April 2018 Sightings
30 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate south-westerly wind. Good Honey Buzzard passage in the morning when most passed before midday with many more in the afternoon for a total of 1289 birds. Also seen were 76 Black Kites, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 11 Short-toed Eagles, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3 Sparrowhawks, 8 Booted Eagles, a Hobby, 17 Flamingoes, 28 Swallows, 12 Red-rumped Swallows, 189 Common Swifts a Black Stork, a Greenfinch and a Serin.
29 Apr: Mainly clear skies with some westerly cloud. Winds light to moderate northerly.A good raptor day with plenty of Black Kites for a total of 1275 birds. Also seen were 43 Honey Buzzards, 3 Egyptian Vultures, 10 Griffon Vultures, 13 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, 9 Sparrowhawks, 28 Booted Eagles, 7 Black Storks, 32 Bee-eaters, 32 Swallows, 8 Red-rumped Swallows, and 305 Common Swifts.
28 Apr: Clear skies with some cloud from the west. Winds moderate to fresh north-westerly. A steady passage of raptors at the Observatory for a total of 52 Honey Buzzards, 329 Black Kites, 15 Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, 11 Short-toed Eagles, 10 Marsh Harriers, 2 Montagu's Harriers, 6 Sparrowhawks and 34 Booted Eagles. Also seen were 27 Swallows, 605 Common Swifts and 3 Bee-eaters. Two Turnstones were feeding on the rocky shoreline along Europa foreshore.
27 Apr: Clear skies with a light westerly becoming moderate after midday. Just before midday, raptor passage got underway, with flocks of Black Kites and Honey Buzzards making their way north. At least 9 Griffon Vultures and several Short-toed Eagles flew low over the town chased by the Yellow-legged Gulls and the pair of Peregrines that nest on the cliff below the Apes Den. The total number of raptors for the day was 210 Honey Buzzards, 1048 Black Kites, 45 Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, 23 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, 19 Sparrowhawks, 28 Booted Eagles and 2 Hobbies. Also seen were 4 Black Storks, 32 Swallows and 3 Goldfinches.
Twenty-nine new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Common Nightjar, a Common Redstart, 2 Melodious Warblers, 3 Subalpine Warblers, 4 Orphean Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 13 Willow Warblers, 2 Bonelli's Warblers, and a Pied Flycatcher. The Magpie was again observed on the roof of the Calpe Rowing Club in the early morning. And a Spectacled Warbler was observed in the Botanic Gardens.
26 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate to fresh south-westerly wind. Only 11 new birds ringed with a Blackcap, 8 Willow Warblers and 2 Bonelli's Warblers. A good day of raptor passage with many Griffon Vultures flying through, and lots of Honey Buzzards and Black Kites as well. Totals for the day were 106 Honey Buzzard, 549 Black Kites, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 38 Griffon Vultures, 42 Short-toed Eagles, , 3 Marsh Harriers, 9 Sparrowhawks, 27 Booted Eagles, and a Kestrel. Also seen were 2 Black Storks, and 11 Swallows. The Magpie was reported from the Nature Reserve, where it was briefly seen.
25 Apr: Overcast skies with high cloud. Some light rain overnight and mid morning. Winds light westerly becoming moderate westerly by midday. A Magpie was seen in the area of Commonwealth Park, but later flew south along the Rosia Battery area. Good passage of Black Kites and Honey Buzzards all morning with some Sparrowhawks and single Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle. Totals for the day were 310 Honey Buzzards, 1200 Black Kites, 7 Egyptian Vultures, 4 Marsh Harriers, 4 Montagu's Harriers, 5 Sparrowhawks, 14 Booted Eagles, 2 Hobbies and a Kestrel. Also seen were 2 Bee-eaters, 94 Swallows and 2 Common Swifts.
