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A Report from

Menorca, August 4th-17th, 2007,

Chris Stott


We were based in Es Castell at the Hotel Agamenon, a lovely venue with great views over Mahon harbour which provided a number of good birds from the balcony – my kind of birding!  However, as this wasn’t primarily a birding holiday, to get to the best spots as identified in Hearl’s guide I adopted a policy of heading out early (i.e. 5.30am – it hurt!) in order to be in place by sunrise at 6.30am.  This allowed me 2 hours of decent birding before heading back for breakfast at approx 9.00am.  The advantages of this were:

a)     it was cool;
b)    it was undisturbed – very important for such sites as Son Bou;
c)     it kept me in my wife’s good books!

I visited 5 sites in this way – Salinas de Montgofre, Son Bou, Algendar Gorge, Cap de Cavalleria and S’Albufera.  Hearl’s guide was indispensable, although I found his circuit around the western end of Son Bou was well and truly blocked by a huge gate with ‘No Access – Keep Out’ in English.  Regarding S’Albufera, which seems to have got a bit of a bad press, I found either end of the lake the best areas, especially the western end with reedbed and mud – it takes about 30 minutes of slog to get there from the main hide in the middle, but I got 10 wader species here plus egrets, raptors, bee eaters etc..

I did venture out a couple of times in the afternoon for quite local strolls, and was surprised at how active the birds were even in the heat – but it was hard work!  I would strongly recommend having bins to hand at all times, as I got a number of good birds incidentally in the pursuit of other activities, including eating at restaurants!

Birds seen:



Little Grebe

Present on most open water.

Great crested grebe

1 at S’Albufera

Cory’s shearwater

Seen in small numbers from boat between Mahon and Es Grau.


On most rocky shorelines around island.

Little bittern

1 in flight at Son Bou – at midday!

Cattle egret

15 at northwestern end of Son Bou.

Little egret

Son Bou and S’Albufera.

Grey heron

Common in wetland areas.

Purple heron

3 at Son Bou.


Common in wetland areas.

Red kite

2 at S’Albufera and one near Cala Fonts.

Egyptian vulture

6+ at Algendar Gorge.

Booted eagle

Fairly common and widespread, including Algendar Gorge and S’Albufera.


Very common.


1 on cliffs at Cap de Cavalleria.

Spotted crake

2 calling at Son Bou early morning.


At Salinas de Montgofre.


Commonplace on all waters.

Purple gallinule

2 spotted in reeds at Son Bou.

Black-winged stilt

5 at Salinas de Montgofre, 4 at S’Albufera reedbed.


3 at S’Albufera reedbed.


1 seen at Cap de Cavelleria, and also calling loudly by SanJose restaurant just north of Mahon (great meal too!).

Little ringed plover

Numerous at Salinas de Montgofre. and 2 at S’Albufera reedbed.

Kentish plover

Just 1 juvenile, at S’Albufera east end.

Little stint

Present at all waters, with 15+ at S’Albufera reedbed.


Small numbers at S’Albufera reedbed and Salinas de Montgofre.


1 at S’Albufera reedbed.


Singles at S’Albufera reedbed and Salinas de Montgofre.

Green sandpiper

2-3 at S’Albufera reedbedand Salinas de Montgofre.

Wood sandpiper

2 at S’Albufera reedbed.

Common sandpiper

At S’Albufera, Salinas de Montgofre and Son Bou.

Audouin’s gull

Regular in small numbers at Es Castell and around the south of the island, including on crowded beaches at Ponta Prima and Son Bou.

Yellow-legged gull


Rock dove

Abundant, including Algendar Gorge.


Common and widespread in small numbers.

Turtle dove

Easily encountered in any open countryside.

Scops owl

Calling at entrance to Algendar Gorge at 6.15am.



Pallid swift

3 definitely identified at Es Castell – probably widespread, but didn’t take the effort to check!

Alpine swift

1 patrolling a booted eagle over Santa Galdana resort.


Widespread in small numbers and seen well at S’Albufera reedbed and in farmland near Trebelugar.


Common in open farmland/wasteland.

Thekla lark

Singing at S’Albufera, and seen well at Cap de Cavalleria and waste ground at Es Castell.

Crag martin

Small numbers at Algendar Gorge.


Very common.

House martin

Just one or two noted while travelling.

Tawny pipit

1 in farmland near Salinas de Montgofre.


Singing in Algendar Gorge, also noted at Son Bou.


Common in scrub and wasteland.

Blue rock thrush

One regularly seen from hotel balcony at Es Castell, even singing from rooftops! Also at Algendar Gorge.


Widespread and common.

Cetti’s warbler

Widespread and common.

Zitting cisticola

Seen at Son Bou and Algendar Gorge.

Reed warbler

1 seen at Son Bou.

Sardinian warbler

Unavoidable – it’s rattling call is the sound of Menorca!


At Algendar Gorge.


At Algendar Gorge.

Spotted flycatcher

Very common, even a family in hotel grounds, perching on poolside chairs!

Great tit

Present in most areas with trees/bushes.

Woodchat shrike

Often seen perched prominently on wires and bushes, with a family at S’Albufera reedbed.


Seen at Fornells and near Trebelugar.

House sparrow

Commonplace and widespread.


Widespread in small numbers.


Commonplace and widespread.


Noted on waste and scrub areas.

Corn bunting

Over 100 in a ploughed field near Salinas de Montgofre.


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