Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CES Menorca Style

During my recent Menorcan fortnight I spent a morning with Javier Mendez helping out at his Constant Effort Ringing site near Mahon. It was the first visit of the 2014 Constant Effort regime whereby a comparable ringing session is carried out every 14-21 day period. The site is a working farm of crops and animals managed in an ecologically sustainable way.

Menorcan farm gate

Not only is Javier an extremely nice guy but he is very knowledgeable about Menorca and its flora and fauna. His website Menorca Walking and Birds offers tours of all sorts to experience the sights and sounds of Menorca. 

Javier Mendez

Javier Mendez

Javier and I caught 45 + birds including a good number of everyday “UK” birds like House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit and Chaffinch, and also included more exotic fare like Turtle Dove, Nightingale, Cetti’s Warbler and Sardinian Warbler. We didn’t catch the resident Woodchats or a Hoopoe, and certainly not the Stone Curlews which provided a backing track to the morning’s work, but we did catch a migrant Redstart and a stunning Wood Warbler. 


Wood Warbler

There are a good number of Turtle Dove in Menorca. Generally they are a shy species and keep a very safe distance, but in some resorts where pines and gardens flourish they seem to have lost their natural aversion to man and happily walk the footpaths with almost total disregard for passing tourists. 

Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

The Spotted Flycatcher we caught was of the subspecies Muscicapa striata balearica, paler and smaller than the nominate race that migrates a long way north of the Balearic Islands of which Menorca is part. 

It is much harder to tell the two races apart in the field in early May when large numbers of migrants pass through Menorca on their way to Northern Europe. 

Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata balearica,

Spotted Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatchers are strictly migrants on Menorca although they have been known to hang around nest boxes in the Spring until evicted by the Great Tits. There are no Blue Tits or Long-tailed Tits on Menorca. Apart from Ravens on the rocky outcrops and the single mountain El Toro, there are no crows on Menorca and the commonest birds during the summer months may well be the Nightingale, Sardinian Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler, which inhabit every clump of suitable habitat plus more besides. Menorca’s Cetti’s Warblers are not found exclusively in their normal reed and waterside habitat, but also in very dry areas which have the necessary impenetrable cover they require. 



Sardinian Warbler

Cetti's Warbler

My thanks to Javier for inviting me along to his CES session. I hope to catch up with him and his colleagues in 2015. 

In the meantime recent posts on Another Bird Blog feature Menorcan birds (click the tag "Menorca" or "Menorca birds") and there are still a number of photographs on my PC for a Menorca posting soon, so stay tuned.

Linking today to Theresa's Run A Round Ranch.


grammie g said...

Hey Phil... I am still alive just not doing to much kicking, but dear me I for sure thought you was leaving this world when I saw the name of one of your post was "Almost Home" whew!!!
I guess if I was doing some commenting I would have know you was of on one of those lavish trips spending all your money!!; }

I would say Javier is one handsome dude along with his attributes, I might take a trip!! : ))
Hey it looks like a fabulous place, and I bet you had fabulous time birding there!!
I have seen so many lifer warbler's this spring, I have had a ball!!
I love that gate, do you think when you go there next time you could scoff it, and send it to me!! Postage paid of course!!

Your buddy
Crazy Grace

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant images, catching and holding them, and great photos too.

David Gascoigne said...

You must have had a great time banding in Minorca. What a wonderful portable skill! You get to band species not familiar to you and also render tangible assistance to local ornithologists. I suspect that "my" Eastern Screech Owl is going to have babies soon, so I assume you will be booking your ticket to come over and band them. Your room is ready, duvet fluffed, chocolates on the pillow and the guest bathroom is about to be renovated.

eileeninmd said...

Phil, Minorca looks like an awesome place for birding. I enjoyed this series and have a hard time picking a favorite they are all beautiful. Happy Birding!

Mary Cromer said...

I shall begin right where you began Phil...what a very wonderful entrance gate that is...really nice. Love seeing the Turtle Dove strutting it's stuff, what a delightfully looking bird and those Warblers, so beautiful. Now then I love to take a favorite away at times and today would be the lovely Sardinian Warbler, love it~

Debbie said...

i am here to talk about the fence, very unique, pretty picture!!

but those birds, WoW, what an extra special treat as i am a bird lover as well!! said...

Love your fence entry and the birds are lovely!

TexWisGirl said...

what a great bunch of birds, and a fine fellow to lead the effort. but WOW, what a FABULOUS gate!!! wow!

thanks, phil!

BumbleVee said...

How amazing to see all those beauties sitting on hands!! What fun it must have been!

Margaret Adamson said...

Love the angle you shot this unique fence and you had a wonderful selection of birds in this post.

Ida said...

The gate is really cool looking and all of the birds were so cute. This sounds like a wonderful place.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Great variety of captures and beautiful images. Love that gate!

marilyn said...

Wonderful ...wonderful gate and love all those birds...

Felicia said...

pretty gate. what a wonderful opportunity to photograph birds close up.

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