24 Apr: Clear skies with a light variable wind to light easterly. At the Observatory 11 new birds were ringed and included 2 Nightingales, a Turtle Dove, a Blackbird, an Orphean Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Bonelli's Warblers and a Greenfinch. Diurnal passage was poor with only 2 Honey Buzzards 26 Bee-eaters and 2 Swallows seen. A male Brambling was seen in the South district. A Rufous Bush Robin was seen near the Observatory.
Male Brambling. Photo: S. Finlayson.
23 Apr: Slight levanter cloud over the Rock clearing to give a hazy sunny morning and afternoon in high cloud. Twenty new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Melodious Warbler, a Subalpine Warbler, an Orphean Warbler, 10 Willow Warblers, a Bonelli's Warbler, a Chiffchaff, a Pied Flycatcher and 2 Serins. Winds light easterly becoming moderate but lighter in the afternoon. Some raptors decided to cross in the light winds and included 17 Black Kites, a Marsh Harrier, 7 Sparrowhawks and a Booted Eagle. Also seen were 21 Bee-eaters, 167 Swallows, 3 Red-rumped Swallows, 17 Greenfinches and 2 Serins.
The Robin and a Woodchat Shrike were still present at Commonwealth Park.
22 Apr: Overcast skies with some sunny spells in the late afternoon. Winds moderate easterly. Only 24 new birds were ringed at the Observatory, but included a good variety with a Common Redstart, a Melodious Warbler, 2 Subalpine Warblers, a Sardinian Warbler, a Garden Warbler, 11 Willow Warblers, 3 Bonelli's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Wood Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher, and a Woodchat Shrike. A Common Nightjar was heard churring in the early hours of the morning, and some raptors decided to cross in the unfavourable easterly winds with 68 Honey Buzzards, 100 Black Kites, a Marsh Harrier, and a Sparrowhawk. Also seen were 22 Swallows and a Tree Pipit.
A visit to Windmill Hill provided a good total of migrants and resident birds that were taking shelter from the blustery conditions. These included 4 Hoopoes, 5 Turtle Doves, 30 Tree Pipits, 5 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Whinchats, a Black-eared Wheatear, 5 Blackbirds, a Robin, a Wren, 3 Swallows, 15 Common Redstarts, 6 Nightingales, 7 Melodious Warblers, a Spectacled Warbler, 8 Sardinian Warblers, 4 Subalpine Warblers, 2 Orphean Warblers, 15 Whitethroats, 20 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Blue Tits, 6 Woodchat Shrikes, 12 Spotless Starlings, a House Sparrow, 8 Goldfinches and a Linnet.
An Orphean Warbler and a Whitethroat were photographed at the Botanic Gardens, and a Common Redstart, a Subalpine Warbler, a Willow Warbler and a Woodchat Shrike were present at Commonwealth Park.
21 Apr: Overcast skies with a strong easterly wind. Only twelve new birds were ringed in blustery conditions and included a Nightingale, 2 Wood Warblers, 2 Bonelli's Warblers, 2 Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff and 4 Pied Flycatchers. Diurnal migration consisted of a female Marsh Harrier and a Booted Eagle together with 22 Swallows, a House Martin, a Tree Pipit, and a Siskin.
There was a Whinchat at the Botanic Gardens and single Tree Pipit, Song Thrush, Robin, Whinchat, Common Redstart and Greenfinch at Commonwealth Park.
20 Apr: Overcast skies with some light drizzle at midday with a strong easterly wind. The two White Wagtails remained at Commonwealth Park where there were 2 Common Redstarts, a male Subalpine Warbler, a Woodchat Shrike and 4 Willow Warblers, including a Blackbird chick. There was also a Woodchat Shrike at Montagu gardens residential site.
Fifteen new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included 4 Nightingales, a Black-eared Wheatear, a Common Redstart, an Orphean Warbler, a Blackcap, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Bonelli's Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher. Overhead migration consisted of 2 female Marsh Harriers, 7 Swallows, 5 House Martins, 3 Tree Pipits and a Siskin.
