TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Menorca

13 - 20 April 2002


Leaders: Graham Hearl, Mike Read

Trip Diary

Saturday 13th April

The group assembled at the Matchani Gran. Those on earlier flights had the opportunity to take a stroll in the grounds while those on the later flight from Gatwick had the unexpected pleasure of the 'push back' from the boarding gate to be exactly on time. As the flight had a tail wind, it would take less time than scheduled. The pilot did not want to incur the wrath of the Spanish air-traffic controllers so he did not leave the gate ahead of schedule though everything was ready early. In truth, I suspect he did not leave early for fear of inducing an outbreak of fainting passengers all suffering from shock!

The early arrivers had seen birds like Thekla Lark, Stone Curlew and Booted Eagle during their walk and a couple of Harriman Tortoises.

We all met up at 7 pm and after generally greetings etc. we enjoyed a typically sumptuous Matchani Gran dinner. Those who took an after dinner walk added Scops Owl to the list with one more adventurous member of the group actually seeing the bird perched on electricity wires. Stone Curlews were also calling well to end the day.

Sunday 14th April

The pre breakfast walk up the drive produced excellent views of Sardinian Warblers, Greenfinches and Goldfinches plus numerous other species including Blackcaps and Thekla Larks. Hoopoes and Quail were heard calling.

After a good breakfast, we drove to Son Bou Marsh and walked along the seaward side that enabled us to view birds on and over the marsh and a few birds over the sea. In the latter category were at least 4 Cory's and 1 Balearic Shearwaters, a Sanderling, a Cormorant and 6 European Shags. A calling Greenshank flew westwards high overhead as 2 Alpine, 1 Pallid and several Common Swifts.

On and beside pools in the marsh were a couple of Purple Gallinules, 2 Coots, a pair of Shovelers and many Mallards. A female Marsh Harrier flew over the reeds in the hope of finding a meal and a couple of Little Egrets occasionally flew up but before most people could get on to them, they disappeared back down amongst the vegetation. The 'prize bird' of the morning turned out to be a female Black-eared Wheatear which gave tantalisingly brief views among the beach-side bushes before flying off and totally disappearing.

After (late) morning coffee in Son Bou and lunch beneath a group of pine trees, we drove to the far end of the marshes and walked there in search of items of interest. As with places already visited, the wild flowers were magnificent. Perhaps because of the warmth of the afternoon, birds proved more difficult to find though we did see 3 Cattle Egrets, a Hoopoe, a Purple Heron, a very distant Kestrel, as well as Common and Alpine Swifts once again.

En route to Torre d'en Gaumes, first one, then two Booted Eagles over the road caused us to come to a brief halt to admire these lovely raptors.

At Torre d'en Gaumes, birds were somewhat scarce though we did see two Italian Wall Lizards, a Swallowtail Butterfly and many more lovely butterflies. We also heard a distant Scops Owl which reminded us of the dead one we had picked up freshly dead on the road earlier that day.

Back at Matchani Gran, a short walk produced Pyramidal, Sawfly, Mirror, Tongue, Bumble Bee and Yellow Bee Orchids, Meadow Clary and a host of other flowers as well as Yellow Wagtail, Short-toed Lark and a Northern Wheatear.

To finish the day, Scops Owl and Stone Curlew could again be heard calling after another super dinner.

Monday 15th April

The fields behind Matchani Gran was the venue for the 'early risers' and here we saw Tawny Pipit, a few Linnets and then Woodchat Shrike and Hoopoe perched in a tree together.

On the way to Tirant, we paused at Es Mercadal (a sewage treatment area) where we saw 4 or 5 Booted Eagles, at least 5 Common Sandpipers, 8 Little Ringed Plovers, a Stone Curlew, a fine male Whinchat plus a few Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. Further along the road, an Egyptian Vulture flew around and gave us good views before it went heading off into the distance. Further Booted Eagles were seen as were about a dozen Cattle Egrets (strangely enough they were in the company of some cattle!) before we made it to the marsh. Here, many good birds were seen including Black-winged Stilts, Black-crowned Night-Heron, a Peregrine, a couple of Marsh Harriers, Coots, Teals, Shovelers, a White Stork and lots more besides. However, most agreed that pride of place went to the superb, adult Purple Heron that posed beautifully and enabled us to study almost every feather through the 'scopes.

After coffee in Fornells, we scanned the coastal bay and saw numerous Shags plus two Sandwich Terns on buoys. During lunch close to Cap de Cavalleria, many new flowers were admired and we also added Audouin's Gull, Tawny Pipit and Osprey to the bird list. A short drive took us to the Cap area itself and here we saw 4 Blue Rock Thrushes, 2 more Peregrines and during a sea watch there were many Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters passing some distance off shore.

