Category Archives: Field Notes

Aves Rapaces de Europa – Reseña Bibliográfica


Aves Rapaces de Europa, de la editorial Omega, es un nuevo libro publicado a finales de 2019 por Alex Ollé y Fran Trabalon. Se trata, posiblemente, de la obra más completa sobre este carismático grupo de aves en la región. Como muchos sabéis, las rapaces son una de nuestras grandes pasiones, así que desde que tuvimos conocimiento de este proyecto esperábamos su lanzamiento  con gran interés. Además, durante los últimos años Javi ha mantenido un fructífero intercambio de información con los autores. Por este motivo, cuando nuestro amigo José Luis Copete ofreció a Javi escribir una reseña para la revista  ARDEOLA de SEO/Birdlife, aceptó sin dudarlo.

Aguilucho cenizo, hembra joven melánica en La Janda - Javi Elorriaga / Birding The Strait
Aguilucho cenizo melánico. Hembra de primer año fotografiada en La Janda en septiembre de 2016. Esta fotografia, junto a otras 19 de otros autores, ha sido utlizada para ilustrar la especie en Aves Rapaces de Europa.

Aves Rapaces de Europa, aspectos destacados:

En este enlace podéis leer la reseña completa de Aves Rapaces de Europa, publicada por Javi en Ardeola. A continuación, resumimos los aspectos más destacados:

  • Da cobertura a 39 especies. Así, incluye todas las reproductoras en Europa.  Además, el buitre moteado, divagante habitual, recibe un capítulo completo.
  • No se trata exclusivamente de una guía de identificación, sino de una obra a modo de enciclopedia. Incluye amplia información sobre la biología de las especies. Cabe destacar las más de 800 referencias bibliográficas  y 700 fotografias empleadas.
  • Proporciona mapas de distribución muy precisos. Pese a alguna omisión puntual, estos muestran la mejor información  disponible.
  • Documenta la práctica totalidad de los plumajes discretos de las rapaces de Europa, atendiendo a su edad, sexo y variaciones. Esto es algo que anteriormente solo ofrecía Forsman en Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East De esta manera, ambas obras se complementan y crean una sinergía de gran interés.
  • Ollé y Trabalon aportan la descripción más  completa disponible de las clases de edad del águila imperial ibérica.

    Imagenes de äguila Imperial Ibérica en Aves Rapaces de Europa
    Muestra del capítulo dedicado al Águila Imperial Ibérica en Aves Rapaces de Europa.
  • Emplea recursos didácticos, como collages y marcadores en las fotos, que facilitan  la correcta interpretación de los rasgos clave para la identificación.

En conclusión,  Aves Rapaces de Europa es un libro muy recomendable. Considero que es imprescindible para todos los aficionados a las aves rapaces  y de grandísimo interés  para todos aficionados a la ornitología.  Personalmente, he disfrutado y aprendido mucho estudiando el libro. Por su alcance y relevancia, merecería la pena su traducción al inglés. -Javi Elorriaga-

Buitre moteado y buitre leonado en Tarifa - Javi Elorriaga / Birding The Strait
Buitre motedo inmaduro (izquierda) junto a un buitre leonado de segundo año  en Tarifa. Esta es una de las imágenes con las que hemos colaborado en Aves Rapaces de Europa.

Otras revisiones

Durante los últimos años hemos publicado varias reseñas de libros de aves. A continuación las enumeramos con sus correspondientes enlaces:

Para viajar lejos, no hay mejor nave que un libro

Emily Dickinson.

Birding in Southern Morocco in Spring: Trip Report

These are days to recall past birding experiences and let our imagination run free to plan future trips. A year ago, we organized a private birding trip to one of our favourite destinations, Southern Morocco. This was a bespoke tour, ran between the 27th of March and the 3rd of April 2019. The main target was simple, enjoy all the local birding specialities while getting immerse in the Moroccan culture! Moreover, we specifically designed this tour to complement, in terms of species, a previous one to the northern half of the country.

Trip Report

You can find the trip report here. It contains a day-by-day description of the itinerary. It also shows a selection of pictures of birds and landscapes. Next, we summarize some of the highlights of this trip.

A Desert warbler beautifully singing at Erg Chebbi - Javi Elorriaga/Birding The Strait
A Desert warbler beautifully singing at Erg Chebbi.

