March 2018 Sightings

30 Mar:  An African Chaffinch was seen and photographed in the area of Poca Roca in the Nature Reserve.  This is the third record for Gibraltar.


African Chaffinch.                                                                                                                                                                            Photo:  Jonathan Perera.


29 Mar:  A Cormorant was seen at the western end of the runway.


28 Mar:  A Hoopoe was seen in the town area along Europort, and a Song Thrush was still present at Commonwealth park.  A Bonelli's Warbler was observed on a recently planted oak tree along the Alameda Estate.


26 Mar:  A visit to North Front Cemetery produced 3  Hoopoe, 3 Stonechats, 10 Black Redstarts, 2 Sardinian Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers and a Woodchat Shrike.


27 Mar:  A Robin is still present at Commonwealth park.  Lets see if it stays to nest there.25 Mar: At Europa point 33 Gannets were feeding offshore on the east side of the Rock.  Six more headed out of the Mediterranean past Europa point where 3 Black-headed Gulls remained together with a first winter Mediterranean Gull,  6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew west with 18 Audouins Gulls, and 3 Great Skuas were sitting offshore on the sea in close company with 2 Shags that later flew east.  Also seen during the brief stop at the Point were single Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle and a Sparrowhawk.

A Woodchat Shrike was present at Commonwealth park.


24 Mar:  A visit to the North Front Cemetery produced  a Hoopoe, 2 Stonechats, 6 Black Redstarts, 2 Sardinian Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers and a Woodchat Shrike.


21 Mar:  Clear skies with a very cold northerly wind.  Two Scops Owls were trapped and ringed this morning at the Observatory.


20 Mar:  Clear skies at last with a cold fresh northerly wind.  A dozen Crag Martins were seen flying  over town and heading north to feed in Spain.  Very few left at the roost, and probably a high mortality due to the adverse weather conditions with gale force winds and continuous rain for most of the month, with 300mm so far!  Six Hoopoes were seen on the roadways of the Nature Reserve this morning. Good raptor passage in the morning with plenty of finch flocks as well.  Totals included 9 Cranes, 248 Black Kites, 54 Short-toed Eagles,  5 Marsh Harriers, 43 Booted Eagles, 3 Ospreys, 31 Sparrowhawks, a Common Buzzard, 21 Swallows, 4 House Martins, 6 Alpine Swifts, single Pallid Swift and Crag Martin, 8 White Wagtails, 16 Chaffinches, 35 Goldfinches, 2 Serins and  46 Greenfinches.  Fresh northerly winds prevented catches at the Ringing Station with only single Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and a Scops Owl ringed.

The Ring Ouzel was still present at the Botanic Gardens, together with a Subalpine Warbler, and a Hoopoe.

19 Mar:  Sunny spells in the morning but cloud increasing with light rain in the afternoon.  Winds moderate to fresh westerly.  strong winds in the evening again.  Some raptors crossed early in the morning when the weather was brighter with some Black Kite flocks and some Short-toed Eagles as well, with two being rescued by the Royal Gibraltar Police marine unit and handed to Vincent Robba of the raptor Rehabilitation Unit.

The Ring Ouzel is still present at the Botanic Gardens and comes daily to drink at the fountain in the Dell.  An Arctic Skua was seen at the entrance to the Bay, and Hoopoes were present in the Botanic Gardens and at North Front.

We have had news that the Griffon Vulture KN that was tagged in Gibraltar on the 17th June 2016, was recovered at Baji Mokhtar, Adar Province, in Algeria but was in poor condition and died.


18 Mar:  Overcast skies with steady rain for most of the day.  Winds fresh and sometimes strong westerly, becoming gale force overnight.  The first Nightingale of the season and a Woodchat Shrike were seen at North Front Cemetery.


17 Mar:  Cloudy skies with the occasional shower.  Winds strong westerly.  A visit to the North Front Cemetery produced 15 Black Redstarts, 3 Hoopoes, 3 Woodchat Shrikes, a Robin and a Sardinian Warbler.  A Cormorant was present on Eastern Beach and a Black Kite managed the crossing and was seen over town.


16 Mar:  Cloudy skies with sunny spells in the afternoon Winds moderate westerly.  Some raptors headed north during the afternoon with Black Kites, Short-toed Eagles and 3 Black Storks.  A Whimbrel and a Turnstone were seen on the rocks at seven sisters site.


15 Mar:  Cloudy skies with rain in the morning with some sunny spells in the afternoon.   Winds westerly becoming north-westerly in the afternoon.   Some raptor passage in the afternoon with some Black Kites making it across the Strait.  The Tawny Owl was heard again calling from a Eucalyptus tree in Governor's Parade, and a Scops Owl was seen up in the Nature Reserve.

Two Whimbrels arrived and landed on the Europa Foreshore in the afternoon.


13 Mar:  Overcast skies with a moderate westerly wind.  Over 100 Short-toed Eagles crossed the Strait at 13:00hrs as weather over Morocco improved for a while.  They were accompanied by some Black Kites a Booted Eagle and a Sparrowhawk.  Some Swallows also ventured north.

Two Hoopoes were seen in the Nature reserve and another in the Botanic Gardens where a male Subalpine Warbler was busy feeding on nectar and insects of a Bottle-brush tree. A flock of 14 Cattle Egrets flew south low over town.


