Bird Report 2023 - In Progress

The Report sections listed below are largely complete and may be consulted here. They remain subject to further alteration until the final Report, complete with photographs, is published in the usual format later in the year. In the meantime, suggested changes, alterations or submissions for publication will be gratefully received by the Editor, Ernest Garcia (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

 

BIRDS IN GIBRALTAR 2023 

 


Compiled by Ernest Garcia

 

EDITORIAL

 

Dr Ernest Garcia

 

 

BIRDS IN GIBRALTAR 2023

 

Compiled by Ernest Garcia

 

 

REVIEW OF THE YEAR

 

This was a rewarding year for Gibraltar birding and also a record-breaker in terms of diversity. There were 166 species recorded, one more than in 2022. The tally included two new additions to the Gibraltar List. The first was a Booted Warbler, a rarity with only three previous Iberian records, all of them in Spain. The other was a Corn Crake, a regular migrant that crosses the Iberian Peninsula on passage to and from its sub-Saharan winter quarters. For all that, the Corn Crake is seldom observed in Spain since it is highly secretive and always hides in dense ground cover. It is a nocturnal migrant and the Gibraltar bird was found dead after presumably colliding with a building the previous night.

 

A number of species that have very seldom been found in Gibraltar also appeared in 2023. A Little Ringed Plover, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Pallas’s Leaf-warbler were only the second local records. The last of these is a Siberian vagrant that is a rarity anywhere in Iberia. The plover and woodpecker are both locally common in Portugal and Spain: indeed the woodpecker breeds commonly in the Campo area, but the Gibraltar habitats are unsuitable for them. Other local rarities seen during the year included Little Swift (3rd record), Sabine’s Gull (3rd and 4th records), Greater Spotted Eagle (3rd record), Red-billed Chough (3rd and 4th records) and House Bunting (5th record). Further notable sightings included records of Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed Plover, Slender-billed Gull and Lesser Crested Tern, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, Black-winged Kite, Cinereous (Black) Vulture, Spanish Imperial and Bonelli’s Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Lanner Falcon, Western Olivaceous (Isabelline) Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler. As ever, details of these and all other 2023 records are given in the Systematic List below.

 

A development of particular interest involved appearances of the Long-tailed Tit. This is a common woodland species in southern Spain, including the Cork Oak forests of the Gibraltar hinterland. It is highly sociable and often found in flocks, consisting of one or more family parties. Nevertheless, it is highly sedentary in Iberia and the sole Moroccan record, of a small flock at Tangier in April 1967 (Bergier et al. 2022), is the only record from the African continent. The first Gibraltar record was by Mrs Helen Rait-Kerr, who saw a small flock in the mid-1940s. There were no further sightings until November 2004, when four birds out of a flock of ten were ringed at Jews’ Gate. Some of these were retrapped in 2005 but the next observations were not until November 2020 (one bird) and November 2022 (seven ringed). In 2023 there were multiple sightings of up to four birds, chiefly on the Upper Rock, at intervals in January, March, April, August, September and November. One of the November birds had been ringed there in 2022. It begins to appear that this former local rarity may be in the early stages of colonising Gibraltar, as only time will confirm.

 

Another possible colonist is the Tawny Owl, a species unknown locally certainly until at least the 1980s but that has been reported regularly since the turn of the century, from the Upper Rock and South District. This owl is most evident in late autumn and winter, when setting up territories and extremely vocal, but is otherwise unobtrusive. Nesting in Gibraltar has not yet been reported. It requires large cavities, usually in trees, which may scarce in Gibraltar. Erection of owl boxes, at the Mount and in the Botanic Gardens perhaps, might prove worthwhile. The all too abundant Black Rats represent a generous food supply.

 

This was the year in which the Raven finally returned to Gibraltar as a breeding species. At least one pair of Ravens was a constant feature of the local avifauna throughout most of the 20th century, and very probably earlier. However, the last successful breeding was in 1972 after which the single resident pair was reduced to a lone individual in 1973, which lingered until 1975 before disappearing. There was an interval of 25 years before a pair attempted to breed in 2001 but was unsuccessful. This pair persisted until 2012 but never managed to breed. The fact that one of the pair had only a single leg may have been a factor in the lack of success. Irregular sightings since 2012 did eventually lead to the establishment of a new local pair and it is this that managed to produce fledged young, just two birds, in 2023. It is to be hoped that this welcome development will herald the enduring presence of this species in Gibraltar once again.

 

Other breeding species experienced varied fortunes, the depredations of rats on the Upper Rock, and feral cats generally, exacting a steady toll of young Blackbirds especially and no doubt of other species as well, as remarked in the Ringing Report. Greenfinches were well established in the South District gardens, alongside Great Tits and Spotted Flycatchers. The Little Owl population remained at a low ebb, only one of just two resident pairs producing any young. At least one Eagle Owl was present but a sighting of two in December raises hopes that a breeding pair is present, although nesting has not been proved since 2005. Five Common Kestrel pairs and four Peregrine pairs were productive, hatching 15 and ten young in total respectively, although the number that fledged was not established. Yet again there were over-summering Robins without proof of breeding.

 

It was only an average or below-average year for counts of migrating raptors and soaring birds, whose local numbers are largely determined by whether the winds on any particular day are westerly (good) or easterly (bad), as local birders know only too well. In spring easterlies blew during the main passage periods of several species, resulting in modest counts of Honey Buzzards, Griffon Vultures, Short-toed Eagles and Sparrowhawks. However, the spring count of 2,430 Booted Eagles was the second highest on local record as well the Black Kite count of 38,694 birds, the latter involving some spectacular passage days. The autumn raptor passage is not fully monitored locally, partly because much passage skirts Gibraltar and is hard to count but mainly because a lot of raptors visit the Rock then but do not cross the Strait, moving repeatedly to and from Gibraltar and so making counts worthless. Nevertheless, the autumn to-and-fro movements do not generally involve Black Kites or Honey Buzzards, both of which pass steadily southwards in westerlies. In 2023 the Black Kite southward passage was of the order of 40,000 birds locally but the 5,796 Honey Buzzards seen would have been a small fraction of the total trans-Strait movements.

 

The migration seasons were otherwise largely unremarkable except for the pleasing diversity of species observed. However, in late autumn there was an exceptional series of very late records of trans-Saharan migrants. They included Willow Warblers on October 31st and November 13th, an Iberian Chiffchaff on October 22nd, Common Reed Warblers on October 31st and November 6th, a Melodious Warbler on November 14th, four Garden Warblers in November including one on November 30th, two Spotted Flycatchers on October 21st, a Nightingale on October 24th, Pied Flycatchers on November 7th and November 16th and a Northern Wheatear on November 6th. The significance of having so many late migrants of diverse species occurring in a single season is open to speculation but is worth bearing in mind should a trend be developing.

 

 

 

THE SYSTEMATIC LIST 2023 

Records marked * are pending consideration by the Rarities Panel.

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTES.

 

Status definitions.

 

Vagrant: Exceptional at any time in southern Iberia (including Gibraltar), e.g. Allen’s Gallinule.

Local Vagrant: Exceptional in Gibraltar but not unusual in southern Spain, e.g. Woodpigeon, Moorhen.

Rare: Seldom recorded in Gibraltar or anywhere in southern Spain, e.g. Yellow-billed Chough and Fieldfare.

Occasional: Seen infrequently and not annually e.g. Common Cuckoo.

Regular: Annual in small numbers. e.g. Red-necked Nightjar.

Common: Annual and sometimes numerous, e.g. Black Redstart.

 

Locations

Sites mentioned are shown on the Map on Page X. The term ‘Western Runway’ refers to the western end of the airfield runway, where a small loafing ground for gulls, cormorants, waders and some passerines is monitored by airfield staff.

 

Counts of migrant raptors. (See Appendices for daily totals).

Gibraltar only sees a variable fraction of the passage of raptors across the Strait. Most occur during westerly winds, when a higher proportion of the movements occur at the eastern end of the Strait. Harriers, falcons and the Osprey show only a limited tendency to seek short sea crossings and so their totals are invariably low. A daily watch is kept during the spring migration period.

 

Ringing

Birds ringed have been caught and ringed at Jews’ Gate, at the GONHS bird observatory at the south end of the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, unless otherwise stated.

 

Names.

We follow the classification, sequence and nomenclature employed in the IOC World Bird List. Certain qualifiers, such as ‘Eurasian’, are omitted from vernacular names where no ambiguity results.

 

 

Greylag Goose           Ánsar común           Anser anser

Local vagrant: migrant.

A flock of 16 flew over the harbour on March 12th.

 

Common Shelduck           Tarro blanco           Tadorna tadorna

Occasional: migrant & winter

An immature individual was at Western Beach on January 21st. Two adults approached Europa Point from the east on October 2nd before settling some distance offshore.

 

Common Scoter           Negrón común           Melanitta nigra

Occasional: winter.

Two were seen flying west from Europa Point on October 23rd.

 

 

Common Quail           Codorniz común           Coturnix coturnix

Occasional: migrant.

One was at Europa Point on September 23rd.

 

Barbary Partridge           Perdiz moruna           Alectoris barbara

Resident.

There were widespread reports throughout the year, generally of small groups. They included a family party at the Moorish Castle on May 13th and five juveniles with an adult at Jews’ Gate on May 18th. The largest numbers were reported from Windmill Hill, where there were 35 on March 12th and 20+ on dates in August, October and December. Other locations frequented were in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, the Mediterranean Steps, the East Side talus and sand slopes, Camp Bay, Little Bay and the Mosque area of Europa Flats. One bird in the North Front cemetery on November 4th was an unprecedented record for that location.

 

Red-necked Nightjar           Chotacabras cuellirojo           Caprimulgus ruficollis

Regular migrant.

The sole spring record was of one ringed on May 3rd.

 

Spotlighting at night on the Upper Rock found two on October 7th and seven on October 8th. One was found dead on the road at Eliott’s Battery on October 12th. There were 11 ringed between September 16th and October 13th.

 

European Nightjar           Chotacabras europeo           Caprimulgus europaeus

Regular migrant.

Three were found by spotlighting at night on the Upper Rock on October 8th. Sixteen were ringed, all in autumn between September 15th and October 21st: all but three were juveniles.

 

Alpine Swift           Vencejo real           Tachymarptis melba

Regular but scarce migrant. Scarce breeder.

Single birds were seen on March 14th, March 30th and April 29th. There were nine at the North Face in the vicinity of the breeding site on May 6th.

 

Common Swift           Vencejo común           Apus apus

Common migrant and breeder.

Two were seen from Jews’ Gate on March 30th and there were 400 there on April 15th. The breeding population was evident as usual through the spring and summer. Large southward movements were seen over the Rock on July 19th, August 16th and August 27th. None were reported subsequently.

 

Pallid Swift           Vencejo pálido           Apus pallidus

Common migrant and breeder.

The first report was of 22 at Europa Point on March 7th and there were 100 over the town on March 13th. The sizeable breeding population of this species was present as usual but was not monitored. Some southward passage was evident over the Rock on August 16th, accompanying a large movement of Common Swifts. Late season reports comprised five on September 20th, two on September 21st and 22nd and one on November 3rd.

 

Little Swift           Vencejo moro           Apus affinis

Local vagrant.

One was over the town on May 24th. Only the fourth local record (A. Fortuna).

 

Common Cuckoo           Cuco común           Cuculus canorus

Occasional migrant.

One was in the North Front cemetery on April 15th.

 

Rock Dove           Paloma bravía           Columba livia

Rare. (Feral birds common).

The winter bird count on January 21st found 151 birds, a relatively modest total. Nevertheless, the birds were widely dispersed and included 14 on the Mediterranean Steps and 23 on the East Side as well as small groups in parks and gardens and other open locations.

 

Wood Pigeon           Paloma torcaz            Columba palumbus

Occasional.

One was found dead by the former East Side fuel tanks on November 27th.

 

Turtle Dove           Tórtola europea           Streptopelia turtur

Scarce migrant.

There were four on Windmill Hill on April 28th. There were also single birds on the Europa Point foreshore on April 30th, May 26th and May 29th as well as one in the Botanic Gardens on May 13th. Single birds were ringed on April 14th and May 2nd.

 

Collared Dove           Tórtola turca           Streptopelia decaocto

Common resident.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 120 birds. Most of them were in the town and in parks and gardens but there were also a noteworthy 27 in the Europa Point area, ten at Western Beach and six on the East Side. Later in the year the largest site-count was of 31 in the Botanic Gardens on October 16th.

 

Corn Crake           Guión de codornices           Crex crex

Local vagrant.

One found dead at Europort on October 3rd was the first local record (R. Perez). The Corncrake is a scarce and seldom seen nocturnal migrant through the region, for which Gibraltar lacks any suitable habitat.

 

 

Common Crane           Grulla común           Cuculus canorus

Occasional migrant.

A flock of 23 flew over the airfield on March 12th.

 

Greater Flamingo           Flamenco común           Phoenicopterus roseus

Irregular migrant, usually annual.

There were eleven records. The first was a flock of 30 flying north along the east side on January 20th. This same route was followed by two flocks, of 80 and 18 birds, on March 31st. Flocks flying west across the isthmus were seen on March 15th: 30 birds, July 2nd: 19 birds, September 5th: 30 birds, and November 3rd: 36 birds. The flight direction of flocks of 35 seen from Jews’ Gate on April 13th, of 13 seen from Europa Point on July 21st and of 34 also off the Point on November 11th were not reported. A single bird flew west at Europa Point on April 30th.

 

Oystercatcher           Ostrero euroasiático           Haematopus ostralegus

Occasional: migrant.

One was seen from Catalan Bay on July 15th and what may have been the same bird was seen from Europa Point the same day. Two were seen from Europa Point on July 16th and 30th and there were single birds there on July 22nd, August 1st and August 2nd.

 

Pied Avocet           Avoceta común           Recurvirostra avosetta

Occasional: migrant.