Birding in Southern Morocco Highlights

  • We got good views of the whole set of Moroccan wheatears within the first 24 hours of the trip. Namely: White-crownedBlackNorthernSeebohm’sMaghrebRed-rumpedBlack-eared and Desert Wheatear. Remarkably, we found Maghred Wheatears at two different locations. And all these at an easy pace!
  • A Pharaoh Eagle Owl offered dreamed views during the golden hour. Remarkably, we got it in full view, preening and getting ready for his nocturnal hunt. All this in a wonderful desert scenario.

 

  • Coming through a congregation of 500+ Blue-checked Bee Eaters was a major surprise. We saw the birds gathering around their night roost in a patch of Eucalyptus trees.
  • The Egyptian Nightjar is a must in any  tour to Southern Morocco in spring. As usual, it beautifully performed for the group in Merzouga.
  • A Dunn’s Lark near Merzouga made the biggest  surprise of the trip. And we got a record shot!
  • Connecting with all the specialities in Oukaimeden took us a bigger effort than usual. Once we found them, we did specially enjoy the views of the African Shore Lark, Tristram’s Warbler and Crimson-winged Finch.
  • Finding the Lake of Merzouga, Dayet Srij, flooded is a dream for every enthusiast of the Moroccan birdlife. And we did so! The view of over 1000 Flamingos with the dunes of the Sahara in the background was memorable.

    Flamingos in Merzouga - Javi Elorriaga/Birding The Strait
    Finding the Lake of Merzouga, Dayet Srij, flooded and full of birds is a rare sight.
  • Sightseeing made a remarkable part of this trip. A visit to the Ksar of Ait Ben Haddou and strolling at dusk in the Jemaa El Fna square of Marrakech was great. Indeed, both are included within the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
An Egyptian Nightjar near Merzouga, a real highlight - Javi Elorriaga/Birding The Strait
An Egyptian Nightjar near Merzouga, a real highlight.

Stay Tunned

Contact us if you are interested on a Birding Trip to Morocco! And stay tunned for our forthcomoing tour report on our last visit to the Western Sahara in February 2020!

Birding The Strait coronavirus (Covid-19) statement

Bird migration continues! Booted Eagle in migration across the Strait of Gibraltar
Bird migration continues! Booted Eagle in migration across the Strait of Gibraltar

Dear friends,

As you might expect, the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has drastically affected our work. Starting yesterday, all our day trips, tours and activities outdoors in Spain and Morocco during this spring season have been cancelled or postponed until further notice. The health and safety of our clients and society at large is unquestionably our top priority.

As a travel agency, we want to specially express our solidarity to all our colleagues in the travel industry and our commitment to cope with this undesirable situation positively and severely. In Birding The Strait, we are convinced that with our combined efforts we will promptly overcome this situation.

We will take this time as an opportunity for introspection, get back to those unfinished projects, pending books, writing, studying and planning for the near future. No doubt, we will soon be ready and reinforced to keep enjoying with you our wonderful nature!

In the meantime, migration is still going in Tarifa. Raptors and other migratory birds keep reaching Europe and will continue their relentless natural course. We will be here to witness their efforts, the marvel of migration and life, in times to come.

See you soon,

Birding The Strait Team


Estimados amigos,

Como podéis imaginar, la crisis del coronavirus (Covid-19) ha afectado severamente a nuestro trabajo. Desde ayer, todas nuestras excursiones, tours y actividades al aire libre en España y Marruecos de esta primavera han sido canceladas o pospuestas hasta nuevo aviso.

La salud y seguridad de nuestros clientes y la sociedad en general son, incuestionablemente, nuestra prioridad absoluta.

Como agencia de viajes, queremos expresar nuestra solidaridad con todos los compañeros del sector turístico, así como nuestro compromiso para hacer frente a esta situación de manera positiva y solidaria.

En Birding The Strait, estamos seguros que, con el esfuerzo de todos, conseguiremos superar esta situación rápidamente. Por nuestra parte, aprovecharemos este periodo como una oportunidad para la introspección, así como para retomar proyectos pendientes, escribir, estudiar y planificar nuevos viajes. Sin duda, pronto estaremos listos y reforzados para seguir disfrutando de nuestra maravillosa naturaleza junto a vosotros.

Mientras tanto, la migración sigue su curso en Tarifa. Las rapaces y otras aves migratorias siguen llegando a Europa manteniendo, inexorablemente, sus ciclos vitales. Nosotros, nos mantendremos al pie del cañón para seguir disfrutando este espectáculo en los tiempos que vengan.

Nos vemos pronto,

El equipo de Birding The Strait

Bird Migration Videos in the Strait of Gibraltar – Part III

 

Black Kites on migration in the Strait of Gibraltar. Photo by Javi Elorriaga / Birding The Strait

We have released a new Bird Migration Video in our Youtube channel. We filmed it exactly one year ago. On this third episode we present the onset of the White Stork migration. We also talk about other migrants in the Strait of Gibraltar this time of the year, like black kites and swifts.

