April 2019 Sightings

17 Apr:  Skies completely overcast with a heavy levanter cloud over the Rock.  Winds a fresh easterly, becoming light and turning to westerly in the late afternoon.  Some light drizzle in the throughout the day.  A total of 83 new birds were ringed and comprised 3 Bee-eaters, 3 Nightingale, 3 Common Redstarts, a Blackbird, 4 Melodious Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler, an Orphean Warbler, 4 Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap, 15 Bonelli's Warblers, an Iberian Chiffchaff, 38 Willow Warblers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Woodchat Shrikes and a Greenfinch.  Also seen were 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 35 Bee-eaters and 7 Swallows.

 

Bee-eater.  All three.
Orphean Warbler.
Woodchat Shrike.

 

As winds eased a bit during the afternoon a visit to Windmill Hill produced 14 Barbary Partridges, 2 Turtle Doves, a Common Swift, 12 Swallows, a Tawny Pipit, 8 Tree Pipits, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Blue Rock Thrushes, 6 pairs of Blackbirds, 4 Nightingales, a Robin, 2 Common Redstarts, 2 Melodious Warblers, 2 Subalpine Warblers, 10 Whitethroats, 10 pairs of Sardinian Warblers, 3 Orphean Warblers, a Blackcap,  8 Willow Warblers, 3 Woodchat Shrikes and 7 Spotless Starlings.

Some migrants were present in the Botanic Gardens with a Whitethroat, a Common Redstart, a Bonelli's Warbler and a Willow Warbler.

 

16 Apr:  Clear skies with a light northerly wind.  Despite adverse weather conditions for ringing, it was a good day with plenty of migrants with a total of 48 new birds ringed consisting of 5 Nightingales, a Redstart, a Whinchat, 2 Melodious Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler, 12 Whitethroats, 6 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap, 4 Bonelli's Warblers, a Chiffchaff and 14 Willow Warblers.  Very few raptors with 5 Black Kites a Montagu's Harrier and a Booted Eagle.  Also seen were 3 Swallows.

 

15 Apr:  Clear skies with a light variable to light easterly breeze becoming light and variable again with a light to moderate south-westerly in the Strait.  A Nightingale was seen in Commonwealth Park and a Bonelli's Warbler was heard singing in the Botanic Gardens.

At the Observatory a total of 16 new birds were ringed consisting of a Hoopoe, a Wren, 2 Nightingales, a Melodious Warbler, 2 Orphean Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 2 Bonelli's Warblers, an Iberian Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher.  Raptors picked up in the afternoon and evening as winds freshened with 347 Black Kites, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 2 Short-toed Eagles, 10 Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 9 Sparrowhawks, 32 Booted Eagles, 3 Ospreys and a Kestrel sp.  Also seen were a single Black Stork, 25 Little Egrets,  11 Common Swifts and 3 Swallows.

A visit to the Botanic Gardens produced 2 Bonelli's Warblers, a Willow Warbler, 3 Pied Flycatchers and a Woodchat Shrike.

 

14 Apr:  Clear skies with a light variable wind with a light south-westerly to light variable in the Strait.  Very little visible migration with only 5 Black Kites, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Swallow and 2 Ravens.  A total of 11 new birds were ringed with a Nightingale, a Melodious Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 3 Garden Warblers, 3 Bonelli's Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher.

A visit to the Botanic Gardens produced a Common Redstart, a Whitethroat, 2 Bonelli's Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers and Woodchat Shrike.  Three Woodchat Shrikes were also present on the Talus Slope together with 5 Barbary Partridges.

 

13 Apr:  Clear skies with a light north-westerly with a light south-westerly in the Strait.  Ringing was rather slow with few birds for a total of 14 new birds that consisted of 2 Subalpine Warblers, a Sardinian Warbler, a Whitethroat, 5 Blackcaps, 4 Bonelli's Warblers and a Willow Warbler.

Again a trickle of raptors in light winds for a total of. 159 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, a Short-toed Eagle, a Marsh Harrier, 32 Booted Eagles, 26 Sparrowhawks, 6 Ospreys, a Hobby and 3 Kestrels.  Also seen were 26 Common Swifts, 26 Swallows, a Red-rumped Swallow, a Raven Serin, a Greenfinch, 3 Goldfinches and a Linnet.  A Great Skua flew west up the Strait.

A Common Sandpiper was seen on the rocks by Westview Promenade.

 

12 Apr:  Clear skies with a light variable to light north-westerly wind.  very warm throughout the day.  A Bonelli's Warbler was heard singing outside Coelho House, a Chaffinch was singing outside Bruce's Farm,  a Nightingale flew across the road by Willis's Battery and a pair of Robins were found in Commonwealth Park.  At the Observatory 22 new birds were ringed that consisted of a Robin, 2 Nightingales, a Garden Warbler, 7 Blackcaps, 3 Bonelli's Warblers, 7 Willow Warblers and a Greenfinch.

