BIRDING TRIP: Isla de Tarifa, Cadiz, Spain

After visiting Isla de Tarifa quite a few times, I knew it can get pretty windy over there. Even though summer is far from over in the south of Spain, Tarifa is always a bit different. I don't make the mistake of just wearing a T-shirt and shorts anymore. No, long trousers and a jumper are more adequate, in almost any season, to withstand the cold wind. The Levante had been battering the whole town and its surroundings for two weeks, and the worst was not over yet. Fortunately on the island itself we could shelter in the concrete bunker-like watchpoint. The local police let us in at 9AM.

Whimbrel flying in front of the Strait
A happy Whimbrel with the Strait in the background

Nine pairs of eyes observed these usual suspects during an entertaining almost three-hour period.

  • Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
  • Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
  • Sanderling (Calidris alba)
  • Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucus)
  • Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
  • Sandwich Tern (Thalasseus sandvicensis)
  • Scopoli's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
  • Gannet (Morus bassanus)
  • Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
  • Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
  • Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
  • House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
  • Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
  • Serin (Serinus serinus)
A somewhat surprising guest: one of the two Grey Herons

The Gannets and Shearwaters came relatively close to the coast and allowed me to take a few decent photos.

Shearwater alongside a young Gannet

Adult Gannet

Shearwater in front of a ferry

Whimbrel flying low near the coast

A pair of Common Sandpipers

A sole Little Egret

Some of the Ruddy Turnstones

The ever-present Yellow-legged Gull

This Gannet is still young but already an expert diver

Also check out some previous visits to this place:

July 2022

August 2023

Three Sandwich Terns flying east

Looking forward to a next visit to the island, in hopefully less stormy conditions.

Happy birding!