Recent Sightings May 2022

31 May:  Clear skies with a light variable wind becoming south-westerly in the Strait.

A trickle of raptors in light winds but no counts were made.  A Robin was heard in the vicinity of Rock Cottage.

 

30 May:  Overcast skies in the morning with a moment of light drizzle, but soon beginning to clear giving sunny periods but still with westerly cloud and high alto-cirrus.  Winds moderate north-westerly in the morning, turning to fresh westerly mid morning but moderate south-westerly in the Strait.  By mid afternoon winds settled back to north-westerly.

Again a trickle of raptors all day but dropping off in the late afternoon.  Totals were 124 Honey Buzzards, 62 Black Kites, 25 Griffon Vultures, a Short-toed Eagle, 18 Booted Eagles and a Hobby.  Also seen were two Swallows, a Red-rumped Swallow, four House Martins, two Jackdaws and a Serin.

 

 

29 May:  Sunny with high cloud and a fresh north-westerly wind turning to a fresh westerly by 11:00hrs and strong in the Strait.  Winds dropping after 14:00hrs and to a fresh north-westerly, but remaining westerly in the Strait.

A trickle of raptors throughout the day, specially mid morning when winds turned to fresh to strong westerly, and drifted Griffons towards the Rock.  The afternoon was disappointing as only a few raptors crossed.  Totals for the day were 32 Honey Buzzards, 70 Black Kites, 107 Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, two Short-toed Eagles, 12 Booted Eagles and a Hobby.  Also seen were single White Stork, 8 Swallows and two House Martins.

One of the Griffons resting after the Strait crossing.             R. Perez.

There is a pair of Jackdaws in the vicinity of the Moorish Castle, and a Turtle Dove was photographed at Europa mews.

 

28 May: Clear skies with some high cloud.  Winds moderate easterly becoming light in the evening.

A Melodious Warbler was recorded in the Nature Reserve.

 

27 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour in the morning clearing in the afternoon.  Winds fresh easterly.

A Bonelli's Warbler was present at Commonwealth Park, and an Alpine Swift was seen from O'Hara's Battery.

 

26 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour in a fresh and at times strong easterly wind.

A Bonelli's Warbler was singing at the Botanic Gardens, and an Western Olivaceous Warbler was photographed in the Nature Reserve.

 

Western Olivaceous Warbler.  Note the white edge to the outer tail feather, and wide bill and sloping head characteristic of the species.     T. Finlayson.

 

Its been a good breeding season for the local Mediterranean Shag population, judging by this family group at Gorham's Cave.

 

Adult Shag on the right with three juvenile birds.                   C. Finlayson.

 

 

 

25 May:  Clear skies early in the morning, but high cloud moving in from the west to give hazy sunshine.  Visibility very good across the Strait.  Winds fresh westerly until 14:00hrs when winds over land became light and variable, turning to moderate easterly.

Good raptor passage all morning, but decreasing in the early afternoon as winds became light over Spain and Morocco.  Raptors drifted west after 14:00hrs and very few made it over the Rock.  Totals for the day were 147 Honey Buzzards, 53 Black Kites, 122 Griffon Vultures, three Egyptian Vultures, 23 Short-toed Eagles and 67 Booted Eagles.  Also see were two Swallows heading north.

 

Family party of Great Tits with four juvenile birds and an adult far right.  There were another four in trees above, so a good breeding success.     P. Rocca.

 

In the morning at Europa Point there were single Gannet, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.  The Iberian Magpie was observed at O' Hara's Battery.

 

24 May:  Mainly clear skies with a moderate to fresh westerly wind.

Some raptors crossed the Strait, but no count was made.  An hours watch at Europa Point produced a *Moroccan Wagtail.  Also seen were a Balearic Shearwater, 25 Honey Buzzards, a Black Kite, a Booted Eagle, a Kestrel and four Serins.

Moroccan Wagtail   R. Perez

Moroccan Wagtail R. Perez

Moroccan Wagtail R. Perez

Moroccan Wagtail R. Perez

 

 

23 May:  Clear skies over Gibraltar and the Strait, but heavy westerly cloud over the Spanish hills and the Moroccan coast.  Winds northerly at higher levels but a fresh westerly in the Strait.

