Birds Ringed at the Observatory
Here is a gallery of some of the rare and more unusual birds that have been trapped and ringed at the Observatory this autumn.
Among these are a Kingfisher, a species regularly found along freshwater courses, but that comes down to the coast in the autumn and winter. What was it doing up at 180m above sea-level and in unfamiliar habitat is any ones guess. But it has not been the first, and this is the third at the Observatory in the last 20 years.
The Siskin is a north European finch that reaches southern Iberia in some years, sometimes in good numbers, whereas the Brambling is rarer with only a handful of ringing records. Hawfinch can be found in the woodlands in the Almoriama, but rarely migrates south, and only then in small numbers.
Ring Ouzel is a thrush species of high mountain habitats that migrates to winter in the mountains in southern Spain and Morocco. The Mistle Thrush, also inhabits woodlands in nearby Spain, but rarely moves south, and only in very small numbers. It has, unusually, been recorded in Gibraltar in July. Two caught at the Observatory this autumn are the first trapped and ringed in Gibraltar.
Red-rumped Swallow is another common migrant, that is rarely trapped in the habitat at the Observatory. Playback of calls of Swallows helped in capturing this one.
Meadow Pipit is an open ground bird of fields, it is also rarely caught in the dense maquis habitat at the Observatory, but playback of the calls brought this one in.
The ringing campaign at the Observatory ended with a total of 3783 new birds ringed and 119 retraps, for the period from 28th September until the 2nd November with 47 different species trapped and ringed. This total number of new birds ringed this autumn, which includes the Middle Hill campaign, is 5129 new birds 144 retraps, for a total of 53 species.
These photographs were taken by Ian Lees and Matt Ashman.