Bird migration for all

The large concentration of White Storks and Black Kites in the Tarifa area offers a magnificent expectable. This show does not only draw the attention of keen birders, but regular tourists visiting Cadiz in summer are also stunned by it. Indeed, July and August is an excellent period for family birding in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The big show of the smaller

The migration of smaller birds is equally astonishing for the trained eye. It is currently known that the Strait of Gibraltar funnels the migration of European birds to Africa in a much bigger proportion than traditionally assumed. For instance, thousands of Common and Pallid Swifts can be seen heading south in a few hours. In addition, continuous flocks of migrant European bee-eaters can be heard by night as well.

The big days of “autumn” migration have only started. One more year, Birding The Strait will be offering birding wildlife excursions during this exciting time.

Check our youtube channel for more videos and stay tuned!

Lesser Kestrels in Tarifa – a walk tour within the #MigBird event

Lesser Kestrels in Tarifa

The ancient ramparts of Guzman el Bueno Castle in Tarifa, hold the southernmost colony of Lesser Kestrels in the continent. In addition, this is one of the few sites where this typically migrant species overwinters in Europe. Unfortunatelly, the Lesser Kestrel population has suffered a dramatic decline throughout its range. This is due to multiple factors. This way, make people aware about the presence and fascinating lifestyle of this charming raptor is a key factor towards its conservation.

Male Lesser Kestrel with a grasshopper in Tarifa. The increased use of pesticides is one of the factors affecting the species population. Photo by Yeray Seminario / Birding The Strait
Male Lesser Kestrel with a grasshopper in Tarifa. The increased use of pesticides is one of the factors affecting the species population.

Tarifa #MigBird

Next Saturday 20th, Birding The Strait will be offering a free excursion around the Castle. The breeding colony of Lesser Kestrel will be the central subject of the activity. However, we will certainly have the chance to observe many other species as well.

This activity is part of Birding The Strait corporate responsibility . Come join us!

Female Lesser Kestrel in Tarifa. Photo by Javi Elorriaga / Birding The Strait
Female Lesser Kestrel in Tarifa.

Aftermath

We want to thank the 17 participants for their friendliness and enthusiasm. The morning just flew by observing Lesser Kestrels around their nests. Moreover, we have seen numerous Black Kites in active migration from Africa. It has been very rewarding to discuss with this varied group of nature enthusiasts from Tarifa, other regions of Spain, Holland and Switzerland.

The most rewarding surprise has been to realize the remarkable knowledge for birds and nature by the youngest participants. No doubt, local initiatives such as MigBird are significantly contributing to increase the awareness for wildlife conservation in Tarifa. This is really encouraging! In Birding The Strait we will keep working in this direction as much as we can.

Finally, we want to thank Diego and Lucia, from the Tarifa Town Hall, for their support.

If you are interested in visiting this colony and learn more about the Lesser Kestrel and the other resident and migratory raptors, contact us!

Bird Migration Videos in the Strait of Gibraltar-Part II

A group of migrant Black Kites stopovering in the Strait of Gibraltar. Photo by Javi Elorriaga / Birding the Strait
A group of migrant Black Kites stopovering in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Yes friends, the time has come!

One more year, since time immemorial, the raptor migration has started in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Black Kites on the move

Black Kites are always the first to be noticed. They are on the move in growing numbers. Adults are now in a race from their African wintering quarters to their breeding grounds in Europe. They are in a hurry to occupy the best possible nest site. The Sahara, the ocean, weather constrains and human infrastructure will be the main threats they will have to face. The Black Kite is, by far, the most abundant of all the raptors using this flyway. They often kettle in enormous flocks and gather in communal roosts providing a world class spectacle.

Black Kites gathering in a commonal roost on a Cork Oak. Photo by Javi Elorriaga /Birding The Strait
Black Kites gathering in a commonal roost on a Cork Oak.

Bird Migration Series Part I & II

To celebrate this, we release in our youtube channel the second video of the Birding The Strait migration series. Follow this link to see the Part I.

The new video shows the spring migration back from Africa of the Black Kite  in the Strait of Gibraltar. It contains a selection of the best footage we have filmed over the last springs in Tarifa, the Strait of Gibraltar and Los Alcornocales Natural Park.


The show has only started. Birding The Strait will be offering guided birding day trips and tailor-made tours in Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar throughout the season. Feel free to contact us anytime for further information!