Poor visibility and cloud cover over the Moroccan coast impeded raptor passage until some cloud lifted mid morning when a trickle of raptors were seen with this mornings total of 31 Honey Buzzards seven Black Kites, four Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, a Short-toed Eagle and six Booted Eagles.  In the afternoon a further 93 Honey Buzzards, 70 Black Kites, 13 Griffon Vultures, 11 Short-toed Eagles, 22 Booted Eagles and a Hobby were seen.

Hobby.                                    P. Rocca.

 

 An hours watch in the morning from Europa Point produced 23 Cory's Shearwaters, two Shags, four Black-headed Gulls and a Sandwich Tern. A pair of Spotted Flycatchers were seen at Trafalgar Cemetery.

 

 

22 May:  Hazy sunshine with high cloud cover.  Winds moderate northerly at the head of the Bay, but fresh westerly in the Strait picking up by midday towards the entrance of the Bay.

Early passage of raptors in the morning with a count made until 13:00hrs, after which no systematic count was made.  The morning total was 220 Honey Buzzards, 110 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, 28 Booted Eagles and a large Aquila sp.

A Yellow Wagtail was seen along Europa Advance Road.

In the afternoon passage continued with plenty of Honey Buzzards, Black Kites and Booted Eagles and some Griffon Vultures and Short-toed Eagles, including single Griffon and two Short-toed Eagles rescued from the sea.

 

 

21 May:  Overcast skies with high cloud and Saharan dust producing poor visibility.  Winds moderate easterly.

Two Honey Buzzards were seen in the late afternoon over the Rock.  An Iberian Chiffchaff was seen and photographed at Governor's Lookout, it was also seen around the Bruce's farm area.

Iberian Chiffchaff.                R. Perez.

 

20 May:  Poor visibility with hazy sunshine and an increase of blanket high cloud.  Winds moderate easterly.

A Robin was observed at the Trafalgar Cemetery.  An Orphean Warbler was photographed on the Nature Reserve.

Orphean Warbler taking a bath.        T. Finlayson.

 

19 May: Clear skies with some hazy due to Saharan dust.  Winds light to moderate easterly but moderate increasing to fresh in the Strait.

There were single Bonelli's Warblers singing at Jews' Gate and the Botanic Gardens.  Two Black Kites were seen over the northern end of the Rock and the Iberian Magpie was spotted at O' Hara's Battery area.

The Ringing campaign came to an end today with the removal of all nets from the site.  The season started late due to unforseen circumstances, and March was particularly wet with low number of days with easterly winds and no heavy levanter cloud to produce falls of migrants.  A spate of light easterly winds extended well into May, and the season was extended until the 18th with trapping producing good numbers of migrants, until the last few days when the majority of species were composed of resident birds with many retraps.  The total for the season can be gleaned in the table below.

Ringing Totals for the season.

Species New Retrap Totals
Yellow-legged Gull 19   19
Sparrowhawk 1   1
Hoopoe 5 1 6
Bee-eater 6   6
Wryneck 2 1 3
Golden Oriole 1   1
Woodchat Shrike 9 1 10
Blue Tit 3 16 19
Great Tit   2 2
Isabelline Warbler 1   1
Melodious Warbler 53   53
Reed Warbler 9   9
Grasshopper Warbler 1   1
Bonelli's Warbler 115 1 116
Wood Warbler 1   1
Willow Warbler 149 1c 150
Iberian Chiffchaff 4   4
Chiffchaff 25 1 26
Blackcap 44 41 85
Garden Warbler 72   72
Orphean Warbler 11   11
Sardinian Warbler 18 27 45
Subalpine Warbler 11   11
Whitethroat 17   17
Wren 1 1 2
Song Thrush 3   3
Blackbird 14 23 37
Spotted Flycatcher 14   14
Robin 30 19 49
Nightingale 29 1 30
Pied Flycatcher 82 1 83
Black Redstart 6 2 8
Common Redstart 17   17
House Sparrow 7 1 8
Tree Pipit 1   1
Chaffinch 1   1
Greenfinch 11 4 15
Goldfinch 1   1
Siskin 1   1
Total 795 144 939

 

18 May:  Clear skies with a light easterly wind.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Blue Tit   2 2
Bonelli's Warbler 1   1
Blackcap 3 2 5
Sardinian Warbler   1 1
Subalpine Warbler      
Blackbird 1 1 2
House Sparrow   1 1
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 6 7 13

 

There was a Robin at the Botanic Gardens, and two Spotted Flycatchers, a possible breeding pair, were seen at the Convent garden.

