April 2017 Sightings



30 Apr:  Mainly clear skies with some cloud skies with sunny spells during the morning, clearing in the afternoon. Winds west to north-west but fresh south westerly in the Strait.  With mainly clear skies overnight, most of the migrants had left, but there were still some about and a total of 38 new birds were ringed in the morning before the northerly winds and the sun, affected the catching rate.  Species included the 5 Red-necked Nightjars that were caught at night, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Swallows, 3 Robins, 2 Common Redstarts, a Reed Warbler, a Melodious Warbler, 3 Orphean Warblers, a Whitethroat, 5 Garden Warblers, a Blackcap, a Bonelli's Warbler, a Wood Warbler, 6 Willow Warblers, and 4 Pied Flycatchers. The northerlies and the sun again affected the netting site.


An entertaining day of diurnal migration with 1000s of Common Swifts moving north, a single Alpine Swift was seen among them, also a steady passage of hirundines in the morning with 185 Swallows, 6 Red-rumpedSwallows, 57 House Martins, and 13 Bee-eaters counted. Other Bee-eater flocks were heard heading north. Raptors started early in the morning and continued through the afternoon, with 274 Honey Buzzards, 211 Black Kites, 139 Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture, a Short-toed Eagle, 6 Marsh Harriers, 2 Montagu's Harriers, 55 Booted Eagles, 11 Sparrowhawks, an Osprey and a Hobby. Also seen were 22 Black Storks, 2 Spoonbills, 185 Swallows, 6 Red-rumped Swallows, 57 House Martins, a Yellow Wagtail, 6 Serins, 3 Goldfinches, a Hoopoe and a Golden Oriole.


29 Apr: Overcast skies with some rain in the morning specially over town, but mainly dry at the Observatory. Winds moderate easterly becoming light and calm in the late afternoon. Well it certainly was a good and spectacular fall of migrants with 187 new birds ringed and included 29 Garden Warblers, 75 Willow Warblers, 6 Common Redstarts, 9 Bonelli's Warblers, 13 Pied Flycatchers, a Nightingale, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Orphean Warblers, 4 Tree Pipits, 9 Melodious Warblers, 7 Whitethroats, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, a House Sparrow, 3 Woodchat Shrikes, 4 Wood Warblers, 2 Turtle Doves, a Golden Oriole, a Greenfinch, a Sedge Warbler, an Ortolan Bunting, a Robin, a Whinchat, a Northern Wheatear, and 3 Common Nightjars.


A visit to the North Front Cemetery turned up several Woodchat ShrikesNorthern Wheatear and Black-eared Wheatear and Rufous-Bush Robin, but a systematic count was not made.


An afternoon visit to Windmill Hill saw the site full of migrants, with birds everywhere! In total there were 40 Tree Pipits, 15 Tawny Pipits, 55 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Short-toed Larks, 20 Whinchats, a Grasshopper Warbler in full song, 30 Whitethroats, a Spectacled Warbler, a Subalpine Warbler, 5 Orphean Warblers, 20 Garden Warblers, 70 Willow Warblers, 25 Melodious Warblers, a Golden Oriole, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Blue Tits, 11 Blackbirds, 5 Sardinian Warblers, 25 Pied Flycatchers, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 18 Woodchat Shrikes, 15 Turtle Doves, 2 Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes, 2 Blue Rock Thrushes, 40 Common Redstarts, 3 Robins, 70 Northern Wheatears, 20 Nightingales, 15 Swallows feeding low over the site in the company of a House Martin, 2 Sand Martins and over 50 Common Swifts, a Corn Bunting,Ortolan Buntings, a Red-necked Nightjar, a Sparrowhawk resting in a bush, a Quail, 9 House Sparrows, 15 Spotless Starlings and 4 Barbary Partridges!.


At Camp Bay a Spotted Flycatcher was present, and a Willow Warbler was at Europa Point. A Red-necked Nightjar was seen around South Barracks at 21:00hrs. A Rufous-Bush Robin, a Common Redstart and a Woodchat Shrike were observed at the Botanic Gardens


A visit to the Nature Reserve roads  produced a total of 10 Red-necked Nightjars, and a Scops Owl, of which 5 of the former were trapped using dazzling method and a butterfly net.


