Here's a post from 2 weeks in sunny Menorca. Brilliant indeed proved both the holiday and the birding with 14 days of unbroken sunshine and not a spot of rain. The island has a list of over 220 species throughout the seasons, so our two week birding list of 78 species is respectable but isn’t going to break any records. But bird watching is not the only joy of a Menorca holiday as blog regulars and/or visitors to the island will already know. Don't forget to click the pics for a colourful Menorca experience.
This year I met up with a Menorcan birder and ringer, Javier Mendez. Javier is extremely knowledgeable about birds and all things Menorcan, and for visitors to the island who prefer a guide, he does that too. You can contact him at Javier Mendez.
I spent a morning with Javier at his Constant Effort Ringing site at Algendarat, an ecological farm near Mahon. Some lovely birds in the hand on Another Bird Blog soon, but for this post there are photos from birding mornings and exquisite places around the island.
First port of call each year is to a Bee-eater colony on a farm close to the main road between the unspoilt, authentic inland town of Es Mercadal and the picturesque but touristy Fornells. The Bee- eaters fly to a roadside fence as long as there are not cars speeding by. Bee-eaters burrow into sandy soil to make a nest chamber, hence the dusty residue on this bird’s bill.
We regularly see Hoopoes at the same location although they aren’t especially approachable, as Hoopoes tend to be. They have to keep a look out for raptors overhead, the common Booted Eagle or the ever present Kestrels that might rob them of their large insect prey.
In a nearby field we discovered this year a spectacular display of wild poppies. Menorca has over 1000 species of plants, 60 of them endemic to the island. In the background of the picture is the resort of Cala Tirant, a world away from the flower-filled fields of a Menorcan Spring where the song of Corn Buntings fill the air and farming is carried out in traditional ways.
Hay Making Menorca
We found just a few pairs of Stonechat this year, and it seems that the Stonechat is not doing too well here at the moment, Menorca is not totally immune from environmental changes that threaten species worldwide. The island’s Stonechats are a little darker than the ones we see in the UK, just like one or two other species, for instance Goldfinch and Woodpigeon being particularly evident in showing darker shades. Perhaps it’s something to do with all that sunshine?
On the way to lunch at La Palma, a favourite café in Fornells we found a male Stonechat along the roadside telling us he had a family nearby. But there’s no time to stop when tapas is on the menu so we piled back in the Panda and set off again.
Fornells - Menorca
Fornells - Menorca
There’s more birds and scenes from Menorca soon on Another Bird Blog.
Linking this post to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.