May 2017 Sightings




30 May: Clear skies with a fresh south-westerly wind. At 13:00hrs a total of 140 Griffon Vultures and a Ruppell's Vulture headed north. Other raptors at this time included 2 Honey Buzzards, a Black Kite and 2 Booted Eagles.


The Common Chiffchaff was again heard calling at the Botanic Gardens.


28 May: Cloudy with sunny spells and a moderate westerly wind.  The Zitting Cisticola was still at Windmill Hill with a Corn Bunting and a Red-necked Nightjar also seen there.


27 May: Overcast skies with a light variable wind. Very hot and muggy. A Zitting Cisticola was seen at Windmill Hill.


26 Mar: After a few days of easterlies the wind turned to a light westerly with clear skies. Some 25 Honey Buzzards were seen over town mid morning.


22 May: Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind. Chaffinches were present at both Bruce's Farm and Governor's Lookout, where the species was heard singing and calling. Also plenty of Greenfinches were heard in the area, and possibly breeding as well.


21 May: Cloudy with some sunny spells later in the afternoon. Winds moderate easterly. A Common Chiffchaff  was heard singing in the Botanic Gardens. This species has been encountered in the late spring at the gardens in previous years but is not known to breed in the surrounding area. Also present in the gardens are two pairs of Spotted Flycatchers, one around the Theatre and the other in the vicinity of the Eliott's Monument. There is the possibility of a third pair at the northern end of the gardens that has also been seen in the Trafalgar Cemetery.


20 May: Heavy levanter cloud over the Rock, and overcast skies in the area. Winds fresh easterly. A Chaffinch was heard singing around Bruce's Farm.


19 May: Clear skies in the morning becoming cloudy and overcast with a strong levanter. Winds light in the morning but a fresh and humid levanter with low cloud in the afternoon. Single Robin and Nightingale were heard calling and a Melodious Warbler was singing at Jacob's ladder. At least three pairs of Greenfinches were present at this site, possibly nesting.


18 May: Clear skies with a light to moderate south-westerly wind. Around midday and the early afternoon approximately 15 Griffon Vultures were seen together with 25 Black Kites, 2 Booted Eagles and a few Honey Buzzards. No systematic counts were made. The Botanic Gardens Spotted Flycatchers have arrived and are setting up territory and looking for nesting sites.

a nest site.


14 May: Clear skies with high cloud from the west in the afternoon. Winds light to moderate westerly becoming light and variable in the afternoon. Some flocks of Honey Buzzards passed during the morning. A Robin and a Spotted Flycatcher were present at Commonwealth Park.


13 May:  Clear skies with some westerly cloud. Winds light westerly freshening late morning, but becoming light in the ly afternoon, and then picking up again in the evening. There was a good passage of Honey Buzzards in the morning passing up the Bay but as soon as winds freshened they flew along the east side of the Rock.  From 11am till 1pm 1200 Honey Buzzards were counted with only 3 Black Kites and 2 Booted Eagles with them. Passage continued in the afternoon, but no counts were made.


12 May: Cloudy with showers in the morning, becoming clearer and warm with sunny spells after midday. Winds light to moderate south-westerly. No systematic count of raptors was made, but at least 15 Griffon Vultures 2 Short-toed Eagles, and several flocks of Honey BuzzardsBlack Kites and a Black Stork were recorded. A Robin was again present in the Botanic Gardens.


10 May: Mainly clear skies with a moderate westerly wind.  Single RobinMelodious Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher were observed in the Botanic Gardens, and another Robin was heard calling from Commonwealth Park.


09 May: Mainly clear skies with some westerly cloud. Winds light to moderate westerly. No systematic counts of raptors were made, but some Honey Buzzards, at least 5 Griffon Vultures, a Short-toed Eagle and a Black Stork were seen during the afternoon


Raven was seen heading south over the Rock.


08 May: Clear skies with a moderate easterly. There were 2 Melodious Warblers, and single Spotted Flycatcher and Corn Bunting at Jacobs ladder.


06 May: Clear skies with some high cloud. Winds light easterly early in the morning, becoming light variable to light westerly by mid-morning, but returning to a light variable in the afternoon. Passage started as soon as winds freshened mid morning, but by early afternoon the wind returned to a light variable and passage drifted to the western end of the Strait, out of sight of the Observatory. In this time there were 2693 Honey Buzzards 5 Black Kites, and a Sparrowhawk. Also seen were 6 Swallows, 5 House Martins and a Cattle Egret.


05 May: Mainly clear skies with a moderate westerly wind. A total of 996 Honey Buzzards, 125 Black Kites, a Griffon Vulture, 2 Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, 16 Booted Eagles, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Hobbies were counted heading north.


A  party of 3 Black-winged Stilts took a break on one of the pools at Eastern Beach in the afternoon.




An unusual sighting; 3 Black-winged Stilts on Eastern Beach.            Photo: A. Yome.©


There were single RobinMelodious WarblerWillow Warbler and Bonelli's Warbler at Commonwealth Park.


04 May: Cloudy and overcast with levanter cloud over the Rock, town and harbour. Winds fresh easterly.  Even with easterly winds some raptors passed north over the Rock with 418 Honey Buzzards and a Booted Eagle.


03 May: Clear skies with a moderate easterly wind.  Few migrants about with clear skies, but 17 new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included single RobinBlackbirdSparrowhawkSardinian WarblerGarden WarblerChiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Greenfinch, another Icterine Warbler*, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Bonelli's Warblers and 3 Melodious Warblers. Only 10 Swallows were seen heading north.



One of two Icterine trapped and ringed at the Observatory.      Photo: W. James.©


At the Botanic Gardens single Woodchat ShrikeCommon RedstartSpotted Flycatcher and 2 Willow Warblers were present.


02 May:  Cloudy skies with levanter cloud over the town and harbour. Winds moderate easterly. A total of 38 new birds were ringed at the Observatory and included a Red-necked Nightjar, a Common Redstart, a Tree Pipit, a BlackbirdWhitethroat, 3 Garden Warblers, 4 Melodious Warblers, an Orphean Warbler, a Subalpine Warbler, 6 Bonelli's Warblers, 7 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, a Woodchat ShrikeBlue Tit, 2 House Sparrows and a Greenfinch.


A late wintering Cormorant was still at the western end of the runway.


01 May:  Clear skies with a moderate northerly wind in the morning and a light south-westerly wind in the Strait, becoming light in the afternoon. Only 36 new birds of 19 species were ringed at the Observatory, and included a Scops Owl, a Common Nightjar, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Nightingales, a Robin, a Common Redstart, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers, 2 Orphean Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Melodious Warblers, an Icterine Warbler*, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Subalpine Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Serins and 2 House Sparrows.


Slow raptor passage in moderate to light winds and a total of 500 Honey Buzzards, 94 Black Kites, 15 Griffon Vultures, a Black Vulture, a Short-toed Eagle, 4 Marsh Harriers, 15 Booted Eagles and 7 Sparrowhawks recorded. Also seen were single Black Stork, 5 Swallows, a House Martins, 3 Bee-eaters, single Goldfinch and Linnet, and hundreds of Common Swifts.


A visit to the North Front Cemetery in the morning produced a scattering of migrants that included 14 Bee-eaters, a Robin, 3 Common Redstarts, 5 Woodchat Shrikes, 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Goldfinches, and single NightingaleGrasshopper Warbler, Serin, Ortolan Bunting and Turtle Dove.


Single Pied Flycatcher and a Woodchat Shrike were observed at Jacob's Ladder.

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