Recent Sightings April 2021

16 Apr:  Showers throughout the night and at dawn.  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour and overcast most of the morning, but some breaks in the cloud around midday allowing some sunshine.  Winds fresh south-easterly.

Ringing at the Observatory commenced late due to early morning showers, so many nightingales missed, but were heard sitting tight in bushes around the nets.  Around 10 individuals were heard singing and calling, together with at least five Tree Pipits flying overhead heading north.  Some quality birds trapped and ringed including two Wood Warblers, a Wryneck, a Golden Oriole and a Cirl Bunting.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Wryneck 1 0 1
Nightingale 5 0 5
Redstart 2 0 2
Tree Pipit 1 0 1
Blackbird 0 2 2
Blackcap 2 0 2
Whitethroat 4 0 4
Orphean Warbler 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 3 0 3
Chiffchaff 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 12 0 12
Wood Warbler 2 0 2
Pied Flycatcher 4 0 4
Golden Oriole 1 0 1
Cirl Bunting 1 0 1
Total 40 2 42

Some migrants were also present at Commonwealth park with two Robins, a Nightingale, two Subalpine Warblers, three Bonelli's Warblers, four Willow Warblers, two Woodchat Shrikes and a Pied Flycatcher.  Two Whitethroats were at Midtown Park, a Willow Warbler was seen in Main Street, and a Hoopoe was seen close to the Mosque at Europa Point.

A Red-necked Nightjar was photographed on the wall by the Dockyard clock tower.

 

15 Apr:  Dull and overcast with heavy levanter down to middle of the Rock.  Light drizzle throughout the morning and some light rain at midday, but clearer and drier in the afternoon.  Winds fresh easterly. 

Ringing postponed due to incessant drizzle throughout the morning.  A visit to Windmill Hill in the late afternoon saw a good fall of migrants, (see table).

Windmill Hill totals

Barbary Partridge 6
Hoopoe 3
Swallow 3
Tree Pipit 3
Whinchat 7
Redstart 13
Nightingale 10
Northern Wheatear 1
Blue Rock Thrush 3
Blackbird 10
Subalpine Warbler 7
Sardinian Warbler 20
Orphean Warbler 2
Whitethroat 24
Willow Warbler 15
Wood Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 1
Woodchat Shrike 6
Spotless Starling 8
Chaffinch 1
Corn Bunting 1

 A Bonelli's Warbler and a Woodchat Shrike were present at Westview park.

14 Apr:  A dull and overcast day with levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour.  Some light rain showers in the morning but more persistent rain in the afternoon with fresh easterly winds.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Tree Pipit 1 0 1
Nightingale 10 0 10
Redstart 4 0 4
Song Thrush 1 0 1
Sardinian Warbler 2 1 3
Subalpine Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 5 2 7
Western Bonelli's Warbler 3 0 3
Willow Warbler 14 0 14
Pied Flycatcher 5 0 5
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Total 47 3 50

Other birds seen around the Observatory consisted of two Swallows, a Bee-eater, a Turtle Dove and a Whitethroat among plenty of Nightingales calling and singing.

 

 

13 Apr:  Overcast skies with levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour.  Winds moderate easterly.  A Woodchat Shrike and a Common Redstart were present at North Front Cemetery.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 8 0 8
Redstart 1 0 1
Robin 1 1 2
Blackbird 0 3 3
Sardinian Warbler 0 1 1
Blackcap 9 2 11
Whitethroat 2 0 2
Western Bonelli's Warbler 6 0 6
Chiffchaff 2 0 2
Willow Warbler 9 0 9
Wood Warbler 2   2
Pied Flycatcher 1 0 1
Total 41 7 48

One of two Wood Warblers trapped and ringed today.  A rare migrant in Gibraltar that migrates along the central and eastern Mediterranean. 

 

Wood Warbler.  Notice the long primary projection, well marked supercilium, and strong yellow green colouring on upperparts contrasting with white underparts.

Wood Warbler. Notice the long primary projection, well marked supercilium, and strong yellow green colouring on upperparts contrasting with white underparts.

Wood Warbler.  Another view of the primary projection and strong yellow supercilium, and bright upperparts.

Wood Warbler. Another view of the primary projection and strong yellow supercilium, and bright upperparts.

A selection of interesting migrants and their moult strategies.

Female Whitethroat.  Note tail wear and rufous fringes to tertials and greater coverts.

Female Whitethroat. Note tail wear and rufous fringes to tertials and greater coverts.

