These birds were very rare before the early 1980s but they have recovered substantially since then although they remain vulnerable as they only breed in a few scattered colonies in the Mediterranean, mostly in Iberia
They are amazingly elegant and beautiful birds and they are now migrating in numbers past Europa Point, Gibraltar, on their way out to spend the non-breeding season in the rich waters of the Atlantic off West Africa
This afternoon, in 3.5 hours of observation, we counted 120 going past Europa Point. Most were adults and their plumage was not as tatty as it usually is at this time of the year. We don't expect so many adults this early and it may be that they've had a bad breeding season and are leaving early. The relatively good condition of the plumage seems to bear this out.
Adult passing Europa Point lighthouse
These birds travel singly, in pairs or loose flocks
Today's blog has been a brief prelude of what is to come. Keep visiting us for more!