Saturday, May 18, 2019

Do The Splits

We are back from Menorca where we spent two weeks enjoying this wonderful island for the fifteenth year.

We collected a Fiat Panda from Mahon Airport via our good friends Setta and Mixalis at Momple Car Hire.  The little Panda is the ideal car for negotiating the sometimes narrow lanes of the Menorcan countryside or the slender, immaculate streets of quiet inland towns. 

We split our time between sightseeing, birding and simply relaxing during the warm, sunny days.

"Click the pics" for bigger photos and a taste of Menorca.

Near Es Prat 

Near Binimel 

Cala Fornells

Es Mercadal 

Es Migjorn

Joan Riudavets Moll - Aged 114 years

Melons- Es Migjorn 

Es Migjorn 

Hotel Ses Tillets

I'm now busy catching up with friends and family alike. Until then the rest of this post is about a relatively common species wherever I go.  

I took quite a lot of pictures of flycatchers, birds that at home I would normally just label as “Spotted Flycatcher” Muscicapa striata, the common flycatcher of the UK that breeds in most of Europe and western Asia.  

Quite recently the International Ornothological Committee (IOC) decreed that the spotted flycatcher that breeds in the Balearic Islands (Menorca, Majorca, Ibiza) and also the islands of Corsica and Sardinia is a separate and distinct species, Muscicapa tyrrhenica. They named the species Mediterranean Flycatcher. 

A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2016 found that the subspecies M. s. tyrrhenica and M. s. balearica were genetically similar to each other but significantly different from the other spotted flycatcher subspecies. The authors proposed that these insular subspecies should be considered as separate rather than conspecific species. In recent years “splits” of previously conspecific species are all about genetics rather than appearance, and as one might expect, the description of each species is much the same. 

It is said that Muscicapa striata has “dull grey-brown upperparts and off-white underparts. The crown, throat and breast are streaked with brown while the wings and tail feathers are edged with paler thin margins.” In comparison Muscicapa tyrrhenica has “paler and warmer plumage on the upperparts, with more diffuse markings on the head and breast.” The sexes are alike in each case. 

Judge for yourself with pictures here from Greece, the UK and Menorca.

Mediterranean Flycatcher - Menorca

 Mediterranean Flycatcher - Menorca 

Mediterranean Flycatcher - Menorca

Spotted Flycatcher - Greece 

Spotted Flycatcher - Greece 

Spotted Flycatcher - Greece

Spotted Flycatcher - UK

Are you a splitter or a joiner? Maybe like me you just enjoy flycatchers - with or without spots?

Linking today to Wild Bird Wednesday,  Anni's Birding  and Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Very nice images .. Good weekend ..

Tanza Erlambang said...

the city look cleans and beach is wonderful.
"Spotted Flycatcher - Greece" brighter in my eye...but, all birds so cute.

Have a wonderful weekend

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Menorca is a beautiful place for a vacation. The Flycatchers are beautiful birds, great photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day. Wishing you a great weekend.

sandyland said...

thanks for bringing me along

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Welcome home, Phil and Sue. And thanks for the feature on Spotted Flycatcher and the split of the species. Great little car for getting around. Are those cars available with automatic transmission in Europe? Many North Americans, like me, have never driven a standard. I noticed in Australia last year that everyone I met drove an automatic and the vehicles we rented were all automatic too.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Yes, I love them all! And it's neat to see how different they can look depending on the background! Love that bright blue sky. And what a fabulous place to spend time! Now I want to go! lol Enjoy your weekend!

Adam Jones said...

I'm only seeing Spotted Flycatchers Phil, so I guess I'm a joiner. I've spent my afternoon trying to find one to no avail. I'll resume tomorrow and hopefully get lucky.

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

I am always very happy when I see Spotted Flycatcher which is NOT often here. Glad you had a wonderful trip. I think you will be back there. Have a good week ahead.

italiafinlandia said...

Beautiful views both of Menorca and the birds.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Anu said...

Hello Phil.
Great looking place.
In Finland we have Spotted Flycatchers. Beautiful little bird.

Anni said...

They're matter if there are differences. I had to laugh at David's comment about automatic transmissions. I learned to drive with a manual trannie. It's the right side - driver's side that would tbrow me off.

Thank you for linking in this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'. And welcome back home.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics from your visit. It's always enjoyable to see others adventures. Great bird shots?

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

I've added a few new species to my life list due to splits. I guess you call that "armchair birding."

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your photos reflect what a wonderful vacation you had

NCSue said...

Very nice - I hope you had a lovely time!
Thanks for sharing at

Lydia C. Lee said...

What a pretty spot - I don't know it at all! #OurWorldTuesday

Lady Fi said...

So picturesque!

Fun60 said...

Hhaven't been to Menorca for years. Your photos remind me of its beauty and charm.

Stewart M said...

Nice set of pictures - sometimes I think splitting goes too far!

Although if a distinct genetic 'marker' is associated with a known range / distribution is seems more sensible, but then again if you can't tell the difference in the field, except for the location of the field (!) it all seems silly! And I think I ended up back where I started!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

Powell River Books said...

Cala Fornells is gorgeous. Glad you could mix lots of fun things to do. - Margy

Angie said...

Phil - well, I must say I see a difference, so I would be inclined to split! Love how neat and clean the streets are in your photos! Welcome home!

Lowcarb team member said...

Catching up on your posts Phil …
Cala Fornells looks very nice … and always lovely to see the variety of birds.

All the best Jan

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