On the way back to the Matchani Gran we drove to the top of Monte Toro. From the car park we could see another male Blue Rock Thrush and 3 Egyptian Vultures were circling below us. This completed the day's outing and we returned to the hotel.

Tuesday 16th April

The pre breakfast walk along the road produced good sightings of Turtle & Collared Doves but to begin with, it was the array of bird song that really caught our attention. There were a couple of Hoopoes singing against each other and a lone Nightingale sang a few phrases, stopped, then sang a few more. We were just about to turn back so we would be in time for breakfast when a Wryneck was spotted but before everyone could view it, it flew off. Efforts to re-find it made a few of us just a little late at the dining room!

Mahon for shops, the GOB* office and Audouin's Gulls by the harbour was the morning's entertainment for the morning. At least 2 of the gulls put in an appearance and two of the group who lingered for closer views also saw a distant Red Kite while those who began climbing the steps back towards the main part of town saw a Great Tit. On the way back towards the Matchani Gran for lunch, we stopped briefly at a ceramics shop and here we saw a Booted Eagle and had fine views of a Red Kite.

After lunch we drove to S'Albufera near Es Grau and spent a super afternoon wandering in search of various things. Whilst the flowers were wonderful, this reserve mainly exists because of its bird populations including migrants passing through the various habitats. A Squacco Heron was the first good find and soon after, our first 2 Black-headed Gulls were found on a small pool. At the very far end of a long stretch of water, another Whiskered Tern flew around catching food and a little later an Osprey flew over carrying its next meal.

As we wandered through the woods, we had a brief view of a Great Tit and great views of a couple of Woodchat Shrikes. A Hermann's Tortoise rushed past kicking sand in our faces ........ well it actually stood still as we passed through the pines! Soon the botanists were in their element once again as we explored an open area. The birders were soon scanning the water again and found a Greenshank and then a confiding Tawny Pipit amongst the grass. The walk back along the bay produced nothing new and the drive back to the Matchani Gran was uneventful save for a small handful of sightings of Booted Eagles.

* Grup Ornithologica Balear ....... honest!

Wednesday 17th April

The early walk took in just one field behind the Matchani Gran but still proved interesting. Linnets and Goldfinches were quite numerous, a Tawny Pipit put in a brief appearance and the usual Thekla Larks moved around the field ahead of us. A Quail called almost constantly from the next field to the north until we flushed a pair of Stone Curlews from our field and they flew in to where the Quail had been calling. Almost instantly this small game bird moved about 400 yards further away from us!

After breakfast we set off for Montgofre Nou and paused soon after turning off the main Mahon/Fornells road. Swifts, Swallows and House Martins searched for insects and a Red Kite rose above a hilltop woodland. A couple of Booted Eagles were also benefiting from the thermals (rising air currents not long underwear you understand!) and for a while we just stood taking in the warmth and idyllic surroundings.

Soon we headed in towards the reserve only pausing to admire a fine male Blue Rock Thrush high on some rocks and a pair of Red-legged Partridges which were feeding happily in the car park. After gaining a slightly delayed entry, we walked towards the old salt pans and were soon discussing the differences between Green and Wood Sandpipers; there were many of both. Other waders included elegant Black-winged Stilts. slightly scruffy Ruffs, a lone Greenshank and a few of his common red-legged 'cousins'. Little Ringed Plovers were nest making and displaying in full view and we enjoyed excellent views but a brief glimpse of a disappearing Snipe was much less satisfying. A couple of Grey Herons spent ages stood on a rock and a few Common Sandpipers completed the usual trio of this family. There were at least 2 races of Yellow Wagtail present and the Tamarisk bushes held many Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

After lunch at the car park, we drove out to the lunar-looking Cap de Favaritx. Right out near the end, a pool held a Ringed Plover and three more Redshanks. As we neared the point for a sea watch, two small waders flew back in the direction of the pool but they were not seen clearly. Beside a hut, a bird hopped about in the only bush in view; it turned out to be Nightingale, presumably a newly arrived migrant, and we all obtained excellent views of this subtly beautiful, usually elusive species.

Many Balearic and a few Cory's Shearwaters were passing and there were a few Shags on the sea. Back at the pool by the car park, there was now a Common Sandpiper and 2 Kentish Plovers present. These were probably the two birds we had seen earlier but they soon left and were replaced by two Little Ringed Plovers.

On our way back to the Matchani Gran, we saw a few more Booted Eagles and at a mosaic, we also saw a Marsh Harrier and 6 Ravens. In the drive to the hotel, a Hoopoe gave close but brief views and some of the group also saw a Pied Flycatcher in the gardens.

