Another season has passed us by, and from 5th May 2021 to 5th December 2021 Fundación Migres has once again been monitoring the passage of migratory birds through here at The Straits of Gibraltar.
For our small part we helped with the counts whenever we could for this important programme, which has been running since 1997.
Together we counted 521,000 soaring migratory birds including 151,300 White and Black Storks and 369,700 raptors of 37 different species!
Additionally 443,300 passerine migrants were counted, including 197,000 Finches, 87,500 hirundines, 83,000 Pallid, Common and Alpine Swifts, 32,000 European Bee-eaters, 15,000 Spotless Starlings and 14,000 House and Spanish Sparrows.
Fundación Migres also monitored the seabird passage from (permit-only) Isla de Tarifa, where we counted 404,000 seabirds passing through The Straits. These included 350,500 Scopoli’s / Cory’s Shearwaters, 21,500 Balearic Shearwaters, 15,000 Northern Gannet, 11,300 Gulls and Terns, 3,100 Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins and 600 Skuas.
Add to that the specific Balearic Shearwater monitoring programme, which counted a further 27,445 of this species passing through The Straits between May and July.
All of this count data represents long-term monitoring of population at this migratory bottleneck. With this data we are able to trace long-term (and short-term) trends of individual species at the East Atlantic Flyway scale, which can be used to alert conservationists, policy-makers and land managers to population declines and increases – demonstrating that monitoring is a vital part of conservation diagnosis management
Congratulations to the magnificent and dedicated team at Fundación Migres and their tireless work and for allowing us to be a small part of a great team. Additional thanks should go to Viking Optical who not only have supported the programme through loan optics but also taking part in the count themselves!
However, just as one season ends another one starts – the first White Storks are already returning to Europe and the Black Kites won’t be too far behind! Soon we will be observing the promise of return being fulfilled!