19 Apr: Overcast with heavy levanter cloud. Winds fresh to strong easterly with gale force in the evening. Seventeen new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Red-necked Nightjar, 4 Nightingales, a Blackbird, a Melodious Warbler, a Subalpine Warbler, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, 2 Pied Flycatcher and 2 Bonelli's Warblers. Overhead migration included a Hoopoe, 21 Bee-eaters and 22 Swallows. A Song Thrush and a Nightingale were present at the Botanic Gardens and 2 White Wagtails seem to have taken up residence at Commonwealth Park, where a pair nested a few years ago.
18 Apr: Cloudy with levanter cloud over town and harbour. Fresh to strong easterly winds. At the Observatory 19 new birds were ringed and included a Nightingale, 2 Common Redstarts, a Melodious Warbler, a Whitethroat, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers, 3 Bonelli's Warblers, a Chiffchaff, 2 Pied Flycatchers,and 2 Woodchat Shrikes. A male Common Redstart was photographed at the Botanic Gardens.
17 Apr: Clear skies in the morning with some wisps of a levanter cloud. Slight levanter cloud in the evening as well. Winds a moderate north easterly. very few birds ringed at the Observatory due to clear weather, with a total of nine birds that included a Nightingale, 2 Common Redstarts, a Subalpine Warbler, a Garden Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Bonelli's Warblers and an Iberian Chiffchaff. Robins still present at Commonwealth Park and the Botanic Gardens.
16 Apr: Clear skies with a light to moderate westerly wind. Few raptors in light winds with only 29 Black Kites, a Marsh Harrier, 4 Montagu's Harriers, 22 Sparrowhawks and 16 Booted Eagles. Also seen were a Hoopoe, 3 Meadow Pipits, a Tawny Pipit, 20 Swallows, a Red-rumped Swallow, 12 House Martins, 183 Bee-eaters, 316 Common Swifts, an Alpine Swift, a Chaffinch, 9 Serins, a Greenfinch,10 Goldfinches and a Siskin. A flock of at least 40 Flamingoes were seen heading west in the Strait.
Thirteen birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Nightingale, a Common Redstart, 3 Sardinian Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, 4 Bonelli's Warblers and a Greenfinch.
A Willow Warbler and a Woodchat Shrike were present at Commonwealth Park, and 2 Siskins were in the Botanic gardens..
15 Apr: Clear skies and warmer than of late, but becoming cloudy in the late afternoon with sunny spells. Winds light westerly. Some raptors were recorded and included 38 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, a Marsh Harrier, 45 Booted Eagles, and 2 Kestrels. Also seen were 321 Bee-eaters, with others heard, 54 Swallows, 3 Red-rumped Swallows, 58 House Martins, a Serin and 11 Cormorants. A Blackbird and 3 Willow Warblers were ringed at the Observatory. A Bonelli's Warbler was present in the Botanic Gardens.
14 Apr: Clear skies with a light westerly wind freshening from the south-west by midday. Raptor passage picked up after midday when winds increased and gave a total of 616 Black Kites, 11 Griffon Vultures, 28 Short-toed Eagles, 2 Marsh Harriers, 6 Montagu's Harriers, 69 Sparrowhawks, 259 Booted Eagles, an Osprey and 2 Kestrels. Also seen were 32 Swallows, a Red-rumped Swallow, 14 House Martins, a Bee-eater, an Ortolan Bunting, a Common Redstart and a Serin. Windy conditions and clear skies prevented ringing efforts and only single Nightingale, Subalpine Warbler and a Greenfinch were ringed. Woodchat Shrike still present at the Botanic Gardens.
13 Apr: Showery weather continued with cloudy skies , but brightening up in the afternoon. Winds moderate westerly. Few raptors crossed the Strait with only 28 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, 4 Marsh Harriers, 11 Montagu's Harriers, 11 Booted Eagles, 11 Sparrowhawks, and 4 Kestrels counted. Also seen were 19 Common Swifts and 3 Ravens together. Some Swifts were caught up in the bad weather of the last few weeks and were handed in by members of the public to the Animal Park at the Botanic Gardens. where a Woodchat Shrike was seen. Only a single Nightingale was ringed at the Observatory due to atrocious weather conditions.