Thursday 18th April

Before breakfast we walked the 'entrance road' where the best bird was a Hoopoe which posed superbly on power cables.

During breakfast, yesterday's Pied Flycatcher put in another appearance and we got even better views of a Hoopoe.

Soon we were arriving at the Algendar Gorge and were immediately greeted by perhaps 9 Egyptian Vultures, 2 Common Kestrels and a Booted Eagle. During much of the walk at this super location, we were serenaded by Common Nightingales and 'bombarded' by the song of Cetti's Warblers. During the walk at this location, we frequently saw recognisably new Egyptian Vultures and reckoned that in all there were at least 15 individuals present; the most we saw in the air together was nine. At one time, two Peregrines seemed to take exception to their presence. This particular piece of air space belonged to the falcons and not the vultures yet minutes later, more vultures flew over the same cliff and were left unmolested .........

A couple of Firecrests put in a very brief appearance when they flew, first one then a couple of minutes later the other, from the track-side Holm Oaks out to a tree just breaking into leaf. Everyone saw their flight but few could pick them up once they had landed. A male Blackcap sang from scrub high on the cliff and House Sparrows seemed keen to take on the guise of Cliff Sparrows as they occupied holes in the cliffs above us. The flowers came under the usual close scrutiny as we headed back in increasing temperatures; it was a glorious morning.

After a nearby lunch, we drove to Ciutadella where we wandered to overlook the harbour or just sat and drank coffee. Those in the former category added Great Crested Grebe to the list as a lingering winter visitor was seen. Just outside of town we saw our only Red Kite of the day and a little further on there were a couple more Booted Eagles. At Naveta d'Es Tudons, the first known two-storey building, more time was spent admiring Corn Buntings Tawny Pipits and the vast array of wild flowers than this historic building.

The journey back to the Matchani Gran was punctuated by occasional sightings of raptors and was completed by about 4.30p.m.

Friday 19th April

This morning we were determined to make it to field three however the very select group started too well in field one with Thekla Larks, Linnets, a Tawny Pipit and a Northern Wheatear. When we heard a Quail nearby, we decided that it just might be in our field. So we walked over, scanned, searched ........ and it was time for breakfast.

Soon we were heading for Es Mercadal with occasional Booted Eagles on the way. The sewage farm just to the north of town held far less waders than our previous visit with just single Little Ringed Plovers and Common Sandpipers.

At Tirant Marshes the birding took a decided turn for the better. Before turning on to the gravel road we had seen a Little Grebe and just after making the same gravel-road stop as last time, a Great Bittern was found and then a couple of Purple Herons. A fine male Garganey proved very elusive for a while but in the end everyone saw it and admired its plumage while a Whiskered Tern skimmed around just overhead. There were numerous Teals and Mallards, Black-winged Stilts and a few other things to be seen out on the water then a search of roadside bushes revealed about 10 Stripeless Tree Frogs.

Further along the road the botanists came into their own with lots of new species including a Lupin that the Mediterranean flowers field guide stated was 'not on the islands'. I think a letter may be going off to the book writer! Birds were decidedly scarce so we returned to the marsh for lunch only to find that there were now 2 Bitterns present. Overhead were first a Marsh Harrier and then an Osprey.

We then moved to a forested area at Sa Roca. Violet Birds Nest Orchids were there in abundance and there were also lots more flowers to be seen including Wild Gladiolus. Birds were now in short supply compared to earlier in the day though we did see a couple of Woodchat Shrikes and heard a Cuckoo calling frequently. As we made our way back down the hill in small groups, an Eleonora's Falcon put in a dashingly swift appearance but was gone before everyone could see it. To end the walk, 2 Egyptian Vultures drifted towards Monte Toro. We drove back to the Matchani Gran in plenty of time to enable people to begin packing for tomorrow's departure.

Saturday 20th April

Some had earlyish departures so there was no pre breakfast walk and after breakfast we were soon bidding a fond farewell to some of the group. The 'late flyers' set off for a second visit to Son Bou and the first good birds seen there were a couple of Purple Herons. The colour theme continued with 2 Purple Gallinules and then 3 Yellow Wagtails. Further along the flower-covered dunes, we had good views of a Woodchat Shrike, a glimpse of a Cetti's Warbler and a similarly brief view of a Common Whitethroat. As usual, Sardinian Warblers seemed to be plentiful. On the way out and also on the way back there were 2 Audouin's Gulls that gave excellent views.

