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. 

Menorca

Panda 

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 

Blackbird 

Woodpigeon

Hoopoe 

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

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 

Stonechat 

Fornells 

Fornells

Fornells 

Fornells 

Fornells

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

Linking today to Eileen's Blogspot.