29 September 2011

EuroBirdwatch 2011

PRESS RELEASE FROM GONHS: Save Migratory Birds! 

Millions of migrating birds will leave Europe in these weeks flying to their wintering places in Africa. BirdLife International invites people in Europe to take the opportunity on 1st / 2nd October 2011 to discover the fascinating world of bird migration. In 37 countries in Europe and Central Asia the national partners of BirdLife International invite people to observe the birds and hear interesting facts about bird migration. In most countries the interested people will find observation and information posts where everyone can share the knowledge on the exciting life of the different bird species.

For the migrating bird species the existence of suitable breeding areas in the north, saving stopovers on the flyway and appropriate habitats in the wintering regions are vitally important. The aim of EuroBirdwatch11 is to raise awareness for the beauty of bird migration and the needs of the birds taking part in it.

The European Birdwatch is an annual event comprising hundreds of nationally organised activities. On these observation posts the number of birds and participating people are counted and reported via the national centres to the European centre. In the last years around 60,000 people took part in 34 countries and close to 3 million birds were observed on this single weekend. In 2011 the event is coordinated by SVS/BirdLife Switzerland, which is acting as the European Centre to process these data.

Locally, GONHS will once again be hosting EuroBirdwatch, as Gibraltar BirdLife Partner organisation. Events will be centred around the Alameda Botanic Gardens and Europa Point as follows:



BIRD RINGING 8am to around 11am (the sun comes up higher after then) trained bird ringers will be catching birds in mist nets around the gardens and bringing them to a temporary ringing station on top of the Nature Shop at the Grand Parade entrance, where the birds will be identified, measured, weighed and released. 

BIRD WALKS 9am onwards. GONHS members will be leading walks around the Gardens, looking out for local and perhaps migratory birds. There will be a telescope on the bridge over The Dell form where birds can be seen coming in to bathe and drink at a fountain.

RAPTOR DISPLAY (Birds of Prey) - Our Raptor Rescue team will be bringing a variety of birds down to the walk between the top of the Grand Parade entrance steps and The Cottage, which should include a variety of eagles, hawks and falcons. The team will be setting up the birds at around 10:30am. 

Please note that in order to avoid unnecessary stress to the birds these will usually be removed after 12:00-12:30pm, so please don't come late and miss these wonderful birds.


3pm-6pm from the Europa Point Marine Observatory. Accessible on foot, by car (Europa Point car-park) or free on the No.2 Route bus from Market Place to Europa Point. All are welcome (please note that dogs are not permitted within the Alameda Botanic Gardens)

Please join the GONHS Facebook Group for more information, or if you may have any queries. You may also access the EuroBirdwatch 2011 website for details about other participating countries.

26 September 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Today is precisely one year on from the day that we uploaded our first post for the Bird Nerds blog!
Glossy Ibis
A lot has happened over the course of the year and we managed to plan a lot of successful birding outings during this time; locally in Gibraltar, in Southern Spain, and also in Portugal. 
Squacco Heron
There have also been times where we have headed out, not seen anything remotely interesting and gone home disheartened. There have even been occasions when we've been out and about and missed a wonderful photo opportunity because we simply haven't had our camera at hand...
Anyhow, we're keen to get some more birding outings organised for the coming months as we'd like to continue with the blog for a while yet. 

Its been interesting to receive positive feedback from people all over the globe, including our own family and friends, who have become keen followers.
Blue Rock Thrush
We really hope you've enjoyed our 'journey' so far and that you continue to support us in the future! 
Yellow Wagtail
Why not take a look at our Picasa Web Album and check out what bird species we have managed to photograph in the past year? 
Bee Eater
You can even leave comments on any of the photographs, if you wish to do so of course. We would love to hear from you and know which one's are your favourites!

17 September 2011

Pied Flycatcher - Migration

We had a day of strong Easterly winds with the levanter cloud surrounding the Rock of Gibraltar during mid September. This meant that small migrating birds were unable to fly against the force of the winds and they were forced to land/rest in the meantime, until the winds died down.
We read a GOHNS report online with regards to some Pied and Spotted Flycatchers that were in the Alameda Gardens so we decided to pop down there to see if we could catch a glimpse of them. 
Fortunately we were lucky enough to spot both bird species however, we only have photographs of the Pied Flycatcher to share with you today.

14 September 2011

La Janda in August

We were getting quite impatient to go on a birding trip after enjoying a laid back summer so we decided to head over to La Janda, knowing that it was migration season and that chances are, it'd be a good day overall.
We decided to take a different and more relaxed approach this time around so we circled the area by car, stopping every so often in order to scan the fields with our spotting scope. 
White Stork
It was absolutely boiling but we were so excited about 'starting the new season' that we pushed this to the back of our minds and just got on with it!
Little Owl
On another note, we're happy to announce that we've enlisted a new 'member' to join Bird Nerds! Craig is John's son (Gareth's brother) and he's always been a keen birdwatcher however, he went to university and he's been generally busy since. Now that he's back in Gibraltar and a lot more settled, he's decided to join us and has even contributed with some photos of his own!
Here is a complete list of birds spotted over the three day period:
Grey Heron
  • Honey Buzzard
  • Black Kite
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Montagu's Harrier
Rice Fields - La Janda
  • Common Buzzard
  • Bonelli's Eagle
  • Short-toed Eagle
  • Kestrel
  • Red-legged Partridge
Glossy Ibis

  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Lapwing
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Little Owl
Night Heron
  • Alpine Swift
  • Common Swift
  • Kingfisher
  • Bee-eater
  • Hoopoe
  • Crested Lark
  • Sand Martin
  • Crag Martin
  • Swallow
  • Grey Wagtail
Montagu's Harrier
  • Stonechat
  • Wheatear
  • Fan-tailed Warbler
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Woodchat Shrike
Griffon Vulture
  • Spanish Sparrow
  • House Sparrow
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Corn Bunting
Please note that these photographs were taken over three consecutive days, and that they were not all shot on the same day.

05 September 2011

Hundreds & hundreds... of Honey Buzzards!

We've had to delay the post on our birding trip to La Janda, as we visited the Lighthouse at Europa Point yesterday on the off chance of seeing some migrating birds and we were met by a spectacular sight! 
Honey Buzzard
We were fortunate enough to witness hundreds of Honey Buzzards flying over the Lighthouse on their way over to Africa, and luckily we captured them on camera to share with all of you! 

Here is an extract taken from one of our bird guide books, which describe the different Honey Buzzards (from below).
A, B and C are Adults, whereas D and E are Juveniles.

Here are some more photos of the spectacular Honey Buzzards:

NOTE - Details on La Janda will be posted later on in the week, with some good photos of Little Owl, etc.

Hope you've enjoyed today's unexpected post! :)