Two flew west at Europa Point on July 15th and ten also flew west there on August 19th.

 

Black-winged Stilt           Cigüeñuela común           Himantopus himantopus

Occasional: migrant.

Two were on Catalan Bay beach early on April 28th.

 

Common Ringed Plover           Chorlitejo grande           Charadrius hiaticula

Occasional: migrant and winter.

Up to three individuals were present on the Western Runway revetments on six dates between October 17th and December 24th.

 

Little Ringed Plover           Chorlitejo chico           Charadrius dubius

Local vagrant.

One was at Western Beach on February 19th. Second record (C. Fortuna).

 

 

Whimbrel           Zarapito trinador           Numenius phaeopus

Regular migrant and winter.

Single birds, probably the same overwintering individual, were reported on 11 dates between January 13th and March 31st, frequenting the Europa Point foreshore, Camp Bay and Little Bay. In addition, two flew west past Europa Point on February 28th and one was at Sandy Bay on April 2nd.

 

There were five records during the second half of the year, between July 22nd and November 19th, all of single birds except on the first date when three were seen flying west past Europa Point.

 

Turnstone           Vuelvepiedras común           Arenaria interpres

Regular, mainly winter.

Overwintering birds were present at the Europa Point foreshore, the southwestern shoreline or the Seven Sisters rocks at the South Mole until at least April 29th. The largest count was of nine on the foreshore on January 29th.

 

Returning birds were first seen at Europa Point on August 26th but no more than two or three individuals were reported until mid November after which as many as 14 were present on the foreshore on November 26th and 12 were there on December 22nd.

 

Sanderling           Correlimos tridáctilo           Calidris alba

Regular, mainly winter

One was on Western Beach on January 12th and 25th.

 

Both Western and Eastern Beaches attracted birds during the second winter period. The earliest was one on Eastern Beach on September 23rd but there were no further records until November 16th, after which up to three were present on Western Beach. The largest count was of seven on Eastern Beach on December 17th.

 

Common Sandpiper           Andarríos chico           Actitis hypoleucos

Regular migrant & winter.

There were reports on 17 dates between January 12th and April 30th, all of one or two presumed overwintering individuals that frequented the harbour and western shoreline south to Europa Point. One was at Eastern Beach on May 17th.

 

During the second half of the year there were frequent reports from July 28th onwards, from both the eastern and western shorelines. Most were of single birds or two together, notably the overwintering individuals present throughout November and December. Three at Governor’s Beach on July 29th and five on the Europa Point foreshore the same day, as well as five in the harbour on October 28th, may have been on passage.

 

Kittiwake            Gaviota tridáctila           Rissa tridactyla

Occasional: migrant and winter.

There were seven records of single birds. The first was an adult seen from the small boats marina in the harbour on January 8th. An adult was seen from Europa Point on January 28th. First-winter birds were seen from Rosia Bay on February 11th and at Europa Point on February 12th, 16th, 21st and 22nd: the last of these spent some time on the cliff there. One was at Europa Point on May 1st.

 

Sabine’s Gull           Gaviota de Sabine           Xema sabini

Local vagrant.

Two adults were feeding off Europa Point on February 15th and a single adult was also there on November 12th. Third and fourth records (R. Perez & N.B. Jensen; R. Perez): the two earlier records were in November 1987 and August 1992.

 

 

Slender-billed Gull           Gaviota picofina           Chroicocephalus genei

Occasional migrant.

Three small groups were reported, all seen passing west at Europa Point. Three birds on June 11th were followed by ten on June 12th. Three were recorded on October 23rd.

 

Black-headed Gull           Gaviota reidora           Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Common migrant and common in winter.

Flocks counted during the first winter period, chiefly the feeding gatherings at Europa Point varied considerably in size and seldom exceeded double figures. However, there were 110 there on January 28th, 160 on February 21st, 130 on February 22nd and 140 on March 3rd, these probably including migrants. The only other location frequented by loafing birds was the Western Runway, where there were 30 on January 12th and 37 on February 19th. Single birds on April 9th and May 7th were followed by a single adult, perhaps a non-breeder, on June 12th, 17th and 21st.

 

Subsequently there were very few observations until late autumn; 35 birds in total on 11 dates between June 30th and October 28th, including six at Western Beach on the last date. The Europa Point flock was evident from November 7th, when there were 36 birds there, and peaked at 78 birds on December 23rd.

 

Little Gull           Gaviota enana           Hydrocoleus minutus

Occasional: migrant and winter.

A single adult was feeding off Europa Point on February 20th and a first-winter bird was there the following day and on February 28th. A first winter was also present there on December 16th.

 

Mediterranean Gull           Gaviota cabecinegra           Icthyaetus melanocephalus

Common: migrant and winter.

There were frequent observations from Europa Point during the first winter period. They totalled 290 birds, on dates up to March 3rd. January counts were in single figures but February counts were larger, peaking at 77 birds on February 16th. They were followed by a gathering there of at least 24 first-winter birds on April 2nd.

 

An adult on June 17th was followed by the usual westward summer movement of small groups: 62 birds were seen on nine dates between June 30th and July 30th, including 21 on July 5th. The birds involved are chiefly summer-plumaged adults.

 

There was an almost total lack of records during the second winter period, which was unexpected but perhaps due to the persistence of westerly winds. Only one bird was recorded, an adult on October 4th.

 

Audouin’s Gull           Gaviota de Audouin           Icthyaetus audouinii

Common migrant. Some remain in winter.

One or two birds were reported from Europa Point on 13 dates in January and February but 20 were seen in 70 minutes on February 21st, these probably among migrants returning to their nesting colonies. None were seen in March and only nine in total were reported during April/May.

 

Westward movements seen later in the year totalled 488 birds, between June 11th and October 23rd. The great majority were between mid-July and mid- August, during which 409 were counted, at least 86 of which were juveniles. As usual, the counts were done during watches of one or two hours’ duration at Europa Point and were not a systematic census of the movements, which involve many more birds. The only subsequent observation was of one bird on November 25th.

 

Yellow-legged Gull           Gaviota patiamarilla           Larus michahellis

Common resident.

The ubiquitous resident population attracted considerable attention, particularly from the occupants of houses with gulls nesting on the roofs, but no records or counts were submitted.

 

Lesser Black-backed Gull           Gaviota sombría           Larus fuscus

Regular: migrant and winter.

Records were very sparse. They totalled just 11 birds during the first winter period, on eight dates between January 11th and April 1st.

 

Subsequent records were similarly scarce: six observations of single birds on six dates between June 19th and December 23rd.

 

An adult in summer plumage that was photographed flying west past Europa Point on February 15th could possibly have been a Baltic Gull L. f. fuscus. This subspecies that has rarely been identified in the Western Mediterranean on account of its similarity to darker individuals of L. f. intermedius, which occurs commonly on the Spanish east coast. The bird in question showed a uniform black mantle and upperwings, with a mirror only on primary 10. At present only colour-ringed individuals are accepted as Baltic Gulls in Iberia but there are several such records, including from Málaga harbour (De Juana & Garcia 2015).

[Insert photo here with caption Putative Baltic Gull (R. Perez)]

 

Gull-billed Tern           Pagaza piconegra           Gelochelidon nilotica

Occasional: migrant.

There were four records of birds flying west past Europa Point: a single bird on April 30th, two on June 12th, three on June 21st and two on July 30th.

 

Lesser Crested Tern           Charrán bengalí           Thalasseus bengalensis

Occasional: migrant.

One seen at Camp Bay on February 18th, at the Western Runway on February 19th and at Little Bay on February 21st may have been the apparently wintering individual reported in December 2022. Two at Europa Point on March 3rd and one off the East side on March 6th were still much earlier than the spring passage period of this species, which is in May.

 

In autumn single birds were seen in Camp Bay on October 25th and in the harbour on October 28th.

 

 

Sandwich Tern           Charrán patinegro           Thalasseus sandvicensis

Common: migrant and winter.

Three or four wintering individuals frequented the western coastline and the harbour until at least April 10th. At Europa Point two on April 29th, seven on May 29th and one on June 11th were the only subsequent records during the first half of the year.

 

The first returning birds reported were seven at Europa Point on October 23rd, followed by three in Rosia Bay on October 26th and 14 in the harbour on October 28th. Overwintering bird numbers fluctuated but included eight at Little Bay on November 25th, seven in the harbour on December 7th and 11 in Rosia Bay on December 25th.

 

Common Tern           Charrán común           Sterna hirundo

Scarce migrant.

Five were in Gibraltar Bay on September 15th.

 

Great Skua           Págalo grande           Catharacta skua

Present all year. Common migrant.

Very few were reported. There were single birds off Europa Point on February 8th, October 2nd and October 13th. Two were off Catalan Bay on October 21st.

 

Arctic Skua           Págalo parasito           Stercorarius parasiticus

Scarce: mainly migrant.

Single birds were seen from Europa Point on October 23rd and October 25th.

 

Razorbill           Alca común           Alca torda

Common: winter and migrant.

Six were seen from Europa Point on January 1st. What were probably some of the overwintering individuals that were present in late 2022 remained in inshore waters until at least mid-February, during which period there were frequent observations of up to four individuals, mainly from Rosia, Camp and Little Bays and Europa point. A moribund individual was on Sandy Bay beach on January 14th. A total of 45, mainly small flocks of migrating birds, were seen from Europa Point on five dates between February 8th and February 22nd. One at Camp Bay on March 5th was the last of the early year period.

 

The first returning bird was seen off Europa Point on November 15th and there were four off Camp Bay and a tideline corpse there, as well as one off the Western Beach, on November 16th. Thereafter there were regular sightings of one or two birds that overwintered inshore off the southwestern coastline, particularly in Camp and Little Bays.

 

Puffin           Frailecillo atlántico           Fratercula arctica

Common migrant in Strait but rare inshore.

One off Europa Point on January 30th was attacked and killed by a Yellow-legged Gull. Single birds were seen off Europa Point on February 8th and 22nd and nine were seen from the Point on April 2nd, followed by five there on April 29th. A westbound migrating flock of 40 was a mile off the eastern seaboard on March 22nd.

 

A single bird was on the sea far off the east side on June 27th and it or another was found thereabouts on July 6th.

 

Scopoli’s Shearwater           Pardela cenicienta mediterránea           Calonectris diomedea

Regular, mainly on passage.

Only two records were submitted, both during the spring return period: 20 birds on February 16th and four on February 19th. However, 50 Calonectris shearwaters seen from Europa Point on November 8th are likely to have been this species.

 

Cory’s Shearwater            Pardela cenicienta canaria           Calonectris borealis

Common March–October. Most numerous in summer.

The first observation was not until May 14th when one was seen from Europa Point. Small numbers, up to 30 per watch period of around two hours, were present offshore from the Point from late May until the end of July. Numbers built up as usual from mid-August and peaked during September to early October, when there were counts of up to 500 off the Point in attendance on flying fish shoals driven to flight by gatherings of dolphins and Bluefin Tuna, a spectacular regular occurrence in recent years. Up to 30 remained in the area until mid-October, two on October 24th being the last observed.

 

Balearic Shearwater           Pardela balear           Puffinus mauretanicus   

All year, especially summer. Migrant. All year, especially summer. Migrant.

Early year observations totalled 675 birds, on eight dates between January 1st and February 21st, including 350 birds in one hour on the last date. There were no further records until May 27th, when 325 were seen, the second largest count of the year, followed by 70 on May 29th and 40 on May 30th. Thereafter there were mainly small numbers, totalling 165 birds, reported on 19 dates between June 11th and October 24th. The only later observation was of 13 birds on December 17th. All observations were incidental since no systematic counting of this or any other seabirds was conducted. All observations were from Europa Point.

 

Black Stork           Cigüeña negra           Ciconia nigra

Common migrant.

Spring migrants totalled 211, on 11 scattered dates between February 25th and May 9th. They included a flock of 86 among 104 birds on February 27th, 45 on March 13th, 23 on April 14th and 22 on April 29th.

 

Southbound birds were only seen on four dates and comprised 22 on September 12th, five on September 22nd, one on September 27th and one on the late date of November 6th.

 

White Stork           Cigüeña blanca           Ciconia ciconia

Common migrant, but most bypass Gibraltar to the west.

Northbound birds were observed on January 17th: 20 birds, and then on four dates in March: 390 birds, including 339 on March 31st. There were also 100 birds that arrived on November 3rd and 100 again on December 1st. November/December records involve flocks returning from Africa after the western sub-Saharan rainy season but the November 3rd birds were seen flying south over Jews’ Gate.

 

A record of 100 on August 27th was exceptional locally for the southbound passage period. They were followed by one bird on September 22nd and two on September 26th.

 

Northern Gannet           Alcatraz atlántico           Morus bassanus 

Present all year, especially winter and passage.

There were reports, mainly from Europa Point, every month but most counts were in single figures. Larger counts included 24 on January 20th, 86 on March 11th, 44 immature birds on June 21st, 54 on October 23rd, 40 on November 7th and 30 on December 1st.

 

Great Cormorant           Cormorán grande           Phalacrocorax carbo

Regular: migrant and winter.

The small overwintering population, some 10–15 birds, remained until early March, mainly frequenting the western coastline and Europa Point. A gathering of 27 on the Western Runway on January 31st was noteworthy. Northward passage was evident from mid-March. There were 213 reported flying north, on six dates between March 12th and April 9th, including 122 on March 26th. One was over Europort on May 24th.

 

The first returning birds were two seen over the town on September 29th. Small numbers were present from mid-October until the end of the year, larger counts mainly coming from the Western Beach/runway area, where there were ten on October 28th, eight on November 16th and eight again on December 7th. The habitual loafing ground at Little Bay attracted no more than one or two birds during this period. In contrast, a new cliff roost near Governor’s Beach on December 29th held 29 birds.

 

European Shag           Cormorán moñudo           Gulosus aristotelis

Resident.

