International Congress on Bird Migration and Global Change in Tarifa, September 2018

In September 2018, in addition to the most spectacular raptor migration in the continent, the Strait of Gibraltar will host a world-class cast of raptor biologists and bird migration researchers.

The 3rd International Congress on Bird Migration and Global Change will be held between the 3rd and 5th of September in Tarifa. Ian Newton, Willem Bouten, Miguel Ferrer, Francisco Pulido, Keith Bildstein, Bruno Bruderer, William Bouten and Jordi Figuerola will speak on global change and population limitation on migrants, adaptations of birds to global change, birds as indicators of global change, global change and migration behaviour, new tools for study and analysis, side effects of global change and much more.

Follow this link to read the complete programme and further information.

In Birding The Strait we are glad to collaborate with this international  event.

Eagles and Lynxes with Dick Forsman in Sierra Morena

During the third week of January we have organized a scouting trip to Sierra Morena (Córdoba, Andalusia) with our friend and raptor identification authority Dick Forsman. Our main target was to observe large eagles and get a first-hand experience on the performance of especially dedicated wildlife photography hides.

Adult male Golden Eagle. January 2018. 

Working from hides is a radically different experience regarding the “raptors in flight” photography we practise while birding and guiding in our local patch, Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar. Pros and cons apart, observing these majestic raptors at such a close range is an unforgettable and, at times, surrealistic experience.

Adult male Bonelli´s Eagle. January 2018.

Nowadays, there is a growing offer of commercial wildlife photography hides in Spain and the ones we have tested, run by Alpasin, have proven to be excellent in all key aspects. We have greatly enjoyed six hide photography sessions in three effective days covering Bonelli’s, Golden and Spanish Imperial Eagle. The two first species performed remarkably well, approaching the hides in no time and beautifully posing at different perches and in different lighting conditions. In turn, the Spanish Imperial Eagle left us willing to try again. This is the point after all!

The constant presence of inquisitive Iberian Magpies, Thekla Larks, Blue Rock Thrushes and Hoopoes enlivened the waiting periods and a photography session at a reflecting pool visited by Robin, Blackbird, Hawfinch, Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit added diversity and much fun to the experience.

Long-tailed Tit. January 2018.
Hoopoe. January 2018.

Last but not least, we got the exciting chance to visit an Iberian Lynx hide. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect it to go so well…

Female Iberian Lynx. January 2018.

All in all, a highly rewarding experience with like-minded colleagues which no doubt will lead to strengthen our collaborations!

With Agustín Pérez (left), managing director of Alpasin and Dick Forsman (right), after a Golden Eagle session.

PS: Visit our youtube channel to see more on this and other Birding The Strait experiences!

The most colourful Black and White spectacle

The return migration of White Storks in the Strait of Gibraltar peaks in January. Thousands of storks are crossing from Africa these days. Indeed, most of the Iberian population will return in January, wherein older individuals migrate first. Enormous flocks will stop in the rice paddies of La Janda while others will keep moving on their northbound journey.

219 White Storks reaching Europe from Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar. January 2018.

Black kites will be joining the scene in February, crossing the ocean in impressive streams and roosting in even more impressive numbers. See below a video of these roosting kites that we managed to film last spring.

Together, Black Kites and White Stork make up about three-quarters of the soaring birds that fill the skies in Tarifa. And this is only the beginning folks! The raptor and stork migration will not stop until June!

Join our birdguides in a bespoke day trip or tour to live the experience of Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar!

Short-eared Owls magic!

Short-eared Owls are captivating creatures. Their penetrating look, silent flight and discrete habits make every encounter memorable.

This is a cosmopolitan species that visits the Strait of Gibraltar both as a migrant and wintering species.  However, their presence in our region is mostly noticeable during the central part of the winter.

Short-eared Owl photographed off Tarifa, the Strait of Gibraltar, in active migration to Africa across the immensity of the sea.

Like other “yellow-eyed” owls, the Short-eared do actively hunt in daytime, especially in the late afternoon. It is at this time when we enjoy watching them hunt passerines at their roosts, chasing Marsh Harriers or stalking unwary mice atop their favourite perch. The magic light of winter sunsets in Cádiz handles the rest!

Join us in a day trip to observe and photograph Short-eared Owl this winter!

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.

Birding The Strait at the International Wildlife Event of the Year #Birdfair 2017

Birding The Strait ha sido beneficiaria del Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional cuyo objetivo es conseguir un tejido empresarial más competitivo  y gracias al que ha participado en el British Birdfair / Feria de las aves del Reino Unido para fomentar la internacionalización de la empresa y promocionar el turismo ornitológico en el estrecho de Gibraltar. Esta acción ha tenido lugar en Agosto de 2017. Para ello ha contado con el apoyo del Plan Internacional de Promoción de la Cámara de Comercio del Campo de Gibraltar.

There is an unmissable event this weekend (18, 19 & 20 August) for the international birding community. The 29th edition of the British #Birdfair  will be held at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, UK. In 2017, under the motto “Saving Paradise in the Pacific”, the Birdfair will be raising funds for vital work to save endangered species from extinction, including the Rapa Fruit Dove and the Polynesian Storm-Petrel.

Birding the Strait will take part as an exhibitor for the 5th consecutive year. This time in addition to the Stand of Andalucia Tourism Board (Marquee 2 – Stands 8, 9 & 10) we will be present at the Andalucia Wildlife Guides stand (Marquee 1 – Stand 30) as well.

Remarkably, on Thursday 17 the Andalucia Tourism Board will be sponsoring the welcome reception at the Restaurant Marquee including a welcome speech by Tim Appleton.

Spain and particularly Andalucia are among the top European destination for international birders and nature lovers. For this reason, we are proud to witness the increased quantitative and qualitative presence in the Birdfair of Spanish professionals in the nature tourism sector.

The Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin is one of the most celebrated species in our birding trips in Andalucia and Morocco.

Birding The Strait wants to invite all of you to meet our tour leaders Javi Elorriaga and Yeray Seminario to exchange firsthand experiences on the birding and wildlife photography possibilities that our most frequented destinations offer: Tarifa, the Strait of Gibraltar, Doñana National Park, Andalusia, The Canary Islands, Morocco, the Atlantic Sahara and much more!

The Birdfair will be the perfect setting to present the 2017-2018 Birding The Strait brouchure .

Moreover, we will be offering a 15% discount on every day trip and half day trip of birding in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar booked for the period October 2017 – February 2018.

If you are considering to purchase a new scope while visiting the fair, we do eagerly recommend you to test the new (2016) Razor HD 27-60 x 85 Spotting Scope at NewPro stand (Marquee 1 – Stand 1 & 2).

Other events you shouldn´t miss are:

See you at the Birdfair!