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A Report from

Menorca 12th - 19th  October 2002,

John & Sue Roberts

This holiday was a late deal, booked only 11 days before we flew out and so we had little time for prior research We relied on "Where to watch birds in Spain & Portugal" by Laurence Rose, supplemented by the trip reports of John Girdley 1996, Mike Millar & Bob Groves. Like John we stopped in Son Bou. Despite the derogatory comments about this resort in the "Mini Rough Guide" this resort is really very pleasant. In October the two hotels were closed and we stopped in an apartment, yards away from, and overlooking the very extensive reedbed, with the dunes and sea beyond.

Despite John's fears in 1996 the reedbed appeared healthy with little encroachment by trees and bushes..except by the car park and a strip towards the west end. Menorca had had a very wet summer, with torrential rain for several days, just before we arrived. Consequently there were areas of open water visible in the reedbed from the highest dunes; the marshy area south of Cala Tirant had plenty of water showing and S'Albufera des Grau was probably too full for best wader watching conditions.

We hired a car for the duration of our stay and explored most of the island. Happily we had excellent weather for the week.


Son Bou extensive reed bed lies to the west of the small town, with dunes between it and the sea. To the west is farmland. There is now no access to either the marsh or the farmland from the north, which has been developed with low-rise villas & apartments. To the east of the two hotels on the seafront is a rocky promontory and cliff, well worth a visit.

Cap de Cavalleria ..a lovely unspoilt peninsular with plenty of birds even on the very hot day we visited.

S'Albufera des Grau   an excellent site. There are 3 points of entry. The first is at, what is signposted as, the reserve, about 2km before Es Grau where a road leads to a small carpark area with an information board. The second is by the 6km marker just before Es Grau (easy parking a couple of hundred yards further on) This leads to the mirador or through woodland to the third access point, which is the glorious beach at Es Grau itself.

Ses Salines  just south of Fornells. Can be viewed with some difficulty from the new villa development on its north boundary or from a gateway on the road, which was very busy even in October.

Cala Morell  despite extensive new villa development the cliffs here are still accessible and are worth a visit.

Systematic List

Little Grebe    
2 seen at Son Bou on 12th & heard regularly from apartment. Over 100 at Albufera on 15th

Great Crested Grebe    
just one at Albufera on 15th

Black-necked Grebe  
3 at Albufera on 15th

Usually several on rocks off Son Bou and several at Albufera

Balearic Shag     
small number in Mahon harbour on 14th

Grey Heron      
One or two seen most days over reedbed at Son Bou and  a dozen+ at Albufera on 15th

Cattle Egret   
Dozen or so if fields with cattle west of Son Bou on the 12th. 20+ at Albufera on the 15th

Little Egret  
One or two seen regularly at Son Bou. Good numbers at Albufera, 8 south of Cala Tirant and couple on and near salines near Fornells on 17th

Probably 20+ at Son Bou and 100+ at Albufera

2 at Son Bou on 12th, 40+ at Albufera on 15th and a dozen on pool south of Cala Tirant on the 17th

A few at Albufera on 15th and one pool south of Cala Tirant on 17th

20+ at Albufera on 15th

c20 at Albufera on 15th

Egyptian Vulture       
Not common but seen on several days. Best views north of Mercadal on 13th

Just 2 seen at Albufera on 15th

Booted Eagle  
Fairly common. Seen on most days throughout island

Red Kite         
Perhaps not as common as Booted Eagle but seen on several occasions, including 4 between Cala Morrell and Val on the 16th

Marsh Harrier   
Seen every day save one at Son Bou. Up to 3 individuals present.

Common throughout the island. Several sightings each day.

Red-legged Partridge    
Only seen once..from the back road out of Son Bou on the 16th

one flew across road in front of car near Alcalfar on 14th

Small numbers present at Son Bou and many hundreds at Albufera

Small numbers present at Son Bou

Purple Gallinule   
3 at Son Bou on 12th but not seen again thereafter

Water Rail   
one calling from reedbed at Son Bou on the 16th

Ringed Plover  
one at Albufera on 15th and several at ses Salines on17th

Kentish Plover  
several at ses Salines on 17th

3 on wet area south of Cala Tirant on 13th and 7 at same location on 17th

one at ses Salines on 17th

Green Sandpiper    
one seen on stream north of Mercadal on 13th and a second the same day and on the 17th on wet area south of Cala Tirant

Common Sandpiper  
2 seen on the 14th, one in Mahon Harbour and one at Cala Sant Esteve

one south of Cala Tirant on the 13th and 4 at Albufera on 15th

Herring Gull   
several in Mahon Harbour on the 14th with Yellow-leggeds

Yellow -legged Herring Gull   
Fairly common, usually a few at Son Bou and also fair number in Mahon harbour. Also at Albufera

Audoin's Gull    
3 in Mahon Harbour on the 14th and another on the same day near Capd'en Font

Black-headed Gull      
3 in Mahon Harbour on the 14th

one or two seen most mornings from our apartment at Son Bou, but only a couple of other sightings

Rock Dove       
Seen at several coastal sites..gorge at Cala d'en Font, Son Bou and Cala Morell

Collared Dove      
just one seen on outskirts of Mercadal

Pallid Swift       
small number at Cala Morell on 16th

7 or 8 sightings in all, including 2 together at Son Bou on 18th

3 sightings at Son Bou..2 on 12th and one from balcony of apartment early on 13th when it actually settled briefly on a nearby palm tree.

Thekla's Lark     
2 seen on Cap de Cavalleria and  a small party at the Torre d'en Gaumes site near Son Bou

Crag Martin  
just one or two at Cala Morell with Pallid Swifts

House Martin      
just 3 at Albufera on the 15th

Barn Swallow   
seen most days in small numbers

Meadow Pipit 
about a dozen along the dunes at Son Bou on the 18th

White Wagtail            
one heard over Mahon on the 14th and two behind beach at Es Grau on the 15th

Northern Wheatear  
one on Cap de Cavalleria on the 13th but a dozen or more at Cala Morell on the 16th

Black Redstart      

just one seen- on the 12th at Son Bou

very common

not common but seen or heard on a number of occasions at son Bou and other locations

Blue Rock Thrush   
common on most cliffs and rocky areas including Son Bou. Cap de Cavalleria & Cala Morell

one or two seen at Son Bou most mornings but otherwise rare.

Cetti's Warbler  
very common in wide variety of habitat. Only one actually seen (along stream north of Mercadal on 13th)

Reed Warbler  
just one seen in Son Bou reedbed on 18th

Grasshopper Warbler   
one reeling from Son Bou reedbed on 18th

Sardinian Warbler   
very common throughout island

Willow Warbler       
one at Cap de Cavalleria on 13th

Pied Flycatcher   
female at Cap de Cavalleria on 13th

3 seen on the 13th on way to Cap de Cavalleria and flock of 13 over between Cala Morell & Val on the 16th

Large number early morning on 15th over Son Bou reedbed and on the 17th just before dusk well over 5000  coming into roost. Otherwise small groups seen most days all around island

House Sparrow    
very common

only sighting was a flock of six in the wood behind Es Grau beach on the 15th

one or two seen or heard in several locations but not common

very common

small numbers seen at various locations. Flock of 30 at Cala Morrell

Corn Bunting        
small flock 6-10 seen in same couple of fields on back road out of Son Bou on 3 mornings. Otherwise only noted at the Naveta des Tudons site east of Ciutadella.


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