 

17 May:  Clear skies with a light variable to light easterly breeze.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Blue Tit 1 1 2
Blackcap 1 3 4
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Blackbird   1 1
House Sparrow 2   2
Greenfinch 1 1 2
Total 7 7 14

 

There was a Melodious Warbler around the pond at the Observatory. 

The spring has been very successful with early breeding success of some resident birds as shown by some excellent photos taken by Paul Rocca.

Great Tits  P. Rocca

Great Tits P. Rocca

Chaffinches.  P. Rocca

Chaffinches. P. Rocca

Greenfinches.  P.  Rocca

Greenfinches. P. Rocca

 

 

 

16 May: Clear skies with a moderate westerly becoming light in the afternoon.

A trickle of raptors, mainly in the morning for a total of 125 Honey Buzzards, 35 Black Kite and single Booted Eagle and Sparrowhawk.

A sea watch at Europa Point produced single Gannet 2nd/s and one st/s Audouin's Gull and three Gull-billed Terns.

 

15 May:  Cloudy skies over the Spanish hills and Morocco with poor visibility due to Saharan dust.  Clearing in the afternoon to clear skies.  Winds light to moderate northerly in the morning with calm conditions in the Strait, but a fresh westerly developing in the afternoon in the Strait, but fresh northerly inland.

Raptors slowly began to arrive in the morning, with an increase passage in the afternoon bringing the total of 91 Honey Buzzards, 277 Black Kites, seven Griffon Vultures, 24 Short-toed Eagles, two Marsh Harriers, 55 Booted Eagles and two Sparrowhawks.  Also seen were eight Swallows and single Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin.

There were two Melodious Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler and a Robin in the Vineyards area, and another Melodious Warbler at the Botanic gardens.

 

14 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour in the morning and quite misty with Saharan dust in the air.  Levanter cloud clearing in the afternoon to give sunny spells.  Winds moderate easterly becoming light in the afternoon and turning to light westerly in the late afternoon.

 

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Golden Oriole 1   1
Blue Tit   1 1
Great Tit   1 1
Melodious Warbler 6   6
Reed Warbler 4   4
Willow Warbler 4   4
Blackcap 1 2 3
Orphean Warbler 2   2
Sardinian Warbler   1 1
Blackbird   1 1
Robin 1   1
Pied Flycatcher 2   2
House Sparrow 3   3
Total 24 6 30

 

 

Female Golden Oriole.                                                    C. Perez

The two Ravens were seen around the Observatory, and two Yellow Wagtails flew overhead at this site.  Some Honey Buzzards were seen in the late afternoon with some 20 birds observed. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen in the Willis's Road area and a Common Sandpiper was present at the GSLA pools.

 

 

13 May:  Heavy levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour clearing by the afternoon to give clear skies.  Winds light to moderate easterly wind.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Blue Tit   2 2
Grasshopper Warbler 1   1
Willow Warbler 1   1
Blackcap 1 6 7
Garden Warbler 1   1
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Whitethroat 1   1
Spotted Flycatcher 2   2
Robin 1   1
Pied Flycatcher 1   1
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 12 9 21

 

 

First Grasshopper Warbler of the season.                                                C. Perez.

 

There was a female Golden Oriole seen early in the morning by the Observatory.  The Iberian Magpie was observed by Jacob's Ladder, and seen again overflying the Observatory mid morning. A Whitethroat was present at Westview Promenade.

Approximately 15 Honey Buzzards emerged from the mist in the morning and some flew over town and others followed the route around the east side,

 

 

 

12 May:  Cloudy in the morning with a blanket high cloud, but sunny spells in the afternoon with the appearance of some levanter cloud over the Rock.  Winds fresh easterly.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Melodious Warbler 4   4
Reed Warbler 1   1
Bonelli's Warbler 2   2
Willow Warbler 3   3
Blackcap   2 2
Garden Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Blackbird 1   1
Nightingale 1   1
Pied Flycatcher 2   2
Total 16 3 19

 The Zitting Cisticola was again observed in the morning at Little Bay. 

