Recent Sightings May 2020

Ringers and Observers booked in to the Observatory are advised that Gibraltar is at present suffering the consequences of the Corona Virus Covid-19, and public transport, pubs and restaurants are not operating and have closed their services to the public.  Gibraltar is now in total lock down!.  Therefore we urge all visiting ringers and observers to postpone or cancel their visit until this outbreak is dealt with worldwide.  We wish you all good luck.

 

30 May:  Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind.  A Spotted Flycatcher was seen perched on a wire by Bruce's Farm.

 

29 May:  Clear skies with a moderate to fresh easterly.  Spotted Flycatchers are now holding territory at the Trafalgar Cemetery, the Botanic Gardens, with two pairs, and at City Under Siege in the Nature Reserve.  The colony of Alpine Swifts on the North Face of the Rock is active.  An Egyptian Vulture was seen along the cliffs on the east side of the Rock.

 

28 May:  Cloudy skies with levanter cloud over the town and harbour, clearing in the afternoon to give sunny spells.  Winds fresh to strong easterly.  A pair of Spotted Flycatchers and a Robin were seen at the Trafalgar cemetery.

 

27 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock.  Winds fresh easterly.  A Robin and a Spotted Flycatcher were seen at Commonwaelth Park.

 

26 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock in fresh easterly winds.  There were three Melodious Warblers and a Willow Warbler present at Commonwealth park.

 

 23 May:  Mainly clear skies with some high cloud.  Winds fresh easterly. There were two Melodious Warblers at Europa foreshore.

 

22 May:  Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind.  Two Spotted Flycatchers, a Robin and a Willow Warbler were observed at Commonwealth Park.

 

21 May:  Clear skies with a moderate south-westerly wind becoming light in the afternoon and turning to moderate easterly.  A few raptors crossed the Strait in the morning and early afternoon before the winds turned to easterly, with 18 Honey Buzzards, six Black Kites and a Swallow counted.  Two Common Sandpipers were seen at the Small boats marina.

 

20 May:  Clear skies with a light westerly wind becoming moderate to fresh in the Strait in the afternoon.  Some raptors crossed the Strait in the afternoon with a total of 50 Honey Buzzards and four Black Kites seen.  There were Spotted Flycatchers present in the Botanic Gardens, also four individuals involved in territorial dispute at the City Under Siege area, and a single at Europa Mews area.

 

18 May:  Clear skies with a light easterly breeze.  At least two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers are present at the Botanic Gardens.  There is also at least one at Commonwealth Park.

 

17 May:  Clear skies with a light south-westerly sea breeze, becoming light and variable.  Only seven Honey Buzzards, a Griffon Vulture and a Serin were observed heading north.

 

16 May:  Mainly clear skies with some cumulonimbus clouds over the Spanish and Moroccan mountains.  Winds light southerly becoming light and variable in the afternoon with westerly sea breezes. Very little raptor movement with only three Honey Buzzards seen.

 

15 May: Overcast skies with some sunny periods.  Winds light easterly becoming light and variable.  Some Honey Buzzards were seen in the evening.

 

14 May:  Overcast skies with some heavy rain showers throughout the day.  Winds moderate westerly.  A visit to the North Front Cemetery produced a Spotted Flycatcher and a Woodchat Shrike, and a Black Kite overhead.

 

13 May:  Mainly clear skies in the morning with some cloud from the west, becoming progressively cloudier into the afternoon, culminating with thunder storms.  Winds light westerly becoming light variable to light westerly in the late afternoon.  Slow passage of Honey Buzzards during the morning which stopped in the afternoon, with variable winds.  Some Honey Buzzards were encountered in the afternoon escaping from the storms.  Total was 269 Honey Buzzards, three Black Kites and a Booted Eagle.

 

12 May:  Overcast skies with a levanter cloud over the Rock, and light showers during the morning.  Winds light easterly becoming light and variable by midday and with sunny spells in the afternoon as winds turned to westerly.  A pair of Corn Buntings and a single Melodious Warbler and Serin were present at Windmill Hill.  Single Robins have been seen at Montagu Gardens, Commonwealth park and the Botanic Gardens.  Some raptors were seen in the afternoon for a total of 256 Honey Buzzards, 15 Black Kites, six Griffon Vultures, and single Booted Eagle and a Hobby.

 

11 May:  Overcast skies with a fresh south-westerly wind.  Some showers in the Strait and Morocco. A systematic count of raptors was not done, but sporadic watch accounted for some sightings which totaled to 156 Honey Buzzards, 94 Black Kites, 93 Griffon Vultures, five Short-toed Eagles, nine Booted Eagles and a Hobby.  Most Honey Buzzards were seen early in the morning and in the evening converging to the Rock.  Most passage must have occurred to the east of the Rock.

 

10 May:  Overcast skies with some sunny spells.   Winds fresh to strong west to south-west.  Several Honey Buzzards were seen throughout the day in gusty conditions but no systematic count was made.  Also seen were three Black Storks.

