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March 29th – April 1st 2013
Sue at Europa Point
This trip was designed as a short weekend break to hopefully view the raptor migration that takes place from Africa to
29th March Gatwick (
1st April Gibraltar – Spain- Gibraltar – Gatwick (
Paul arranged the Easyjet flights from Gatwick to
This was arranged through www.rentalcars.com However although I booked the car from
We stayed in the Queen’s Hotel booked through www.booking.com which although a little dated was clean and comfortable and cost £70 a night for the two of us, including a cooked breakfast. It was located at one end of the town and we could park outside it.
We used English pounds throughout. Gibraltar has its own
We had mild mixed weather.
The Rock dominates
Paul and I spent the night in the Premier Inn at
Booted Eagles were flying across the Straits of Gibraltar from North Africa and heading straight for us in
Soon we saw a Short-toed Eagle as well as several Black Kites. A Marsh Harrier, Peregrine and Common Kestrel were added to the raptor list. After a couple of hours we sought to get out of the wind and moved into the lee of the cliff and watched as small parties of Barn Swallow moved through. They were accompanied by Red-rumped Swallow and some small un-identified passerines. Over the sea Gannets were passing and a Shag stood on the rocks.
Sardinian Warbler Blackcap
I heard a familiar call from one of the bushes and soon located a Sardinian Warbler. Getting its photo was a different matter though, as it remained obscured in the safety of its bush.
Paul and I made our way to Jew’s Gate where the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society www.gonhs.org/ have an observatory and a monitoring station. As we watched more Booted Eagles and Sparrowhawks flew over and a Lesser Kestrel fluttered by as did another Short-toed Eagle.
Later at the botanical gardens Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Greenfinch and Blackcap were added to the list.
We spent the evening in the almost-deserted town where we ate in an English pub as we failed to locate any restaurants open for business.
The wind had dropped and raptor migration had quite clearly ceased. It was rather overcast and so we played tourist and took the cable car to the top of The Rock.
Cable car ride to the top of The Rock Sue at the top of The Rock
View from the top of The Rock Barbary Macaques
Once at the top of the rock Barbary Macaques soon found us as we crawled and jumped around the rocks. Yellow-legged Gulls were soaring and perching all around but we failed to see any other species of bird at the top of The Rock. We contemplated walking down but the weather was not very good and we opted for the cable car once again to take us back down. Out at sea a Great Skua was noted as well as a lone Northern Wheatear on one of the scrubby areas further round
At the botanical gardens we did not add further species to our list and went into town to explore the camera shops!
In the evening at
Subalpine Warbler Blue Rock Thrush
The weather had turned a bit colder and was spitting with rain so we decided to explore Little Bay where we hoped that we might find a few small migrants sheltering. We soon located Sardinian Warbler and Subalpine Warbler. A male Blue Rock Thrush sat posing as its mate carried food to a nest site. We could hear a Wren calling but it failed to appear. A Great Cormorant flew by before we drove round once again to Europa Point.
Here we watched the gulls on the sea and counted at least six Audouin’s Gulls. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull and Yellow-legged Gull were also present.
In the rain a lone Common Swift flew in and a bit later we saw a lone Sand Martin. Both were struggling against the north-west wind.
Audouin’s Gull Woodchat Shrike
Around the houses in the rain we watched a Woodchat Shrike as it took refuge on some bamboo. I drove along the eastern coastal fringe and Paul discovered a Common Redstart lurking under a rock as we stopped off where we could to search for migrants. At the cemetery there was a small flock of Spotless Starlings as well as three more Woodchat Shrikes.
The weather had turned against us and the rain defeated us. We had a last look at the botanical gardens before deciding to return to the hotel to prepare for our evening meal back at the marina.
After travelling back across the border into