2Y male Whitethroat. Worn remiges and retrices.

2Y male Whitethroat. Worn remiges and retrices.

2y male Black-eared Wheatear. Unmoulted primaries and secondaries but fresh inner greater coverts, and some median coverts.

2y male Black-eared Wheatear. Unmoulted primaries and secondaries but fresh inner greater coverts, and some median coverts.

2y male Black-eared Wheatear, showing new inner greater coverts and median coverts.

2y male Black-eared Wheatear, showing new inner greater coverts and median coverts.

2y male Woodchat Shrike, with new coverts and alula, some new outer primaries but old primary coverts.

2y male Woodchat Shrike, with new coverts and alula, some new outer primaries but old primary coverts.

2y male Woodchat Shrike wing shows moult strategy better with new tertials and two inner secondaries, and new p1-p6, p7-p9 old, and primary coverts old.

2y male Woodchat Shrike wing shows moult strategy better with new tertials and two inner secondaries, and new p1-p6, p7-p9 old, and primary coverts old.

2y male pied Flycatcher. Fresh upperparts and retrices, old alula and some primaries and secondaries showing.

2y male pied Flycatcher. Fresh upperparts and retrices, old alula and some primaries and secondaries showing.

2y male Pied Flycatcher. Wing close-up new Greater coverts, tertials and  secondaries 3,2.  rest of wing and primary coverts old.

2y male Pied Flycatcher. Wing close-up new Greater coverts, tertials and secondaries 3,2. rest of wing and primary coverts old.

 

 

Sedge Warbler, a uncommon bird in Gibraltar as their habitat preference are marshes and reed beds.

Sedge Warbler, a uncommon bird in Gibraltar as their habitat preference are marshes and reed beds.

This Sedge Warbler had unusual growth on all toes including spurs on tarsi.

This Sedge Warbler had unusual growth on all toes including spurs on tarsi.

 

 

12 Apr:  Mainly claer skies with lots of high cloud, with levanter cloud developing in the early afternoon and thickening.  Winds light variable in the morning becoming moderate to fresh easterly by the evening.  A single Sparrowhawk was reported over the Rock.

 

11 Apr:  Westerly clouds from the west bringing some rain showers during the morning, clearing by the afternoon to give sunny spells.  Winds light north-west becoming moderate westerly in the afternoon.  No raptors in the morning, but by mid afternoon as westerly winds got stronger some crossed the Strait.

Raptor Totals

Black Kite 362
Griffon Vulture 4
Egyptian Vulture 1
Short-toed Eagle 12
Marsh Harrier 2
Montagu's Harrier 1
Booted Eagle 65
Sparrowhawk 33
Osprey 1
Kestrel 2
Peregrine Falcon 1

 

A Black Kite with a white wing tag landed on the cliff below Europa Point and was photographed.

 

Black Kite on the cliff at Europa Point with wing tag.                                                                       J. Mesilio.

 

 

A Common Sandpiper and a Cormorant were present at the breakwater by Westview Park.

A visit to North Front Cemetery produced two Redstarts, a Subalpine Warbler, two Sardinian Warbler, three Whitethroats, two Willow Warblers, two Bonelli's Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher and two Woodchat Shrikes.

 

10 Apr:  Overcast skies with heavy levanter cloud down to 200m, with fog over Windmill Hill in the morning.  Some light drizzle during the morning, with some sunny spells at midday low cloud returning with light drizzle until late afternoon when levanter cloud cleared giving clear skies in the evening.  Winds moderate easterly dying down to light variable in the evening.

The ringing total did not reflect the fall of migrants at Windmill Hill.  This may have been due to the low cloud that enveloped the Rock all the way down past the Observatory.  Several flocks of Bee-eaters were heard, a White Stork flew north in the dense cloud, and a flock of 7 Siskins landed in the Eucalyptus beside the Observatory.

 

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 1 0 1
Redstart 3 0 3
Blackbird 1 1 2
Blackcap 7 0 7
Garden Warbler 1 0 1
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 5 0 5
Willow Warbler 11 0 11
Pied Flycatcher 2 0 2
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Total 33 1 34

 

Observations at Windmill Hill

Hoopoe 1
Wryneck 1
Swallow 3
House Martin 1
Tawny Pipit 2
Tree Pipit 17
Whinchat 5
Redstart 15
Nightingale 23
Northern Wheatear 5
Black-eared Wheatear 3
Blue Rock Thrush 4
Blackbird 14
Subalpine Warbler 2
Sardinian Warbler 31
Orphean Warbler 4
Whitethroat 9
Blackcap 2
Garden Warbler 3
Willow Warbler 14
Wood Warbler 1
Pied Flycatcher 1
House Sparrow 1
Woodchat Shrike 7
Spotless Starling 18
Serin 1
Greenfinch 2
Corn Bunting 4

 

Commonwealth Park held several migrants with two Robins, two Nightingales, a Subalpine Warbler, a Bonelli's Warbler, four Willow Warblers and a Pied Flycatcher.  Westview Park also held migrants with three Northern Wheatears, a Redstart, a Subalpine Warbler and two Whitethroats.

