Experience Nature for Yourself.
The Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society is active in a wide range of areas to do with nature.
Strait Of Gibraltar Bird Observatory
This is the name we give to the group of GONHS members who primarily devote themselves to bird watching and bird ringing as well as other ornithological studies. Members bird watch regularly, both in Gibraltar and in Spain. During the spring migration in particular, great use is made of the premises at Jews' Gate on the Upper Rock. During days with westerly winds the birdwatchers gather to observe the impressive passage of birds of prey. In summer, the main activity is the watching of seabird passage, virtually every afternoon from Europa Point. All GONHS members are welcome to join in these activities.
During easterly winds, the bird-ringers are out with their nets, catching birds to ring and release and so to increase our knowledge of migratory birds.
left to right - Bonelli's Warbler, Wood Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff.
The Society encourages the study of marine life, be it on the shore or in the high seas. Some of the members undertake scientific research, but there are opportunities to find out about seashore life, dolphins, fish, and other marine species. Divers are also welcome. Ongoing projects include the building of artificial reefs. The sister charity "The Helping Hand " and its vessel NIMO carries out research and recreational touring (including dolphin watching).
A Common Dolphin and the disastrous consequences of fishing nets.
Gibraltar's mammals allow an opportunity for study. Members have in the past helped in surveys and setting up of boxes for bats. There is a great deal more work to be done in promoting the well-being of our mammals, notably our bats and rabbits, both of which are in decline, and in establishing the status of other species in Gibraltar, notably the red fox. Re-introduction projects are also under way.
Gibraltar's flora is rich and varied and very beautiful. GONHS provides an opportunity to learn more about the flowers of the Rock and the surrounding area. Flowers are highlighted during outings and there is a chance also to accompany the botanists in the field, especially through the spring. Vegetation clearing and other active conservation projects are also carried out.
Successful revegetation of the eastern slopes.
Raptor Rehabilitation Unit
More than a section, the Raptor Rehabiltation Unit is a specialised unit dealing with the rehabilitation primarily of birds of prey, but of other birds also. Gulls and falcons regularly injure migrant birds of prey, others are taken illegally and need help to get back to the wild. This unit deals with this. Help in this work is always needed, and there is an opportunity here to get involved in practical conservation work. GONHS also looks after parrots and monkeys and other animals confiscated from illegal trade.
Invertebrates abound in Gibraltar, and these even include some endemic species. The GONHS includes a small but very active Invertebrate Section. Interests within the section include Molluscs, Isopods, Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths) and Odonata (Dragonflies & Damselflies). Amongst the aims of the Invertebrate Section, one of the most prominent recently has been the cataloguing of Gibraltar’s largely unexplored invertebrate fauna. The section is also very keen on identifying habitats that are of particular importance to invertebrates, particularly rarer species, with a view to making recommendations on their management and conservation.
Caves and Cliffs Section
Composed of experienced and skilled climbers who provide a wide and varied supporting role, like rescuing birds on cliffs, seeking out rare plants, cleaning inaccessible areas. Also involved in research into the climate of caves and climate as recorded in caves.
With or without a particular interest in an aspect of natural history, few people don't enjoy a walk in the countryside. The Society organises regular rambles aimed at providing an opportunity to do this in the company of like-minded people. GONHS members have a deep knowledge of the countryside in and around Gibraltar and use this knowledge to plan and run the monthly rambles.
And Anything Else
Although there is no formal section, there is certainly information and advice available to persons interested in other aspects of natural.