Birding in Late Autumn in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar

Birding in late autumn allows you to see the migration of Griffon Vultures in the Strait of Gibraltar - By Javi Elorriaga
Griffon Vulture in the Strait of Gibraltar

Birding in late Autumn in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar can be quite amazing. In fact, late October and November are arguably the most complete birding months.

Griffon Vulture Migration

It is in this time of the year when the Griffon Vulture migration is at its best, with over 900 Griffons (including one Rüppell´s) thermalling together this morning in El Estrecho Natural Park.

Passerines Migration

At the same time, thousands of passerines migrate in daytime to Africa following the coastline of Los Lances beach in Tarifa comprising European Goldfinch, Common Chaffinch, European Serin, Skylark, lagged Barn Swallows and House Sparrows too.

Scopoli's Shearwater in migration as seen from the Island of Tarifa - by Yeray Seminario
Scopoli’s Shearwater in migration as seen from the Island of Tarifa

Seabirds Migration

Over the Ocean, good numbers of Scopoli´s Shearwaters (up to 3300 birds/hour have been counted today by Migres) cross the Strait, along with Balearic Shearwaters, Audouin´s Gulls, Skuas and Terns.

Wintering Cranes

In La Janda, the first groups of Cranes have reached their wintering grounds and the puddling of the flooded rice paddies attracts large numbers of White Stork (no less than 3000 this afternoon), Glossy Ibis and Cattle Egrets.

Common Cranes in the rice fields of La Janda - by Yeray Seminario
Common Cranes in the rice fields of La Janda

Let’s not forget the raptors!

Although the big days of raptor migration are over, the community of birds of prey is remarkable including Spanish Imperial, Bonelli’s, Booted and Short-toed Snake Eagles, Eurasian Marsh and Hen Harriers, Black-shouldered and Red Kites, etc.

Dark morph Booted Eagle in the Strait of Gibraltar - by Yeray Seminario
Dark morph Booted Eagle in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Best time for rare birds

In addition, October is an excellent period to look for rarities. Proof of this are the two Yellow-browed Warblers which have been found today in the region or the striking male Pallid Harrier and the immature Lesser Spotted Eagle (probably a returning individual) we have seen! All this under a beautiful blue sky and mild temperatures!

Immature Lesser-spotted Eagle at La Janda, October 2017 - By Javi Elorriaga
Immature Lesser-spotted Eagle at La Janda, October 2017.

Birding in late autumn – why we love it

As you can see, there are many reasons to pay a visit to the Strait of Gibraltar during this period. Birding in late Autumn can be very productive and pleasant. Also, it gives you the chance to see the different facets of migration. Those that very few people still have seen and that are only possible here, in the Strait.

Contact us if you want to arrange a trip during this exciting time!