 A visit to North Front Cemetery produced a Hoopoe, two Northern Wheatears, a Black-eared Wheatear and two Redstarts.

09 Apr:  Overcast skies with a heavy levanter cloud.  Some light drizzle mid morning.  Winds fresh easterly.  The first Pied Flycatchers and Garden Warblers of the season were trapped.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 7 0 7
Redstart 4 0 4
Black-eared Wheatear 1 0 1
Blackbird 1 0 1
Subalpine Warbler 2 0 2
Blackcap 8 1 9
Garden Warbler 2   2
Whitethroat 3 0 3
Western Bonelli's Warbler 5 0 5
Iberian Chiffchaff 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 5 0 5
Pied Flycatcher 3 0 3
Total 42 1 43

A visit to Windmill Hill proved fruitful, as there was a good fall of migrants.

Observations at Windmill Hill

Barbary Partridge 11
Night Heron 1
Turtle Dove 1
Hoopoe 1
Tawny Pipit 1
Tree Pipit 7
Whinchat 5
Redstart 8
Nightingale 17
Northern Wheatear 2
Black-eared Wheatear 7
Song Thrush 1
Blue Rock Thrush 2
Blackbird 15
Melodious Warbler 1
Subalpine Warbler 7
Sardinian Warbler 23
Whitethroat 7
Willow Warbler 1
Pied Flycatcher 1
Spotless Starling 2
Greenfinch 2
Goldfinch 3
Linnet 3
Corn Bunting 1

 There was a Whinchat at the Midtown Park.

 

 

08 Apr:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour in a moderate to fresh easterly wind.  Very few migrants about, and windy conditions at the netting site prevented a better catch.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Subalpine Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 1 0 1
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 2 0 2
Willow Warbler 1 0 1
Great Tit 0 1 1
Total 6 0 7

 

07 Apr:  Mainly clear skies in the morning with some high cloud, with light variable to light northerly winds at the head of the Bay, and moderate south-westerly in the Strait.  Winds turned to a fresh to strong easterly at 14:00hrs, with levanter cloud developing.

A Woodchat Shrike was present at Westview Promenade, and a Sparrowhawk was seen from the Observatory.

 

06 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with some wisps of levanter cloud.  Winds light easterly.  Unfortunately clear skies did not augur well for migrant passerine activity as the table shows.  Also conditions were getting rather warm by mid morning, and the decision to close was met.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 1   1
Blackbird   1 1
Subalpine Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler   1 1
Blackcap 2 1 3
Whitethroat 1   1
Western Bonelli's Warbler   1 1
Willow Warbler 2   2
Greenfinch 2   2
Total 9 4 13

Single Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow were seen from the Observatory, and three flocks of Bee-eaters were heard high overhead. 

 

 

05 Apr:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour, clearing in the south District in the afternoon.  Winds fresh easterly, becoming moderate in the evening.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 1   1
Robin   1 1
Blackbird 1 1 2
Melodious Warbler 1   1
Whitethroat 1   1
Blackcap 10 6 16
Iberian Chiffchaff 1   1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 3   3
Willow Warbler 5   5
Woodchat Shrike 1   1
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 25 8 33

 

04 Cloudy start to the day clearing at midday to give sunny spells.  Winds fresh westerly with fresh south-west in the Strait, but winds decreasing by 15:00 with a moderate south-westerly in the Strait, but light winds over mainland Spain.  Raptor passage picked up by midday and there was a flurry of soaring birds until 15:00hrs when passage dropped to a trickle and then ceased altogether.

 

Soaring birds and migrants seen from the Observatory.

