Recent Sightings April 2021

30 Apr:  Dull start to the day with cloud cover of alto-stratus, but some hazy sunshine peering through by late morning.  Cloudy day continuing throughout the day.  Winds light variable to a light northerly in the morning, becoming light south-westerly in the Strait by midday.

A poor days ringing at the Observatory with only four birds ringed, with two Willow Warblers, a Redstart and a retrap Sardinian Warbler.

Honey Buzzards were observed early in the morning, flying north, low over the Bay.  They continued, with some along the east side of the Rock until about midday when passage stopped to a trickle of birds.  In the afternoon, Honey Buzzards were seen flying along the east side of the Rock.

Total numbers of raptors reported were 256 Honey Buzzards, 28 Black Kites and a Booted Eagle.

 

29 Apr:  Overcast skies throughout the morning and early afternoon, but clearing mid afternoon to give a sunny day.  Winds light north-westerly in the morning, becoming light westerly in the afternoon, and veering to north-west again, but freshening to south-westerly in the late afternoon as skies cleared.

  Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 1 0 1
Melodious Warbler 2 0 2
Sardinian Warbler 0 1 1
Garden Warbler 1 0 1
Orphean Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 0 1 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 2 1 3
House Sparrow 1 0 1
Total 9 3 12

 

 Soaring Birds

Honey Buzzard 1621
Black Kite 630
Griffon Vulture 1
Egyptian Vulture 1
Short-toed Eagle 50
Marsh Harrier 5
Montagu's Harrier 2
Booted Eagle 56
Sparrowhawk 8
Osprey 1
Kestrel 1

 Also seen 29 Bee-eaters, and several small flocks of Swallows and House Martins.

 

28 Apr:  Cloudy skies in the morning, but sunny spells in the afternoon, with westerly cloud.  Winds light north-westerly becoming moderate south-westerly in the Strait.

A good ringing session that included a Spanish ringed Greenfinch.  A Roller was seen flying out from Windmill Hill, and heading west over the Bay where it was lost from view.

  Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Blackbird 0 1 1
Reed Warbler 2 0 2
Melodious Warbler 4 0 4
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Garden Warbler 3 0 3
Blackcap 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 2 0 2
Willow Warbler 7 0 7
Pied Flycatcher 1 0 1
House Sparrow 1 2 3
Greenfinch 1 1c 2
Total 24 5 29

 

A slow morning for raptors, but as winds picked up at around 14:00hrs, many raptors and Griffon Vultures headed north over the bay.  One was downed by Yellow-legged Gulls off Bleak House, and was rescued by a passing fishing boat, and handed to the Environment boat that attended.  Also seen were five Cormorants, and numerous flocks of Swallows and House Martins.

Soaring Birds

Black Stork 1
White Stork 4
Honey Buzzard 380
Black Kite 178
Griffon Vulture 149
Short-toed Eagle 4
Marsh Harrier 4
Booted Eagle 78
Sparrowhawk 12
Hobby 1

 

Windmill Hill Totals

Barbary Partridge 1
Blackbird 7
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Whinchat 1
Redstart 5
Northern Wheatear 1
Melodious Warbler 10
Whitethroat 10
Sardinian Warbler 14
Willow Warbler 4
Woodchat Shrike 4
Spotless Starling 19
House Sparrow 4
Serin 2

 

 

 

27 Apr:  Heavy showers during the night and early morning in fresh to strong south-westerly winds.  Clouds breaking giving some sunny periods by mid morning.

No ringing due to inclement weather and windy conditions.  Small numbers of raptors were seen, but overcast over Morocco, and winds were not favourable.

Soaring Birds

White Stork 28
Honey Buzzard 60
Black Kite 34
Griffon Vulture 2
Egyptian Vulture 3
Marsh Harrier 2
Montagu's Harrier 1
Booted Eagle 18
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1

 


26 Apr: 
Overcast skies with light rain by mid morning.  Winds light northerly at dawn becoming light variable to light westerly by midday.  Showers throughout the day. 

Raptors begun arriving across the Strait early in the morning at low altitude over the Bay.  They continued crossing until midday with mainly Black Kites.  By mid afternoon several hundred Honey Buzzards flew north over town together with some Black Kites.  No systematic counts were made but estimates are 550 Black Kites and 350 Honey Buzzards.  Also seen were single White Stork, Short-toed Eagle,  Marsh Harrier and 73 Black Storks in two flocks.

