Friday, May 30, 2014

North To Nati

There was birding today but things were so quiet that I'd struggle to fill a post. So instead here’s more from our two week holiday in Menorca of 2nd-16th May. 

A trip north and west is an annual event, a birding morning to see a number of specialised species which inhabit the coastal area of Punta Nati three or four miles out from the second city Ciutadella. There’s perhaps not much to interest the average Joe at Punta Nati - a lighthouse, a number of partly restored prehistoric monuments within a patchwork of dry stone-wall enclosed fields, and birds.

Punta Nati - Menorca


For birders this part of the island guarantees Short-toed Lark, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark, Tawny Pipit and Stone Curlew. Off shore there may be Cory’s Shearwaters, Audouin’s Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls, European Shags and if the conditions are right, swifts of the Pallid, Alpine and Common persuasion. 

European Shag

 Alpine Swift

Although our morning here was dry and sunny the Tramuntana blew quite strongly to make the birds skittish and less likely to pose on the exposed walls, so apologies for less than ideal pictures. It all makes for good reasons to return to Menorca in 2015.

Blue Rock Thrush

Thekla Lark

Short-toed Lark 

Tawny Pipit

The common lizard in Menorca is the Italian Wall or Ruin Lizard - Podarcis siculus

Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis siculus

On the way south but before hitting the outskirts of Ciutadella there’s a roadside stop at the Cattle Egret colony.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

It’s easy to wax lyrical about beautiful Ciutadella, an historic town that has held up well to the pressure of tourism in the twentieth century. It was originally named by the Carthaginians, who called it Jamma, and was the original capital of Menorca until the British came along and chnged it to Mahon in the eighteenth century. To many Menorcans Ciutadella still remains the capital of Menorca and there is intense rivalry between the two cities.

A little shopping, exploration and coffe stops in Ciutadella is a relatively good exchange for a morning’s birding at Punta Nati.

Ciutadella

Street Artist - Ciutadella

Ciutadella

The Harbour - Ciutadella - Menorca 

At least a couple of Kestrel pairs nest in the centre of the city, one pair next to the clock tower of the Cathedral Basilica. The fine old buildings are home to many pairs of Common Swift, the harbour a place to see Yellow-legged Gulls and sometimes Audouin's Gull. So even amongst the shopping and sightseeing there's always a spot of birding.   

Kestrel

Menorca Cathedral - Ciutadella

 Yellow-legged Gull

Log in soon for more birding and photography from Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog and Eileen's Saturday Blog.

22 comments:

Chris Rohrer said...

Strange and awesome birds!!!! What I don't understand is the difference between a Yellow-footed and Yellow-legged Gull? They look nearly identical! Maybe the bills are different?

eileeninmd said...

Phil, I am really enjoying your holiday photos and the birds. Great shots, I love the Thekla Lark and the Cattle Egrets.. Happy Birding!

David Gascoigne said...

Wow, Menorca is looking more appealing with every post. It's not a destination I have ever considered but I may have to change my mind!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Ah Punta Nati remembered for all the wrong reasons - Lashing it down and howling a gale when |I was last there, think I must have brought a pocket full of UK March weather with me

Cheers

Dave

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

"Return To Menorca" sounds like a great title for a book. I'd buy it, especially if it had your great pictures as illustrations. Loved the birds of course, but also the travelogue pictures of this beautiful place.

Christian Perrin said...

Stunning photos Phil, but there you are apologising for them again! :)

That Alpine Swift looks quite striking in the air, doesn't it? I really miss the Common Swift too - hearing their screams as they dashed around the buildings on a London evening always made me notice SUMMER!

It seems like a very exotic, arid location, as though you could be in North Africa or the Middle East, and those larks and pipits add to the illusion. I guess biogeographically, you may as well be in those places!

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures - not a group of birds I expect to see everyday!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

eileeninmd said...

Phil, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up. Have a happy weekend!

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Phil. Yet another great post from your holidays. Great to see the Cattle Egret in breeding plumage and the Larks. Are you brave enough to cross the bridge with me today? Have a wonderful weekend.

Bob Bushell said...

Wow, my favourites are the Cattle Egrets, fantastic.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful images of birds.

TexWisGirl said...

lovely birds, but i was completely taken with the stone walls! and the cool lizard. :)

Adam Jones said...

The Cattle Egret is a real beauty.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful birds and the old town is very charming. I also love the lizard.

Anni said...

...that Tawny Pipit is marked ever so striking!! Love the 'crest' on the one cattle egret...and the swift, don't they remind you of a short stubby cigar? Oh never mind...but, they do me. lol

Great post as always. Love you sharing your trip with us.

Christian Weiß said...

Sounds like a really interesting place, great birds and photos.

Karen said...

I didn't mind seeing more Menorcan beauty and birds at all Phil! Lovely!

Carole M. said...

no wonder you return each year to Menorca Phil - it certainly has its own special charm eminating from your photos to the other side of the globe!

Russell Jenkins said...

Enjoyed the post, Phil. Makes me feel like I'm on holidays and the pics are great. Like the swift and the kes as well as the area sights.

Gary Phillips said...

Almost as good as an actual tour!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

Marie said...

Fantastic post! Really enjoyed the interesting birds and views of the island.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for taking us along!

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