Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easterlies bring in migrants

Strong easterly winds hit the Strait of Gibraltar yesterday. As the wind subsided today trans-Saharan migrants started to feed busily to resume the journey as soon as possible. Easterlies bring migrants to the Gibraltar area. These are birds heading in a north-easterly direction over North Africa, taking a more direct route to the breeding grounds than in the autumn when many fly down the Atlantic coast to avoid the drier areas to the east. Since Gibraltar is at the western end of the Mediterranean, most spring migrants are passing to the east which means that easterlies are best to bring migrants in. Once in the area, the low cloud and mists that form round the Rock itself add to the disorientation. Among the migrants today was the beautiful male Common Redstart at the head of this post.

The strong winds got the gulls sailing off the cliffs and raised an impressive sea

Common Redstart male (above and below)

Not easy to see, Nightingale was among the migrants, displaying aggressively at a Common Redstart (below) to drive it away from its temporary territory

Some Chiffchaffs (and a Robin) are still moving through. These belong to the most northerly breeding populations

where did that fly go?

...but it's the Western Bonelli's Warbler that is now coming through in good numbers, including this bird photographed on Sunday

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