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Ringing in Campo de Gibraltar

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The Migration

Bird concentrations in the Strait

Migration and wind

When and where to watch the migration




Bird ringing


Wetlands of the Strait

Where to watch birds

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During 1982, a group of enthusiastic naturalists, who were especially interested in birds of the Campo de Gibraltar ,headed by Alfonso González Carbonell, decided to make a commitment to the environment, united in the defense of the unquestionable value of nature. Previously, it was enough to go out into the field to observe birds and to be, often by chance, with other colleagues, but in future the objective would be the conservation and popularisation of nature ,using birds as the standard bearer


 After several meetings held in the houses of some of the founders, on the 3rd.August 1982 in La Linea de la Concepcion, with 8 members, the Ornithological Group of the Strait (GOES) was formed. The group was registered in Cadiz on 14th. October 1982 with number 1280, and has become the oldest ornithological and conservational association in the region of the Campo de Gibraltar ,and since then, has been developing important environmental work, centering its action in this region and
the surrounding areas.  
As was reflected in our statutes, we thought that the first intention had to be the conservation of the natural environment and its popularisation. We concentrated on these activities , and continue to do so, and also in the study and the protection of wild birds and their habitats, especially the more vulnerable areas such as wetland zones
using the study of birds to carry out this work. In this sense, from its beginnings the scientific ringing of birds has a crucial relevance within our association as a fundamental tool in the attainment of the objectives that concern us. From 1983 , within GOES, the scientific ringing section called Milvus-GOES has,in 23 years ringed over 90,000 birds, which puts us as one of the more active groups at a national level.


During this time many have joined and left, but a few remain from the beginnings in 1982.. Those that left perhaps did not find in the group what they had hoped. Perhaps the combination of early morning starts on a Saturday to ring in the Campo and the thought that to become a ringer was too difficult,persuaded them to leave.The ideological disagreement also has been and is the cause of conflicts in any group, and we are not an exception although always we tried to avoid arguments. However, during 1986 G.O.ES was on the verge of disappearing because of the differing points of view between a radical “ecological” section and “ringing ” section. The split did take place, the radicals dispersed but the ringing section continued looking forward to the future,when at the same time, Javier Espinosa,being one of the founder members,chose to keep safely all the relevant documents of the group , and was sworn in as the president, remaining so up until today.
 The fruits of our work has reaped much reward, so I will try to be brief. Numerous publications on the birds of the Campo de Gibraltar such as the Griffon Vulture, ornithological information of the Strait and the Black Kite have been produced. Many times the schools of the area have been visited giving informal talks to them thus targeting the future generations. Also the group regularly organises courses of initiation on the scientific ringing or the observation of birds. We have obtained, supported essentially by the Nature Protection Section of the Guardia Civil, an effective control of illegal activities related to birds and the environment. In particular, we have denounced numerous illegal activities against the nature of our region, preventing destruction of many zones of great value.In 1989,thanks to data produced by G.O.ES, we made a decisive contribution to the inclusion of three more important wetland sites of the Campo de Gibraltar into the Network of Protected Natural areas of Andalusia with the titles of Paraje Natural:Los Lances beach in Tarifa, the River Guadiaro estuary in San Roque and the salt marshes of the River Palmones estuary in Algeciras.
With respect to projects in which we have been involved, we can include: ringing of White Stork pulli in the province of Cadiz,monitoring of bird populations in the P.N. Sierra de Grazalema and Sierra de las Nieves, programme Calidris (ringing of waders), Euring programme (ringing of Barn Swallows), Passer programme (study of common species by ringing), programme tarsus (determination of the correct sizes of rings used on birds) and the study of the populations of the three species of Wheatear in the Serrania de Ronda. Amongst other things,at the same time, we ringed birds for more than 20 years in several areas, some as important as Palmones and Guadiaro - especially during post-nuptial migration and wintertime and in estates such as Guadacorte and Almoraima. Also we collaborated with other associations of the same kind, although some less than what we have in the past, such as Colectivo Ornitológico
Cigüeña Negra (COCN), Verdemar, Agaden, the Cadiz Natural History Society (SGHN) ,the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS), with the town halls of La Línea and Algeciras and the provincial environmental office of the Junta de Andalucia and with companies such as the Harbour Authority for the Bay of Algeciras (APBA), Ornitour S.L.,or the recently created Fundacion Migres.
Finally, we do not want to forget that, despite what we have achieved so far, we still have much to do. We are open to any contribution,every little helps.We ask that anyone who is interested in the conservation of birds and the environment, and especially the citizens of La Linea and the Campo de Gibraltar, to participate with us.







Grupo Ornitológico del Estrecho
Apartado de correos 351

11300 La Línea de la Concepción, Cádiz. Spain