We paid a visit to the two most famous raptor observation points: Algarrobo and Cazalla the sky was full of birds.....................
The wind direction had changed over the weekend, after days of a strong easterly wind (Levante) it switched to a light westerly, ideal conditions for a good raptor migration across the Strait of Gibraltar to Africa.Yesterday (Sunday 28th August) for instance over 6.000 White Storks crossed over!
The view from Algarrobo watch-point of Algeciras bay with Gibraltar on the right
So I went to Algeciras and Tarifa today to watch raptor migration, it was fantastic you would have loved it. I collected Penny from Casares at 9am and we drove to Algeciras and on up the hills towards Tarifa. We stopped just outside of Algeciras at the view point called Algarrobo.
A dark morph Booted Eagle - often mistaken for a Black Kite
It was quiet at first with a few Griffon Vultures and the odd Black Kite drifting over, but as it warmed up (32C) the sky began to filled with birds.
Apart from hundreds of Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, a few Egyptian Vultures and Sparrowhawks passed over and a Golden Eagle and the only Montagu's Harrier of the morning was seen.
Honey Buzzards - fairly high up (500ft)
Other species appearing at Algarrobo were over 2,000 swifts, mixed flocks of Common, Pallid and Alpine, as well as hundreds of Barn Swallows mixed with a few Red-rumped Swallows and a couple of hundred Bee-eaters, phew! Nice birding.
two pictures of Honey Buzzards - both out of focus but it shows their broad-winged flight jizz with small head and long tail
this one shows the light patch at the end of the wing
and this one depicts nicely how they hold their wings flat when soaring - unlike the 'v' shape of Common Buzzards
Three hours soon passed so we decided to drive over the hills to Cazalla watch-point which sits on top of the hills just above Tarifa. The bird numbers were a lot less at Cazalla but they passed over much lower. There always seems to be more Booted and Short-toed Eagles there as was the case today. A few more Egyptian Vultures flew by and a couple more Eurasian Sparrowhawks.
casual birding at Cazalla watch-point
looking across the Strait to Morocco from Cazalla
We ate our picnic lunch and had coffee and cake (courtesy of Penny) before another hour's watch. Movement tailed off around 2-3pm so we decided to head back, the temperature remained at above 30C all day but a pleasant westerly breeze cooled the air.
Migration watch 7-day tours begin on Friday 2nd..................there are still places available, come and join me!