The Wryneck gets its name from the ability to turn its head from side to side and back and forth in the manner of a snake. This ability is thought to imitate a snake, to deter predators from their nest. They will also assume this habit when held in the hand. See our video
This summer the Botanic Gardens have installed a number of butterfly feeding tables, which have been a great success.
Various reports were received over the long weekend concerning sightings of Ravens Corvus corax over the Upper Rock.
There had been a pair of this species in Gibraltar until relatively recently (we need to check our records, although breeding was never recorded).
The Europa Foreshore is a designated part of the Gibraltar Nature Reserve. Bart Van Thienen has been working in this area in collaboration with GONHS for the last five years clearing the area of rubble and waste, and clearing invasive species of plants such as the Prickly Pear Opuntia ficus-indica, the Hottentot Fig Carpobrotus edulis and the Century plant Agave americana. He has done a great job in restoring the area to a natural surrounding, and has begun to restore the Gibraltar Sea Lavender Limonium emarginatum, by planting seedlings in various areas within the site.
In the last few weeks seabird migration has got underway at Europa Point, with birds migrating west out of the Mediterranean close inshore. The best weather conditions are usually westerly winds, although even during easterlies birds will be seen. The afternoon is the best time to watch from this site as the light is favourable, and the birds pass close providing suitable conditions for good photography opportunities.
Over the last few weeks Europe has experienced a severe heatwave named 'Lucifer'. Gibraltar did not escape the ravages of the high temperatures, but fared better than inland areas in Spain. Temperatures increased daily with the highest recorded so far 35oC on the 7th August.
A few years ago a disease was proliferating among the Tree Aloes, Aloe arborescens around Gibraltar. Large stands of the plant around Europa Point and the east side of Gibraltar were badly affected, and several stands were unable to survive, and perished. Those that did weather the storm, recovered slowly during the winter months and managed to put on the display of their colourful and characteristic flowers; the red pokers.
Two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers bred successfully in Gibraltar. One was located at the Trafalgar Cemetery, where they raised two young, while the other pair bred near the Theatre area of the Botanic Gardens and were seen throughout the last few weeks feeding just one chick, but a few days ago two were seen together.