A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Southern Spain Trip Report - Day 2

Day 2 - Wednesday 13th August

The second day saw us head south to the fantastic Rock of Gibraltar to take in the sights and see what birds and other wildlife may be on offer on this well-known British Oversees territory. Waking up relatively early, I was greeted by an absolutely amazing sight out of the apartment window of thousands of Black Kites drifting effortlessly on the air currents and beginning their migration south – sure to filter through to Gibraltar later on in the day. With the sky filled with Kites at eye level due to our height in the apartment, it was truly breath-taking to watch – a definite highlight of the trip.

Driving down to Gibraltar and heading for the lighthouse on the southernmost tip at Europa Point, we scanned the gorgeous periwinkle blue waves for any seabirds that might have been patrolling over the ocean. Several stunning summer plumaged Audouin’s Gulls drifted overhead as we watched, their bright blood red bills clear to see as they passed. Not a lifer for neither Chris nor Alex but one for myself, I was exceptionally glad to catch up with this species, as I was unsure if we would see any on the trip. 
Europa Point - Gibraltar
Europa Point lighthouse
With a complete lack of Shearwaters and other pelagic species, we headed round the corner to view the rock itself. A migration hotspot, Black Kites in groups of hundreds at a time steadily rose on the thermals, a constant presence in the skies above us and fantastic to see. Still a touch early for the true spectacle of autumn migration, a few weeks later buzzards, eagles, raptors and storks would all be passing here in their hundreds and thousands - at present we were merely touching on the very start of migration. A small kestrel perched on the side of the huge rock itself was just a bit too distant to firmly nail as a Lesser Kestrel, and like the majority seen on our trip, was frustratingly yet another female!
Black Kite - Gibraltar
Black Kite flying over the point
Rock of Gibraltar
A trip to Gibraltar wouldn’t be complete without stopping off to admire the iconic monkeys that live on the rock, and several individuals were happy to oblige and have photos taken with us.
Monkey - Gibraltar
Monkeys at Gibraltar
Monkeys at Gibraltar
Bitey monkey going in for the kill....
We decided to venture up to the top of Gibraltar and explore, seeing what the Nature Reserve had to offer. Heading up the steep slopes we encountered a number of gorgeous butterflies, including a very showy and photogenic Two-tailed Pasha, reminiscent of the captive bred insects found in the butterfly Jungles I used to love.
Two-tailed Pasha - Gibraltar
Two-tailed Pasha
The view of Gibraltar down below
Approaching the summit, we were pleased to see a large gathering of swifts directly overhead, our height on the mountain meaning they were considerably lower down than they usually would be and consequently flying right over our heads. One much larger than the others zoomed between the rocks – a second Alpine Swift – that large white belly and huge wings unmistakeable as it passed overhead on several occasions, happily providing much better views than the brief encounter on the first day. Several more Pallid Swifts darted above us, whilst the continued presence of the ongoing raptor migration was felt with an absolutely huge gathering of Black Kites slowly drifting overhead, with a possible Honey Buzzard trying to go unnoticed amongst them.
Rock of Gibraltar
Black Kites - Gibraltar
Black Kite migration
Heading back to the hotel ready for an early start tomorrow in search of Red-necked Nightjars, we tucked in to a nice Japanese meal after enjoying a poolside paradise that was apparently part of a private golf club resort! Hopefully nobody noticed....
Southern Spain

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Pictures from Spain. I am planning Spain trip and your blog is very helpful to make my trip plan. Thanks for sharing.


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