A trickle of raptors mainly in the afternoon for a total of 65 Black Kites, 3 Short-toed Eagles, 3 Marsh Harriers, 4 Montagu's Harriers, 45 Booted Eagles, 13 Sparrowhawks, 3 Ospreys and a Hobby.  Also seen were 25 White Storks, 58 Common Swifts, 9 Yellow Wagtails, 9 Bee-eaters, 10 Swallows, and 3 Red-rumped Swallows.

 

11 Apr:  Clear skies with a light to variable north-west.  The weather was not optimal for migrants and only 5 new birds were ringed and consisted of a Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, 2 Blackcaps and a Willow Warbler

Light winds were also not good for raptor migration.  Despite this some raptors did cross over the Rock with 2 Honey Buzzards, 94 Black Kites, an Egyptian Vulture, 30 Short-toed Eagles, 10 Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 29 Sparrowhawks, 127 Booted Eagles, an Osprey and a Lesser Kestrel.  Also seen were 92 White Storks, 6 Cormorants, 20 Flamingoes, 2 Grey Herons, 8 Bee-eaters, 52 Swallows, 5 Red-rumped Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail and 3 Goldfinches.  Off Europa Point 4 Gannets and a Great Skua were also seen heading west.

 

10 Apr:  Clear skies with a moderate to fresh northerly turning to north-west in the late afternoon.  Windy in the netting site so only a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler were ringed.  A Sparrowhawk that spent the winter in the rehabilitation centre was also ringed and released.  Very few raptors with the northerly winds until the late afternoon when winds became more westerly in direction.  There were 158 Black Kites, 19 Griffon Vultures, 10 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, a Montagu's Harrier, 112 Booted Eagles, 30 Sparrowhawks,  a  Hobby, a Lesser Kestrel and 2 Kestrels.  Also seen were 2 Alpine Swifts, 11 Common Swifts, 72 Swallows, 6 Red-rumped Swallows, 10 House Martins, 103 Bee-eaters, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Raven, 2 Spanish Sparrows, 34 Greenfinches and 58 Goldfinches

Over 170 Flamingoes were seen in flying south the Bay in the morning and were photographed by Luisa Haasova of the 'Dolphin Adventure' boat. 

Flamingoes flying south up the Bay of Gibraltar.                                            Photo: Luisa Haasova
Flamingoes a crop of some of the Flamingoes                                                                      Photo: Luisa Haasova
Flamingoes against the Rock of Gibraltar                                                    Photo: Luisa Haasova

Two Ravens were also seen around the middle of the Nature Reserve.

09 Apr:  Clear skies with some westerly cloud in the afternoon.  Winds light to moderate westerly.  A flock of 13 Bee-eaters flew over the Botanic Gardens early in the morning, heralding a massive movement across the Strait of this species.  Many flocks were heard constantly overhead all day.  Over 405 Bee-eaters were counted at the Observatory, with many flocks heard but not counted.  It is estimated that several thousand must have crossed over Gibraltar, with many more reported along the Spanish side of the Strait.

Two flocks of Flamingoes were seen off the east side of the Rock with a flock of 70 birds rounding Europa Point and continuing west.  These flocks were seen from the Observatory for a total of 144 birds heading west along the Strait.  Another unusual sighting was a flock of about 50 Black-winged Stilts seen at eastern Beach, where they were observed flying up and down the beach for about an hour.

Raptors and diurnal passage of passerines were also observed from the Observatory with 414 Black Kites, an Egyptian Vulture, 9 Short-toed Eagles, a female Marsh Harrier, 10 Montagu's Harriers, 373 Booted Eagles, and 2 Kestrels.  Also seen were 120 White Storks, 5 Alpine Swifts, 22 Common Swifts, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 95 Swallows, 11 Red-rumped Swallows,6 House Martins,  10 Greenfinches, 4 Goldfinches, 15 Linnets, and 4 Ravens.

A total of 21 new birds were ringed and consisted of 3 Nightingales, a Subalpine Warbler, a Sardinian Warbler, 2 Orphean Warblers, 7 Blackcaps, 4 Garden Warblers, a Bonelli's Warbler, a Willow Warbler and a Greenfinch.

 

08 Apr:  Cloudy skies with some sunny periods at midday with showers from the west.  Winds fresh westerly.   An excellent day of raptor passage with some spectacular numbers of Booted Eagles and Sparrowhawks, with an early Honey Buzzard, 521 Black Kites, 8 Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, 7 Short-toed Eagle, 7 Marsh Harriers, 10 Montagu's Harrier, 618 Booted Eagles, 252 Sparrowhawks, a Common Buzzard, an Osprey, 5 Kestrels and 3 Hobbies.  Also seen were 145 White Storks, 8 Black Storks, 18 Bee-eaters,  7 Common Swifts, 95 Swallows, 7 Red-rumped Swallows, 26 House Martins, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 21 Greenfinches and 22 Goldfinches.