 

Caught an adult Golden Oriole.  When compared to the one that was trapped on the 16th April, you can see the age difference.

Golden Oriole male age 7 ( Definitely hatched the calendar year before last).  Note yellow greenish yellow head, grey lore and median and lesser coverts edged yellow.

Golden Oriole male age 7 ( Definitely hatched the calendar year before last). Note yellow greenish yellow head, grey lore and median and lesser coverts edged yellow.

Golden Oriole  Ad male age 8, black lore and black median and lesser coverts.

Golden Oriole Ad male age 8, black lore and black median and lesser coverts.

 

 

 

 

 Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Redstart 3 0 3
Reed Warbler 1 0 1
Melodious Warbler 3 0 3
Western Bonelli's Warbler 2 0 2
Willow Warbler 5 0 5
Pied Flycatcher 1 0 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1 0 1
Golden Oriole 1 0 1
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Total 18 0 18

 The Iberian Magpie  was seen again at Windmill and later photographed by Clive Finlayson at Jacobs Ladder.

Iberian Magpie, also known as Azure-winged Magpie.                                           C. Finlayson.

 

I

 Windmill Hill morning and afternoon counts.

Iberian Magpie 1
Swallow 1
House Martin 3
Yellow Wagtail 2
Tawny Pipit 1
Tree Pipit 20
Whinchat 10
Redstart 15
Northern Wheatear 4
Black-eared Wheatear 2
Melodious Warbler 30
Spectacled Warbler 3
Subalpine Warbler 2
Whitethroat 25
Blackcap 2
Willow Warbler 40
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Golden Oriole 1
Woodchat Shrike 9
Spotless Starling 10
Serin 6
Goldfinch 1
Linnet 2
Corn Bunting 2

 

 

25 Apr:  Very dull with overcast skies and thunder storms approaching across the Straits at dawn.  Was a dry night but rain as from 07:00hrs, and a moderate southerly wind, which hampered any thought of ringing. Rain continued till midday when winds dropped and by late afternoon sunny spells ensued.

A Nightjar sp. was seen flying past the Observatory.

 

An outstanding fall of Melodious Warblers.  This, one of 19 trapped and ringed at the Observatory.

 

A visit to Windmill Hill saw a very good fall of migrants

Barbary Partridge 11
Honey Buzzard 1
Booted Eagle 1
Turtle Dove 7
Swallow 6
Yellow Wagtail 2
Tree Pipit 19
Whinchat 11
Redstart 37
Nightingale 22
Northern Wheatear 2
Black-eared Wheatear 2
Blue Rock Thrush 2
Blackbird 18
Melodious Warbler 91
Spectacled Warbler 1
Subalpine Warbler 5
Sardinian Warbler 27
Orphean Warbler 1
Whitethroat 26
Willow Warbler 63
Pied Flycatcher 1
Spotted Flycatcher 3
Golden Oriole 2
House Sparrow 10
Woodchat Shrike 13
Spotless Starling 10
Serin 2
Corn Bunting 2

 

 The fall of migrants was also noted at North Front Cemetery.

Turtle Dove 1
Swallow 2
Tree Pipit 1
Redstart 13
Whinchat 5
Melodious Warbler 23
Subalpine Warbler 1
Whitethroat 14
Garden Warbler 1
Bonelli's Warbler 2
Willow Warbler 36
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Woodchat Shrike 7

 A Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus, was spotted by Keith Bensusan at Europa Point with other migrants.  This is only the fourth record of the species, with the last seen in 1984 at North Front Cemetery. 

Red-throated Pipit                                          C. Finlayson.

Red-throated Pipit C. Finlayson.

Red-throated Pipit                                            C. Finlayson.

Red-throated Pipit C. Finlayson.

 

Fall of migrants at Europa Point and Foreshore

Red-throated Pipit 1
Tree Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 7
White Wagtail 1
Redstart 3
Nightingale 2
Melodious Warbler 7
Spectacled Warbler 1
Subalpine Warbler 3
Whitethroat 4
Orphean Warbler 1
Willow Warbler 31
Bonelli's Warbler 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Goldfinch 2

A late afternoon ringing session until dusk, proved fruitful. 

