Thursday, May 24, 2012

No Wheats, Menorca Instead.

No luck with the Lapwings or the Wheatears at Pilling today. The Lapwing chicks stayed in the muddy gullies where they can hide away as soon as the parents warn them. The Wheatears seemed wary of the trap and when I got a clear view of one of the males I saw it had a shiny ring - one of the birds I ringed two days ago. So it’s probably the same gang of Wheatears hanging about the sea wall and fattening up for the final push north. Other birds this morning: Buzzard, Reed Bunting, 2 Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Pied Wagtail. 

For today’s post and for the birders I’m posting bird pictures from the recent Menorca holiday. To satisfy the just Menorca fans out there I’ve included photographs of island life and the landscape. 

When we arrived on 28th April the marsh at Tirant was pretty much parched after some weeks of a dry spell. A wet spot in the centre of the marsh was just visible and where most species hung out, with Little Egrets, Purple and Grey Heron, Gadwall, Marsh Harrier, Squacco Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Little Grebe, Water Rail and Bee Eaters. Passerines included Woodchat Shrike, Corn Bunting, Tawny Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Whinchat, Stonechat and the inescapable but unseen Nightingale and Cetti’s Warbler. 

A Whiskered Tern fed over the reeds for two days, moving between here and the pool of Es Prat. There’s a record but not very good shot of the tern below, as Whiskered Terns are both fast and very active feeders. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to photograph a Bittern which walked across the road in front of the car before disappearing into the reeds, a rare sighting in Menorca. Two sightings of Osprey here this year, fishing the open water and then feeding at the top of power pylons. During the last few days of the holiday up to 15 Wood Sandpipers graced the pools, unfortunately too distant to photograph. 

Whiskered Tern

Black-winged Stlit

Es Prat, Menorca

 Bee Eater

 Woodchat Shrike

Rural Scene - Menorca

One day I glimpsed a turtle as it submerged into a muddy puddle: back home I looked my picture up on Google and I believe it to be Menorcan Turtle/European Pond Turtle Emys orbicularis. This turtle is quite distinct from the land based Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni which we saw on one occasion just up the road from the marsh and along the dry, dusty track leading to the Tirant headland. 

 Menorcan Turtle

Hermann's Tortoise

From the headland it’s possible to walk to the shore, dunes and stream below where more Bee Eaters hang out, with Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper on the water’s edge. Raptors near the headland proved to be a good number of Common Kestrels and Red Kites, with no Red-footed Falcon or Hobby this year, just a couple of fast-hovering Lesser Kestrels and the ever present Booted Eagles. 

Booted Eagle

Heading west the road from Tirant leads up to Cap De Cavallaria and yet another cup of coffee at a favourite chill-out spot. Why is it you never get a bad cup of coffee in Menorca?

Towards Cap De Cavalleria

 Cap De Cavalleria

More from Menorca or elsewhere soon on Another Bird Blog.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Where do you watch the wet area at Tirant from Phil, if I remember right I've only ever stopped on the narrow 'main' road but it seems mosre distant than your pics suggest



Phil said...

Dave, fropm the road/so called bridge, a tight spot indeed but also from the farmer's gateway east of there and along the dirt road to Cala Tirant

Dave said...

Great post - lovely scene setting and some first class portraits

Chris said...

Wow yous till got superb pictures even if you got no chance with the lawpings or wheatear! Love the bee eater and the shrike. We got our northern wheatear back also here ;-)

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh Phil that Bee Eater, those colours, the eye, how brilliant a looking bird and superb capture. The scenes with the horses are lovely as well as seeing those turtles. I had never heard of the eagle before, but you sure got a great close up flight shot. Happy weekend~

Sheri Fresonke Harper said...

Great tern photograph, love the beeater

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