Individuals from the small resident population at Governor’s Beach could frequently be seen rounding Europa Point as well as fishing in the Bay. The largest gatherings were at the cormorant loafing ground on the cliffs south of Little Bay, where there were 14 on September 3rd and 15, including four juveniles, on September 29th. There were 12 on the Seven Sisters rocks off the South Mole on October 14th and eight there on November 26th.

 

Glossy Ibis           Morito común           Plegadis falcinellus

Occasional migrant.

There were only three records of this species prior to 2015 but since then it has occurred annually except for 2019. In 2023 there were four flocks recorded: 15 birds flying north on June 11th, five also north on June 24th, 16 flying south on August 27th and eight west on October 23rd. The August flock followed the east coast. The other observations were from Europa Point.

 

Black-crowned Night-heron           Martinete común           Nycticorax nycticorax

Occasional migrant.

One was at the Europa Walks area of Europa Flats on May 2nd.

 

Cattle Egret           Garcilla bueyera           Bubulcus ibis

Occasional: migrant and in winter.

A flock of five flew south off Rosia Bay on April 4th. One flying west past Europa Point on June 19th was the only other observation.

 

Grey Heron Garza real Ardea cinerea

Regular: migrant and in winter.

There were very few reports during the first winter period but one or two frequented the Rosia/Camp/Little Bay areas until at least February 20th. One was at Western Beach on March 5th and one was over the Rock on May 29th.

 

Later in the year one was heard from Little Bay on July 1st and one was at the airfield on August 28th. Groups of six seen flying south along the East Side on September 1st, five heading west at Europa Point on September 2nd, two south over the North Mole on September 9th and four over the Rock on September 12th were probably southbound migrants. There were frequent reports of one or two birds between October 10th and the end of the year from coastal locations all along the western shoreline, including the Western Runway, Western Beach, the harbour, Rosia Bay, Camp Bay, Little Bay and Europa Point. Probably these involved no more than three or four overwintering individuals in total. The eastern shoreline was not frequented and one at Sandy Bay on December 28th was the only record from there.

 

Little Egret           Garceta común           Egretta garzetta

Occasional: migrant and in winter.

An overwintering individual frequented the harbour area until at least March 31st. What may have been the same bird was also reported from Europa Point on January 1st and Camp Bay on January 21st.

 

Single birds were at Europa Point on August 19th and September 16th. From October 5th until the end of the year one or two again frequented the harbour area and there were three at the Extension Jetty there on October 17th.

 

Osprey           Águila pescadora           Pandion haliaetus

Regular migrant and occasional in winter.

The overwintering individual that frequented the Western Runway in December 2022 was only seen once in early 2023, on January 15th. Northbound migrants totalled 53 birds, between March 7th and May 14th. Day counts were typically small but there was an exceptional arrival of 21 birds on April 10th.

 

Southbound migrants totalling 17 birds were observed between August 17th and October 24th. Once again an individual that was wintering in the area spent some time in Gibraltar, visiting the Western Runway area and Eastern Beach on at least four dates between November 22nd and December 24th. The colour ring on this bird, blue with NSO in white letters, identified it as one of two chicks ringed at Loch Eye, Ross-shire, Scotland on July 10th 2022.

 

Black-winged Kite           Elanio común           Elanus caeruleus

Occasional: migrant.

Single birds were seen flying north on April 22nd and May 15th. Eighth and ninth records (R. Perez, C. Perez). Six of the seven previous records have been of spring migrants, all of them in April or the first half of May except for one March arrival.

 

Egyptian Vulture           Alimoche común           Neophron percnopterus

Regular migrant.

Spring migrants totalled 103, on scattered dates between February 25th and May 15th, as well as a first-summer bird on June 19th. A count of 45 on February 27th is noteworthy.

 

Just 11 were seen during the southbound passage, again on scattered dates, between August 27th and October 15th.

 

Honey Buzzard           Abejero europeo           Pernis apivorus

Common migrant.

Spring migrants totalled 4,225 birds, a very modest number indicating that most of the passage occurred elsewhere. The earliest seen were four on April 21st. Nearly all the observed birds (4,197; 99.3%) passed between April 29th and May 15th. Thereafter there were only a few stragglers in late May and through June, the last of these on June 30th. The largest day-count was 1,069 birds, on May 7th.

 

The observed southbound passage was also on an unspectacular scale. There were 5,796 birds, between August 18th and September 26th. The largest day-count was on September 11th when 2,295 birds were seen, with 876 passing the following day.

 

 

Griffon Vulture           Buitre leonado           Gyps fulvus

Common migrant.

Spring migrants were much scarcer locally than usual and only totalled 79 birds, between March 31st and June 21st. The largest counts were of 31 on April 12th and 15 on June 10th. At least one crashed into the sea and drowned, not an unusual occurrence, especially when tired birds are mobbed by the local Yellow-legged Gulls and Peregrines.

 

Few visited the Rock in autumn, only 84 birds, including 47 on October 23rd and 30 on November 10th. In addition, one was over Windmill Hill on December 20th.

 

Cinereous Vulture           Buitre negro           Aegypius monachus

Occasional: migrant.

One flew north with other migrating raptors on March 31st.

 

Short-toed Snake-eagle           Culebrera europea           Circaetus gallicus

Common migrant. Occasional in winter.

There were 1,489 counted during the spring passage, which spanned an extended period as usual. The first bird was on February 23rd and the last seen was on June 19th. Most birds were seen between March 8th and March 17th, a period that falls within the peak arrivals of adults. However, unfavourable winds during the first week in March would inevitably have meant that many bypassed Gibraltar then. The largest day-count was 600 on March 8th, with 105 on March 11th and 116 on March 17th being the only other three-figure counts.

 

A juvenile flying south over the Rock on July 21st was a very early migrant. Only 87 more birds were reported, between August 15th and November 5th. Most of these accompanied Booted Eagles loitering over Gibraltar during easterlies before returning to Spain without attempting the Strait crossing. Single birds on November 11th, November 25th, December 9th and December 26th may well have been overwintering in the general area.

 

Greater Spotted Eagle*           Águila moteada           Clanga clanga

Vagrant.

Single migrants were seen flying north past Jews’ Gate on March 26th and March 31st. Third and fourth records (Names?; M. Cutts & T. Finlayson). [Rarities committee should seek more details, especially of first bird for which there is no photo – otherwise reject]

 

Booted Eagle           Águila calzada           Hieraaetus pennatus

Common migrant. Occasional in winter.

Spring migrants totalled 2,430 birds, the second-highest local spring count on record (there were 2,640 in spring 2013). They were reported between March 8th and June 21st. Noteworthy day counts included 541 on March 31st, 389 on April 1st and 335 on April 11th.

 

Three seen over the northern end of the Rock on July 11th may have been late northbound migrants. However, one was hunting over Windmill Hill the same day and one or two apparently over-summering individuals were reported at intervals from the same area throughout the rest of July and up to at least mid-August. Such over-summering was also seen in 2022 (GBR 22:27).

 

Southbound migrants were reported from mid-August until November 1st, chiefly between mid-September and mid-October. There were an estimated 600 observed on September 25th and seasonal sightings totalled over 3,000 birds. As usual, the great majority were milling over the Rock during easterlies and were returning to and from the hinterland repeatedly, making it impossible to count the number of different individuals involved. One was over the town on December 29th.

 

Spanish Imperial Eagle           Águila imperial ibérica           Aquila adalberti

Occasional.

Two juveniles visited the Rock on September 11th. One of them spent some time sitting on at aerial at Rock Gun.

 

Bonelli’s Eagle           Águila perdicera           Aquila fasciata

Occasional.

A juvenile flew south along the crest of the Rock on October 1st. It may or may not have been a captive-bred individual that was released locally on July 15th.

 

 

Sparrowhawk           Gavilán común           Accipiter nisus

Common migrant.

Single birds on January 8th and February 26th may have been the overwintering individual from 2022 but three on February 27th may have been early migrants. Passage proper was noted from March 8th until May 9th, with 431 birds recorded, a modest total. The largest day-counts were of 46 on March 31st and 39 on April 10th. Four were ringed in March.

 

Southbound migrants totalled 285 birds, between August 27th and November 16th. Day-counts of 71 on September 21st and 70 on September 22nd represented almost half of the birds recorded. At least one overwintering bird was reported from late September until the end of the year.

 

Marsh Harrier           Aguilucho lagunero           Circus aeruginosus

Common migrant.

There were 156 in spring between February 23rd and May 15th. Most arrived between mid-March and mid-April, these including day-counts of 35 on March 13th and 22 the following day.

 

Southbound birds totalled 84, between August 27th and October 15th. A day-count of 50 on September 20th is noteworthy, especially since they were all seen in just one hour, between 16.30 and 17.30 hrs.

 

Hen Harrier           Aguilucho pálido           Circus cyaneus

Scarce migrant.

Three were seen in spring: on March 24th, April 12th and April 29th. There was one southbound on August 26th.

 

Montagu’s Harrier           Aguilucho cenizo           Circus pygargus

Common migrant.

Although harriers are never really numerous at the Strait the numbers seen at Gibraltar during both seasons were very low, perhaps reflecting the ongoing population decline of this species in the Iberian Peninsula. In spring there were just 27 seen, between March 10th and April 29th.

 

Southbound migrants were even fewer: 17 birds between August 29th and September 21st. They were noticeably lacking among the very large movements of Honey-buzzards and, especially, Black Kites that occurred this year, among which groups of Montagu’s Harriers used to be seen frequently in past decades.

 

Red Kite           Milano real           Milvus milvus

Occasional: migrant.

Only one was recorded, on September 15th.

 

Black Kite           Milano negro           Milvus migrans

Common migrant.

Very large numbers were recorded on spring passage, despite there being long periods of easterlies during which none crossed at Gibraltar. Counts totalled 38,694 birds, the second-largest spring total on record. Passage was seen between February 26th and June 19th but was most spectacular during the early part of the season, when Iberian breeders return to the Peninsula. A count of 6,000 on February 27th was without precedent for such an early date. Even more spectacular movements were seen in March, including 8,850 on March 13th followed by 6,250 the next day. Four-figure counts were made on an additional seven dates (see Appendix 1).

 

Movements on a similar scale were also observed during the return passage period. Only estimated counts were made on a number of dates but it is evident that the numbers that passed over Gibraltar were of the order of 40,000 birds. Passage proper was noted from mid-July and peaked during late July and the first few days of August (see Appendix 2). Very few were seen during September, when easterlies predominated, the last being two on September 27th. The 2023 movements of southbound Black Kites were on an unprecedented scale locally but reflect the spectacular increase in the populations that use the Strait flyway since the start of the century.

 

Long-legged Buzzard           Busardo moro           Buteo rufinus

Occasional. Has wintered.

One was seen on May 9th and what may have been the same individual was hunting over Middle Hill on May 11th and over the Eastern Slopes on May 16th. There was again one hunting over the Upper Rock on September 12th.

 

Common Buzzard           Busardo ratonero           Buteo buteo

Scarce: migrant and winter.

Just five were observed on spring passage: single birds on March 11th, March 13th and April 10th, and two on March 24th.

 

There were nine observations of single birds later in the year. One was on September 1st but the rest were seen between November 3rd and December 29th and may have included local or wintering individuals.

 

Little Owl           Mochuelo europeo           Athene noctua

Scarce resident.

Single pairs were present at Catalan Bay and Sandy Bay, the first of which fledged two young. An apparently unpaired bird frequented the lower North Face.

 

One was at Europa Point on April 2nd. One was heard calling above Catalan Bay on October 7th, November 30th and December 12th. A juvenile was ringed on September 19th.

 

Scops Owl           Autillo europeo           Otus scops

Common migrant. Has bred.

Single birds were reported from the Dockyard Area on March 8th, near The Mount on March 29th and in the town on April 18th, the last of these being discovered inside a house.

 

Spotlighting on Upper Rock roads at night found four on October 7th and five on October 8th. One was on a rooftop in Naval Hospital Road on October 25th. Birds ringed totalled 15, between September 12th and October 14th: ten of them were juveniles.

 

Tawny Owl           Cárabo común           Strix aluco

Regular: mainly winter.

Reportedly present in the Nature Reserve all year but few specific records were submitted. One was seen or heard on seven nights between September 20th and December 29th in the vicinity of The Mount Gardens, Jews’ Gate and St Michael’s Cave.

 

Eagle Owl           Búho reál           Bubo bubo 

Scarce resident.

Reportedly present in the Nature Reserve all year but few specific records were submitted. One was reported from the Windmill Hill area on December 11th and 12th and two were seen in the Nature Reserve on December 25th. The latter sighting provided welcome confirmation that more than one individual was present in Gibraltar, after over a decade when only the presence of a single bird could be confirmed.

 

Hoopoe           Abubilla           Upupa epops

Common migrant.

There were 16 sight-records between February 14th and March 23rd, including four on Windmill Hill on March 8th. A late bird at the top cable-car station on May 2nd was followed by an even more unseasonal bird at Europa Advance Road on June 29th. Seven were ringed between February 13th and March 26th.

 

Southbound migrants seen totalled up to 40, between July 22nd and September 12th. At least 25 were seen in the North Front cemetery, where the same birds may have lingered for several days: there were five there on August 7th. Most other sightings were within the Nature Reserve. One was ringed on August 31st.

 

Common Kingfisher           Martín pescador común           Alcedo atthis

Regular but scarce migrant and in winter.

One in the harbour on March 14th was the only report during the first half of the year, despite the presence of at least one overwintering individual in December 2022.

 

One was again in the harbour on August 22nd after which there were no further sightings until October 16th, when one was on the Europort rocks. At least one bird remained in the harbour area or Rosia Bay from then until the end of the year, although two were seen together at Western Beach on October 28th.

 

European Bee-eater           Abejaruco europeo           Merops apiaster

Common migrant.

Spring migrants were reported on seven dates between March 25th and April 29th. Migrating flocks were heard on four of these dates but there were sightings of 23 at Spur Battery on March 26th and 20 at Jews’ Gate on April 4th, as well as single birds at Jews’ Gate on April 2nd and May 13th.

