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Monday, 9 March 2015

100's of Raptors over Tarifa

6 of over 1000+ Short-toed Eagles coming in off the sea from Morocco 

  The wind was still coming in from the east and this morning I drove from Gibraltar into Spain and made the short distance west to Mirador del Estrcho. From here I could watch the raptors coming in off the sea across the Strait from Morocco. At 10.30, I saw my first Black Kite through the window of the cafe where I was  having my breakfast. In the next hour I got 14 Black Kite, 7 Short-toed Eagle and a single Sparrowhawk. With the strong easterlies I worked out that maybe the raptors are being pushed further west and are trying to come in near and beyond Tarifa. I took a track just before the turning to Tarifa and drove along the coastal road. I wasn't disappointed and got better views of Black Kite, STE and a single dark phase Booted Eagle. However it was slow moving and I decide to go further west and past Tarifa. Scanning across towards the long beach, I could see 100's of raptors stretching all away across over the surfers. Most of them were dots way up north of the beach and this is where I stayed for the rest of the day. I walked down towards the beach and a scan with the scope produced 100's of Short-toed Eagles struggle low just above the sea. Just before they hit land, they pushed up slightly higher. Others were dots in the sky or distant all away across the bay. In the next four hours I didn't see one Black Kite. I did get a male Marsh Harrier, 11 Egyptian, 3 Griffon Vultures, 10 Booted and well over 1000 Short-toed Eagle! The raptors were also sharing the sea with 100's of Cory's Shearwater. At 18.30, there was a sudden surge of Black Kite from nowhere coming in low! In 15 minutes some 300 birds moved through and then it just stopped with the odd strangler. With them were 6 Lesser Kestrel and another Marsh Harrier. Good numbers of Swallow also came in off and with them were 2 Red-rumped Swallow. Wow! What a day! Until today, the only STE that I had ever seen, was the individual that arrived on Scilly, Oct '99. You can read about an article on this eagle and my Thomas the Tank Engine boxer-shorts

The only new birds were the Egyptian Vultures.

Todays totals included from 10.30-19.15

1100+Short-toed Eagle
350+Black Kite
11 Egyptian Vulture
3 Griffon Vulture
10 Booted Eagle
2 Marsh Harrier
6 Lesser Kestrel
1 Sparrowhawk

STE over Tarifa

Short-toed Eagles arriving at Tarifa from Morocco

STE arriving with maybe 20-30 birds in a line

With over 1000 STE coming in, you would think that one of them would come lower enough for me to get a close up shot.

Dark phase Booted Eagle

Egyptian Vulture and STE. In line behind the eagle were 2 more Egyptian Vulture, 2 STE and a single Booted Eagle

While watching the raptors, sardinian Warbler and Serin were singing nearby

Listen to some blues today included this guy. A Blind willie Johnson song, 'Keep Your Light Trimmed and Burning' He's opened up for Taj Mahalthe Rebirth Brass BandChris Thile, and Jack White

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine ever seeing so many raptors in one go, where I live seeing three buzzard marks a major day! Just wonderful stuff.