  Ringing Totals

 Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Reed Warbler 5 0
Grasshopper Warbler 3 0
Redstart 1  0
Nightingale 5  0
Melodious Warbler 19  0 19 
Sardinian Warbler 1 0
Whitethroat 1 0
Blackcap 0 4
Bonelli's Warbler 4 0
Willow Warbler 19 0 19 
Wood Warbler 1 0
Pied Flycatcher 3 0
Spotted Flycatcher 1 0
 Total 62 4 66

 

 The Botanic Gardens also held birds with three Willow Warblers, two Pied Flycatchers, a Spotted Flycatcher and three Great Tits.

Commonwealth Park also had migrants with a Robin, an Isabelline Warbler, two Garden Warblers, an Orphean Warbler, a Willow Warbler, two Pied Flycatchers and three Spotted Flycatchers.  Also eight Blackbirds on the lawn.

 

 

24 Apr:  Very dull with overcast skies and a levanter cloud over the Rock, town and Harbour.  Rain started in the early morning and continued throughout the day with drizzle in the afternoon and ceasing in the evening.  Winds fresh easterly with strong gusts in town and near gale force in the Strait, but easing off in the late afternoon.

The nets were closed after two rounds due to early rains as from 09:30hrs.  Nevertheless a total of 21 birds were ringed.  A Red-necked Nightjar was flushed at the net rides.

 

 Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Blackbird 0 1 1
Nightingale 1 0 1
Redstart 2 0 2
Melodious Warbler 1 0 1
Whitethroat 2 0 2
Garden Warbler 5 0 5
Western Bonelli's Warbler 2 0 2
Willow Warbler 5 0 5
Pied Flycatcher 2 0 2
Total 20 1 21

 

Small number of migrants were observed at Westview Promenade with a Northern Wheatear, a Nightingale, two Whitethroats, two Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Woodchat Shrike.  Five Swallows flew north and a Willow Warbler was seen at Marina Bay.

An afternoon watch at Europa Point and the foreshore produced two Balearic Shearwaters, 15 Scopoli's Shearwaters both species heading east, two Gannets, four Shags, three Yellow Wagtails, a Northern Wheatear, a Whinchat, two Melodious Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler, three Whitethroats, three Garden Warblers and nine Willow Warblers.

 

 

23 Apr:  Dull with overcast skies and a heavy levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour.  Winds fresh easterly.  There was a Golden Oriole singing at the netting site, together with two Nightingales and a Song Thrush.

 Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retraps Total
Blackbird 0 1 1
Wryneck 1 0 1
Reed Warbler 1 0 1
Melodious Warbler 3 0 3
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Garden Warbler 2 0 1
Blackcap 2 3 5
Willow Warbler 7 0 7
Bonelli's Warbler 8 0 8
Spotted Flycatcher 1 0 1
Pied Flycatcher 2 0 2
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Total 29 4 33

 

 A White Wagtail and a Robin were present at Commonwealth Park.

22 Apr:  Overcast skies during the morning and early afternoon, but cloud dissipating to reveal clear skies for the rest of the afternoon.  Winds light to moderate westerly.  No systematic raptor watch was carried out.

A Grey Heron was seen flying north over the Port area.

The Eagle Owl was located but the site is confidential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              J. Mesilio.

 

21 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with high cloud obscuring the sun on occasions.  Some westerly cloud during the afternoon.  Winds mainly moderate north-westerly becoming moderate westerly after midday but returning to northerly by mid afternoon.

Slow raptor passage with birds turning up well into the late morning, when passage picked up as winds turned westerly, but by 15:00hrs winds turned to northerly and passage stopped.  Only 140 Black Kites, two Griffon Vultures, a Marsh Harrier, nine Short-toed Eagles, five Sparrowhawks, and four Booted Eagles were recorded.

Bird of the day was an Iberian Magpie, (previously known as Azure-winged Magpie), that was seen on Windmill Hill.  It flew down towards Europa Point where it was last seen.

 

20 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with plenty of high cirrus cloud and some westerly cumulus.  Winds fresh northerly at the head of the Bay but fresh south-westerly in the Strait in the afternoon.

A poor ringing and windy day with only two birds trapped; a Tree Pipit and a Blackcap.

Raptor migration was slow , and only picked up after midday when there was a steady passage until the evening.  Among other birds seen were 18 Black Storks, flocks of Common Swifts high over the Rock heading north and a few flocks of Swallows and Bee-eaters.