White Stork 3
Black Stork 1
Black Kite 563
Griffon Vulture 9
Egyptian Vulture 7
Short-toed Eagle 174
Marsh Harrier 5
Montagu's Harrier 6
Sparrowhawk 38
Booted Eagle 196
Osprey 2
Kestrel 2
Hobby 1
Peregrine 1
Cormorant 1
Swallow 64
Red-rumped Swallow 12
House Martin 12
Bee-eater 65
Serin 1
Greenfinch 6
Goldfinch 15
Iberian Chiffchaff 2
Bonelli's Warbler 2

 Two Jackdaws were reported flying north over Windmill Hill.  A Northern Wheatear and a Woodchat Shrike were observed at North Front Cemetery.

 

03 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with a light to moderate northerly in the morning.  Winds then turned to north-westerly by midday and then WNW, with a fresh south-westerly in the Strait.  Passage was very slow in the morning, with plenty of Bee-eater flocks heard overhead heading north.  A few Swallows and House Martins were also seen, and resident Pallid Swift flocks gathered to feed off the western cliffs of Windmill Hill.  At midday, as winds freshened from the west, raptors begun to approach the Rock, and continued until sundown.

Soaring birds and migrants seen from the Observatory.

Black Stork 11
Black Kite 2784
Griffon Vulture 5
Egyptian Vulture 9
Short-toed Eagle 91
Marsh Harrier 14
Montagu's Harrier 5
Sparrowhawk 90
Booted Eagle 500
Lesser Spotted Eagle 1
Osprey 4
Kestrel 11
Swallow 34
Red-rumped Swallow 15
House Martin 12
Bee-eater 65
Serin 1
Greenfinch 9
Goldfinch 15
Linnet 7
Iberian Chiffchaff 2
Bonelli's Warbler 4

 

02 Apr:  Cloudy skies with sunny spells, especially in the afternoon.  Winds light northerly, turning to north-westerly by mid morning, and fresh south-westerly in the Strait.  Bee-eaters were already passing at dawn, with their melodious call heard constantly from the Observatory. Most raptors passed from midday onwards as westerly winds freshened.  Flocks of Pallid Swifts gathered to feed off Lathbury area and Windmill Hill, and observing their antics I came across a Swift with a distinct white rump.  Watching it for several minutes, it was obviously a Little Swift, only the second Gibraltar record.  The first record was one seen over the South Mole on the 8th August.

Soaring birds and migrants seen from the Observatory.

White Stork 65
Black Stork 1
Black Kite 1673
Griffon Vulture 45
Egyptian Vulture 5
Short-toed Eagle 23
Marsh Harrier 24
Hen Harrier 1
Montagu's Harrier 10
Sparrowhawk 58
Booted Eagle 657
Buzzard 1
Osprey 4
Kestrel 7
Lesser Kestrel 4
Hobby 2
Swallow 85
Red-rumped Swallow 22
House Martin 18
Crag Martin 1
Pallid Swift 70
Alpine Swift 1
Little Swift 1
Cormorant 15
Raven 1
Bee-eater 90+
Tawny Pipit 1
Serin 12
Greenfinch 10
Goldfinch 20
Linnet 32
Siskin 4
Iberian Chiffchaff 2
Bonelli's Warbler 4

 

A Subalpine Warbler flew into a window at the Fire Station and was rescued by the Rehabilitation Unit.  A Short-toed Eagle was killed by the Peregrine on Mediterranean Steps.  The eagle feel into the sea.  The Environmental Protection Unit also picked up two dead Sparrowhawks that had been killed by gulls.  One was rescued at Catalan Bay.

 

01 Apr:  Overcast skies with heavy levanter cloud early in the morning with a light easterly wind. By mid morning levanter cloud diminished with high westerly cloud approaching as winds became light variable.  Visibility remained poor and you could not see the Moroccan coastline and Spanish hills because of  Saharan dust.  As day broke, and the levanter cloud cleared, flocks of Bee-eaters continued to pass overhead at the Observatory all morning.  Also heading north were four Tree Pipits, four Meadow Pipits, a Yellow Wagtail, several small flocks of Swallows, four Goldfinches and single Linnet and Serin.  A flock of six Black Kites, a Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels also headed north.  The sun broke through mid morning, although rather hazy, and flocks of Pallid Swifts and an Alpine Swift gathered to feed over the south District, and off Europa Point.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 1   1
Blackbird 1 1 2
Subalpine Warbler 3   3
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Blackcap 4 5 9
Whitethroat 1   1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 5   5
Chiffchaff   1 1
Iberian Chiffchaff 1   1
Willow Warbler 7   7
Total 24 8 32

 

A visit at midday to North Front Cemetery produced three Common Redstarts and four Woodchat Shrikes.

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