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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

MENORCA - FAMILY HOLIDAY 21/8 - 4/9/2000,

Bob Groves

Introduction

This report is to compare notes with the 2 previous birders, Mike Millar and John Girdley, who posted reports for Menorca in August. Like Mike I had a family holiday at Son Parc, and managed to get a fair bit of birding in.

I too can recommend Son Parc as a base for a family holiday. The beach is as good as any I saw on the island and safe for children. There are plenty of restaurants and bars within easy walking distance.

I found Graham Hearl's book and John's report very useful (didn't see Mike's report till I got back!), and hired a car (about 20 per day fron Betacars) to visit as many sites as my family commitments would allow.

Don't expect local gen in August - I didn't see any other birders throughout the whole holiday.

I went from 21st August to 4th September, which is maybe too late for some summer visitors like the Shearwaters, Bee-eaters and Great Reed Warblers? Like John I also failed to find a Thekla Lark anywhere on the island - do they live underground?

This is a list of the most interesting (for me) species by site. There were, for me too, some lbj's which were just too quick, and which I would dearly have liked a second look at!

SON PARC

I found the area immediately behind the water treatment works the most productive. At least 2 Fan-tailed Warblers were seen daily, as well as an elusive Moustached Warbler which eventually showed well.

Migrants included Pied Flycatcher, and flocks of Swallows roosting in the marsh.

For 2 evenings running I flushed a Chat-sized bird from the ground which flew up into a nearby small tree giving me a good scolding before flying off to the other side of the marsh. In the fading light I could make out a very long reddish tail, frequently cocked vertically in its agitation, and bold white supercilium. Reading the field guide later I can only assume it was a Rufous Bush Chat. Whether this bird is likely at this location and time of year I don't know.

In the general area, Sardinian Warblers, Turtle Doves, Spotted Flycatchers and Stonechats are very common. I saw 3 Hoopoes in this area during my stay.

SON BOU

Didn't do justice to this large reedbed as I only visited once, and then around midday. The only birds of interest seen were a Little Egret and a juvenile Woodchat Shrike. A Booted Eagle flew over the Eastern side of the marsh.

ALGENDAR GORGE

Only 1 visit, unfortunately, to this impressive site. The first bird I saw after climbing the entrance wall was a Spectacled Warbler.

At least 3 Nightingales heard along the way, plus an unusually obliging Hoopoe which posed nicely on a tree branch in full view for over a minute. There were 2 Booted Eagles together patrolling the sides of the gorge, and at the end there were 10 Egyptian Vultures, including 4 immatures. Fantastic to see these birds soaring overhead and perched on the rocks.

S'ALBUFERA

2 all too brief visits. Good views can be had from the Shangri La complex, though I found a morning visit via the entrance at the 6K "milestone" (see Hearl) best for waders.

There were 16 Little Egrets at the Eastern end of the lake, plus 2 Great White Egrets. Also at least 10 Black-winged Stilts.

At the Western end there were 2 Wood Sandpipers and 5 Common Sandpipers amongst the Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

MAHON

Pallid Swifts breeding in town. Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls easy to find in harbour.

CAP DE CAVALLERIA

On the day I visited it was 90F, very little wind and no shade, so not surprisingly I didn't hang around long or see much. Only birds of interest were a migrant Tawny Pipit, a Peregrine, a Blue Rock Thrush and 2 Wheatears.

ALGAIARENS (LA VALL)

This is a private estate and it currently costs 700 ptas to get in, but it's a beautiful location with a disused quarry surrounded by high wooded hills. I was disappointed to be too late for the Bee-eater colony, but got superb views of a Tawny Pipit ,which approached to within 15 feet. Also had Pied Flycatcher in the woods, Woodchat Shrike, Booted Eagle and Raven.

PUNTA DE S'ESCULLAR

The shearwaters had presumably long since departed, as a late afternoon visit failed to produce any offshore. Blue Rock Thrush and an Audouin's Gull were present.

That's all. Hope to return one May and see all those birds I missed this time.

Bob Groves

bob@groves00.freeserve.co.uk

 

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