A flock of 34 Flamingoes flew past Europa Point heading west.
Flamingoes heading west off Europa Point. Photo: D. Curran
12 Apr: Overcast with showers in the morning, followed by heavy rain in the afternoon. Winds fresh westerly. Few birds were able to cross in adverse conditions but some were recorded amongst which were 2 Black Kites, 3 Marsh Harriers, and single Sparrowhawk and Osprey. Also seen were 8 Swallows, 6 House Martins and 2 Yellow Wagtails. Few birds were ringed and included single Willow Warbler and 2 Nightingales.
A recently fledged Blackbird chick was seen at the Montagu Gardens Estate, and a Magpie* was photographed close to the DOE Marine Section.
Magpie, a rare bird in this region.
11 Apr: Cloudy with some sunny spells in the afternoon. Winds fresh westerly. Raptor passage included 444 Black Kites, single Short-toed eagle, 21 Marsh Harriers, 40 Montagu's Harriers, 2 Hen Harriers, 13 Booted Eagles, 8 Sparrowhawks and 2 Lesser Kestrels. Also seen were 12 Common Swifts, 2 Swallows and 38 House Martins.
10 Apr: Cloudy skies during the morning with rain in the afternoon. Winds moderate westerly.
09 Apr: Mainly clear skies with a fresh to strong north-westerly wind. Raptors were affected by the northerly head wind with a count of only 320 Black Kites, 4 Griffon Vultures, single Egyptian Vulture, single Short-toed Eagle, 6 Marsh Harriers, 5 Montagu's Harriers, single Hen Harrier, 26 Sparrowhawks, 86 Booted Eagles, and single Buzzard, Osprey and a Kestrel. Also seen were 48 White Storks, 2 Alpine Swifts, 37 Swallows, 158 House Martins, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 50 Bee-eaters, 5 Tree Pipits, 4 Serins, 9 Greenfinches and 2 Goldfinches. A single Bonelli's Warbler was ringed before nets were furled due to strong winds. Woodchat Shrikes were present at the Botanic Gardens and at Commonwealth Park. A Wheater was observed at the Europa Foreshore.
08 Apr: Sunny spells with some westerly cloud. Winds a cold westerly becoming fresh northerly. 08 Apr: Fresh westerly turning to fresh northerly winds. Cloud with sunny spells throughout the day. A total count of 561 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, 8 Marsh Harriers, 5 Montagu's Harriers, 25 Sparrowhawks, 56 Booted Eagles, a Buzzard and 3 Ospreys. Also seen were 205 White Storks, 149 Swallows,37 House Martins, 3 Red-rumped Swallows, 5 Sand Martins, 37 Bee-eaters with others heard, 3 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Tree Pipits. Again very windy at the nets with only single Nightingale, Blackcap and a Linnet ringed. A Hoopoe was present around Varyl Begg Estate.
07 Apr: Cloudy skies with some sunny spells, and some showers. Winds fresh and sometimes strong south-westerly. Good raptor passage despite weather conditions for a total of 1197, Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, 21 Short-toed Eagles, 11 Marsh Harriers, 3 Montagu's Harriers, 42 Sparrowhawks, 76 Booted Eagles and 2 Lesser Kestrels. Also a very tatty Lesser Spotted Eagle* was seen heading north at midday. Also seen were 122 White Storks and 37 Bee-eaters with other flocks heard. Strong winds affected ringing conditions and only 3 Blackcaps and 2 Bonelli's Warblers were ringed.
Seven Turnstones were present on the rocky shoreline at the Europa Foreshore. A visit to the North Front Cemetery produced single Hoopoe, Nightingale and Subalpine Warbler and 2 Woodchat Shrikes.
