Friday, May 29, 2015

Where There's Muck

Two weeks today we returned from our Menorcan holiday. Since then I’ve barely got out birding due to a combination of domestics and dreary, windy and often wet weather. To put the record straight, Another Bird Blog is very much alive and well and will soon be back to normal. In the meantime, here are yet more pictures from Menorca. 

Hoopoes seemed rather scarce this year. Even the ones which feed in the hotel grounds without fail were not seen on their usual daily basis. Mostly we caught glimpses of roadside birds or heard their unmistakeable “hoop-hoop” calls from the countryside. Like lots of Menorcan birds, the Hoopoe isn't especially easy to see.


Bee Eaters were scarce too. Perhaps with the fine weather the island had enjoyed for weeks beforehand we’d missed many migrant birds which pass through our regular viewing spot. Then a day or two later when we looked again there were workmen digging up the road, laying pipes alongside the breeding colony and very few Bee Eaters using the fence where they sit between feeding forays. Maybe Bee Eaters don’t have the same degree of protection as they do in the UK but even so to be undertaking major highway work adjacent to breeding Bee Eaters would seem to very irresponsible. 

Bee Eater

Happier times were had at Es Grau where a single Whiskered Tern fed over the water and Black-winged Stilts had good sized juveniles. One or two late adults were still sitting closely on eggs. 

Es Grau

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Whiskered tern

Es Grau is a good place to find Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Sardinian Warblers, Cetti's Warblers  and Turtle Doves. Our botanist and birding companions for the day, Jane and Alan were hugely excited by their find of three specimens of Sawfly orchid Ophrys tenthredinifera. “A terrible photograph - stick to birds Phil” 

Turtle Dove

 Sawfly orchid

We stopped at picturesque Fornells for the mandatory coffee where from the outdoor café we watched an Osprey circle over the shallow waters. The Osprey drifted off to look elsewhere and we set off for Addaia. 

Fornells - Menorca

Amongst the Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Greenshanks, Ringed Plovers and Little Ringed Plovers at Addaia there was a single unexciting juvenile and un-pink Flamingo. 

Greater Flamingo

The (Greater) Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southern Asia, Israel, and southern Europe. Although the species doesn’t breed in Menorca the ones that appear on the island during the winter and into Spring are probably short-distance migrants from the breeding populations of Southern Spain and the French Camargue. 

As usual there were one or two very flighty Wood Sandpipers about Addaia. But the not too good pictures below were taken at the local sewage works at Es Migjorn where a Common Sandpiper gave good comparison views. Yes folks, even on a Menorca holiday a birder must visit the sewage works. 

It’s rather like the old Northern expression “Where there’s muck there's brass” but slightly adapted to read “Where there’s muck there’s birds”. 

Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Tomorrow is news and views from Oakenclough when I meet up with Andy for a peek into the nest boxes. Let’s hope the news isn’t too bad although by all accounts so far from other regions, the early season has been poor.

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


eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, I wish the weather would cooperative more often for our birding outings. I have enjoyed this collection of birds from your Menorca trip. The Hoopoe and Bee-eater are favorites. But, I love the Stilts too, cool capture of the Tern in flight and the neat flamingo. Great post and images. Happy Friday, have a great weekend!

Jo said...

Wow Phil, the Black-winged Stilt image and reflection is amazing. Great to see you again. Jo

TexWisGirl said...

awesome birds!!!

Linda said...

Beautiful series, Phil!!! :)

David Gascoigne said...

Ah the sweet fragrance of eau de sewer! I don't think it was too long after Miriam and I met that we first had the pleasure of a promenade around a sewage pond and we are still together and happy as the proverbial pig in sh** so it couldn't have been too bad. I am sure that the combination of great shorebirds and the utter allure of my bons mots worked its spell.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I am just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Adam Jones said...

Oh my goodness! What a fantastic set of birds and pictures. I need to get myself abroad to be able to see them. Love the Bee-Eater.

Lea said...

Lovely photos!

Lois Evensen said...

Beautiful images!

Latane Barton said...

What interesting birds, some I am familiar with and there are some new ones, too. Nice post.

Marie C said...

Menorca looks SOO beautiful! I know you had an awesome visit there! Love the hoopoe and the bee eater. I know you will be getting back to your regular bird watching schedule soon. Sometimes things are out of sync when we return from a you say you've had some bad weather. Hope you have a great weekend! Love the photos!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Nice series as always, Phil.

Those stilts are quite remarkable!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely birds all of them. I hope you'll get better weather soon in your corner of the world.

carolann said...

Great selection you have posted. like all.

I like the bee eater. Never heard of that.

They eat the bees we need for flowers. Interesting.

Well that is natures food chains as well Birds. What a magnificent color.

God made them to go on earth for a reason. Right.

Gayle said...

All beautiful birds - can't beat the turtle dove.

Mary Cromer said...

Well my goodness, those silly birds should have known that you would be coming to visit them and they should have shown up in better numbers with their smiles ready. When we travel and see that they are scarce, I figure they never got my notification that we were coming. They are all beautiful birds though and I know also what you mean about getting a bit behind, as there are always other things that get my time and the husby is spending more and more time on the desktop, which leaves me this less than adequate laptop, slow as molasses. I enjoyed the visit. Best of luck I hope on those nest boxes~

Anni said...

I would absolutely go bananas over seeing the birds you see when on fact, for that matter, when you're NOT on vacation.

Excellent array of bird life...beautiful orchid, and gorgeous surroundings of the area you visit.

Hope the nest boxes have something for you and Andy.

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