Recent Sightings March 2021

31 Mar:  Overcast skies with levanter cloud increasing throughout the morning.  Winds south-east in the early morning, becoming strong to gale force easterly in the afternoon.  Several flocks of Swallows continued north over the Observatory in the morning.  Also seen from there were four Siskins, a Linnet and a Tree Pipit.  Around the Observatory were two Iberian Chiffchaffs that eluded capture, but the ringing campaign was very successful with another Orphean Warbler and the first March record of a Melodious Warbler.



Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Wren 1   1
Redstart 2   2
Nightingale 1   1
Song Thrush 1   1
Blackbird 2 1 3
Melodious Warbler 1   1
Subalpine Warbler 2   2
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Orphean Warbler 1   1
Blackcap 7 1 8
Western Bonelli's Warbler 9   9
Chiffchaff 3   3
Willow Warbler 10   10
Blue Tit 1 1 2
Chaffinch 1   1
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 44 4 48

The Jackdaw was seen around the Port Department watch tower at Lathbury, and a Woodchat Shrike was present at the Botanic Gardens.  A evening visit to the North Front Cemetery produced a Hoopoe, two Common Redstarts and two Woodchat Shrikes.


30 Mar: Overcast skies with light drizzle in the early morning, continuing cloudy with levanter cloud over the town and harbour.  Winds fresh easterly becoming moderate in the afternoon.  High cloud persisting with Saharan dust diminishing visibility.

Ringing Totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Wren   1 1
Robin 1   1
Redstart 4   4
Nightingale 3   3
Wheatear 1   1
Blackbird 4 1 5
Sedge Warbler 1   1
Subalpine Warbler 2   2
Sardinian Warbler 1 1 2
Whitethroat 1   1
Blackcap 12 7 19
Western Bonelli's Warbler 3   3
Chiffchaff 3 1 4
Willow Warbler 10   10
Blue Tit 1 1 2
Greenfinch 1   1
Total 48 12 60


 A visit to North Front Cemetery produced a Robin, three Common Restarts, a Black Redstart, a Whinchat, three Northern Wheatears, a Sardinian Warbler, two Whitethroats, an Orphean Warbler and a Willow Warbler.



29 Mar:  Overcast skies with levanter cloud over the town and harbour.  There was some light rain drizzle overnight with fresh easterly winds.  This brought some trans-Saharan migrants to the Rock, with some seen in the vicinity of the Observatory that consisted of  a two Common Redstarts, two Nightingales calling, two Iberian Chiffchaffs heard, and overhead a Tree Pipit calling and four Swallows heading north.  The ringing effort also was productive with totals for the morning below.

Ringing totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Robin 0 1 1
Redstart 1 0 1
Nightingale 2 0 2
Sardinian Warbler 0 3 3
Blackcap 8 3 11
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Western Bonelli's Warbler 4 0 4
Chiffchaff 1 1 2
Iberian Chiffchaff 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 4 0 4
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Total 23 8 31

 Three Cormorants were present at the western end of the runway.


28 Mar:  Levanter cloud over the town and harbour but clear away from the Rock, with cloud increasing and becoming heavy towards late afternoon and evening.  Winds fresh easterly.  Another ringing session at the Observatory indicated that trans-Saharan migrants had still not arrived in numbers, with only some Willow Warblers making an appearance.  Some Blackcaps were found to with heavy fat scores.

Ringing totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Blackbird 1 0 1
Sardinian Warbler 1 2 3
Blackcap 3 5 8
Willow Warbler 3 0 3
Chiffchaff 3 0 3
Total 11 7 18


27 Mar: Some slight levanter cloud in the morning clearing by the afternoon.  Winds light to moderate easterly.  A ringing session at the Observatory was fairly quiet with Blackcaps laden with fat ready to continue their migration north, and the only trans-Saharan migrant, an early Orphean Warbler.

Ringing totals

Species Full Grown Retrap Total
Robin 1 1 2
Sardinian Warbler 2 2 4
Blackcap 7 2 9
Orphean Warbler 1 0 1
Chiffchaff 2 0 2
Chaffinch 1 0 1
Total 14 4 19

 A Nightingale, two Common Redstarts and two Subalpine Warblers were present at North Front Cemetery.


26 Mar:  Mainly clear skies with a light westerly to light variable wind becoming light easterly.  The location of the Eagle Owl was confirmed by our raptor unit, with the possibility of a female in the vicinity.  A Common Redstart was seen in town.  Over 100 Pallid Swifts seen over town.