 

 

11 May:  Clear skies with a fresh easterly wind.

A European and Red-necked Nightjars were flushed this morning from the ringing site at Jews' Gate Observatory.  Another European Nightjar was found sitting on a car roof at Midtown car park.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Melodious Warbler 7   7
Bonelli's Warbler 7   7
Willow Warbler 1   1
Blackcap   2 2
Garden Warbler 4   4
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler 1   1
Nightingale 1   1
Pied Flycatcher 2   2
Common Redstart 1   1
House Sparrow 2   2
Total 27 2 29

 

A Zitting Cisticola was seen at Little Bay in the evening.. 

 

 

10 May:  Clear skies with a fresh and gusty easterly wind.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Blue Tit   1 1
Isabelline Warbler 1   1
Melodious Warbler 2   2
Bonelli's Warbler 3   3
Willow Warbler 1   1
Blackcap 1   1
Garden Warbler 2   2
Sardinian Warbler 2 2 4
Blackbird 1   1
Spotted Flycatcher 1   1
Robin 2   2
Pied Flycatcher 3   3
Total 19 3 22

Isabelline Warbler previously known as Western Olivaceous Warbler Iduna opaca.                J. Yeoman.

 

A Woodchat Shrike was present at North Front Cemetery. 

 

 

09 May:  Clear skies with a light easterly becoming moderate mid morning.

A Common Chiffchaff was seen and heard calling around the Jews' Gate Observatory.  This is a very late record of this species.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Blue Tit   1 1
Melodious Warbler 5   5
Bonelli's Warbler 6   6
Willow Warbler 3   3
Blackcap 2   2
Orphean Warbler 2   2
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Whitethroat 1   1
Blackbird 1 2 3
Spotted Flycatcher 1   1
Robin   1 1
Pied Flycatcher 4   4
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 27 5 32

A morning visit to the Botanic produced the following birds; a Kestrel that caught a Spotted Flycatcher, a Golden Oriole singing in the Dell, 18 Blue Tits, three Melodious Warblers,  two Willow Warblers, four Bonelli's Warblers, nine Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, two Orphean Warblers, seven Sardinian Warblers, 17 Blackbirds, a Pied Flycatcher, five Spotted Flycatchers and 11 Greenfinches.

 

 

08 May:  Levanter cloud over the Rock and town clearing by mid morning to give clear skies.  Winds moderate to light easterly.

The Iberian Magpie flew over the ringing site early in the morning.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Woodchat Shrike 1   1
Melodious Warbler 13   13
Reed Warbler 1   1
Bonelli's Warbler 11   11
Willow Warbler 14   14
Blackcap 1 1 2
Garden Warbler 7   7
Sardinian Warbler 2   2
Blackbird 2 1 3
Spotted Flycatcher 5   5
Robin   1 1
Pied Flycatcher 26   26
Common Redstart 2   2
Total 85 3 88

 

A walk around the Botanic gardens produced a 19 Blue Tits, Great Tit, five Bonelli's Warblers, eight Willow Warblers, a Melodious Warbler, three Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, four Sardinian Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Wren, 27 Blackbirds, six Spotted Flycatchers, a Robin, a Nightingale four Pied Flycatchers and 23 Greenfinches.

 

07 May:  Clear skies early in the morning but thick fog drifted in along the Strait and the airfield.  The fog dissipated by 11:00hrs.  Very windy in the morning with fresh north-easterly gusts around town and the Observatory.  Winds died down in the Afternoon to a light easterly.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Melodious Warbler 5    
Reed Warbler 1    
Bonelli's Warbler 5    
Wood Warbler      
Willow Warbler 4    
Garden Warbler 7    
Blackbird   2  
Spotted Flycatcher 3    
Pied Flycatcher 1 1c  
Common Redstart 1    
Greenfinch   1  
Total 27 4 31

 

The Pied Flycatcher bore a ring from Finland.