 

09 May:  Patchy cloud in the morning with high cloud and sunny spells, clearing in the afternoon.  Winds moderate westerly becoming fresh and gusty south-westerly in the afternoon.  The morning started with the usual trickle of Honey Buzzards over the Bay and over the Rock, but as winds freshened the Honey Buzzard passage veered to the east of the Rock.  Meanwhile all other raptors converged to the Rock, with some spectacular and interesting vulture passage.  Total for the day was 834 Honey Buzzards, 393 Black Kites, 81 Griffon Vultures, a Ruppell's Vulture, a Black Vulture, 10 Short-toed Eagles, two Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, two Sparrowhawks, 65 Booted Eagles, an Osprey and three Hobbies.  Also seen were single White Stork, Black Stork and small passage of Swallows and House Martins.  At least two Griffon Vultures did not make landfall, and drowned off the east side of the Rock, before they could be rescued.

 

Black Vulture  DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Black Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Black Vulture  DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Black Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Black Vulture  DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Black Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

 

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture  DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

Ruppells Vulture DM Parody www.dotcom.gi/photos

 

08 May:  Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind becoming light in the evening.  A few flocks of Swallows and House Martins were seen flying north past the Observatory.  A flock of 10 Flamingoes flew north past Eastern beach.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Wren   1  
Blackbird 1   1
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Melodious Warbler 2   1
Sardinian Warbler 1 2 3
Blackcap   3 3
Willow Warbler 4   4
Bonelli's Warbler 2   2
Spotted Flycatcher 1   1
House Sparrow 1   1
Linnet 1   1
Total 14 6 20

 

07 May:  Overcast skies with levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour, and thick high cloud over the whole area.  Winds fresh easterly.  A few Swallows flew north, and a Bonelli's Warbler was heard calling in the area.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Blackbird 1 2 3
Melodious Warbler 1   1
Western Olivaceous Warbler   1C 1C
Sardinian Warbler 4 1 5
Blackcap 1 5 6
Blue Tit 1 1 2
House Sparrow 4   4
Total 12 5 22

 

 

The Western Olivaceous Warbler turned out to be a control bearing a ring from Aranzadi, a ringing group based in San Sebastian but with ringers in the whole of Iberia.

06 May:  Mainly clear skies with some high cloud.  Winds moderate westerly becoming light in the afternoon and dropping to a sea breeze in the Strait in the evening.  Main passage of Honey Buzzards in the morning to the east of the Rock, but as winds eased some began to head for Europa Point and the Rock, but by mid afternoon heavy passage of Honey Buzzards began to fly up the Bay and getting further away as winds dropped again.  Total for a watch from 14:00 to 17:00 was      3567 Honey Buzzards, 35 Black Kites, a Short-toed Eagle, 8 Booted Eagles and a Hobby.  Also seen was a steady passage of Swallows.

The Little Egret was spotted on the rocky shoreline by the North Mole.

 

05 May:  Clear skies, but with poor visibility due to Saharan dust.  Winds a moderate north-westerly but moderate to fresh south-westerly in the Strait.  Slow raptor passage with few Honey Buzzards, for a total of 120 Honey Buzzards, 200 Black Kites, 52 Griffon Vultures, a Ruppell's Vulture, an Egyptian Vulture, 19 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, five Sparrowhawks, 63 Booted Eagles, two Kestrels and a Hobby.  Also seen a Black Stork.

Honey Buzzard passage was taking place to the east of the Rock and arriving at the Costa del Sol as far as Torremolinos and Malaga.  In the evening Honey Buzzards began to converge to the Rock with some approaching the east side and rising above the crest, and others very high and continuing north.

A Grey Heron was seen in the vicinity of the Calpe Rowing Club, and a Little Egret flew north over town.

 

04 May:  Clear skies with a light easterly wind becoming light and variable by midday and turning to moderate south-westerly during the afternoon.  Intermittent monitoring of raptors, with small passage for a total of 48 Honey Buzzards, 170 Black Kites, two Griffon Vultures, a Black Vulture recovered from the sea, two Egyptian Vultures, 14 Short-toed Eagles, a Sparrowhawk and 12 Booted Eagles.  Also heavy passage of Common Swifts; several hundreds.  

 

 

Black Vulture rescued from the sea by Mr. Busto, on the east side of the Rock.

It was handed to the Raptor Rehabilitation Centre 

 

Puffin in the Strait two miles south-east of Europa Point.                                                     Photo:-  EPRU

 

A pair of Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Melodious Warbler were seen in the Botanic Gardens.

 

03 May:  Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind, becoming fresh in the afternoon.

 

02 May:  Clear skies with a light westerly breeze in the morning becoming calm, then light and variable.  Early morning passage of raptors consisted of 20 Honey Buzzards, 27 Black Kites and two Short-toed Eagles, but as winds became variable, passage shifted to the west of the Strait.  Also at Europa foreshore, a Common Sandpiper, two Turnstones and two Shags.

 

01 May:  Clear skies with a moderate north-westerly, but with a moderate to fresh south-westerly in the Strait.  Steady passage of raptors, with plenty of Black Kites, but a lack of Honey Buzzards, probably due to the fresh westerlies displacing them to the east of the Rock.  The total for the day was 198 Honey Buzzards, 1380 Black Kites, 16 Griffon Vultures, four Egyptian Vultures, 120 Short-toed Eagles, five Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 11 Sparrowhawks, 38 Booted Eagles, two Kestrels and two Hobbies.  Also seen were three Black Storks, six Grey Herons, seven Flamingoes, ten flocks of Bee-eaters, and steady passage of Swallows, House Martins and Common Swifts.

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