Tafria; migration into Europe.

Tafira is the southern most point of mainland Europe, it is even further south than the two African capitals of Tunis and Algiers. As such it is a good crossing point for migrants. Tarifa3

You can see the coast of Morocco, it is just under 20 miles to Tangiers..Tarifa5

 

 

 

There are regular ferry crossings. You can take a day trip and whilst in Morroco you can ride on a camel, eat a kebab and buy a souvenir tagine, should you want to.Tarifa9

There are also lots of trips out to see Whales and Dolphins.Tarifa7Boats and Jet things leave regularly.Tarifa8

The straights of Gibraltar are one of the narrowest crossing points between Africa and Europe and as such are a major route for migrants. The other main routes are from Tunisia to Scilly and thus southern Italy and the third route is up through Turkey and across into Greece.migration routes

The reasons birds choose these routes depend on the type of bird. Large birds like Eagles, Vultures and Storks like to soar, they are not that keen on flapping their wings for hours on end. So they find a thermal and use it to gain height, going round and round ( like the joggers in Park life) and when they have got up nice and high they soar off on their journey and will then gradually loose height. Before they hit the ground, they find another thermal and regain height , and then they are off again, and so it continues. However you do not get thermals over water and so, they have to select a narrow crossing point. Then they gain height close to the coast and then soar off across the water and hopefully reach the other shore and then find another thermal before they run out of altitude.

Smaller birds are more able to flap and keep going but obviously they like a bit of a break every so often. They will use ships for this or oil rigs but favourite is an island, so they prefer not to migrate across hundreds of miles of water. They will also make use of prevailing winds. The record is held by the bar-tailed godwit, a plump shorebird with a recurved bill, godwits can fly as many as 7,242 miles without stopping in their annual autumn migration from Alaska to New Zealand.

This is excessive but many small birds can fly non stop for three days and with a tail wind will achieve huge distances. Some birds will get up really high and use the jet stream like Swans and Geese.

Having said all this Tarifa is a good place for birds to cross and for birders to see huge numbers of Raptors at the right time of the year. It is also good for surfers and kite surfers.Tarifa6

It is also a good place for humans to cross and in the past has been used as an invasion route from North Africa, It has lots of fortification.Some more recent than others.Tarifa1

There is a massive beach which makes for easy access.Tarifa11

It also has an extremely good Chinguritto  (beach bar/restaurant) where we had coffee right on the beach, this must be the southern most eating establishment in all of mainland Europe.Tarifa12

There has obviously been some recent movement of people into Europe via this crossing as there are several bits of graffiti suggesting people are welcome. I refer you to this report for more information. spanishnewstoday.Tarifa4

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