28 Apr: Cloudy and overcast with torrential and heavy rain all day reaching a spectacular 146mm. Winds fresh easterly. A total wash-out today with heavy rains during the day, but a Green Sandpiper was seen on the main walk of the Botanic Gardens. Only the second recent record!


The ringers were disappointed but were told this could lead to a good fall of migrants.


27 Apr:  Cloudy with a  moderate westerly wind. A trickle of raptors during the day for a total of 43 Honey Buzzards, 178 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, 5 Short-toed Eagles, 4 Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 9 Booted Eagles, 9 Sparrowhawks and 2 Hobbies. Also seen were a Cormorant, 10 Swallows, a Red-rumped Swallow, 3 House Martins, a Hoopoe and several Bee-eater flocks that were heard.


Only 18 new birds ringed at the Observatory and included a Blackbird, a Nightingale, a Whitethroat, a Sardinian Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Bonelli's Warblers, 4 Pied Flycatchers and a Greenfinch.


26 Apr: Cloudy skies with sunny spells becoming overcast in the late afternoon. Winds fresh westerly becoming moderate in the afternoon.  Only seven new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included single Blackbird,Subalpine WarblerOrphean WarblerChiffchaff, Wood Warbler and 2 Willow Warblers.


Small number of raptors headed north and totalled 45 Honey Buzzards, 190 Black Kites, 2 Griffon Vultures, 3 Egyptian Vultures, 8 Short-toed Eagles, a Montagu's Harrier, 38 Booted Eagles and 16 Sparrowhawks. Also seen were 5 Black Storks, 10 Swallows and 2 Serins.


25 Apr: Cloudy skies with some sunny spells in the morning becoming clear. Winds light variable to a light westerly, turning to a moderate to fresh south-westerly in the afternoon. By mid- morning there was a steady passage of raptors over the Rock, that continued till the evening. In total there were 69 Honey Buzzards, 1572 Black Kites, 19 Griffon Vultures, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 10 Short-toed Eagles, 6 Marsh Harriers, 21 Booted Eagles, 46 Sparrowhawks, 2 Kestrels and 5 Hobbies. Also seen were 12 Swallows, 14 Red-rumped Swallows, 3 Serins and a Cormorant.


A total of 16 new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Blackbird, a Sardinian Warbler,Whitethroats, 3 Garden Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler,Pied Flycatchers, a Bonelli's Warbler and 4 Willow Warblers.


24 Apr: Overcast skies with a moderate easterly becoming lighter in the afternoon. Normally raptors are not recorded from the Rock, during spells of easterly winds. But after several days of gale force easterlies, the number of raptors accumulating on the African side of the Strait, unable to cross in these strong winds, must have been incredible. Around midday Black Kites were seen approaching Gibraltar and heading along the east side of the Rock, in a steady stream. In total 1850 Black Kites, 28 Egyptian Vultures,Sparrowhawks and a single Montagu's Harrier were recorded in a short space of time. Also seen were a single Swallow and 2 House Martins.


The clear skies overnight resulted in few birds trapped at the Observatory, with 2 Blackbirds, and single Robin, Whitethroat, a House Sparrow and 3 Willow Warblers ringed.


Some migrant passerines were present at the Botanic Gardens and included single Common RedstartWhitethroat, Melodious WarblerPied Flycatcher and Woodchat Shrike.


23 Apr: Overcast during the morning, with some sunny spells in the afternoon. Levanter cloud persisting ovet the town and harbour. Winds strong easterly. Thirty birds were ringed in the morning and included a Whinchat, 2 Whitethroats, a Subalpine Warbler, 2 Blackcaps,Grasshopper Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher,Melodious Warblers, a Wood Warbler, a Bonelli's Warbler, an Iberian Chiffchaff and 16 Willow Warblers.


Overhead 8 White Storks and 28 Black Kites crossed the Strait as winds became lighter.