24 Mar:  Clear skies with some high cloud.  Winds light variable picking up to a light westerly.  Pallid Swifts seem to be back in town, with several flocks of birds screaming around the upper town area.  Some raptors were seen including a Sparrowhawk that took a blackbird on Windmill Hill.  At least 10 Black Kites, four Sparrowhawks, eight Booted Eagles and an Osprey were reported.  The two Ravens were seen over the top of the Rock, and a Hoopoe was observed flying over the Morisson's carpark.


23 Mar:  Clear skies with a light westerly breeze.  A Hoopoe was seen in the South District, and a Subalpine Warbler and several Phylloscopus warblers were present at the North Front Cemetery.


22 Mar:  Clear skies with a light variable to light westerly, becoming moderate south-westerly in the early afternoon but lessening in strength in the evening. As winds freshened in the afternoon several flocks of Black Kites approached the town area from the Bay, with some Short-toed Eagles and a Marsh Harrier as well.  Several Booted Eagles were also seen during the afternoon and evening but a systematic count was not made.  In total approximately 550 Black Kites, 10 Short-toed Eagles,  four Marsh Harriers, 15 Booted Eagles, 17 Sparrowhawks and an Osprey.  Also seen were three Swallows.A Bonelli's Warbler was observed at Trafalgar Cemetery.


20 Mar:  Some showers in the morning with a light variable wind turning to gale force easterly mid morning, with levanter cloud.  At the North Front Cemetery there were two Hoopoes, three Willow Warblers and a Woodchat Shrike.  A Hoopoe was also seen around the Casemates area.  The Jackdaw was seen again around the Clay Pigeon Shooting site and then moved to a balcony at Clifftops.


18 Mar:  Cloudy with a light easterly turning to a light variable wind.  At Europa Point there were 20 Black-headed Gulls, an Audouin's Gull, a Mediterranean Gull and three Shags.  A Cormorant was resting on the rocks at Little Bay.  A Hoopoe was observed in the Botanic gardens.


17 Mar:  Heavy levanter cloud over much of the Rock, town and harbour in fresh and gusty easterlies.  A Hoopoe was observed in the Botanic Gardens, and a Great Skua was seen off Sandy bay.


16 Mar:  Levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour, in a moderate increasing to fresh easterly in the afternoon.  The Jackdaw remained at the rubbish tip, and two Hoopoes were seen on the Upper Rock roads.


15 Mar:  Mainly clear skies in the morning but some levanter cloud developing over the town and harbour towards midday. Winds moderate easterly.  Three Iberian Chiffchaffs were heard around the Observatory at Jews' Gate in the morning.  Finally the Pallid Swifts arrived over town, with at least 15 birds seen.  They are at least two weeks late, probably due to a mainly northerly airflow affecting Iberia.  


14 Mar:  Clear skies in the morning in light and variable winds, but moderate easterlies settling in in the afternoon with plenty of levanter cloud towards evening.  An Iberian Chiffchaff was heard at Commonwealth Park.  The Jackdaw was still present at the refuse tip at Europa Advance Road.  A Hoopoe was observed in the afternoon at the Botanic Gardens.


13 Mar:  Clear skies with a moderate north-westerly wind.  Passage was slower than the previous day as birds flew into a head wind.  Nevertheless 879 Black Kites, 53 Short-toed Eagles, two Buzzards, 11 Sparrowhawks and an Osprey were seen.


12 Mar:  Clear skies with some cloud over the hills across the Bay and over Moroccan hills.     Winds northerly in the Bay but south-westerly in the Strait, getting stronger by midday.  Finally a good raptor day, with birds crossing in numbers as clouds lifted over the Moroccan hills.  By 11am the Strait was filled with migrating raptors, arriving low at Europa Point.  At one stage the northerly winds increased, displacing thermals over the sea and giving raptors a substantial lift, thus arriving high overhead.  Raptors continued throughout the afternoon, but passage slowed down by mid afternoon by which time we had recorded 1658 Black Kites, 6 Egyptian Vultures, 680 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, 15 Sparrowhawks, 5 Booted Eagles, and a Lesser Kestrel.  Also seen at Europa Point were 100 Black Storks,  three Hoopoes and a Swallow.  A Jackdaw was seen in the afternoon at the refuse tip at Europa Advance Road.