12 Mar:  Finally some clearer weather with sunny spells and some cloud in the morning in a north-west wind.  Turning to west in the afternoon and overcast with some showers.  early in the morning some raptors headed north with 20 Black Kites, 4 Short-toed Eagles, 2 Marsh Harriers, a Booted Eagle and 3 Sparrowhawks.  Also seen were 8 Swallows, and single House Martin, Serin and Goldfinch.  A seawatch produced 50 Gannets heading west out of the Mediterranean, 38 Black-headed Gulls and 5 Mediterranean Gulls feeding below the Point, 3 Audouin's Gulls, 3 Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua, 3 Cormorants, 5 Shags, 2 Sandwich Terns and a flock of 25 Cormorants in V formation heading north.  Another Short-toed Eagle was rescued from the sea by the Royal Gibraltar Police marine unit.

A flock of 25 Cormorants in V formation.
The Cormorant flock.

The flock of 25 cormorants seen from Europa Point.                                                                       Photos:  A. Yome.



Vincent Robba with the rescued Short-toed eagle with members of the Royal Gibraltar Police marine unit.

11 Mar:  Strong winds from the west with cloudy skies and some showers.  Some 23 Black-headed Gulls and 6 Cormorants were sheltering at the Western end of the Runway.  At Europa Point, 6 Great Skuas were spotted on the water just off the Point, and one Black Kite managed to cross northward.  A Hoopoe was seen in the gardens of the Med Rowing Club.


10 Mar:  Cloudy skies with strong to gale force westerly winds.  Squalls and heavy rain prevented raptor migration.  Despite this some birds ventured across the Strait and included 2 White Storks, 44 Black Kites and 3 Short-toed Eagles.  An Audouin's Gull was observed flying along Westview park, and an Alpine Swift battled against the strong winds over town together with several Pallid Swifts.  A Kittiwake was seen at Europa Point.


9 Mar:  Sunny spells with some cloud in the morning becoming cloudier in the late afternoon with some showers.  Winds southerly becoming south-westerly in the afternoon. A Subalpine Warbler was seen at the Botanic Gardens in the morning.  A Sparrowhawk was rescued from the town area after hitting a window.


8 Mar:  Cloudy skies with some sunny spells in the afternoon.  Winds light and variable becoming light westerly in the late afternoon.  Some raptors passed over town in the late afternoon with at least 60 Black Kites and a few Short-toed Eagles.  One Short-toed Eagle fell into the sea and was rescued by the Gibraltar Defence Police marine section boat that recovered it and called Vincent Robba from the Raptor Rehabilitation Centre.  It will be kept in captivity until it recovers fully and then released back to the wild.


Vincent Robba of the Raptor Rehabilitation centre with the Short-toed Eagle and members of the GDP marine section


7 Mar:  Cloudy skies with some sunny spells later.  Winds moderate westerly.  The Ring Ouzel is still present in the Botanic Gardens.


6 Mar: Cloudy with some sunny spells in the afternoon.  Winds moderate to fresh westerly.   A Tawny Owl was heard in the Ficus trees at Governor's Parade.


4 Mar:  Cloudy with some sunny spells in the morning, clearing further in the afternoon.  Winds fresh north-westerly.  A mornings seawatch at Europa Point produced 150 Gannets, 70 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Mediterranean Gulls, 56 Audouin's Gulls, a Kittiwake, 10 Great Skuas, 1 Cormorant, 5 Shags, 2 Serins and a Pallid Swift that headed for shelter on the Europa Point cliff.  A flock of 14 Flamingoes headed west past Europa Point at 13:00hrs.

Strong winds pushed several flocks of Black Kites towards the east side of the Rock, with many flying low at wave height across the Strait.  As the weather improved over Morocco, more and more raptors ventured across the Strait with over 1000 Black Kites, 6 Egyptian Vultures, over 100 Short-toed Eagles, a light phase Booted Eagle, 2 Sparrowhawks, and several flocks of Black Storks numbering 65 birds in total.


Black Kite
Black Kite
BLack Storks
Black Stork

Photography:  Tommy Finlayson.

The Camp Bay Peregrines headed out into the Bay hunting and brought back a prey item, with the pair caught food passing.  The photographer Shane Shacaluga was fortunate to see the encounter and take a selection of photographs which depict the prey item which certainly looks to be an Alpine Swift.


3 Mar:  Cloudy skies with some breaks in the morning followed by heavy showers from the west in the afternoon.  Winds strong to gale force westerly.  Pallid Swifts continue to look for shelter in the town area in the breaks in rain showers with several flocks seen over town.  Several flocks of Black Kites headed north in the morning together with an Osprey.  A Yellow Wagtail was seen at Europa Point, it then flew north.


2 Mar:  Overcast skies with heavy rain and gale force westerly winds gusting to over 100km/h.  Another 4 Pallid Swifts tried to look for shelter in the heavy rain in the town area.


1 Mar:  Cloudy with gale force westerly winds and showers throughout the day, but some sunny periods in the afternoon, when winds died down to strong westerly.  Three Pallid Swifts dropped down to look for shelter in the town area.

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