Unfortunately the ringing on Gibraltar wasn’t quite as good as the raptor watching, however we did manage a few good species which I was more than happy with. The week previous saw several hundred birds being ringed but the south westerly winds that we had don’t tend to stop many migrants. Easterly winds cause cloud to gather low over the rock causing migrants to land but clear conditions allowed them straight through. Also rain stopped play on several occasions which didn’t help.
As you would expect, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warbler were passing through as well as good numbers of Blackcap. We also got the first Garden Warbler of the year which was pretty much exactly on time. One of the most interesting species caught was Iberian Chiffchaff which used to be considered a race of Chiffchaff but is now a full species. Identification was tricky but with a bit of experience they were relatively easy to pick out. This picture doesn’t really show the clinching features but it does show the rather green and yellow plumage which is somewhat reminiscent of a Willow Warbler. Also note that the supercillium goes in front of the eye and over the bill.
Subalpine Warblers occasionally turn up in the UK but was very nice to handle several of them including a few males like this one.
Sardinian Warbler is a common resident in Spain and was numerous around the bird observatory though not many found the nets. Most have figured out where they are!
This rather sweet looking warbler is a Western Bonelli’s Warbler which is a very rare bird in the UK. Nice and easy to Identify in the hand with its rather grey back, eye ring, and yellow rump along with a few other features. Although to most it could easily just be another Chiffchaff…
This Willow Warbler is of the race ‘acredula’ which is found is Scandinavia. Notice the incredibly white under parts and whitish supercillium.
This must be the best bird caught during the week. We were very lucky to catch it as it’s not something that usually gets ringed at the Gibraltar. It’s a male Black-eared Wheatear! I am sure you’ll agree that it’s a stunning bird!
Huge thanks to Steve Norman for accommodating us for a whole week, though I've managed to accidently steal some bird bags so will have to come back to Gib at some point in the future to return them...