Thursday, May 16, 2013

Home!

As the plane splashed across the puddled runway towards the terminal building we knew it must be Manchester Airport. We were home. Two weeks of glorious Menorcan sunshine was over and normality beckoned. 

To get the blog back up and running I’m posting a few pictures from the holiday and hope to catch up with fellow bloggers soon. 

Most days were spent exploring again the rolling landscapes of the Menorca countryside, either on foot or by car. More often it would be both, stop-starting as particular spots or sightings lured us further into discovering the delights of this wonderful flower-filled island, a place where traditional farming and its associated birdlife is the norm. 

Don’t forget to “click the pics” for a Menorca experience. 

Spring flowers - Tirant, Menorca

Traditional farming - Menorca

Traditional farming - Menorca

Towards Cavallaria - Menorca

The roadside towards Cap de Cavalaria was a good place to find Tawny Pipit, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Quail, Sardinian Warbler, Kestrels a-plenty, Short-toed Lark, Thekla Lark, Red Kites and Booted Eagles, the latter the commonest raptor of the island. Just one Red-footed Falcon seen in the two weeks, a later migrant and also one which arrives in poor weather and/or south-easterly winds. Egyptian Vultures can be seen almost anywhere on the island, especially so on the Cavallaria route but the clear skies of the two weeks kept both them and the Booted eagles high in the sky. And below is the best shot I could get of a distant Montagu’s Harrier as it sought insects above a recently cut field.

Sardinian Warbler

Corn Bunting

Tawny Pipit
 
Thekla Lark

Red Kite

Stonechat

Montagu's Harrier

In the first week of our holiday Woodchat Shrikes were very evident, particularly on roadside wires from which they searched the ground below for insect food. In the second week the shrikes were less visible with just local pairs noted rather then obvious migrants.

Woodchat Shrike

At one point we stopped the car to retrieve a Heerman’s Tortoise from the centre of the road and an approaching car. The tortoises lay their eggs in the spring so May is a time when lots of youngsters explore, so putting themselves in danger. The one below is probably some weeks old and not fully grown, but we also found some tiny individuals. 

 Heerman's Tortoise

Heermans’s Tortoise Testudo hermanni 

Generally the pace of life in Menorca is slow so the tortoises probably have time to cross the road, as do the cattle. 

Beware, Slow Cattle

All that walking and birding, leaning over gates in the dry and often dusty countryside makes for thirsty work. 
 
 Traditional Gate Menorca Style

Wash That Car

What Crisis? - Es Mercadal, Menorca

There’s more from Menorca soon and hopefully some local news when I get back in the swing of local birding. 

Linking today to Stewart in Australia.

14 comments:

Isidro Ortiz said...

Precioso reportaje el que nos traes de Menorca,las capturas fantasticas.Un abrazo

eileeninmd said...

Phil, I love the tour of Menorca. It looks like a lovely island. The flowers and rolling hills are beautiful. And all the birds are great a couple of my favorites are the first warbler and the cool Shrike. The tortoise is cute! Wonderful post, thanks for sharing your holiday!

Stewart M said...

Splendid set of birds - rally like the Shrike.

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

Stewart M - Melbourne

Connie Smiley said...

What a beautiful set of photos! My favorites are the first two and the last one. And the slow cattle sign is too funny. Sounds like a great trip.

Gail Dixon (La.Belle) said...

So many cool birds that I've never seen or heard of before, like the Sardinian warbler. Love the lark perched of the lichen covered rock. Very nice set! Welcome back home!

Kay L. Davies said...

I've often seen signs warning of "cattle crossing" but I think Menorca should have a "tortoise crossing" warning. They sure are cute little things.
Your birds are, as always, gorgeous, Phil. We will never have a tenth of your knowledge but we do enjoy seeing them.
Thanks for your help with our latest Alberta mystery bird. Did I tell you all the mystery birds in Italy turned out to be cormorants when I enlarged the photos? Too funny.
K

Gunilla Bäck said...

Looks like you had a wonderful visit. I love the slow cattle sign.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

What fun to find new birds. Or are they?
Did you research them before you trip?

It's interesting to see birds and their habitat.
I've spotted an Indigo Bunting, which I'd never seen before!
Thanks for sharing your travels!

Neil said...

Looks like you had a great holiday.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wonderful photos!

TexWisGirl said...

great looking birds! beautiful little tortoise. i LOVE that gate!!!

Nancy Claeys said...

Looks so relaxing. Wonderful bird and nature captures.

RNSANE said...

I've visited 45 countries and 25 Caribbean islands in my 68 years...but never got to Menorca. I loved visiting, via your blog, before breakfast this morning. Great shots of birds and scenery.

My critter post is at:

http://rnsane.blogspot.com/2013/05/camera-critters-267-granddog-and.html

My first grandchild, Harper, born April 14 - a girl, most welcome in a family top heavy with males!

Carly Peña Guerrero said...

Stunning shots of all those critters!!!;)Just lovely!
Happy saturday!!

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