22 Apr: Overcast with the strong gale persisting throughout the day with very strong gusts in excess of 90km/hr in the Strait.  Another 38 birds were ringed at the Observatory, with only the top net rides in operation, due to a feral cat taking the birds in the lower net rides. Totals would have been impressive; nevertheless the total included a Blackbird Nightingales, 4 Whitethroats,Melodious Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, 5 Bonelli's Warblers, a Wood Warbler, 19 Willow Warblers and a Greenfinch.


Whitethroat was found dead on a window sill in town, and a Robin was heard in vegetation around Scud Hill


21 Apr:  Overcast with a strong gale force easterly with winds in excess of 90km/hr. There was a small fall of migrants in Commonwealth Park, with 2 Whinchats, and single Common Redstart, Subalpine Warbler, Robin and a Willow Warbler.  The Observatory trapped 38 new birds that included 2 Nightingales, 2 Common Redstarts, 2 Melodious Warblers, 2 Whitethroats,Subalpine Warbler, 3 Bonelli's Warblers, a Wood Warbler, 21 Willow Warblers and a Greenfinch. Unfortunately a feral cat took a Common Redstart and an Olivaceous Warbler.


20 Apr:  Heavy levanter cloud with a strong gale easterly wind. A good total of 35 birds were ringed at the Observatory. These included a Black-eared Wheatear,Blackbird, a Nightingale, 2 Common Redstarts, a Melodious Warbler, 5 Bonelli's Warblers, an Iberian Chiffchaff, 21 Willow Warblers and a Goldfinch.


19 Apr: Levanter cloud over the town and harbour, with winds fresh easterly becoming gusty.  A total of 19 birds were ringed at the Observatory and included 2 Common Redstarts, a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler,Melodious Warbler, 3 Bonelli's Warblers and 10 Willow Warblers.


Bonelli's Warbler was heard singing in the Botanic Gardens, and a tired Storm Petrel was picked up in the town area.


18 Apr: Cloudy skies with a levanter cloud over the town and harbour. Winds moderate to fresh easterly. Finally passerine migrants seem to be migrating through the site with 45 birds ringed only using the top six nets, as the bottom site has had to be abandoned for the time being as a feral cat has been taking birds. The list includes 2 Common Redstarts, 6 Pied Flycatchers, a Garden Warbler, 4 Whitethroats, an Iberian Chiffchaff, a Bonelli's Warbler, 29 Willow Warblers and a Corn Bunting. A male Common Redstart was present at the Botanic Gardens.


17 Apr: Low levanter cloud over the Rock dispersing and clearing after midday to give a bright, warm and clear day. Winds moderate easterly, becoming light in the evening.  A morning visit to the North Front Cemetery produced a Tawny Pipit and a male Common Redstart. At Windmill Hill, few migrants were also present with 2 Woodchat Shrikes, a Nightingale, a Willow Warbler and a Spectacled Warbler present.


Despite optimal cloudy conditions, only 8 birds were ringed, and included a Nightingale, a Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 4 Willow Warblers and a Wood Warbler.


16 Apr:  Heavy levanter cloud over the Rock with low cloud and overcast skies throughout the day. Winds fresh to strong easterly, becoming moderate to light in the afternoon. Only a single Sparrowhawk and 6 Bee-eaters were recorded.


Ringing at the Observatory resumed after several days of strong winds which prevented the operation. Only four birds were ringed and included a Robin, a Pied Flycatcher, a Blackcap and a Greenfinch.


Robin was present at Commonwealth park.


15 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate south-westerly wind. raptors continued to cross with the south-westerly winds, although visibility was poor. In total 733 Black Kites 3 Egyptian Vultures, 35 Short-toed Eagles, 3 Marsh Harriers, 4 Montagu's Harriers, 2 Common Buzzards, 32 Sparrowhawks, 70 Booted Eagles, an Osprey, 4 Kestrels, a Lesser Kestrel and 5 Hobbies were recorded. Also seen were a Black Stork, 57 Bee-eaters, 12 Swallows,Red-rumped Swallows, a House Martin, a Tawny Pipit 200 Common Swifts, 75 Goldfinches and 10 Greenfinches.


