Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wedding Free Zone

I'm back from Menorca with a few photos and tales to tell. Click the pics for more sunny days from the Gem of The Mediterranean, 4th – 18th May 2018. This was our fourteenth visit to this the most beautiful and carefree of the Balearic Islands. 

People have in the past said to me “Are you going to Minorca or Menorca?”, but the two words “Minorca” and “Menorca” are interchangeable. Menorca is the preferred local name, Minorca the English version. Menorca has its own language, Menorquín, which is a dialect of Catalan, but Spanish is widely spoken. 

We picked up the hire car at the airport thanks to our friends at Momple,  a local family business since 1974 and highly recommended in preference to the bigger names of car hire. A small car is ideal for sometimes narrow and twisty roads Menorcan roads. We noted more than one hire car with bent wing mirrors or recent dents.

Within ten minutes and minimal paperwork over, we headed for our destination of two weeks, the beach side resort of Sant Tomas. From Sant Tomas it’s a ten minute drive to the major road of the island, the Me-1. From there the fish-bone layout roads lead to authentic and unspoilt inland towns and to touristy coastal resorts north & south plus the major cities of Mahon or Ciutadella at each end of the island. 



It rained all of the day we landed. Ready for a rest after our 2am start we remained optimistic for the next and following days. Sunny skies arrived soon and stayed until the end. Witness the following photographs.

There are bits and pieces around the hotel. Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Hoopoe, the two local gulls Yellow-legged & Audouin’s, plus shearwaters in mostly distant view. On most evenings one or two Scops Owls put on brief shows as they came to feed on beetles and moths. Sadly, the local Woodpigeons have become as bold as our own British ones and rather to the expense of the local Turtle Doves that have now become harder to find in Sant Tomas and the local countryside.

Audouin's Gull

Turtle Dove

Spotted Flycatcher 




When the sun came out the local lizards warmed up too. On our travels this year we spotted albeit briefly, a Fox Vulpes vulpes, the same species as our UK one but the one we saw of a very sandy shade almost like the colour of a golden retriever.

Italian Wall Lizard 

It’s one of our favourite runs. Towards Es Mercadal with stops here & there along “Dusty Road” at Tirant and the swooping run to Cavelleria and back followed by lunch at Fornells village. We stopped to rescue a Hermann's from traffic.

 "Dusty Road", Tirant

Hermann's Tortoise

May flowers 

May flowers 

Playa Fornells from Tirant

Bar at Tirant

To Cavelleria


Red Kites, Kestrels and Booted Eagles line this route with the occasional Egyptian Vulture. We fell lucky on a couple of days with singles of both Red-footed Falcon and European Roller on the roadside wires. The kites and eagles appear to never, ever land, not for the car bound photographer and certainly not for the brightly clad cyclist or walker.

Red Kite 

Booted Eagle 

Egyptian Vulture 

European Roller 

European Roller

Red-footed Falcon 

 Red-footed Falcon

Tawny Pipits seemed harder to find this year, as did both Thekla, Short-toed Lark and even the normally plentiful Stonechat. I fear that Menorcan farmland birds may be in similar decline to our own UK ones. In contrast, Corn Buntings appeared as ubiquitous as ever.

Tawny Pipit

Corn Bunting 







Stay tuned. There's more to come from Menorca soon, a book review, plus back to local birding when time allows.

Linking today to Anni's Birding and Eileen's Blogspot.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, so you are missing the exciting wedding today? I would enjoy this island vacation. The birds are all beautiful. I like the cute lizard too. The island scenery is gorgeous. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend.

Lea said...

Wonderful, beautiful birds! And a tortoise! Love the scenic views!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Betty Crow said...

Wonderful scenery and the birds are awesome. That sure is a colorful lizard. Enjoyed your post!

David Gascoigne said...

I am quite happy to miss this royal extravagance along with you. This obsession with royalty never ceases to amaze me. The younger generation of pampered royals have already decided to have more kids than the replacement rate setting the worst kind of example for those concerned with population control as a means of helping the earth to revive. And on the royal estates they continue to blast away at upland species and kill more birds than most, if not all, other estates. It is obscene. Oh...and by the way....welcome home.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What a fabulous place to visit! I love the Red Kite and the tortoise has a neat shell. Glad the weather allowed picture taking! That's always a lot of fun.

Powell River Books said...

The Hoopoe is a very interesting bird. - Margy

Angie said...

Welcome back! It looks like you had a fabulous time while honoring the 'no blogging' request! I still love the Hoopoe, but the Roller and Red-footed Falcon also caught my eye! My favorite shot is "To Cavalleria", with the road stretching out before me … lovely!

A Colorful World said...

What a marvelous trip! Gorgeous place and loved the photos of the scenery as well as the birds. The Red Kite was my favorite.

Margaret Adamson said...

I can see why phil you back there each year. it is a beautiful island wih lots of gorgeoous scenery and plenty of different bird species. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

Anni said...

Enjoyed reading and viewing all your scenic views & exotic birds! Welcome back! (Oh, and liked reading David's comment about the royals also)...

I thank you for taking time to add your link to this post for us all at I'd Rather B Birdin'...much appreciated!

Jo said...

Oh wow, Phil. I would've gladly missed the wedding for this beautiful trip. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images. Jo

Stuart Price said...

Great photos Phil. The Egyptian Vulture is my fave.

I missed the Charles/Diana wedding (I was in the USA on holiday with my parents) and Diana's funeral (I was working in Germany) and thank god I missed this latest one. I miss many things from back home but the fawning over those inbred parasites in the palace(s) is something I'm glad I can now avoid with ease.

Dave Lewis said...

Great shots as always! The Stonechat is my favorite.

Lowcarb team member said...

Well I was able to watch the Royal Wedding and enjoyed it!
I also enjoyed seeing your post here, another super break to Menorca ... loved seeing all of your photographs, I think the stonechat is my favourite.

All the best Jan

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful vacation! So glad you brought back a lot of pictures...I loved the virtual visit.

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