Monday, April 12, 2010

Gibraltar - a Migration Stopover

The last week has been dominated by strong easterly winds and cloud. These winds kept many migrants within Gibraltar and these birds spent the grounded time feeding and regaining fat and weight that would allow them to complete the migration. A good number of the birds that I reported in the last post were still about yesterday, often within the same patch of ground. These could hardly be described as territories as there was little active defence of them but they are probably best described as temporary homes. Once a good feeding area is established it pays the migrant to stay there, learning the lie of the land, knowing where to fly to to avoid predators and where to best find food. The male Common Redstart in the last post was still around, looking beautiful and in good condition (below):

Nightingales (above, below and post header) are also showing well and some are in regular sites too suggesting that they are also refuelling at the stop over.

Some Chiffchaffs (above and below) are also staying on and, though not easy to separate on plumage, some are seemingly Iberian Chiffchaffs, their calls giving them away 

But new birds have been trickling in, especially as the wind dropped and we got some light rain yesterday:

Tree Pipits (above and below), trans-Saharan migrants heading for north-western Europe, are now moving through

Many migrants, like these Willow Warblers (above and below), make the most of temporary rain pools to wash and groom their feathers, after they have eaten well

...or this female Subalpine Warbler

...and all this activity at a stop over continues while resident breeding birds, like this male Sardinian Warbler, continue their activities among strange and transient neighbours

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