Raptor Totals

Honey Buzzard 4
Black Kite 955
Griffon Vulture 14
Short-toed Eagle 34
Marsh Harrier 6
Montagu's Harrier 3
Booted Eagle 48
Sparrowhawk 17
Hobby 4
Kestrel 1

19 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with high cloud moving in from the west and some levanter cloud over the Rock in the morning.  Winds moderate easterly becoming light south-easterly to light variable in the evening.

 

 Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Nightingale 5 0 5
Redstart 1 0 1
Song Thrush 1 0 1
Blackbird 2 1 3
Melodious Warbler 1 0 1
Subalpine Warbler 1 0 1
Sardinian Warbler 1 0 1
Whitethroat 5 0 5
Blackcap 6 4 10
Garden Warbler 1 0 1
Orphean Warbler 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 13 0 13
Chiffchaff 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 19 0 19
Pied Flycatcher 4 0 4
Total 62 5 67

 

18 Apr:  Clear skies with some high cirrus clouds.  Winds light variable to light easterly.

A Grey Heron was seen flying south at Europa Point, where a Hoopoe and a Jackdaw were also seen.  A walk from Vinyards to Europa Point produced a Barbary Partridge, 34 Pallid Swifts, a Shag, a Nightingale, four Blackbirds, four Sardinian Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Woodchat Shrike.

A Cormorant was resting on rocks at the Western end of the runway.

17 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with some levanter cloud in the morning clearing in the afternoon.  Winds light easterly to light variable at midday with a moderate south-westerly sea breeze in the Strait.  An Osprey flew north in the morning opposite the Observatory, and several Bee-eater flocks were heard.  At least 8 Nightingales were heard in the vegetation in the vicinity of the Observatory, but all were sitting tight and none were trapped.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Blackbird 1 0 1
Subalpine Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 11 1 12
Garden Warbler 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 3 0 3
Iberian Chiffchaff 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 12 0 12
Wood Warbler 2 0 2
Pied Flycatcher 3 0 3
Total 35 1 36

 

Windmill Hill totals

Barbary Partridge 3
Hoopoe 1
Swallow 3
Red-rumped Swallow 4
Whinchat 5
Redstart 6
Nightingale 6
Northern Wheatear 1
Blue Rock Thrush 4
Blackbird 7
Melodious Warbler 1
Subalpine Warbler 2
Sardinian Warbler 14
Spectacled Warbler 1
Whitethroat 13
Willow Warbler 3
Woodchat Shrike 5
Spotless Starling 42

 

In the morning a walk at Jacobs Ladder produced a Redstart, four Sardinian Warblers a Blackcap, four Woodchat Shrikes and four Greenfinches.  A Little Owl was heard calling on the cliff above the Crematorium.  A Subalpine Warbler was seen at Westview Park, a a Nightingale was heard in shrubs opposite GSLA pool, and single Robin and Woodchat Shrike at Commonwealth Park.

The Gonhs outing to the Northern Defences produced a Nightingale singing and a Jackdaw calling from the cliffs above.

In the evening a Marsh Harrier flew overhead and 10 Black Kites were observed along the east side of the Rock.

In the evening the North Front Cemetery held a Nightingale, a Blue Rock Thrush, two Sardinian Warblers, two Willow Warblers, a Wood Warbler and a Woodchat Shrike.

 

 

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

 

Windmill Hill totals

Barbary Partridge 4
Hoopoe 3
Calandra Lark 1
Tree Pipit 7
Whinchat 6
Redstart 25
Nightingale 30
Wren 1
Northern Wheatear 9
Black-eared Wheatear 2
Blue Rock Thrush 5
Blackbird 15
Melodious Warbler 6
Subalpine Warbler 7
Sardinian Warbler 28
Orphean Warbler 2
Whitethroat 24
Blackcap 2
Willow Warbler 19
Bonelli's Warbler 1
Pied Flycatcher 2
Woodchat Shrike 10
Spotless Starling 35
Serin 1
Chaffinch 1
Goldfinch 1
Ortolan Bunting 1
Corn Bunting 1

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.  Another two Hoopoes were present at Europort Gardens.

An evening watch at North Front Cemetery produced a Hoopoe, three Redstarts, a Blackbird, a Willow Warbler, a Wood Warbler and four Woodchat Shrikes.

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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