I have been cruising for several years and thoroughly recommend it to birdwatchers. You get the chance to do some real seawatching as well as seeing some interesting birds ashore. Here is my report of a cruise around the Med and Adriatic on the Oriana this August.
The journey to and from the Straits of Gibralter was more interesting on the return journey especially the last day when there were at least 200 Gannets as we rounded the north west tip of France. Also 1 Little Gull, 1 Great Shearwater and 4 Whales. The only positive identification was a Fin Whale.
Cruising along the Portugese coast there were several Cory Shearwater, 1 Great Skua and 4 Sooty Shearwater.
As we climbed the Fortress area of Malaga there was 1 Melodious Warbler, 1 Rock Sparrow, 4 Spanish Sparrow, 1 Sardinian Warbler, 4 Greenfinch, a flock of Goldfinch and Red-rumped swallows and Plain Swift above. There were great numbers of noisy Monks Parakeet in the avenue of trees near the harbour exit. There were Yellow Legged Gulls around the harbour area.
In Dubrovnik there were huge numbers of Alpine Swift especially off Lopud Island. I personally have never seen such huge numbers of Alpine Swift in one area. In the harbour there were the usual Yellow-leggged Gulls and Medittearanean Gulls.
As we sailed into Venice there were large numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls, Barn Swallows and several Terns including Little Tern and Common Tern. There were Cormorants in abundance too. Italian Sparrows were seen at the eastern end of Venice in the park area.
There was little to see in Split except the Yellow-legged Gulls and Red-rumped Swallows.
As we climbed the fortress at Kotor there were 3 Raven, Red-rumped Swallows, a Blue Rock Thrush and a party of Alpine Choughs. Near the edge of the town I saw several Pied Wagtails and 3 Grey Wagtails.
Again there was little to see in Corfu except House Sparrows, a Jay,and Yellow-legged Gulls. As we passed between Corfu and Paxos I saw a Cory Shearwater, Yellow-legged Gulls and 1 Little Egret.
The journey to Gibralter via southern Sicily was the more interesting than the outward bound journey North of Sicily. There were about 500 Cory Shearwater and a few Mediterranean Shearwater off the northern tip of Tunisia. We kept on passing rafts of Cory Shearweaters for about 3 hours. The ship was passing Zembra Island which I now learn holds 20,000 breeding Cory Shearwater. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the voyage and a sight I will never forget.
We went up the cable car to the Rock of Gibralter and saw 30 Black Kite circling overhead. There was 1 Kestrel amongst them. There was also 1 Raven and 1 Blue Rock Thrush. There were a lot of Plain Swift and Red-rumped Swallow around. In the Botanic Garden there were Spanish Sparrows, Collared Doves, Blackbirds and Blue Tits. The usual Yellow-leggedd Gulls were around the harbour.
As we left Gibralter the Dolphins provided a spectacle. The Straits of Gibralter presented a feast of Cory Shearwater, Meditearanean Shearwater, and Yellow-legged Gulls.