There were single Woodchat Shrike and Spotted Flycatcher at Westview Promenade.  At Vineyards there were some migrants with a Woodchat Shrike, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher; also resident birds with a Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler and Greenfinch.

Around the Vineyards area there were two Collared Doves, single Woodchat Shrike, a Blue Tit, two Melodious Warblers, a Willow Warbler, a Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, a Sardinian Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Greenfinch.

 

 

06 May:  Clear skies with a light south easterly to light variable to light easterly again.

Only one Honey Buzzard and two Swallows with this wind .  There was a Melodious Warbler at Commonwealth Park and a Woodchat Shrike at the North Front Cemetery.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Totals
Sparrowhawk 1   1
Melodious Warbler 2   2
Bonelli's Warbler 1   1
Willow Warbler 4   4
Blackcap 3   3
Garden Warbler 8   8
Sardinian Warbler   1 1
Blackbird 2 2 4
Robin 2   2
Pied Flycatcher 4   4
Total 27 3 30

 

05 May:  Clear skies with a light westerly wind becoming light variable and turning to light easterly by late morning.

Good passage resumed early in the morning with many Honey Buzzard flocks flying in over the Bay, but as winds became lighter, the flocks flew further and further away until passage stopped at around midday.

A total of approximately 970 Honey Buzzards, two Black Kites and three Booted Eagles, and a Hobby were seen mainly over the Bay early in the morning.  A Short-toed Eagle was rescued from the macaque group at Prince Phillip's Arch, where they were screaming and attacking the eagle.  Fortunately the rescue came on time.

Ringing Totals

Species New Retrap Total
Melodious Warbler 1   1
Reed Warbler 1   1
Bonelli's Warbler 1   1
Willow Warbler 1   1
Blackcap 1   1
Garden Warbler 3   3
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Sardinian Warbler 1   1
Pied Flycatcher 2   2
Tree Pipit 1   1
Total 13   13

 

 

Shag in breeding plumage.                                                     R. Perez

 

 

04 May:  Cloudy with rain showers all morning in a light variable to light westerly wind in the late afternoon.

Raptors begun in mid to late afternoon with heavy passage of Honey Buzzards for a total of  2056 Honey Buzzards. 68 Black Kites, an Egyptian Vulture Marsh Harrier, eight Booted Eagles, five Sparrowhawks and two Hobbies.

Ringing was curtailed because of the rain and only single Willow Warbler, Bonelli's Warbler, a Tree pipit and retrap  Sardinian Warbler and Blackbird were trapped and ringed.

One of the many Black Kites on passage today.                             R. Perez.

 

03 May:  Cloudy skies with only a few sunny intervals, with some light showers early in the morning.  Winds light westerly to light southerly.

 Raptor passage totalled 756 Honey Buzzards, 14 Black KitesMarsh Harrier, 7 Booted Eagles and three Sparrowhawks.  Also seen were a  Swallow and a House Martin.

 

 

02 May:  Mainly clear skies with some westerly cloud, but getting cloudier in the afternoon and evening.  Winds moderate to fresh north-westerly becoming westerly in the afternoon.

Raptor passage totalled 132 Honey Buzzards, 360 Black Kites, five Egyptian Vultures, three Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier,  two Montagu's Harriers, 38 Booted Eagles, eight Sparrowhawks, two Kestrels,  and a Hobby.  Also seen were eight Black Storks, a Wheatear, a  Swallow, a Pied Flycatcher, three Serins and two Goldfinches.

 

 

01 May:  Clear skies with a moderate westerly wind.

Raptor passage throughout the day with a total of 206 Honey Buzzards, 428 Black Kites, 12 Short-toed Eagles, six Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 10 Booted Eagles, and a Hobby.  Also seen were a single Bee-eater, 90 Common Swifts, and 27 Swallows.

A walk from Governor's Lookout to Signal Station Road produced three Great Tits, four Bonelli's Warblers, a Garden Warbler, two Blackcaps a Common Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher, a Chaffinch and five Greenfinches.

A Common Sandpiper and three Shags were sighted close to Gorham's Cave.

A Wood Warbler was photographed at the North Front Cemetery.

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