 

Southbound birds were seen on just four dates: 180 birds on August 27th. 150 on September 12th, 65 on September 15th and 30 on September 21st. Eight birds, four adults and four juveniles, were ringed on September 15th.

 

Wryneck           Torececuello común           Jynx torquilla

Regular but scarce migrant. Occasional in winter.

One was in the Botanic Gardens on April 6th.

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker           Pico picapinos           Dendrocopos major

Local vagrant.

A juvenile on one of the very few trees in the North Front cemetery on August 14th was only the second local record (P. Rocca). The first record was on August 12th 1977, when one flew over the airfield and Princess Caroline’s Battery towards the Governor’s Lookout pines.

 

Lesser Kestrel           Cernícalo primilla           Falco naumanni

Regular migrant. Recently extinct breeder.

Spring migrants totalled just 11 birds, on six dates between March 11th and April 22nd.

 

Southbound birds totalled 19, on six dates between July 8th and September 22nd.

 

Common Kestrel            Cernícalo vulgar           Falco tinnunculus

Resident. Common migrant.

Local birds were conspicuous generally throughout the year, favouring the Nature Reserve, Windmill Hill and Europa Flats, the North Front cemetery and the eastern sand slopes. Five breeding pairs were located hatching 15 young between them. Some sightings may have involved migrants but these are difficult to distinguish from residents. However, 14 seen from Europa Point on five dates between July 8th and July 30th included at least some individuals flying north after arriving from the Strait, probably post-breeding dispersers from Morocco.

 

Eleonora’s Falcon           Halcón de Eleonora           Falco eleonorae

Regular but scarce migrant, especially in late summer and autumn.

One was over the Rock on April 30th, an early date for this species. There were a further five records, involving six birds, between July 8th and August 27th.

 

Hobby            Alcotán           Falco subbuteo

Regular but scarce migrant.

All records were of northbound migrants in spring. They totalled 23 birds, on 12 dates between March 24th and June 12th, including six on April 15th.

 

Lanner Falcon*           Halcón borní           Falco biarmicus

Regular but scarce migrant.

A juvenile was seen flying north on July 25th, a typical date for post-breeding dispersers from Morocco.

 

Peregrine Falcon           Halcón peregrino           Falco peregrinus

Resident. Some migrants occur.

At least four pairs were located, hatching ten young in total. Eight individuals were seen during the winter bird count on January 21st.

 

Woodchat Shrike           Alcaudón común           Lanius senator

Common migrant. Has bred.

Single birds were in the North Front cemetery and in the Nature Reserve on March 2nd. A further 31 spring migrants were reported from open locations on ten dates between March 9th and April 29th. They included six on Windmill Hill on April 26th. Birds ringed totalled 11, all in spring between March 10th and April 28th.

 

Only seven were seen later in the year, on five dates between August 6th and August 28th. At least five of these were juveniles.

 

Golden Oriole           Oropéndola           Oriolus oriolus

Scarce migrant.

A female was at Jews’ Gate on June 3rd. Two were in the same area on September 9th and a female was ringed there on September 10th.

 

Red-billed Chough           Chova piquirroja           Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

Local vagrant.

One was seen from Jews’ Gate on October 28th and two were seen from the Mediterranean Steps the following day. Third and fourth records (M. Ashman).

 

Jackdaw           Grajilla           Corvus monedula

Scarce resident.

Four were at the Moorish Castle, where nesting was suspected in 2022, on February 6th. At least two or three remained until the end of the year, being reported chiefly from the Moorish Castle area, where one was carrying nesting material on March 4th. There were occasional sightings also from Jews’ Gate, Casemates and the harbour area. One was sharing the food provided for chickens in their run at Landport Ditch on October 1st.

 

 

Raven           Cuervo           Corvus corax

Resident.

The resident pair was present all year and nested on the eastern cliffs. They fledged at least three young, two of which were first reported with their parents on May 13th. Three young were with the adults from June 13th until the end of August. This was the first successful nesting in Gibraltar for several decades.

 

Blue Tit           Herrerillo común           Cyanistes caeruleus

Common resident.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 93 birds, comprising 55 on the Upper Rock and the remainder in parks and gardens in the town and south district. During the year there were also reports of one or two birds from outlying areas including Windmill Hill, the East Side and even the long fig tree alongside the Seven Sisters rocks at the South Mole: where one was seen on November 26th. Birds ringed totalled 34, all but two of them during the second half of the year.

 

Great Tit           Carbonero común           Parus major

Scarce resident.

There were three on the Upper Rock and single birds in The Convent garden and at Camp Bay during the winter bird count on January 21st. There were widespread reports during the year of one or two birds, as well as of four in The Convent garden on June 3rd. Nearly all other sightings were from the Nature Reserve or in South District gardens. Three juveniles were ringed in autumn, on August 28th, September 12th and October 2nd.

 

Woodlark           Alondra totovía           Lululla arborea

Occasional: migrant.

One record: two were seen from Princess Caroline’s Battery on September 2nd.

 

Thekla’s Lark           Cogujada montesina           Galerida theklae

Occasional in winter.

Two were seen along the border fence on September 10th.

 

Crested Lark           Cogujada común           Galerida cristata

Occasional in winter.

One was by the border fence on May 5th and there were two there on May 29th.

 

One was at same site on September 7th. Three were on the Western Runway on November 12th and two were there on November 18th, followed by a single bird on December 24th.

 

Greater Short-toed Lark           Terrera común           Calandrella brachydactyla

Occasional: migrant.

One record: four flying south at the cable-car top station on September 12th.

 

Sand Martin           Avión zapador           Riparia riparia

Regular but very scarce migrant.

There were only two sight records of this unaccountably locally-scarce species: one bird on March 7th at Europa Point and two over the Rock on September 20th.

In addition, the ringers captured an extraordinarily late juvenile on November 24th.

 

Crag Martin           Avión roquero           Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Common: migrant & winter.

The overwintering population at the Governor’s Beach caves was in nightly residence as usual. The Harbour Views apartment block roosts first reported in 2022 had declined from 200 on December 4th 2022 to just 20 birds on January 12th 2023. The last birds of the season were three seen over the Rock on March 11th. Single birds were ringed on February 10th and 20th.

 

Five birds over the Nature Reserve on September 28th were the first returners seen. By October 1st there were 15 over Jews’ Gate, after which the roosting population built up rapidly. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 13, between October 28th and November 18th. The Governor’s Beach cave roost was poorly frequented during November–December: the largest reported count was only 1,200 birds.

 

Barn Swallow            Golondrina común           Hirundo rustica

Common migrant. Formerly bred.

The earliest spring migrants reported were four on February 22nd, a late date for a first spring sighting locally. Migrants were frequently reported thereafter, generally in small groups, but no systematic monitoring of migrant hirundines is attempted. Those counted, chiefly from Jews’ Gate observatory, 369 totalled birds, between February 22nd and the end of May, an insignificant number. A more sizable movement occurred on March, when a steady passage was reported. One was ringed on March 20th.

 

A total of 26 birds was reported from Europa Point on seven dates between June 12th and August 8th. Some may have been late northbound migrants but these observations fall within the period when early-brood juveniles are sometimes reported heading south.

 

Southbound migrants were noted between August 26th and October 28th, a total of 550 being counted from the Nature Reserve and the top cable-car station during this period. There were 15 ringed between September 14th and October 26th.

 

Red-rumped Swallow           Golondrina dáurica           Cecropis daurica

Common migrant.

Only a few were reported on spring passage, 28 birds in total on ten dates between February 22nd and May 7th.

 

One was at the airport on October 5th. Two were seen from O’Hara’s Battery on October 28th and there were again two there on November 11th. Single birds were with Crag Martins seen from Jews’ Gate on November 23rd and December 23rd. There were 30 birds ringed, mainly by employing tape-lures, between October 27th and November 6th, except for a late bird caught on November 23rd.

 

House Martin           Avión común           Delichon urbicum

Common migrant. Scarce summer resident.

Very few were reported on passage, just 39 birds in total on 12 dates between January 18th and May 15th. In addition, steady passage was noted on March 8th. Most observations were from Jews’ Gate. Several pairs nested on buildings adjacent to the border but this small population was not monitored.

 

There were only two reports later in the year: a single bird at Europa Point on September 3rd and three over O’Hara’s Battery on November 11th.

 

Long-tailed Tit           Mito común           Aegithalos caudatus

Occasional.

Two were in the Nature Reserve along Engineer Road on January 21st and three were there on January 26th. One was at Tovey Cottage on March 31st and a single bird was in the Botanic Gardens on April 1st.

 

There were no further sightings until August 21st, when three were seen at the northern end of the Nature reserve. Two were along Signal Station road on September 8th, followed by three there on September 20th and four at the same location on September 21st. At least one calling bird was heard from Queen’s Road on November 21st. One that was retrapped at Jews’ Gate on November 17th had been ringed there on November 7th 2022.

 

Wood Warbler           Mosquitero silbador           Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Occasional: migrant.

Five were ringed, on four dates between April 7th and April 26th.

 

Western Bonelli’s Warbler           Mosquitero papialbo            Phylloscopus bonelli

Common migrant.

Sight records totalled just six birds, on four dates between March 23rd and April 28th. Nevertheless, ringers captured 116 birds in spring, between March 16th and April 29th.

 

There were two at the former PSA Plant Nursery in the Nature Reserve on July 9th and single birds were at the same location as well as at O’Hara’s Battery on July 30th. These July records may have involved late migrants but nesting in the Nature Reserve has been suspected in the past.

 

One was at Governor’s Lookout on September 4th. Only three were ringed during the southbound passage period: on August 20th, August 21st and September 20th.

 

Yellow-browed Warbler           Mosquitero Bilistado           Phylloscopus inornatus

Rare migrant. Has wintered.

One was ringed on November 9th. Another was seen along Humphrey's Estate on November 12th

 

 

Pallas’s Leaf-warbler*           Mosquitero de Pallas           Phylloscopus proregulus

Vagrant.

One was ringed on April 27th. Second record (C. Twichen, J. Yeoman). the previous record was a bird observed but not caught, at Jews’ Gate on November 3rd 1996.

 

Willow Warbler           Mosquitero musical           Phylloscopus trochilus

Common migrant.

Sight records totalled 37 birds, on dates between March 22nd and April 28th. Most were seen on Windmill Hill, where there were eight on March 22nd and 11 on April 28th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 311, between March 14th and May 15th.

 

The few autumn sightings totalled eight birds, on seven dates between August 29th and October 24th. There were 61 ringed, between August 20th and October 31st except for a late bird on November 13th.

 

Common Chiffchaff           Mosquitero común           Phylloscopus collybita

Common migrant and common in winter.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 101 widely distributed individuals. Overwintering birds were present until mid-March. The last sight records were on March 12th and the late date of April 28th. Birds ringed during the first winter period and spring totalled 70 up to April 19th, followed by a very late capture on May 9th.

 

Ringers captured early returning birds on September 12th and 13th, followed by a further 378 birds between September 25th and the end of the year. Returning migrants and winterers were widespread from late October onwards.

 

 

Iberian Chiffchaff           Mosquitero ibérico           Phylloscopus ibericus

Common migrant.

Only five were seen in spring, between February 20th and March 24th. However, 29 were ringed between February 28th and April 4th.

 

Post-breeding sight records totalled 16 birds, between August 12th and September 20th. A further 15 were ringed, between August 20th and September 15th, followed by a late bird on October 22nd.

 

Common Reed-warbler           Carricero común           Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Common migrant.

Single birds were in the North Front cemetery and at Vineyards on April 15th. Another was in the cemetery on April 28th. There were 12 ringed in spring, between April 26th and May 13th.

 

A further 32 birds were ringed in autumn, between August 20th and October 11th, followed by two late birds, on October 31st and November 6th.

 

Booted Warbler          Zarcero escita           Iduna caligata

Vagrant.

A juvenile was caught and ringed at Jews’ Gate on October 2nd. First record and only the fourth for the Iberian Peninsula (K. Palmer et al.). The other three were found on Dragonera, Balearic Islands, on September 24th 1998; at Colunga, Asturias, on September 8th 2004 and at Zahara de los Atunes, Cádiz, on September 13th 2012.

 

Western Olivaceous Warbler           Zarcero pálido           Iduna opaca

Occasional: migrant.

Single birds were ringed on April 24th, April 28th and May 12th.

 

Melodious Warbler           Zarcero políglota           Hippolais polyglotta

Common migrant.

Sight records in spring totalled 21 birds, on eight dates between April 16th and May 27th. They included six on Windmill Hill on April 26th and five there on April 28th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 87, between March 25th and May 15th.

 

Nine were seen during the southward passage, on eight dates between July 22nd and September 20th. Four of them were in the North Front cemetery which was also the location for an exceptionally late bird on November 14th. Single birds were ringed on August 29th and September 25th.

 

Grasshopper Warbler           Buscarla pintoja           Locustella naevia

Occasional: migrant.

One was ringed on April 4th.

 

Blackcap           Curruca capirotada           Sylvia atricapilla

Common: resident, migrant and winter.

Birds were present throughout the year in well-vegetated areas of the Nature Reserve and in the Botanic Gardens. The winter bird count on January 21st found 333 birds, 239 of them on the Upper Rock and 84 in gardens. A few reported during both passage period from the North Front cemetery and from Windmill Hill are likely to have been migrants. None were recorded from the East Side, where vegetation is sparse. A count of 115 in the Botanic Gardens on November 6th was noteworthy. Birds ringed totalled 1,943: 910 during the first half of the year and 1,033 during the second half.

 

Garden Warbler           Curruca mosquitera           Sylvia borin

Common migrant.

Very few sight records were made: single birds in the Botanic Gardens on April 21st and on Windmill Hill on April 28th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 90, between April 8th and May 13th.

