March 2019 Sightings

24 Mar:  Heavy levanter cloud with strong easterly winds.  Some Black Kites were observed battling against the strong easterly winds and heading along the east side of the Rock.  The incessant easterly winds, dominating throughout most of the past few weeks,  has prevented most raptor passage over the Rock this season, and the dry conditions are not helping the native flora.


22 Mar:  Overcast with strong easterly winds.  A Hoopoe and a Common Redstart were present in the Botanic Gardens.


19 Mar:  Heavy levanter cloud with fresh easterly winds.  A male Common Redstart was observed in the Botanic Gardens.  Pallid Swifts were again seen and heard over the harbour area in the evening.  About 10 birds were observed.


18 Mar:  Clear skies in the morning with light westerly wind, but by mid morning the winds turned to fresh easterly with a levanter cloud developing over the Rock.  A Raven was seen from the Queen's Lookout in the Nature Reserve, and finally Pallid Swifts made an appearance in the evening over town when 20 birds were seen.


17 Mar:  Clear skies with a light to moderate north-westerly wind in the Bay, but a light to moderate south-westerly in the Strait.  A Hoopoe was seen in the Botanic Gardens.  A few Gannets were seen heading out of the Mediterranean, and only 10 Black-headed Gulls and two Cormorants remained around Europa Point.


16 Mar:  Clear skies with a light easterly to light variable wind.  Two Swallows and 6 Greenfinches were seen heading north.  A Great Skua was seen a mile off the east side of the Rock.


14 Mar:  Easterlies back again so no raptor passage.  Only 5 Swallows, 2 Chaffinches and a Greenfinch heading north.


13 Mar:  Clear skies with a fresh westerly wind.  A good day of raptor passage with a total of 156 Black Kites, an Egyptian Vulture, 289 Short-toed Eagles, 2 Marsh Harriers and 30 Sparrowhawks.  Also seen were 5 Black Storks, 7 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 5 Chaffinches and 3 Greenfinches.


08 Mar:  Overcast skies with a few sunny spells.  Winds light northerly becoming light variable to light westerly.  A Hoopoe was seen at the Gibraltar Nature Reserve and another was photographed at the North Front Cemetery.

Hoopoe at North Front Cemetery.                                                                                                                                                          Photo:  J. Sanchez


07 Mar:  Clear skies with a moderate northerly wind.   No raptor migration except for one flock of 27 Black Kites that crossed in the afternoon.  Also seen were single Meadow Pipit, Serin, 4 Greenfinch and 4 Swallows.  Among birds trapped and ringed today was the second trans-Saharan migrant, a nice Subalpine Warbler.  Also caught was an African Chaffinch; fourth record and only the third ringed.


First Subalpine Warbler of the season.                                                                Photo:  J. Yeoman


African Chaffinch; only the fourth record for Gibraltar.                                Photo:  J. Yeoman.

 The Tawny Owl was again heard from the Botanic Gardens.

Among the birds seen at the western end of the runway were 7 Cormorants, 24 Sandwich Terns, 2 Crested Larks and a Ringed Plover.

A selection of Cormorants at the western end of the runway.                                                                                                          Photo:  T. Hammond.


06 Mar:  Cloudy throughout the day with a heavy shower after midday.  Winds fresh westerly.  Some raptors ventured out in the bad weather but watch was only kept in the late afternoon when 378 Black Kites flew north.


05 Mar:  Overcast with high cloud.  Winds light north-west.  Only one Black Kite was observed over the Rock.  A Raven was seen around the cliffs above the Observatory.


04 Mar:  Clear skies with some high westerly cloud.  A few raptors came over the Rock and included 168 Black Kites, 2 adult Egyptian Vultures, 31 Short-toed Eagles, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Lesser Kestrels, White Wagtail, 2 Swallows, and 3 Goldfinches.  A total of 14 birds were processed at the Observatory, and included a Robin, a Black Redstart, a Song Thrush, 10 Blackcaps, a Sardinian Warbler and 10 Blackcaps.


The first trans-Saharan migrant was seen and photographed at the Europa foreshore; a Northern Wheatear.


Northern Wheatear; the first trans-Saharan migrant to pass through Gibraltar.                                                                         Photo:  T. Finlayson.


Among the flock of Black-headed Gulls on the cliff below Europa Point were two familiar colour ringed Black-headed Gulls; E6PT and Z71T.  Both have been recorded in Gibraltar at this site before.


03 Mar:  Clear skies with a light westerly becoming light variable by mid morning, with a light north easterly breeze in the afternoon.  A seawatch at Europa Point provided 4 Balearic Shearwaters heading west, 140 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Mediterranean Gulls feeding below the Point, an Audouin's Gull, 2 Cormorants and a Shag.  There was a pod of 7 Pilot Whales a mile out.  A good day ringing at the Observatory with a total of 85 birds processed with 64 new birds ringed that included 10 Robins, a Black Redstart, 2 Song Thrushes, a Blackbird, 3 Sardinian Warblers, 38 Blackcaps, and Iberian Chiffchaff, 3 Chiffchaffs, a Chaffinch and 4 Greenfinch.   Among the birds trapped was a control Robin from Radofzell in Germany that had previously been caught on the 18th February.


A Whimbrel was present at the Europa foreshore.


Whimbrel at Europa foreshore                                                                                                                                                    Photo:  S. Shacaluga              


02 Mar:  Clear skies with a fresh northerly wind, but south-westerly in the Strait.  A Tawny Owl was heard calling from the Botanic Gardens.  Some raptors crossed in the morning but in the early afternoon passage got underway with several large flocks of Black Kites.  In total there were 600 Black Kites, 130 Short-toed Eagles, 4 Sparrowhawks an Egyptian Vulture and a Black Stork.

A Tawny Owl was heard in the Botanic gardens in the late evening.

At Europa Point several Gannets were heading out of the Mediterranean, about 130 Black-headed Gulls were present below the Point, and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west.


01 Mar:  Clear skies with a moderate westerly wind.  In the late afternoon some raptors flew north over the Rock and included 45 Black Kites, a Black Stork,  a Marsh Harrier and two Short-toed Eagles.

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