Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More From Menorca

The weather in Menorca was fairly mixed, about 50% pure sunny weather and 50% cloudy, cool or even rain, not ideal for photography a lot of the time but ok for walking and bit of birding, especially during the first week when migration was best but perhaps not dramatic due to the constant northerly winds.

One of our favourite walks was east from Sant Tomas, up over the coastal headland and then inland towards Son Bou where the Cami de Cavalls took us alongside woodland, across the mouth of the gorge that drops down from Es Mijorn, then alongside the marsh stretched out inland of the beach leading west from Son Bou; a mixture of habitats reflected in the birds seen. The frustrating birds are the Cettis Warblers and Nightingales, constantly singing from seemingly every suitable patch of habitat, hardly seen and almost impossible to photograph on a casual basis.

Alongside the coastal paths Wheatears, Stonechats, Tawny Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinches were plentiful, with pairs of Blue Rock Thrushes spaced at suitable distances apart, with an accompanying and constant rise and fall of Zitting Cisticolas. Shore and seabirds seen on this walk were the by now common Audouin’s Gull, Shag, Yellow-legged Gull and Common Sandpiper, and further out over the sea, feeding shearwaters, both Cory’s, Yelkouan and probably Balearic but all fairly distant on a walk without the encumbrance of heavy telescopes. It was the 3rd of May that saw an influx of Woodchat Shrikes that shared the tall hedgerows and coastal scrub with the finches, chats, pipits, and later in the week Spotted Flycatchers. It is not until I tried to get pictures of Woodchat Shrikes that I realised how difficult they are to approach closely, as they always kept a respectable distance, ever alert to my movements. Corn Buntings are just everywhere on Menorca, perhaps vying with Sardinian Warbler for the title of “commonest passerine”, and there are just so many singing from every available song post that it made me think how common the species must have been in the UK many, many moons ago before intensification.

Tawny Pipit

Blue Rock Thrush

Stonechat

Spotted Flycatcher

Corn Bunting

Woodchat Shrike

Audouin’s Gull

Raptors on this walk reflected the most common ones of the island, Egyptian Vulture, Kestrel, Peregrine and Booted Eagle, but there was usually a chance of a Hobby where migrant Swallows, Swift and House Martins congregated high along the cliffs or low over the marsh.

Hobby

Egyptian Vulture

View To Son Benet

In the area of Son Bou marsh we saw Squacco, Grey and Purple Herons and the ubiquitous Little Egrets, Purple Swamphens, Coots and Moorhens with the occasional Marsh Harrier, but struggled to see the Great Reed Warblers or evn the Little Bittern from previous years.

Purple Heron

Maybe another walk, another day at Another Bird Blog but there is always a Menorcan sunset to admire.

Sundown at Sant Tomas

3 comments:

madibirder said...

Looks like you had a great time in Menorca. Excellent collection of birds.

Unravel said...

The sunset shot is beautiful! The list of bird reminds me a bit of my western India trip. I've got to see Egyptian Vulture, Tawny Pipit, Blue Rockthrush and Purple Heron over there.

Stu said...

Some great shots there, my fave would be the Egyptian Vulture.........

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