 

One was at Princess Caroline’s Battery on September 10th. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 86, between August 31st and November 3rd, followed by two exceptionally late captures, on November 16th and November 30th.

 

Orphean Warbler           Curruca mirlona           Sylvia hortensis

Common migrant.

Single birds were seen at Jews’ Gate on April 22nd and on Windmill Hill on October 2nd. Birds ringed in spring totalled 13, between March 29th and May 12th.

 

A further 21 were ringed between August 20th and October 3rd.

 

Sardinian Warbler           Curruca cabecinegra            Sylvia melanocephala

Common resident.

Widespread in all vegetated areas. The winter bird count on January 21st found 203 birds; 121 of them on the Upper Rock and 37 on Windmill Hill. Windmill Hill held the largest concentrations reported and in spring these included 37 on March 12th, 27 on April 9th and again on April 26th, 49 on April 28th and 14 on May 3rd. These fluctuations at the same site raise the possibility that some were migrants passing through.

 

Later in the year there were again some larger counts from Windmill Hill including 17 on August 28th, 21 on September 14th and 31 on October 2nd. Birds ringed totalled 162, 48 during the first half of the year and 114 in the second half.

 

Subalpine Warbler           Curruca carrasqueña           Sylvia cantillans

Common migrant.

Spring sight records totalled eleven birds, between March 9th and April 28th. Reports came from the North Front cemetery, the Botanic Gardens and Windmill Hill, including three at the last site on April 26th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 22: between March 8th and May 1st.

 

There were no autumn sight records but single birds were ringed on September 15th, September 20th and October 2nd.

 

Common Whitethroat           Curruca zarcera           Sylvia communis

Common migrant.

Six were on Windmill Hill on April 28th and there was one there on May 3rd. Birds ringed in spring totalled 48, between March 6th and May 13th: all but six were caught in April.

 

Post-breeding sight records totalled six birds, on five dates between August 28th and October 2nd, chiefly from the North Front cemetery. Nine were ringed between August 28th and October 10th.

 

Dartford Warbler           Curruca rabilarga           Sylvia undata

Regular migrant. Occasional in winter.

There were six records of single birds between January 7th and March 12th, all from the Europa Point area, Windmill Hill and Little Bay. Two were at Europa Point on January 18th. A few overwintering individuals may have been involved.

 

One was at Europa Point on December 17th. One was ringed on October 13th.

 

Firecrest           Reyezuelo listado            Regulus ignicapilla

Regular but scarce: migrant and winter.

Single birds were at Engineer Road on January 25th and at Princess Caroline’s Battery on September 2nd.

 

Wren           Chochín           Troglodytes troglodytes

Common resident.

Present at habitual locations, chiefly in the Nature Reserve. Four were on Windmill Hill on April 28th. Single birds were ringed, on April 7th and September 7th.

 

Common Starling           Estornino pinto           Sturnus vulgaris

Common in some winters.

The only records were of one at Europa Walks on September 16th and two by the airport on December 31st.

 

Spotless Starling           Estornino negro           Sturnus unicolor

Common resident.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 19 birds, 11 of them in the frontier area, five on Windmill Hill, two at the Mediterranean Steps – an unusual location – and one in Commonwealth Park. Some 20–40 birds frequented Windmill Hill up to at least May 3rd. There were again 32 there on August 14th after which no more than 11 were present for the rest of the year. This species attracted very little attention but other records included seven at the Seven Sisters beach alongside the South Mole on October 14th and six there on November 26th, as well as ten on the Europa Point foreshore on December 22nd. These shoreline records may have involved birds foraging for small crabs or other intertidal organisms, as has been previously reported locally (Perez & Bensusan 2018).

 

Song Thrush           Zorzal común           Turdus philomelos

Common: migrant and winter.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 24 birds, 12 of them on the Upper Rock, 11 on Windmill Hill and one in the North Front cemetery. Spring sight records totalled 25 birds on ten dates between March 12th and April 28th. Nearly all observations came from Windmill Hill, where vegetation is relatively sparse, and these included seven on March 22nd and five the following day. Twenty were ringed between January 20th and April 19th.

 

Only eleven were observed in autumn, the earliest being in the Botanic Gardens on October 16th. Other sightings up to the end of the year were chiefly in the Nature Reserve. A further 20 were ringed between October 13th and November 20th.

 

Mistle Thrush           Zorzal charlo           Turdus viscivorus

Occasional.

One was reported from the Old Naval Hospital on September 8th.

 

Blackbird           Mirlo común            Turdus merula

Common resident.

Widespread throughout as usual. The winter bird count on January 21st found 121 birds. Windmill Hill/Jacob’s ladder held some concentrations in spring that may have involved migrants: they included 21 on March 12th, 19 on April 4th, 23 on April 26th and 31 on April 28th. A nest with eggs was found in a Ficus tree at the airport on November 30th. Several recently fledged juveniles were on Westview Promenade on March 15th. In total, 65 were ringed during the year.

 

Spotted Flycatcher           Papamoscas gris           Muscicapa striata

Common migrant. Some breed.

An early migrant was at Montagu Gardens on April 16th. The next sight record was from Commonwealth Park on May 11th followed by two in the Botanic Gardens on June 6th. Pairs went on to nest successfully at both these latter sites, juveniles being seen in the Botanic Gardens on July 18th and at Commonwealth Park on July 28th. Birds were also reported during the breeding season from Trafalgar cemetery and from the gardens of The Mount and The Convent, all known breeding sites where nesting was likely. Single birds were also noted at Couvreport Battery on June 17th and on Signal Hill on July 9th. Only ten were ringed in spring, between April 27th and May 13th.

 

Four seen in the North Front cemetery on August 10th, two on Windmill Hill on August 15th, one at Jews’ Gate on August 20th and two in the north of the nature Reserve on August 21st may have been migrants. There were seven further records, totalling eight birds, from the North Front cemetery between August 18th and September 28th. Late migrants were reported from Green Lane on October 15th, and again from the North Front cemetery on October 18th and October 21st (two birds). Nine were ringed between September 7th and October 9th.

 

Robin           Petirrojo           Erithacus rubecula

Common: migrant and winter. Has bred.

Overwintering birds were present in their usual small numbers in vegetated areas. The winter bird count on January 21st found 115 birds. Ringing during the first half of the year caught 61 birds, nearly all before mid-March but several later captures included one April 28th.

 

A breeding season presence was reported from Commonwealth Park, the Botanic Gardens, the Trafalgar cemetery and Withams cemetery but all sightings were of single birds and once again no indication of nesting was observed.

 

Four at Green Lane on October 15th were clearly returning migrants and the wintering population was again present until the end of the year. Birds ringed during this period totalled 279, nearly all from October 3rd onwards but preceded by earlier captures of two adult birds: on August 29th and September 25th.

 

Bluethroat           Pechiazul           Luscinia svecica

Occasional migrant.

A juvenile male was ringed on September 15th.

 

Nightingale           Ruiseñor común           Luscinia megarhynchos

Common migrant. Has bred.

Reported spring migrants totalled 15 birds, on eight dates between March 22nd and April 28th. Most records came from Windmill Hill. In addition, one was heard from Engineer Road on June 28th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 44, between March 24th and May 1st.

 

There were 11 birds in total seen on eight dates between August 28th and October 2nd, chiefly within the Nature Reserve. A late individual was in the North Front cemetery on October 24th. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 28, between August 21st and October 10th.

 

Pied Flycatcher           Papamoscas cerrojillo           Ficedula hypoleuca

Common migrant.

Only three were observed in spring: in the Botanic Gardens on April 16th, in the harbour area on April 20th and at Jews’ Gate on April 22nd. Birds ringed in spring totalled 104, between March 25th and May 13th.

 

Sight records in autumn were much more frequent, totalling 28 birds on 17 dates between August 28th and October 10th. Eleven of these sightings were from the North Front cemetery, where some individuals may have lingered, as well as from the Nature Reserve. They included one in Commonwealth Park on October 2nd. Very late individuals were seen in the North Front cemetery on November 7th and in the Nature Reserve on November 16th. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 41, between August 28th and October 17th.

 

Black Redstart           Colirrojo tizón           Phoenicurus ochruros

Common: migrant and winter.

Wintering birds were widespread as usual. The winter bird count on January 21st found 144 birds. A count of 15 on Windmill Hill on March 12th may have included migrants. The last observation in spring was of two birds in the North Front cemetery on April 6th. Birds ringed during the first half of the year totalled 36, the last of these on March 25th.

 

One at the top cable-car station on October 9th was the first autumn observation, after which passage birds and the wintering population became widespread. Sight records included ten along the East Side on November 26th and 17 on Windmill Hill on December 18th. There were 159 ringed in autumn and during the second winter period, the earliest of these on October 9th.

 

Common Redstart           Colirrojo real           Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Common migrant.

Spring observations totalled 24 birds, on ten dates between March 17th and April 28th. Most records came from Windmill Hill, where there were four on March 22nd and four again on April 28th, and from the North Front cemetery, where there were five on April 18th. These apart, there were single birds in Commonwealth Park on March 29th and at Little Bay on March 30th. Birds ringed in spring totalled 36, between March 26th and May 12th.

 

Returning migrants seen totalled 21 birds, on dates between August 20th and October 5th, all of them either in the North Front cemetery or in the Nature Reserve. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 48, between September 7th and October 21st.

 

Blue Rock-thrush           Roquero solitario           Monticola solitarius

Resident.

The winter bird count on January 21st found ten individuals distributed between the Upper Rock, the East Side slopes, the North Front cemetery, Camp Bay and Windmill Hill. These same locations, as well as Europa Point and foreshore, held birds during the year, particularly Windmill Hill, where there were nine on April 9th, seven on April 26th and eight on October 2nd. Sightings elsewhere were most often of single birds. One at the Western Runway on January 15th and another at Seven Sisters beach on November 26th were at unexpected locations. Three were ringed.

 

Whinchat           Tarabilla norteña            Saxicola rubetra

Scarce migrant.

Spring sightings totalled seven birds, on four dates between April 6th and April 28th. Three of these were seen in the North Front cemetery and three on Windmill Hill. One was ringed on April 27th.

 

Returning migrants totalled nine birds, on six dates between September 10th and October 4th. All but one were in the North Front cemetery.

 

Stonechat           Tarabilla común           Saxicola torquatus

Common: migrant and winter.

The winter bird count on January 21st found nine birds: five in the Europa Point area, three on Windmill Hill and one on the East Side. One was at Europa Point on January 13th, February 12th and February 19th. The only other spring observation reported was of 14 on Windmill Hill on March 12th. Four were ringed between February 19th and March 4th.

 

The first returning birds observed were 19 on Windmill Hill on October 2nd. Few sight records were made thereafter, nearly all of them from Windmill Hill, the North Front cemetery and Europa Point. Most sightings were of 1–3 individuals although there were six on Windmill Hill on October 26th. Two were ringed on December 2nd.

 

Northern Wheatear           Collalba gris           Oenanthe oenanthe

Common migrant.

Spring passage was sparse. There were 15 birds observed, on nine dates between March 8th and April 26th. All sightings came from the North Front cemetery, Europa Point and Windmill Hill. The largest counts were of only three birds: on March 12th on Windmill Hill and April 22nd at Europa Point.

 

Records were even scarcer in autumn, when nine birds were seen at similar open locations on seven dates between September 7th and October 21st. A late bird was on the Europa Point foreshore on November 6th.

 

Black-eared Wheatear           Collalba rubia           Oenanthe hispanica

Scarce migrant.

There were four records, all in spring. On March 22nd there were three on Windmill Hill, followed by one there on March 23rd and four at the same site on April 9th. One was in the North Front cemetery on April 9th.

 

House Sparrow           Gorrión común            Passer domesticus

Common resident.

Widespread throughout the year but under-recorded. The winter bird count on January 21st found 414 birds. Some counts were made in the course of other observations at well-visited sites. These included 53 in the North Front cemetery on February 16th and 31 on Windmill Hill on April 26th. Birds ringed totalled 24.

 

Sudan Golden Sparrow           Gorrión dorado          Passer luteus

Vagrant.

A male was seen and photographed in the North Front cemetery on July 10th. It remained there until at least July 16th. Second record (C. Fortuna, P. Rocca, T. Finlayson). Its arrival coincided with a southerly airflow bringing Saharan dust to the region.

 

The first occurrence was a male that was in the Botanic Gardens from November 25th to December 1st 2003 (GBR 3: 38). The species is retained in Category D, as it is in mainland Spain, but it was elevated to Category A in the Canary Islands in 2023 (CR-SEO 2024), following several recent records there and northward range expansion in southern Morocco.

 

Yellow Wagtail           Lavandera boyera           Motacilla flava

Regular but scarce migrant.

The only spring migrants observed numbered six birds in total, on five dates between March 22nd and May 7th. Most were reported from Windmill Hill and Europa Point.

 

Autumn migrants were more frequent but still in small numbers. They totalled 50 birds, on 14 dates between August 26th and October 1st. Others were heard passing over Jews’ Gate on September 7th, 8th and 14th. Sightings included 12 over the top cable-car station on September 12th and 12 at Europa Walks on September 14th.

 

Grey Wagtail           Lavandera cascadeña           Motacilla cinerea

Regular but scarce: migrant and winter. Has bred.

There were only four records, all late in the year and all from Rosia Bay and the southern dockyard area. Two were there on October 21st and single birds were noted on November 25th, December 2nd and December 25th.

 

White Wagtail           Lavandera blanca           Motacilla alba

Regular but scarce migrant. Regular winter. Has bred.

Few overwintering birds were reported early in the year. The winter bird count on January 21st found eight birds, four of them in the Frontier area, two on Windmill Hill and single birds at Europa Point and in the North Front cemetery. Single birds were at Little Bay on March 30th and at the North Front cemetery on February 16th and March 5th. There were also single birds at the air terminal on May 17th and at Europa Point on June 3rd.

