Thursday, 17 September 2020

Tarifa

Black Kite Milano Negra Milvus migrans

Wednesday 16 September

Time to set off home from Alcala de los Gazules but not before a stop at Tarifa to check out the raptor migration.   A handful of Common Swift plus Spotless Starling and House Sparrow noted as we left the house and taking the motorway towards Los Barios we encountered Osprey, Kestrel and Cormorant.

Once at the Cazalla mirador the weather was very windy with much low cloud.   Appraching the site we saw our only Griffon Vultures of the morning, less than a handful.  Whilst there were many Black Kites and a few Booted Eagles it was the Short-toed Eagle that appeared to be the dominant species of the morning.  Over a hundred Black Storks were circling high above waiting for the cloud to clear so that they could actually see Africa and get under way - which they eventually succeeded in doing so.

Over 100 Black Storks Ciguena Negra Ciconia nigra passed through Cazalla

There was the occasional Sparrowhawk and even a couple of Egyptian Vultures but for me the best was the nearest raptor, a single juvenile Honey Buzzard.Also moving through was a small number of barn Swallows and then some very high Bee-eaters, heard rather than seen.  Meanwhile, the female Common Kestrel noted resting on a pylon below us when we arrived was still present when we made our departure.

Back to the Tarifa roundabout and back up the other side of the road so we could take the narrow road down to the coast past the Migres Centre and then on up past the coastguard observatory (?), round the two giant guns left behind by the army when the base was closed to a high vantage point where we then had excellent views of the birds as they came over, often below as well as above us.

Short-toed Eagle Culebrera  Europea Circaetus gallicus

Again, mainly Short-toed Eagles but now also a plentiful supply of both Black Kites and Booted Eagles.  Another Sparrowhawk before hearing more Bee-eaters who then proceeded to fly right past us at our feet along the bank..  Similarly, a flock of about a score of Red-rumped Swallows flew past from left to right and included both a Sand Martin a few House Martins.

Juvenile Booted Eagle Aguililla Calzada Hieraaetus pennatus

Amazing to see a Northern Wheatear just simply drop in and rest on a stone not more than ten metres away.  Time for our small picnic then start the long journey back home and as we drove back along the track a quintet of Crested Larks few up in front of us.

Record shot of Northern Wheatear Collalba Gris Oenanth oenanthe

Birds seen:

Cormorant, Black Stork, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture,  Booted Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Bee-eater, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Northern Wheatear, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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