06 Apr: Cloudy skies first thing in the morning clearing slightly but with high cloud present. Warm with light variable winds becoming light westerly. In the afternoon raptor passage begun with a total of 136 Black Kites, 3 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, 18 Sparrowhawks, 20 Booted Eagles and a Kestrel. Also seen were 15 Common Swifts, 40 Bee-eaters, 19 Swallows and 7 Red-rumped Swallows. A poor day ringing with only 8 new birds ringed that included single Robin, Wren, Blackcap and Nightingale and 4 Bonelli's Warblers.
Two Common Sandpipers were feeding along the rocks at Emerson's Place.
05 Apr: Clear skies in the morning with some levanter cloud developing later. Winds light to moderate easterly. Bonelli's Warblers arrived at the Observatory with 6 birds ringed early in the morning. Also ringed were a 2 Blackcap a Nightngale, a Sardinian Warbler and 2 very early Melodious Warbler. Little passage due to easterly winds but 13 Swallows, 3 House Martins and 27 Bee-eaters were seen heading north. A Willow Warbler was present at the Botanic Gardens, and a Woodchat Shrike was photographed at Commonwealth park.
04 Apr: Mainly clear skies with cloud developing throughout the morning, but sunny spells persisting in the afternoon. Winds moderate westerly. Raptors were slow as winds were forecast to turn to easterly but a trickle of birds produced 349 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3 Montagu's Harriers, 23 Booted Eagles, 23 Sparrowhawks, an Osprey and 2 Kestrels. Also seen were 61 Swallows, 2 Red-rumped Swallows, 17 House Martins, 14 Bee-eaters, 5 Greenfinches, 8 Goldfinches and a Linnet.
A total of 17 new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included 2 Sparrowhawks, a Blackbird, 2 Nightingales,2 Sardinian Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler, 3 Blackcaps and 5 Willow Warblers. A flock of 6 Siskins flew over the Botanic Gardens.
03 Apr: Cloudy in the morning with some showers clearing mid morning to give some sunny spells. Winds moderate to fresh westerly. Windy at the ringing site only produced 2 Nightingales, 3 Blackcaps, 6 Willow Warblers and a Goldfinch ringed. Raptor passage was good with 682 Black Kites, 28 Short-toed Eagles, 2 Marsh Harriers, 3 Montagu's Harriers, 87 Sparrowhawks, 119 Booted Eagles, 7 Ospreys, 4 Hobbies and 3 Kestrels. Also seen were 6 Black Storks, 12 Swallows and a Yellow Wagtail.
A Long-eared Owl was picked up at the Gibraltar Airport, presumably having hit one of the glass windows. It was taken in by the Raptor Rehabilitation Unit, which stated that the bird was uninjured.
A fledging Blackbird was present at Commonwealth Park, and in the Botanic Garden Greenfinches were present and probably nesting. Also photographed there were single Serin, Bonelli's Warbler and a male Whitethroat.
Long-eared Owl rescued from the Gibraltar Airport.
02 Apr: A light and variable wind increased to a light to moderate westerly in the afternoon with mainly clear skies, but clouding over in the evening. Raptors begun to arrive as the wind increased in the afternoon, giving a total of 72 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Montagu's Harriers, 37 Sparrowhawks, 15 Booted Eagles, 9 Ospreys and 2 Kestrels. Also seen were the first 4 Common Swifts, 39 Swallows,2 Red-rumped Swallows and 12 Goldfinches.
A Cormorant was seen off Westview Promenade, and a Purple Heron was photographed off Europa Point. Birds ringed at the Observatory included a Scops Owl, a Nightingale, single Blue Tit, Blackcap and Iberian Chiffchaff and 3 Sardinian Warblers and 2 Willow Warblers.
01 Apr: Fresh easterly winds with levanter cloud, dying out in the evening. Ringers arrived at the Observatory late but saw 21 Swallows, 2 House Martins and 5 Bee-eaters.