 

Just 17 in total were observed later in the year, on eight dates between October 11th and December 28th. Most sightings were of single birds from coastal sites but there were four at Europa Point on October 23rd.

 

A Pied Wagtail M. a. yarrellii was at Western Beach on five dates between November 22nd and December 22nd and was presumably wintering in the area.

 

Tawny Pipit           Bisbita campestre           Anthus campestris

Scarce migrant.

Single birds were reported from Windmill Hill on May 3rd and from the top cable-car station on September 5th.

 

Meadow Pipit           Bisbita pratense           Anthus pratensis

Common: migrant and winter.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 20 on Windmill Hill and five at Europa Point. Overwintering birds were present on Windmill Hill in variable numbers until at least March 23rd: the largest site-count was 24 on March 12th. Elsewhere six were on the Western Runway on January 15th.

 

One was ringed on October 21st. Otherwise the earliest autumn observation was of a single bird at Europa Point on October 23rd. Numbers had built up on Windmill Hill to 19 by December 18th.

 

Tree Pipit           Bisbita arbóreo           Anthus trivialis

Scarce migrant.

Single birds were reported from Windmill Hill on March 22nd and Jews’ Gate on April 11th. Two were over the Nature Reserve on April 29th. Single birds were ringed on April 28th and September 15th.

 

Chaffinch           Pinzón vulgar           Fringilla coelebs

Common: migrant and winter.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 27 birds, 22 of them on the Upper Rock: there were also two in the frontier area, two in the Botanic Gardens and one near Windmill Hill. Five were in Witham’s cemetery on January 22nd. Only four more were observed in spring, the latest a singing male at Princess Caroline’s Battery on May 6th and 14th. Eight were ringed between February 5th and May 2nd.

 

Four were in the northern Nature Reserve on August 27th. Southward passage proper was evident on November 3rd, when a succession of flocks passed. Small numbers were observed thereafter, chiefly in the Nature Reserve but also in the Botanic Gardens. The largest counts were of 11 birds in the Nature Reserve on both November 25th and December 25th. Birds ringed in autumn totalled 21, the earliest on October 26th.

 

Brambling           Pinzón real           Fringilla montifringilla

Occasional: migrant.

One was on Windmill Hill on March 12th. A juvenile was ringed on December 2nd.

 

 

Bullfinch           Camachuelo común           Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Occasional: migrant.

Two females were ringed: an adult on April 12th and a juvenile on November 10th.

 

Greenfinch           Verderón común           Chloris chloris

Common: migrant and winter. Some resident.

The winter bird count on January 21st found 52 birds, 31 of them on the Upper Rock and 14 in the Botanic Gardens and other nearby gardens: there were also seven in the Camp Bay area. Few observations were submitted during the first half of the year but up to nine were present on Windmill Hill between March 12th and April 28th. One was at Europa Point on June 17th. Birds ringed during the first half of the year totalled 66.

 

Observations later in the year involved just 33 birds, on 14 dates between August 5th and December 26th. Records were from the Nature Reserve, Windmill Hill and the Botanic Gardens. A further 59 birds were ringed during the second half of the year.

 

Linnet           Pardillo común           Linaria cannabina

Common migrant.

Linnets have been locally scarce in recent years and 2023 was no exception. Just ten were reported in spring, nearly all from Windmill Hill, on five dates between March 20th and April 2nd.

 

Eight at Europa Point on October 23rd were followed by two there on October 24th, one at the same site on November 11th and 18 seen from O’Hara’s Battery on November 11th. Two juveniles were ringed on October 31st.

 

Goldfinch           Jilguero común           Carduelis carduelis

Common: migrant and winter. Has bred.

The winter bird count on January 21st found just eight birds, six of them on Windmill Hill and two on the Upper Rock. There were seven subsequent observations from Windmill Hill, where the largest counts were of 11 on March 12th and 23 on April 10th. There were also 18 seen from Jews’ Gate on April 10th. One was ringed on April 1st.

 

Three were at Europa Point on July 15th, with one there on July 22nd. One was on Windmill Hill on August 8th. Subsequent records were on dates from October 21st until the end of the year. They totalled some 190 individuals, seen mainly in the North Front cemetery, Windmill Hill and Europa Point. A succession of small flocks passed south over the Nature Reserve on November 5th. There were 27 ringed in autumn, between November 6th and December 3rd.

 

Serin           Serín verdecillo           Serinus serinus

Common: migrant and winter. Has bred.

One was in the frontier area on January 12th. The largest count of the entire year was of five birds, on Windmill Hill on April 28th. Most records came from Europa Point where up to three birds were observed at intervals throughout the year, including the summer months, with four reported on July 8th. The possibility of a nesting pair in the gardens in the Europa Area was suggested. Birds ringed during the first half of the year totalled 15, between February 12th and May 1st.

 

No sight records were submitted later in the year but 84 were ringed between October 21st and December 7th.

 

Siskin           Jilguero lúgano           Spinus spinus

Regular in variable numbers: migrant & winter.

One was in the Botanic Gardens on January 27th.

 

There was a notable presence during the second half of the year from October 24th onwards. Sight records included 26 seen from Windmill Hill on October 26th and 30 from Europa Point the same day. Observations elsewhere included small flocks seen from the Botanic Gardens on November 3rd and over the Nature Reserve on November 5th. There were 12 at Westview Promenade on November 13th, three at Little Bay on November 25th and four in the Nature Reserve on December 25th. Birds ringed totalled a noteworthy 174, between October 26th and December 30th.

 

Corn Bunting           Escribano triguero           Emberiza calandra

Occasional: migrant and winter.

Three were on Windmill Hill on March 12th and a single bird was seen there on five dates between March 22nd and May 3rd.

 

Ortolan Bunting           Escribano hortelano           Emberiza hortulana                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Occasional: migrant. 

One was ringed on April 24th.

 

House Bunting           Escribano sahariano           Emberiza sahari                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vagrant.  

A female arrived from seawards at Europa Point on March 13th. It was still present in the area on March 14th and 24th. Fifth record (R. Perez, P. Rocca, R. Azopardi).

 

 

References

 

CR-SEO. 2024. Observaciones de aves raras en España (Septiembre 2022 – Agosto 2023). Ardeola 71(1): 192.

 

De Juana, E. & Garcia, E. 2015. The Birds of the Iberian Peninsula. Helm, London.

 

Perez, C. & Bensusan, K. 2018. Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor feeding on crabs in Gibraltar. Gibraltar Bird Report 18: 41–43.

 

 

CORRECTION

2022 Bird Report. Page 39. The text immediately beneath the Long-tailed Tit photograph refers to the Common Chiffchaff above.

 

 

CONTRIBUTORS TO BIRDS IN GIBRALTAR 2023

 

The Gibraltar Bird Report summarises records submitted by many people, listed below, whose contributions are gratefully acknowledged. Our apologies to anyone who may have been inadvertently omitted.

 

M. Albrycht, M. Ashman, R. Azopardi, K. Bensusan, S. Brunton, J. Bujega, A.J. Collins-Smith, S. Copsey, J. Cortes, M. Cutts, R. Deeney, R. Dickey, C. Durante, R. Espada, N. Ferrary, P. Ferrary, M. Figueras, C. Finlayson, T. Finlayson, A. Fortuna, C. Fortuna, E. Garcia, R. Geary, T. Hammond, L. Hawkins, Y. Henwood, N.B. Jessen, C. Lambsdell, W. McLaren, J. Mesilio, S. Monagahan, L. Moore, S. Morgan, A.R. Muñoz, S. Olivera, K. Palmer,  D. Parody, J. Perera, C. Perez, R. Perez, L. Phillips, A. Planet, C. Twitchen,  N. Ramos, H. Risso, R. Risso, K. Rivers, V. Robba, P. Rocca, C. Rugeroni,  D. Sanchez, J. Sanchez, A. Sheriff, M. Stoner, S. Villa, S. Warr, J. Yeoman, A. Yome and the Environmental Protection & Research Unit (EPRU).

 

APPENDIX 1 MINIMUM DAILY TOTALS OF SOARING RAPTORS SPRING 2023
                       
See Systematic List for records of falcons and species represented by fewer than ten individuals
                       
Date Osprey Egyptian Vulture Honey Buzzard Griffon Vulture Short-toed Eagle Booted Eagle Sparrowhawk Marsh Harrier Montagu's Harrier Black Kite Day Totals
20-Feb                   34 34
22-Feb                   25 25
23-Feb         1     1   1 3
25-Feb   1               45 46
26-Feb   1     7   1     56 65
27-Feb   45     15   3 4   6000 6067
28-Feb         8         85 93
01-Mar         15         57 72
02-Mar               1     1
06-Mar                   184 184
07-Mar 1             1   1000 1002
08-Mar         600 3 14 3   180 800
09-Mar         80 2 12 3   40 137
10-Mar         38 1 4   1 875 919
11-Mar 1 3     105 17 22 2   1250 1400
12-Mar           1 1 1   12 15
13-Mar 1 16     59 10 17 35 3 8850 8991
14-Mar 3 1     54 12 9 22 1 6250 6352
17-Mar   1     116 4 13 5   1885 2024
18-Mar         2 9 13 2   424 450
24-Mar 5       25 113 16 13 1 1145 1318
25-Mar 1           1       2
27-Mar           2         2
29-Mar                   10 10
30-Mar 2       6 49 29 6 2 335 429
31-Mar   2   2 29 541 46 2 2 1123 1747
01-Apr 1       17 380 18 2 1 203 622
02-Apr 5       1 74 18 7   67 172
09-Apr             1       1
10-Apr 21 1     17 172 39 13 5 751 1019
11-Apr 2 1   1 53 335 34 10 1 662 1099
12-Apr 2 2   31 37 93 31 6 6 1210 1418
13-Apr       4 31 78 18 1   974 1106
14-Apr 1       27 76 15   2 576 697
15-Apr         2   2 2   25 31
16-Apr           1         1
17-Apr           1         1
18-Apr               1     1
19-Apr                   48 48
20-Apr           16 10     240 266
21-Apr 2   4   2 62 17 1   432 520
22-Apr   1 5     14 2     90 112
23-Apr             1     7 8
24-Apr         1           1
29-Apr 3 18 253   64 131 14 11 2 2350 2846
30-Apr   2 134 7 29 15 1     378 566
04-May     780   2 3 2     286 1073
06-May   2 138 1 10 30         181
07-May     1069 4 9 47 2     45 1176
09-May 1 1 876   4 35 5     78 1000
13-May     7             25 32
14-May 1   408     1       62 472
15-May   3 532 10 18 66   1   229 859
19-May   1                 1
24-May         1           1
27-May     9     3       1 13
28-May     5     3       5 13
29-May     1 1 1 5       28 36
01-Jun           1         1
05-Jun           1         1
06-Jun           1         1
10-Jun       15             15
11-Jun       1 2 4       12 19
12-Jun     3     3       3 9
19-Jun   1 1   1 9       41 53
20-Jun       1             1
21-Jun       1   6         7
TOTALS 53 103 4225 79 1489 2430 431 156 27 38694 47687
  Osprey Egyptian Vulture Honey Buzzard Griffon Vulture Short-toed Eagle Booted Eagle Sparrowhawk Marsh Harrier Montagu's Harrier Black Kite Day Totals

 

APPENDIX 2 MINIMUM DAILY TOTALS OF SOARING RAPTORS AUTUMN 2023
                       
See Systematic List for records of falcons and species represented by fewer than ten individuals
                       
Date Osprey Egyptian Vulture Honey Buzzard Griffon Vulture Short-toed Eagle Booted Eagle Sparrowhawk Marsh Harrier Montagu's Harrier Black Kite Day Totals
12-Jul                   2 2
15-Jul                   2 2
19-Jul                   220 220
20-Jul                   8 8
21-Jul         1         3000 3001
22-Jul                   290 290
24-Jul           1     1 10 12
25-Jul                   2000 2000
26-Jul                   3000 3000
28-Jul           1       2000 2001
30-Jul           1       5000 5001
31-Jul                   4000 4000
01-Aug                   5000 5000
02-Aug                   5000 5000
03-Aug                 1 4500 4501
04-Aug                   1500 1500
06-Aug           1         1
08-Aug                   15 15
11-Aug                   602 602
12-Aug           1         1
13-Aug           1         1
15-Aug         4 6       12 22
16-Aug                   300 300
17-Aug 1         1       20 22
18-Aug     5             200 205
19-Aug           1         1
20-Aug                   1 1
21-Aug           1         1
22-Aug           20       60 80
23-Aug           5         5
24-Aug           20         20
26-Aug     4     2       1 7
27-Aug   3 667 1 1   5 1   1458 2136
29-Aug                 1   1
03-Sep           1         1
04-Sep     5         1 1   7
05-Sep   1 665     3       8 677
07-Sep           1       6 7
08-Sep           19         19
09-Sep         1 10 5   1   17
11-Sep 2   2925   1 11 13 2 2 90 3046
12-Sep 1 2 876     6 15 5 6 42 953
14-Sep     4     4 2 1 1   12
15-Sep   1 7     300 3 3   4 318
16-Sep             4       4
17-Sep             3       3
18-Sep     11     6 11     10 38
19-Sep             1       1
20-Sep 4   242   3 17 10 50 2 7 335
21-Sep 1 1 197     8 71 8 1 21 308
22-Sep 2 1 150   3 88 70 3   2 319
25-Sep 3   33   2 600   4   41 683
26-Sep     5     300 8 3   3 319
27-Sep           250 5     2 257
28-Sep         4 300 5       309
29-Sep         15 350 9       374
30-Sep           100         100
01-Oct   1     12 300 10       323
02-Oct         12 80 2       94
03-Oct         4 20 2       26
04-Oct           20 5       25
05-Oct           60 7       67
06-Oct           10         10
07-Oct 1       18 200 3       222
08-Oct         1 48 1       50
10-Oct           25         25
13-Oct         4 15         19
14-Oct               2     2
15-Oct   1                 1
23-Oct       47       1     48
24-Oct 1         2         3
25-Oct 1                    
28-Oct             1       1
31-Oct             1       1
01-Nov           2         2
03-Nov             1       1
04-Nov             5       5
05-Nov         1   1       2
06-Nov             1       1
10-Nov       30     3       33
11-Nov       3             3
12-Nov             1       1
16-Nov             1       1
TOTALS 17 11 5796 81 87 3218 285 84 17 38437 48032
Date Osprey Egyptian Vulture Honey Buzzard Griffon Vulture Short-toed Eagle Booted Eagle Sparrowhawk Marsh Harrier Montagu's Harrier Black Kite Day Totals

 

 

 

RINGING REPORT 2023

 

Charles Perez

 

Gibraltar Ringing Group, GONHS, P.O. Box 843, Gibraltar

 

The Gibraltar Ringing Group, working under the auspices of the British Trust for Ornithology, is based at the Strait of Gibraltar Bird Observatory at Jews’ Gate, on the Upper Rock. Ringing commenced on January 18th and continued mainly on a daily basis until May 18th. It resumed on August 19th, continuing until December 7th.