14 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate north westerly, and a fresh Egyptian Vulture, 117 Short-toed Eagles, 3 Marsh Harriers, 3 Montagu's Harriers, 206 Booted Eagles, 14 Sparrowhawks, a Hobby and a Lesser Kestrel. Also seen were 6 Black Storks, 4 Swallows, a House Martin and a Meadow Pipit.


13 Apr: Clear skies with a light to moderate south-west wind.  Visibility very poor with heavy mist obscuring the African side of the Strait.  A trickle of raptors throughout the day with a total of 184 Black Kites, the first Honey Buzzard of the season, 32 Short-toed Eagles, an Egyptian Vulture, a Griffon Vulture, 3 Marsh Harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, 8 Sparrowhawks, 88 Booted Eagles, an Osprey and a Hobby. Also seen were 8 Black Storks, 2 Swallows and 2 House Martins.


Another poor day at the Observatory with only 8 birds ringed that included 2 Blackcaps,Common Redstart, a Bonelli's Warbler, and 4 Willow Warblers.


12 Apr: Fog to the east of the Rock, and a misty morning to start with, becoming clear and very warm, with a light easterly to light variable wind. A Tree Pipit, a Tawny Pipit  and 2 Serins were seen at Europa Point. At the Botanic Gardens, 2 Willow Warblers, an Iberian Chiffchaff and a Turtle Dove were recorded there.


Thirteen birds were ringed at the Observatory, and included 2 Blackbirds, a Nightingale, a Robin, a Sardinian Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Willow Warblers and a Wood Warbler.


11 Apr: Levanter cloud in the morning dissipating as winds became finally lighter. Clear skies and rather warm in the afternoon with a moderate to light easterly wind.  A flock of 190 Black Kites drifted towards the Rock, as winds became light, with most heading past the east side. A Raven was seen over Windmill Hill, and during the morning flocks of Bee-eaters continiously headed north.


At the Observatory, only a few birds were trapped and ringed, and included a Blackbird, 2 Nightingales, a Robin, a Sardinian Warbler, a Whitethroat, 4 Blackcaps and 5 Willow Warblers.


Bonelli's Warbler and a Robin were present in the Botanic Gardens. There were single Bonelli's Warbler and Willow Warbler at the top of the Rock around the top Cable Car Station.


10 Apr: Levanter cloud over the Rock and the harbour. Winds fresh easterly. No diurnal passage. Sixteen new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included 2 Nightingales, a Common Wheatear, a Sardinian Warbler,Blackcaps, and Orphean Warbler, 6 Willow Warblers, a Bonelli's Warbler, a Chiffchaff and a Wood Warbler.


09 Apr: Heavy levanter cloud with overcast skies in the Strait. Winds fresh easterly with strong gusts. Another thirteen birds were trapped and ringed at the Observatory, and included a Sparrowhawk, a Nightingale, 2 Subalpine Warblers, an Orphean Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Willow Warblers, a Bonelli's Warbler, and a Greenfinch. Only 6 Bee-eaters were recorded heading north.


A flock of 26 Flamingoes were seen heading north along the Bay.


08 Apr: Levanter cloud over the town and harbour. Winds fresh easterly. Only 20 Bee-eaters and 4 Swallows,recorded heading north. Thirteen birds were ringed and included a Robin, a Nightingale, a Woodchat Shrike, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Subalpine Warblers, 2 Sardinian Warblers, a Bonelli's Warbler, a Greenfinch and a Serin.


Robin and a Woodchat Shrike were observed along Signal Station Road.


07 Apr: Cloudy throughout most of the day with some sunny spells in the late afternoon. Winds fresh easterly with some strong gusts in the Strait. Only 50 Bee-eaters and 5 Swallows, recorded heading north. Twelve birds were ringed and included a Kestrel, a Song Thrush, a Blackbird, a Nightingale, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, an Iberian Chiffchaff and a Greenfinch.