A flock of 29 Cormorants were seen flying north in the morning.

 

07 Apr:  Cloudy skies with some sunny periods.  Winds fresh and at times strong westerly.  Plenty of raptors with 622 Black Kites, a Marsh Harrier, 5 Montagu's Harrier, 4 Sparrowhawks, 32 Booted Eagles and 2 Ospreys.  Also seen were 6 Black Storks, a Grey Heron, 20 Bee-eaters,  17 Common Swifts, 13 Swallows, 2 House Martins,  a Meadow Pipit, a Yellow Wagtail, 45 Greenfinches, 59 Goldfinches and 26 Linnets

Ringing resumed after a spell of wet and windy weather and resulted in a total of 14 new birds that consisted of 2 Common Redstarts, 2 Subalpine Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Bonelli's Warblers and 4 Willow Warblers.

A Siskin was present in the Mount Gardens.

 

06 Apr:  Cloudy skies with heavy showers during the morning, improving in the afternoon with some clear spells.  Winds moderate north-westerly becoming moderate westerly.  1655 Black Kites, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 13 Marsh Harriers, 32 Montagu's Harriers, a Hen Harrier, a male Pallid Harrier, 26 Sparrowhawks, 25 Booted Eagles, a Common Buzzard, 2 Ospreys, a Lanner and 2 Kestrels.  Also seen were 280 White Storks, 5 Black Storks, 28 Bee-eaters, 3 Common Swifts, 5 Swallows, 3 House Martins, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Meadow Pipits, a Serin, 12 Greenfinches, a Goldfinch and a Linnet.

 

05 Apr:  Cloudy skies with plenty of showers during the day, clearing slightly in the afternoon and evening.  Winds fresh westerly.  113 Black Kites, 1 Egyptian Vulture, 2 Marsh Harriers,  4 Sparrowhawks, 3 Booted Eagles, 2 Ospreys and  2 Kestrels.  Also seen were 2 Black Storks, 18 Bee-eaters, 2 Common Swifts, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 32 Swallows, 4 Red-rumped Swallows, 6 House Martins,  2 Goldfinches and 2 Linnets.

 

04 Apr: Clear skies but westerly cloud developing during the afternoon.  Winds moderate northerly becoming north-west to fresh westerly.  Only 13 new birds ringed in windy conditions that consisted of a Robin, a Nightingale, a Common Redstart, a Subalpine Warbler, 6 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warblers.

There was a steady passage of raptors throughout the day for a total of 82 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, a Short-toed Eagle, 2 Marsh Harriers, 69 Booted Eagles, 24 Sparrowhawks, an Osprey and a second year Lanner.  Also seen were 16 Cormorants, 25 Swallows, 15 Red-rumped Swallows, 3 House Martins, 3 Greenfinches, 3 Goldfinches and 3 Linnets.

 

03 Apr: Clear skies with a light northerly wind in the morning freshening to a north-westerly in the afternoon.  Some raptors crossed the Strait during the afternoon for a total of 225 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture,  2 Short-toed Eagles, 11 Marsh Harriers, 2 Montagu's harriers, 2 Hen Harriers, 58 Sparrowhawks, a Buzzard, 39 Booted Eagles, 2 Ospreys, 2 Hobbies and a Kestrel.  Also seen were 112 Swallows, 8 Red-rumped Swallows, 5 House Martins, a Tawny Pipit, 6 Linnets and a Cormorant

The ringing total for the day was 31 new birds that consisted of 3 Nightingales, 3 Common Redstarts, a Blackbird, 3 Subalpine Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, a Bonelli's Warbler, an Iberian Chiffchaff, 9 Willow Warblers, a very early Spotted Flycatcher, a Woodchat Shrike, a Greenfinch and 2 Goldfinches.

 

02 Apr:  Clear skies with a light variable to light northerly wind.  A total of 25 new birds were ringed and consisted of a Robin, a Common Redstart, a Sardinian Warbler, 10 Blackcaps, an Iberian Chiffchaff, 7 Willow Warblers, 3 Serins and a Greenfinch.

 

01 Apr:  Clear skies with a light variable wind turning to light easterly and back to light variable. Thirty-four new birds were ringed and consisted of 2 Robins, 2 Nightingales, a Common Redstart, a Blackbird, a Song Thrush, a Subalpine Warbler, 2 Sardinian Warblers, 2 Orphean Warblers, 11 Blackcaps, 4 Bonelli's Warblers, a Chiffchaff and 6 Willow Warblers.

 

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