Booted Eagle           T. Finlayson
Black Storks  T. Finlayson
Short-toed Eagle    T. Finlayson

Booted Eagle, Black Storks and a Short-toed Eagle some of the migrants that crossed the Strait.             T. Finlayson.


Mar:  Clear skies with a light easterly wind.


10 Mar:  Clear skies with a light variable wind.  A Northern Wheatear was present at Europa foreshore, and a Hoopoe was seen at the Botanic Gardens.


09 Mar:  Clear skies with a moderate to light  north-westerly wind.  Some cloud developing in the afternoon, but clearing by evening.  A flock of 35 Cormorants headed north high over town.  In the early afternoon a small number of raptors were observed and consisted of a Black Kite, a Marsh Harrier and six Sparrowhawks.  Also seen a single Swallow.

A flock of 35 Cormorants over town heading north.                                                              T. Finlayson


08 Mar: Clear skies in the morning but cumulo-nimbus clouds developing in the afternoon with some light drizzle, but clouds clearing by evening.  Winds light and mainly northerly.  Four Black Kites were observed in the morning together with two Chaffinches, 45 Serins,  four Greenfinches, four Goldfinches and two Linnets all heading north over the Observatory.  In the afternoon a further four Black Kites, six Short-toed Eagles, nine Sparrowhawks and two Swallows were seen.


07 Mar:  Heavy rain last night with torrential downpours. Overcast skies throughout the morning with rain in a light easterly wind becoming light variable to light westerly by midday.  Some clear spells in the afternoon with some thunderstorms with torrential rain mid afternoon. Winds light variable. A visit to Windmill proved fruitful with a large fall of pre-Saharan migrants, with five Song Thrushes, 60 Black Redstarts, including one ssp. aterrimus, 45 Stonechats, eight Meadow Pipits, six Dartford Warblers, eight Sardinian Warblers, 10 Chiffchaffs, five Spotless Starlings, eight Chaffinches, a Greenfinch, four Goldfinches, two Linnets, four Corn Buntings, 30 Crag Martins, and also two Swallows, four Hoopoes and a Kestrel

Two Hoopoes were seen in the Rosia area.  A visit to Europa Point produced eight Gannets, two Cormorants, a Great Skua, 40 Black-headed Gulls, 45 Mediterranean Gulls, seven Audouin's Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, and in the vegetation close-by three Meadow Pipits, a White Wagtail, four Stonechats, Dartford Warbler, a Subalpine Warbler, 12 Chiffchaffs and a Corn Bunting.

A visit to North Front Cemetery produced 18 Hoopoes, 70 Black Redstarts, (with one ssp. aterrimus), 15 Stonechats, six White Wagtails, two Blue Rock Thrushes, a Song Thrush, a Blackbird, two Robins, a Sardinian Warbler, three Woodchat Shrikes, a Goldfinch and 20 House Sparrows.


06 Mar:  Overcast with heavy and sometimes torrential rain throughout the day.  Winds moderate to fresh easterly.


05 Mar:  Overcast skies with torrential rain in the morning, in moderate south easterly winds, clearing at 13:00hrs to bright blue skies and a light westerly wind.  Winds returning to easterly by 15:00hrs and another frontal system with rain after 17:00hrs.  Over 120 Black Kites crossed the Strait when winds turned in the afternoon for a short period, with thousands more reported from the western Strait area.

An afternoon visit to Europa Point produced 12 Gannets, 12 Black-headed Gulls, 45 Mediterranean Gulls, 95 Audouin's Gulls east, two Cormorants, two Shags and seven White Wagtails.  A Northern Wheatear was reported from North Front Cemetery.

04 Mar:  Overcast skies with a fresh easterly wind.  Rain showers throughout the day.  The wintering Short-toed Eagle was still present on the east side Sand Slopes.  Approximately 200 Black Kites flew high heading north over the Rock.


03 Mar: Overcast skies with high cloud.  Winds moderate easterly picking up in strength.  Two Egyptian Vultures and three Black Kites were seen mid morning with more observed arriving later.


02 Mar:  Levanter cloud thinning to give sunny spells in the afternoon, despite hazy skies due to Saharan dust.  Winds moderate becoming light easterly.  The Myrtle Warbler remained at the site at Europa Point, where several birders arrived to see this vagrant species.


01 Mar:  Overcast skies with some showers and fresh easterly winds.  An afternoon visit to Europa Point produced 10 Gannets, 2 Cormorants, 20 Black-headed Gulls, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, and two Audouin's Gulls.  The Myrtle Warbler was again seen at Europa Point.

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