MIGRATION

The excellent geographic position of Andalucia makes it a beautiful place for watching migration. Migration occurs practically everywhere, though best of all are the higher points. Of course, all concentrate at sites closest to Africa, where the journey to Marocco is easy. At the closest point only 16 kilometres separates Europe from Africa Special things can observed everywhere, especially during the passage period.


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Mountains at Tarifa on the foreground, during passage periods often full of soaring raptors.
On clear days you can even see the Atlas mountains of Morocco in the Strait. Good Seawatching can be done here also.

One of the best places to watch migrating raptors are the mountains in the Tarifa area.
Remember that birds arriving in spring and travelling north arrive on lower levels. The groups are not as big either. The ones that travel south in autumn, starting here in August, are concentrated in the mountains behind Tarifa and the surroundings. Before leaving, they circle and concentrate up to 200 birds (of prey) and off they go. The difficulty for raptors and birds with a big wingspan, such as storks and herons, is that they rely fully on thermic conditions. While this is missing above sea it is the reason why they gather here were the distance to the other continent is only 16km. Often they stay for a while to forage and save energy before going south. The arriving birds in autumn are often exhausted and have to rest for a few days in the mountains behind Tarifa.

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Watching migration of small birds is more difficult, as they migrate in small flocks from area to area before they make the passage. They also do not rely on thermic conditions, which makes their passage easier. Especially after storms, many small birds are forced to shelter in the bushes along the coast. Bushes full of different warblers can be found and Punta Secreta.

The most visible birds on migration at the Tarifa points are: Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Honeybuzzard and Buzzard, Bee-eater, Storks.

Hundreds a day are normal in passage periods and it is nice to know that a colony of Griffon vultures is always present. The possibility of close views of them makes this area attractive.