It´s that time of the year again!

Griffon Vulture in the Strait of Gibraltar

Late October and November is arguably the most complete birding period in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar. 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.

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
Scopoli’s Shearwater in migration as seen from the Island of Tarifa

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.

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
Common Cranes in the rice fields of La Janda

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.

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.