 

There were 98 ringing days in the first half of the year, 55 more than in 2022, and 80 ringing days in the second half, nine fewer than in 2022. Ringing took place from sunrise until early afternoon, occasionally continuing throughout the day when many migrants were present and weather conditions were appropriate.

 

In all, 5,740 birds were processed; 3,484 fewer than the record year of 2022. These comprised 5,168 new birds and 567 retraps, including 1,943 new Blackcaps: 3,306 fewer than the previous year. This was mainly due to a spate of persistent westerlies throughout most of October and early November that did not favour falls, not only of Blackcaps, but also of Robins and Black Redstarts. The spring total was 2,252 new birds, 1,437 more than in 2022, but the post-breeding period recorded only 2,916 new birds ringed, 5,341 fewer than the previous record year. There were eleven controls of foreign-ringed birds: single Blackcaps from Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland, two each from France and the United Kingdom, a Robin from Italy, a Pied Flycatcher from France and a Spanish Serin, and three recoveries with two Blackcaps from France and the United Kingdom, and a Crag Martin from Spain.

 

 

The start of the ringing campaign in late January produced 97 birds over seven ringing days. These were mainly resident and wintering birds, although Blackcaps (59 birds) were already on the move north, some giving substantial fat scores. Also trapped were two Common Chiffchaffs, five retrapped and two new Sardinian Warblers, two Song Thrushes, five Black Redstarts and eight Greenfinches.

 

February was dominated by easterlies until the 21st, providing ideal conditions for ringing with 664 birds processed. There were obvious signs of birds heading north, these mainly Blackcaps, 456 of which were ringed, including 47 retraps. Other species consisted of two Crag Martins, 18 Common Chiffchaffs, 26 Black Redstarts, six Song Thrushes, 59 Robins (including 26 retraps), and three Stonechats. Resident birds were represented by eight retrapped Blue Tits, 35 Sardinian Warblers, 18 of which were retraps, and eight Blackbirds. Finch passage was evident with two Chaffinches, 26 Greenfinches and two Serins ringed. The first trans-Saharan migrants handled were single Hoopoes on the 13th and the 20th, and three Iberian Chiffchaffs ringed on the 28th.

 

 

Just 624 birds were processed in 21 days in March, fewer than in some seasons, due to inclement weather and only nine days of easterlies. Blackcaps again dominated the catch with 261 new birds and 59 retraps as the last wintering birds headed north. The last Black Redstarts, five birds, left early in the month with a late bird on the 25th. Common Chiffchaffs were spread throughout the month and 43 new birds were ringed, but Robins (29 new birds and 13 retraps) mainly left in the first week; only single birds remaining at the end of the month. Diurnal finch passage was observed from the Observatory, and a few were trapped early in March: three Chaffinches, ten Serins and 17 Greenfinches. Resident birds consisted of ten new and 16 retrap Sardinian Warblers, six Blackbirds and two Blue Tits, together with some resident Blackcaps of the subspecies heineken.

 

Trans-Saharan migrants were evident from mid-month but Iberian Chiffchaffs were numerous during the first week, tailing off to single-figure catches at the end of the month, with 25 birds in total. They were closely followed by the first Common Whitethroat on the 6th, 17 Subalpine Warblers from the 8th onwards and single Woodchat Shrikes on the 10th and 26th. The first Willow Warbler on the 14th was followed by another 25 March birds, including 22 on the 29th. A Bonelli’s Warbler on the 16th, Nightingale on the 24th, Pied Flycatcher on the 25th and Common Redstart on the 26th were the first arrivals of these species. Five Hoopoes were ringed, the first on the 10th followed by three on the 21st and another on the 26th. A Melodious Warbler on the 25th and Orphean Warbler on the 29th were early migrants. A Barn Swallow on the 20th and four Sparrowhawks from the 14th, including two on the 27th, added variety to the month.

 

Only 23 ringing days were possible during April, when 1,002 birds were processed. Easterlies accounted for 16 days spread out during the month except for a spate of nine days from the 1st. A further 176 Blackcaps were ringed, 25 of them retraps, most of them trapped in the first half of the month. Late wintering birds comprised four Song Thrushes and five Robins. Resident birds were now initiating nesting and only a few were trapped: six retrap Blue Tits, 16 new and 32 retrap Sardinian Warblers, 14 Blackbirds and single Wrens on the 7th and 27th. Eight House Sparrows were trapped together at a gathering site in the Lathbury area and four more single birds were caught at Jews’ Gate late in the month, when it is usual for this species to forage in the Nature Reserve for insects for their chicks.

 

Trans-Saharan migrants predominated during April, scarcer species comprising single individuals of Grasshopper Warbler on the 4th, Turtle Dove on the 14th, Ortolan Bunting on the 24th, Western Olivaceous Warblers on the 24th and the 28th, Common Reed Warbler on the 26th, Spotted Flycatcher and Whinchat on the 27th and Tree Pipit on the 28th. Phylloscopus Warblers included an Iberian Chiffchaff trapped on the 4th, most having returned to their breeding sites by that date. Common Chiffchaffs numbered only six birds, most having departed earlier in the month. Willow Warblers dominated the catch, with 208 spread out throughout the month. A Wood Warbler was trapped on the 7th with four more at the end of the month. Sylvia Warblers were well represented. They included a further 42 Common Whitethroats and ten Orphean Warblers (including two each on the 4th, 27th and 28th), but only four Subalpine Warblers: single birds on the 10th and 28th and two on the 20th. Melodious Warblers were frequent from mid-month, with 56 birds, 17 of which were ringed on the 28th. The 39 Nightingales ringed included ten on the 18th, but only 26 Common Redstarts were ringed, including seven on the 18th. The 18th was also particularly good for Pied Flycatchers with 31 birds ringed, giving 84 for the month. Finch passage, occurring mainly during March, was negligible and only two Chaffinches, three Serins and a single Goldfinch were ringed. Greenfinches numbered 11 new birds and four retraps, and may have comprised resident birds. Nine Woodchat Shrikes were ringed: three on the 10th and two each on the 19th and 28th. Among much rarer birds were a female Bullfinch on the 12th (26th record) and a Pallas’s Warbler (first ringing record and second Gibraltar record: the first, a sight record, was on 3rd November 1996). Nocturnal birds (nightjars and Scops Owls) were notably absent during April.

 

Ringing extended into May until the 18th, when the session was closed. During this time 201 birds were processed, comprising 182 new birds and 19 retraps, the latter resident birds. There were nine days of easterlies with some rain and stormy weather on the 17th and 18th, but mainly clear skies and westerlies on the remaining days. Resident birds numbered 25: two Blue Tits, three Sardinian Warblers, ten Blackcaps, three Blackbirds and seven House Sparrows. Other captures included a Serin on the 1st, a Chaffinch on the second and a late Common Chiffchaff on the 9th. A trickle of trans-Saharan migrants continued, captures including individuals of Subalpine Warbler and Nightingale on the 1st, Turtle Dove on the 2nd, Red-necked Nightjar on the 3rd, and Western Olivaceous Warbler and Common Redstart on the 12th. Four species predominated during the period: 40 Willow Warblers, 31 Melodious Warblers, 26 Garden Warblers and 21 Pied Flycatchers. Common Reed Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers numbered nine birds each, with four Common Whitethroats and single Orphean Warblers on the 3rd and 12th completing the May count.

 

The ringing campaign resumed on August 19th with a session from dawn until mid-morning, when the very hot conditions resulted in little bird activity and became unbearable for the ringer. Only ten ringing days were attempted until the end of the month. It was soon evident that some trans-Saharan migrants had begun to migrate south. These, together with the offspring of resident species, made up most of the catch. Eight Blackbirds (five juveniles and an adult), four juvenile Blue Tits, a juvenile Great Tit, two adult Blackcaps (one of them a retrap), 19 Sardinian Warblers (only four of which were juveniles), two adult House Sparrows and four Greenfinches gave an impression of a very poor breeding season. A possible cause may have been a population explosion of Black Rats Rattus rattus alexandrinus in the Nature Reserve.

 

August trans-Saharan migrants comprised four Orphean Warblers ringed on the 20th, individual Bonelli’s Warblers on the 20th and 21st, an Iberian Chiffchaff on the 20th with two on the 22nd and another on the 28th, individual Willow Warblers on the 20th, 29th and 30th, six Common Reed Warblers from the 20th until the 31st, Nightingales on the 21st and 28th, individual Pied Flycatchers on the 28th and 29th, a Common Whitethroat on the 28th, a Melodious Warbler on the 29th and a Garden Warbler and a Hoopoe on the 31st.

 

Only 22 ringing days were possible in September because of persistent westerlies. Easterlies blew on 16 days, intermittently during the month, but continuously for five days from the 6th and another seven days from the 23rd. During this period 470 birds were processed, a very low number compared to previous years. They comprised 438 new birds and 42 retraps. Resident species continued to be encountered in low numbers: 24 Blue Tits, two Great Tits, 52 Blackcaps (the majority migrants at the end of the month), 60 Sardinian Warblers (of which 12 were retraps and only ten were adult birds), 23 new Blackbirds (all juveniles), three House Sparrows and six Greenfinches.

 

Trans-Saharan migrants were predominant in the September catch which comprised ten Iberian Chiffchaffs, 37 Willow Warblers, 28 Common Reed Warblers (a good number considering they are trapped in Mediterranean scrub), 57 Garden Warblers (only seven adults), 15 Orphean Warblers, 29 Common Redstarts, 28 Pied Flycatchers and eight Spotted Flycatchers. Six Common Chiffchaffs were also ringed. Playback drew in eight Bee-eaters on the 15th and nine Barn Swallows, with four on the 14th and five on the 15th. Nocturnal birds comprised individual Red-necked Nightjars on the 16th and 20th, single European Nightjars on the 15th and 20th and six Scops Owls between the 12th and the 22nd, with two on the 19th. A juvenile Little Owl, a scarce resident last ringed in 2018, was ringed on the 19th. Among scarcer migrants were a female Golden Oriole on the 10th, a Tree Pipit on the 15th, single Subalpine Warblers on the 15th and 20th, a Blue Rock Thrush and a Bluethroat of the red-spotted subspecies svecica on the 19th, a Bonelli’s Warbler on the 20th and a Melodious Warbler and a Robin on the 25th.

 

A period of easterlies during October until the 12th proved fruitful, but westerlies dominated the rest of the month, with gale force winds on the 19th and 22nd. The 24 ringing days covered produced 1,142 birds processed: 1,068 new birds and 74 retraps. Blackcaps predominated, with 656 birds ringed and 27 retraps. Days of notable Blackcap captures were the 3rd with 48 birds, followed by 31 birds the next day, 35 on the 14th, 39 on the 21st and 63 on the 31st. Resident birds ringed comprised nine Blue Tits, single Great Tits on the 2nd and 5th, 19 Blackbirds including seven new birds, and 46 Sardinian Warblers of which 13 were retraps.

 

Wintering birds began to arrive during the first week of October. The first Black Redstarts, three birds, were ringed on the 9th but only nine more were caught during the month. Robins were also scarce with some arrivals during the first week and small numbers throughout the month giving 71 new birds ringed. Only seven Song Thrushes were ringed, the first on the 13th. In contrast, Common Chiffchaff numbers were normal and good numbers began to arrive from the 21st, with 62 birds ringed, 25 of them on the 31st. Diurnal finch passage was sparse and resulted in only three Chaffinches ringed; one on the 26th and two on the 28th. There were also 33 Greenfinches ringed (eight on the 28th and seven on the 31st), only 11 Serins and eight Siskins from the 21st onwards, and two Linnets on the 31st.

 

Trans-Saharan migrants were mainly trapped early in the month but a spell of unusually warm temperatures in Iberia during the month may have held many migrants back, resulting in some unusually late birds. There were 15 Willow Warblers until the 7th, with late birds on the 17th, 20th, 21st (two birds) and 31st. Twenty Garden Warblers were ringed up to the 13th, with late birds on the 17th, 21st (four) 28th and 29th. Single Common Reed Warblers were ringed on the 5th, 11th and (a very late bird) on the 31st.Single Orphean Warblers were ringed on the 1st and 3rd, and Common Whitethroats on the 3rd, 4th and 10th. Nine Nightingales were trapped, the last on the 10th. There were 19 Common Redstarts up to the 13th when four were ringed, followed by late birds on the 17th and 21st. The last of 12 Pied Flycatchers was on the 17th.

 

Scarcer October captures included a Subalpine Warbler on the 2nd, a Spotted Flycatcher on the 9th, a Dartford Warbler on the 13th, a Meadow Pipit on the 21st and a very late Iberian Chiffchaff on the 22nd. Nocturnal birds comprised nine Red-necked Nightjars: including five birds on the 8th, and the last on the 13th; 14 European Nightjars including four on the 10th and a late bird on the 21st, and nine Scops Owls, including two on the 8th and three on the 11th with the last on the 14th. Playback lures for hirundines resulted in captures of individual Crag Martins on the 28th, 29th and 31st; 25 Red-rumped Swallows including three on the 27th, 16 birds on the 28th and six on the 30th, and three Barn Swallows: one on the 12th and two on the 28th.

