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More info on the Strait of Gibraltar


trafalgar-lighthouseThe Strait of Gibraltar at the southern end of the European mainland is a mere 12 km across to the African continent. It's physical location is as strategic as anyone could imagine for migratory birds. If you combine the constant changing winds and powerful thermals makes the whole area around the Strait a fantastic place to sit comfortably at strategic crossing points and observe sometimes within ten meters the amazing spectacle of raptor migration.


To have the opportunity to study these magnificent raptor’s flying and soaring techniques at close hand, is truly breathtaking.


Wind direction is the most important factor for the crossing and we will look at the day's forecast with a view to positioning ourselves in the most favourable spots along the coast. Soaring birds generally wait until sufficient thermals have built up during late morning until the middle of the afternoon, giving us plenty of time to find the best spot to watch the spectacle. Passerines and other non-soaring migrants tend to dart straight across in large and smaller flocks at first light and when the weather is right.


A strong westerly wind (Atlantic Poniente) seems to favour birds better than a strong easterly (Levante), as birds migrating south in a really strong Levant have the danger of being blown off course into the Atlantic, west of Cape Espartel where the Moroccan coastline ends rather abruptly. Lighter Levante winds aid both birds coming south on the Mediterranean coastline and Atlantic shoreline followers flying along to the Barbate & Tarifa areas.






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