06 Apr: Levanter cloud over the town and harbour. Winds fresh easterly.  Very few birds flying in from the Strait, with only 83 Bee-eaters,Yellow Wagtail, a Meadow Pipit 10 Swallows and 5 Serins.  A marked improvement in the catching rate at the Observatory, due to cloudy conditions, with 24 new birds ringed. These included a Yellow-legged Gull, a Tree Pipit, 4 Common Redstarts, 2 Nightingales, a Pied Flycatcher,Blackcaps, 2 Sardinian Warblers,Willow Warblers, 3 Bonelli's Warblers, a Subalpine Warbler and a Greenfinch.


05 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind. No raptors seen from the Observatory due to unfavourable winds,, but some diurnal passage was recorded and consisted of a Grey Heron, 190 Bee-eaters five flocks, 2 Meadow Pipits, a White Wagtail, 9 Swallows, 26 Red-rumped Swallows, 2 House Martins, a Serin, and 6 Goldfinches.  Only two birds ringed at the Observatory; a Willow Warbler and a Greenfinch.


Long-eared Owl was heard calling at midnight from Bruce's Farm.


04 Apr: Clear skies with a moderate to fresh easterly wind.  Diurnal passage from the Observatory was very quiet with only a single raptor; a Marsh Harrier seen.    Heading north were a Cormorant, 4 Bee-eaters, 25 Swallows, 9 Red-rumped Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail, 3 Serins, 3 Goldfinches and a Linnet.


The ringing operation was again very slow due to clear weather. Only 15 birds were ringed and included 5 Robins, 2 Subalpine Warblers,Sardinian Warbler, 3 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, 2 Bonelli's Warblers and an Iberian Chiffchaff. A Hoopoe was killed by a cat in the Botanic Gardens.


03 Apr: Cloudy skies with a levanter cloud over the town and harbour, partly clearing to give some sunny spells in the afternoon. Winds fresh easterly. Twenty-one new birds were ringed in the morning and included a Robin, a Woodchat Shrike, a Nightingale, a Black Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers,Chiffchaffs, and Iberian Chiffchaff and 7 Bonelli's Warblers. Overhead 26 Bee-eaters in four flocks, 25 Swallows, 4 Red-rumped Swallows, 11 House Martins,Greenfinches, 4 Goldfinches Hoopoe and a single Sparrowhawk were recorded.


02 Apr: Clear skies with a light variable to light easterly wind.   A calm, sunny and warm day but not good for birds with only single Black Kite and a female Marsh Harrier, 2 Swallows, 6 Bee-eaters a Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinches and 15 Linnets seen. Ringing not much better with single Robin and Subalpine Warbler ringed.


Mid morning a flock of 4 Cormorants flew north over town. There were another two feeding at Europa Point, and one resting on rocks at Little Bay.



01 Apr: Clear skies with some high cloud. Winds north-westerly, becoming west in the afternoon.   Steady though slow passage of raptors throughout the day, but numbers picked up in the afternoon for a total of 1460 Black Kites, 3 Egyptian Vultures, 2 Griffon Vultures, 19 Short-toed Eagles, 25 Marsh Harriers, 4 Montagu's Harriers, 70 Sparrowhawks, 206 Booted Eagles, a Lesser Spotted Eagle,Ospreys 3 Kestrels and 2 Lesser Kestrels. Also seen were 22 Black Storks, 12 Purple Herons, 30 Cormorants, 2 Ravens, 10 Swallows, 50 Red-rumped Swallows, 10 House Martins, 2 Sand Martins, 65 Bee-eaters, 3 Alpine Swifts, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 14 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chaffinches, 6 Serins, 15 Greenfinches, 66 Goldfinches and 40 Linnets.


Conditions again poor for ringing with only three birds ringed; a Robin, a Sardinian Warbler and a Willow Warbler.


A flock of 20 Flamingoes flew north along the east side of the Rock. A Woodchat Shrike was seen at Commonwealth Park and a Hoopoe flew into a tree at the Calpe Rowing Club

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