 

The outstanding October event was the capture and ringing of a Booted Warbler, the first Gibraltar record and the fourth for the Iberian Peninsula (See Pp x-x).

 

There were 1,268 birds processed over 24 dates in November. Of these 1,214 were new and 54 retraps. Winds were dominated by westerlies for most of the month, with a week of easterlies from the 13th, during which mainly light to moderate winds prevailed, with very little levanter cloud over the Rock. A single day of easterlies on the 23rd was followed by light variable winds the following day. It must be emphasised that, during the autumn, temperatures were above average for most of Iberia, with many records broken, and continuous drought conditions prevailed, with very little rain throughout the region.

 

Blackcaps again predominated with 310 new birds and ten retraps caught. These were mainly spread out throughout the month with high totals of 34 on the 1st, and 27 each on the 17th, 18th and 20th. Arrivals of wintering species included a noteworthy 305 Common Chiffchaffs, including high daily totals of 26 on the 1st followed by 27, 41, 32 and 29 birds respectively on the 13th to 16th. Robin numbers increased as well with a total of 200 birds caught and Black Redstarts numbered 108 birds, both spread out during the month. Only 15 Song Thrushes were ringed, including three each on the 1st and 8th and two each on the 14th and 18th. Resident bird catches were few, with four new Blackbirds and 12 new Sardinian Warblers ringed.

 

Late trans-Saharan migrants in November comprised a Common Reed Warbler on the 6th; four Garden Warblers, on 1st, 3rd, 16th and a very late bird on the 30th, and a Willow Warbler on the 13th. An influx of Siskins was apparent, with 160 birds ringed (including high day totals of 17, 35, 17 and 18 birds on the 18th to 22nd respectively). Other finches ringed in November included 13 Chaffinches, 55 Serins, 13 Greenfinches and 23 Goldfinches, as well as a single female Bullfinch on the 10th. Further hirundine captures comprised ten Crag Martins, including five birds on the 15th; five Red-rumped Swallows (three on the 1st, two on the 6th and a late bird on the 23rd), three Barn Swallows (two on the 1st and another on the 26th), and a very late Sand Martin on the 24th. The Sand Martin was the first ringing record for Gibraltar of what is only a scarce migrant locally. A Yellow-browed Warbler on the 9th was the 12th ringing record and 24th local record. A Long-tailed Tit that was caught on the 17th had been ringed at the Observatory on November 7th 2022.

 

Finally, 206 birds were processed in December in six days ringing from the 2nd until the 7th, with a final day on the 30th. Of these, 148 birds were new and 58 were retraps. The winds were westerlies from the 2nd until the 4th when they became light and variable, turning to easterlies up until the 7th. On the 30th the winds were north-westerly. Of 47 Robins processed, 22 were new and 25 were retraps, indicating the presence of established wintering birds. Blackcaps numbered 27 new birds and five retraps, including two birds ringed on the 30th. Black Redstarts were still passing through, with 40 new birds and six retraps. Resident birds numbered five Blue Tits and three Blackbirds as well as 13 Sardinian Warblers, only three of which were new birds. Common Chiffchaff captures declined and only 12 new birds were ringed. Two Stonechats were trapped and ringed on the 2nd, at the Europa foreshore with spring traps, as were two Blue Rock Thrushes on the 7th at Hole in the Wall area. Finches were represented by six Chaffinches, four Goldfinches and five Greenfinches. A Brambling on the 2nd was only the 10th ringing record.

 

 

 

 

 

Ringers 2023

 

D. Ash, M. Ashman, I. Beggs, C, Buckle, B. Bueche, S. Carpenter, I. Cebertowicz, A. Commins, S. Crease, M. Cutts, R. Dickie, M. el Harouchy, M. Geary, R, Geary, J. Gregory, T. Hallahan, R, Hapworth, R. Hickman, G. Hill, C. & D. Lamsdell, H. Land, I. Lees, S. Lloyd, A. Marlow, R. Marsh, P. Norrie, S. Oakley, K. Palmer, C. Perez, C. Pritchard, S. Roberts, A. Sherman, E. Sherwell, J. Slattery, A. Smethurst, A. Rees, P. Reufsteck, M. Speck, R. Taylor, C. Twitchen, T. Webb, M. Winsloe, J. Yeoman.

 

 

Table 1: Controls & Recoveries 2023

 

Ring

Species

Ringing Date

Co-ordinates

Site

Region

Country

Control Date

Duration

Distance

8821146

Blackcap

31/08/2029

48° 01N 03° 17E

Les Boulins, St. julien du Sault

Yonne

France

14/02/2023

1263 days

1500km

9897654

Blackcap

18/10/2021

43° 01N 06° 07E

Marais des Estagnets

Hyeres Var

France

19/02/2023

489 days

1244km

5A1129

Pied Flycatcher

18/08/2022

44° 22N 00° 16E

Etang de la Maziere

Villeton Lot et Garonne

France

18/04/2023

243 days

1032km

B26195

Serin

04/10/2023

50° 31N 05° 49E

Lomas de los Huesos

Ceuta

Ceuta

17/10/2022

6 days

28km

18122938

Blackcap

pending

pending

pending

pending

Belgium

pending

pending

pending

BZA1191

Blackcap

29/08/2023

51° 08N 01° 22E

St Margaret’s at Cliffe

Kent

United Kingdom

07/10/2023

39 days

1752km

BAA5259

Blackcap

03/09/2023

50° 51N 00° 22W

Cissbury Ring

Worthing West Sussex

United Kingdom

31/10/2023

58 days

1684km

Y164584

Blackcap

pending

pending

pending

pending

Netherlands

31/10/2023

pending

pending

91081964

Blackcap

05/09/2023

51° 08N 09° 05W

Giflitz

Kassel

Germany

05/11/2023

61 days

2029km

75A9172

Robin

03/12/2023

pending

pending

pending

Italy

pending

pending

pending

K019555

Blackcap

06/07/2023

53° 22N 16° 25E

Golce

Zachodnio-Pomorskie

Poland

17/11/2023

134 days

2560km

S451449

Crag Martin

04/03/2020

42 42N 00 55E

Naut Aran

Lerida

Spain

21/07/2023

1233 days

907km

AYE5416

Blackcap

22/10/2019

48 07N 02 00W

Iffendic

Ille-et-Vilaine

France

14/06/2023

1331 days

1361km

AFY5486

Blackcap

20/10/2022

54 50N 04 15W

Cardoness

Dumfries & Galloway

United Kingdom

16/05/2023

208 days

2081km

 

 

Table 2: Annual Ringing Totals 2023


Spring

Autumn

Total

Total

Total

Totals

SPECIES

2023

2023

2023

2021

2022

91-23

Quail

-

-

-

-

-

8

Red-necked Nightjar

1

11

12

4

2

136

European Nightjar

-

16

16

7

-

178

Common Swift

-

-

-

-

-

62

Pallid Swift

2

-

2

15

4

66

Great Spotted Cuckoo

-

-

-

-

-

3

Common Cuckoo

-

-

-

-

-

1

Turtle Dove

2

-

2

-

-

32

Collared Dove

-

-

-

-

-

13

Moorhen

-

-

-

-

-

1

Purple Swamphen

-

-

-

-

-

1

Woodcock

-

-

-

-

-

1

Yellow-legged Gull

-

-

-

-

30

487

Puffin

-

-

-

-

-

1

European Storm Petrel

-

-

-

1

-

3

Leach's Storm Petrel

-

-

-

-

-

2

Cory's Shearwater

-

-

-

-

-

2

Gannet

-

1

1

1

-

3

Little Bittern

-

-

-

-

-

1

Night Heron

-

-

-

-

-

1

Honey Buzzard

-

-

-

-

-

8

Griffon Vulture

-

-

-

-

-

14

Short-toed Eagle

1

-

1

-

-

10

Booted Eagle

-

-

-

-

-

6

Bonelli's Eagle

-

-

-

-

-

1

Sparrowhawk

4

-

4

4

3

92

Black Kite

-

-

 

-

-

6

Barn Owl

-

-

-

-

-

1

Little Owl

-

1

1

-

-

14

Scops Owl

-

15

15

2

1

223

Long-eared Owl

-

-

-

-

-

2

Eagle Owl

-

-

-

-

-

1

Hoopoe

7

1

8

4

7

121

Common Kingfisher

-

-

-

-

-

9

European Bee-eater

-

8

8

2

6

43

Wryneck

-

-

-

8

5

55

Lesser Kestrel

-

-

-

-

-

1

Common Kestrel

-

-

-

-

-

25

Merlin

-

-

-

-

-

2

Hobby

-

-

-

-

-

3

Peregrine

-

-

-

-

-

7

Woodchat Shrike

11

0

11

2

10

247

Golden Oriole

-

1

1

2

1

25

Coal Tit

-

-

 

-

-

2

Blue Tit

2

32

34

59

56

1298

Great Tit

-

3

3

2

-

105

Wood Lark

-

-

-

-

-

3

Thekla’s Lark

-

-

-

-

-

2

Sand Martin

-

1

1

-

-

1

Crag Martin

2

13

15

341

125

2618

Barn Swallow

1

15

16

86

20

320

Red-rumped Swallow

-

30

30

35

9

91

House Martin

-

-

-

-

-

150

Cetti's Warbler

-

-

-

-

-

4

Long-tailed Tit

-

-

-

-

7

12

Wood Warbler

5

-

5

7

1

91

Bonelli's Warbler

116

3

119

95

115

2262

Yellow-browed Warbler

-

1

1

-

2

12

Pallas’s Warbler

1

-

1

 

 

1

Willow Warbler

311

61

372

340

194

7706

Mountain Chiffchaff

-

-

-

-

-

1

Common Chiffchaff

70

378

448

221

190

6939

Iberian Chiffchaff

29

15

44

56

25

620

Great Reed-warbler

-

-

 

-

-

2

Sedge Warbler

-

-

-

1

-

9

Common Reed-warbler

12

32

44

75

42

506

Booted Warbler

1

 

1

 

 

1

Western Olivaceous Warbler

3

-

3

-

1

9

Melodious Warbler

87

2

89

60

56

980

Icterine Warbler

-

-

-

-

-

6

Grasshopper Warbler

1

-

1

5

2

61

Zitting Cisticola

-

-

-

-

-

29

Blackcap

910

1033

1943

1978

5249

44690

Garden Warbler

90

86

176

245

206

3583

Lesser Whitethroat

-

-

-

-

-

2

Orphean Warbler

13

21

34

31

16

524

Sardinian Warbler

48

114

162

325

328

7465

Subalpine Warbler

22

3

25

20

14

761

Common Whitethroat

48

9

57

58

20

935

Spectacled Warbler

-

-

-

-

-

23

Dartford Warbler

-

1

1

1

9

111

Firecrest

-

-

-

-

1

40

Goldcrest

-

-

-

-

-

7

Eurasian Wren

1

1

2

11

11

396

Short-toed Treecreeper

-

-

-

-

1

24

Common Starling

-

-

-

1

1

3

Spotless Starling

-

-

-

-

-

36

Song Thrush

20

20

40

177

91

1783

Mistle Thrush

-

-

-

1

-

3

Redwing

-

-

-

2

3

15

Blackbird

24

41

65

125

81

2905

Ring Ouzel

-

-

-

3

-

25

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

-

-

-

-

-

2

Spotted Flycatcher

10

9

19

15

19

368

Robin

61

279

340

1461

631

16532

Bluethroat

-

-

-

-

2

13

Bluethroat ssp. svecica

-

1

1

-

1

2

Nightingale

44

28

72

98

54

1367

Red-breasted Flycatcher

-

-

-

-

-

2

Pied Flycatcher

104

41

145

155

149

1740

Black Redstart

36

159

195

562

276

9166

Common Redstart

36

48

84

127

66

1552

Common Rock-thrush

-

-

 

-

-

4

Blue Rock-thrush

-

3

3

2

2

86

Whinchat

1

-

1

-

1

81

Stonechat

4

2

6

8

1

241

Northern Wheatear

-

-

-

1

-

46

Black-eared Wheatear

-

-

-

1

-

31

Spanish Sparrow

-

-

-

-

-

6

House/Spanish Sparrow

-

-

-

-

-

1

House Sparrow

19

5

24

11

18

1011

Dunnock

-

-

-

-

1

25

Yellow Wagtail

-

2

-

-

2

8

Grey Wagtail

-

1

-

-

1

27

Richard's Pipit

-

-

-

-

-

1

Tawny Pipit

-

-

-

-

-

15

Meadow Pipit

-

1

1

-

-

50

Tree Pipit

1

1

2

8

4

117

Chaffinch

8

21

29

26

32

768

African Chaffinch

-

-

-

-

-

2

Brambling

-

1

1

-

3

11

Hawfinch

-

-

-

-

-

5

Bullfinch

1

1

2

1

2

27

Trumpeter Finch

-

-

 

-

-

1

Common Rosefinch

-

-

-

-

-

1

Bullfinch

1

1

2

1

2

27

Trumpeter Finch

-

-

 

-

-

1

Greenfinch

66

59

125

210

146

4592

Linnet

-

2

2

3

8

122

Red Crossbill

-

-

-

-

-

1

Goldfinch

1

27

28

22

71

1118

Serin

15

84

99

52

121

1488

Siskin

-

174

174

50

9

440

Corn Bunting

-

-

-

-

-

10

Rock Bunting

-

-

-

-

-

8

Ortolan Bunting

1

-

1

-

-

39

Cirl Bunting

-

-

-

-

-

2

Little Bunting

-

-

-

-

-

2

TOTAL

2252

2916

5168

3725

8572

130249

 

 

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