Migration at Tarifa is exciting and varied. Our 2nd trip with the Cambridge group in 2016 saw us watching raptors, whales and seabirds here.

These are photos taken by Phil during the trip. More pictures can be seen at Andy Butler's Blog click here


stunningly close Booted Eagles were the most numerous raptor

a couple of flocks of Black Stork flew by

Short-toed Eagles rise up on a thermal overhead


Crimson Speckled moth

we had an amazing time with Bottle-nose Dolphins



Scopoli's Shearwater were seen from our boat, but some birds gathered off the beach to feed too



White-headed Duck


Little Swift



Away from Tarifa we visited the northern part of the Coto Donana National park and its surrounding farmlands.

Spoonbills were extremely common here

there were thousands of Glossy Ibis




Ronda's old buildings had Choughs and Crag Martins

mist over Gibralter



dawn on the south coast gave us a stunning view of the mountains in North Africa

this was our view of Morocco

how close can you get!!!




Pilot Whales were also a highlight of our boat trip



This Black-shouldered Kite chased the slightly larger Jackdaws


even common birds like Bar-tailed Godwit show well at the saltpans


Lesser Short-toed Lark is common but can be hard to see well


Griffon Vulture








This September we took members of the Shepley Wildlife Group to Tarifa in southern Spain, to watch the migration spectacle of birds crossing the Straits of Gibraltar.

Here are a selection of photographs from the trip.


Members of the Shepley group and Paul, with Tarifa, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Moroccan coast in the background.


This year we found three Lesser Crested Terns on the beach at Tarifa, two of which are shown here alongside Sandwich Terns.


More photographs from this trip to follow shortly....







Paul and Phil have just returned from a week watching migrants in the Straits of Gibraltar. They had a lovely group and some great weather, and were rewarded by many superb sightings. Two Lanner Falcons, two Spanish Imperials Eagles, Royal Tern, Bluethroat, Penduline Tit, Black Wheatear, Little Swift, Red-necked Nightjar, Audouin's Gull, White-headed Duck, Bonelli's Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite and a melanistic Montagu's Harrier were amongst the hightlights, as well as some superb raptor passage. Here are some of their best shots.


We started the trip near Seville, as saw many waterbirds, including this juvenile Spoonbill.


Slender-billed Gulls were numerous at Bonanza this year.


Juvenile waders are always a delight, and this Curlew Sandpiper, seen en route to southern Africa, was no exception.


Once we got to Tarifa, the raptors were ever present. Here, a scarce rufous morph Booted Eagle gives great views.


A Short-toed Eagle heads south. Good luck!


Part of a flock of 193 Black Storks which appeared over Tarifa early one morning.


Later in the day several smaller flocks of Black Storks were seen migrating.


The Ruppell's Griffon Vulture is a rare  but increasing visitor from sub-Saharan Africa. This immature was one of the closest birds to pass over our heads one afternoon!


Another Ruppell's Griffon was seen feeding at a cow carcass. It is the top left (darker) bird, seen alongside Eurasian Griffons.


Booted Eagles were the most numerous raptors at Tarifa.


Here, a dark-phased Booted Eagle shows off its headlights perfectly.


Large numbers of Griffons can been see in the Tarifa area.


Short-toed Eagle is also common.


Honey Buzzards were rather scarce this year. All our sightings were of juveniles, the adults having already gone south.


Another well-marked Short-toed Eagle.


Ospreys were occasionally seen at Tarifa, though this one was hunting at Brazo del Este.



The rare Little Swift is reliable at Chipiona.


This 'Corys' Shearwater has pale webs to the underside of the primaries, proving that it is a Mediterranean breeding Scopoli's Shearwater. Several were seen during a two-hour boat trip.


We saw four species of cetacean this time, Long-fined Pilot Whale,  Short-beaked Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin.






Pam Boulton kindly sent us these photographs from our recent Tarifa trip. Enjoy!


White Storks gathering near the Guadalquivir River prior to heading south.


A Griffon Vulture at a colony near Bolonia.


We did a boat trip in to the straits and saw lots of Cory's Shearwaters and a huge group of Striped Dolphins.


This Hummingbird Hawk-moth was feeding in the garden of our hotel. Well done for getting a picture Pam!


Griffon Vulture at the straits.


A dark-phased Booted Eagle heads south.

This Short-toed Eagle was waiting for better conditions to cross the straits.


Little Swifts have recently started breeding in Spain. This one was at Chipiona.



I have just got back from a week in southern Spain with the Craven and Pendle RSPB Members' Group. The trip was specifically to watch the raptor migration, and we weren't disappointed. However, since I don't own a digital SLR, I cannot photograph flying raptors. But here are my efforts at photographing more stationary birds. Paul.


Spotless Starlings were watched feasting on ripe prickly pear fruits.


The bird spectacle at Bonanza was as impressive as ever. This large flock of Spoonbills was very entertaining.


A Sandwich Tern on Los Lances Beach, Tarifa.


A Red-necked Nightjar spotlighted on the first evening was one of the highlights of the trip.


What are friends for, if you can't rest your camera on their head?


Greater Flamingos at Bonanza.


Glossy Ibis have increased tremendously in southern Spain in recent years. We saw hundreds at Brazo del Este.


Huge flocks of Corn Buntings were a nice sight at La Janda, particularly since they have become so scarce in the UK.


A male Blue Rock Thrush poses beautifully at Bolonia.


An Audouin's Gull on the beach at Bolonia.





In mid September 2011 we took seven members of the Bradford Ornithological Group to southern Spain, visiting the east side of the Guadalquivir Delta and Tarifa. We had a great time, with masses of migrants streaming through. As well as hundreds of Honey Buzzards, Booted Eagles, Black Kite and Short-toed Eagles we saw smaller numbers of Black Storks, Montague's Harriers and Lesser Kestrels. During the trip we also saw Little Swift, White-headed Duck and Marbled Duck. Surprises came in the form of a winter plumaged Marsh Sandpiper and this Royal Tern, a rarity from West Africa with fewer than 50 European records!

Tarifa, with the old fortified town in the background

Glossy Ibis and Black-winged Stilt, Brazo del Este

Short-toed Eagle over Tarifa (above adult, below immature)

Mediterranean Scorpion (we still haven't worked out why Irene turned over a hardened cow pat to find it !)

A windy day at Tarifa beach. This Royal Tern is a true rarity from West Africa.

Lesser Kestrels gather to roost in an araucaria tree

Greater Flamingos and waders at Bonanza

Long-finned Pilot Whales at point-blank range in the straits.

Relaxing after a walk through Ronda

Honey Buzzard migrating south.

Griffons at a feeding station.

the 'rock'

female Red-veined Darter



A selections of pictures by Sheila Ryde, customer on our September 2009 Tarifa trip....

raptor watching at the Straits of Gibraltar                          The Straits of Gibraltar with the Moroccan coast beyond


Short-toed Eagle heading across the Strait                                                      Pale-phased Booted Eagle

Eurasian Griffon Vulture                                                 Ruppell's Griffon Vulture, all the way from Senegal!

Juvenile Montagu's Harrier                                             Black Stork heading to Africa. Good luck!

Monarch butterflies are regular. This one was in the hotel garden.                         Two-tailed Pasha, Europe's largest butterfly.

Spoonbills and a Marbled Duck

Kentish Plover rest on Los Lances Beach, Tarifa

Greater Flamingos at Bonanza Saltpans

Red-billed Chough, Ronda                                                Ronda Gorge

Black-winged Stilt                                                Bar-tailed Godwit




Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.



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