorge, Gibraltar                                                                    Leslie Linares

                 

 

2006

 

16 Dec:  A Long-finned Pilot Whale Globicephala  melaena, measuring 4.5m, was washed ashore dead at Camp Bay, Gibraltar.  There were no signs of injury, although the recent storms may have contributed to its death. .  It is a common species in the Strait.

 

12 Nov: Following the strong Easterlies, a walk along the tideline at Eastern Beach turned up several individuals of the hydroid Velella velella more commonly known as a By-the-Wind Sailor

Also washed up was this unusual specimen, which we still have not identified, but is probably a young Mediterranean moray Muraena helena (Photos: Albert and Silaika Yome)

The waves must have been of considerable strength, as even a Goose barnacle, Pollicipes pollicipes which adhere very strongly to rocks, was also found on the shore.

30 Oct:  A stand of the Autumn Grape Hyacinth, Muscari parviflora was discovered in a bed in the Botanic Gardens.  Although the stand looks at least several years old, this is a species not previously recorded in Gibraltar, and does not appear on the western Andalucia list either.

21 Oct:  Following several days and nights with rain, there was heightened bat activity at dusk at the Botanic Gardens, coinciding with a emergence of flying ants.  Numbers of pipistrelles were seen catching these, probably including both Soprano Pipistrelles and Common Pipistrelles.

21 Sep:  The Seal is still being seen regularly on the north side of the Bay, near the new Spanish container port under construction in the CRINAVIS site, where it regularly comes to land on the rocks.

28 Aug:  A Whale sp.  approximately 12m long, possibly a Minke Whale, was sighted in the Bay of Gibraltar just 200m off the Detached Mole at 18:30 hrs.

24 Aug: A large Ocean sunfish Mola mola was seen cruising past Europa Point, it's large dorsal fin looking very much like a shark. Later in the afternoon shoals of Flying fish Exocoetidae were seen trying to escape from predatory fish by bursting out at the surface and gliding over the waves, during which time shearwaters and gulls would attempt to catch them

11 Aug:  A Swordfish Xiphias gladius was seen jumping three times out of the water approximately a mile off Europa Point.

10 Aug:  The Seal was again seen off Little Bay swimming and chasing fish late in the evening (J. Adamberry).

7 Aug:  A large Whale sp. was seen breaching at midday in the anchorage area to the east of the Rock.

6 Aug:  The Seal was again sighted in the same location by one of the Dolphin tour boats.  This time photographs were taken and will be published when we get a copy.

3 Aug:  The Seal was sighted by one of the Dolphin tour boats off the North Mole.  All the occupants had good views of the seal which was seen close to the Spanish pier the 'Espigon de San Felipe'.  This is the first confirmed record of this marine mammal in the area.

28 Jul:  A probable Monk Seal was reported swimming along the cliffs north of Europa Point during the afternoon.  The observer caught a glimpse of what was a seal submerging before he could confirm the sighting.

17 June:  A pod of Common Dolphins Delphinus delphis was seen inside the harbour, travelling north from inside the Detached Mole, then passing close to the outside of the Western Arm of the North Mole.

Although this species is common in the Bay of Gibraltar, sightings within the harbour are infrequent, due to its enclosed, shallow profile and high level of maritime traffic.

 

 

 

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