The most unusual sighting of the morning, perhaps even the whole tour was of a couple of racing-type pigeons ............. that were being taken for a walk on individual leads!! There was speculation that the pigeons were in serious training for the inter-island race that takes place annually but the owner had mistaken annually for manually! They would certainly be in need of webbed feet for some of the journey. Or perhaps they were the original Argentinian racing pigeons from the Two Ronnies sketch. "It's a DUCK!"

But then again, would it be any more sensible to walk ducks on a lead?...............

My guess is that the old guy taking them for a walk was the one that was in training; I'd love to be there on the day he graduates to an Ostrich ..................... !!! (Skateboard included?) The images continue to materialise in my mind but above all, the question "Why?" keeps coming back.

On the way back to Matchani Gran, a pale phase Booted Eagle was seen. After a delicious lunch (by us, not the Booted Eagle), there was time to relax before we left for the airport (seeing one final Hoopoe just for Frank) and our flight home.

This was a super and relaxed tour with the group members gelling very well. The different interests are reflected in the long and varied species lists earlier in the preceding pages. Graham's knowledge seemed endless. Needless to say, with two 'loonies' leading the tour and with the humour of Sean, Jenny and the staff of the Matchani Gran, there was plenty of laughter. But then again, it was really a typical Travelling Naturalist tour.

It only remains for me to thank Graham for making my job easy (well relatively so!), and also all of the group members for being such good company as well as enthusiastic. Oh, and also for humouring me when I told a joke. I hope the latter has not put you off travelling with me/us again(!) and I hope to see you all on another tour soon.

Mike Read

April 20th 2002

Somewhere over France on the flight home.

SPECIES LISTS

BIRDS

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Seen on 19th at Tirant

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

One seen at Ciutadella on 18th

Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea

Seen at Son Bou on 14th,Cap de Cavalleria on 15th, and Cap de Favaritx on 17th

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus

Seen on 14th at Son Bou, Cap de Cavalleria on 15th and thirty five at Cap de Favaritx on 17th

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Seen on three days on 14th, 15th and 16th

European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis

Recorded on four days from 14th to 17th

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris

One seen at Tirant on 15th and two seen at Tirant on 19th

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

One seen at Tirant on15th

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides

One seen on 16th at Albufera Es Grau

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Seen on five days from 14th to 19th

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Recorded on six days from 14th to 19th

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Recorded on five days from 15th to 19th

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea

One at Son Bou on 14th, one at Tirant on 15th and three at Tirant on 19th

White Stork Ciconia ciconia

One seen at Albufera Es Grau on 16th

Common Teal Anas Crecca

One plus one seen at the Depuradora and Tirant on 15th with twenty on 19th at Titant

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Recorded on six days in wetland areas from 14th to 19th

Garganey Anas querquedula

One male at Tirant on 19th

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

Twos seen at Tirant and Albufera Es Grau on 14th and 15th

Red Kite Milvus milvus

One seen on 16th at Albufera Es Grau and two seen on 17th at Mongofre Nou

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus

Three seen on 15th at Tirant and Cap de Cavalleria, fifteen plus at Algendar Gorge on 18th and two seen at Sa Roca on 19th

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus R

Seen on 14th, 15th and 17th with maxima of three at Tirant on 15th

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus

Recorded on seven days from 14th to 19th

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

One seen on 15th and 16th at Tirant and Albufera Es Grau with one on 19th

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Recorded on six days from 14th to 19th

Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae S

One seen at Sa Roca on19th

Peregrine Falco peregrinus

One and two seen at Tirant and Cap de Cavalleria on 15th, two at Cap de Favaraitx on 17th and two at Algendar Gorge on 18th

Quail Coturnix coturnix

Heard on six days from 14th to 19th

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus

Heard at Son Bou on 14th

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

One seen at Tirant and more on 14th and 19th

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio

Two seen at Son Bou on 14th

Coot Fulica atra

Recorded on five days from 14th to 19th

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Nine seen at Tirant on 15th, twenty plus at Mongofre Nou on 17th and ten plus at Tirant on 19th

Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus

Heard and seen at Matchani Gran on 14th, 16th two seen on 18th and singles seen on 19th and 20th

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

One seen near Tirant on 14th and 19th

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Eight seen at Es Mercadal, the Depuradora on 15th, four plus at Mongofre Nou and Cap de Favaritx on 17th and one at Tirant on 19th

Greater Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

One seen at Cap de Favaritx on 17th

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Two seen at Cap de Favaritx on 17th

Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Nine at Cap de Cavalleria, four and three on 17th at Mongofre Nou and Cap de Favaritx

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Singles at Son Bou on 14th, at Albufera Es Grau on 16th, and Mongofre Nou on 17th

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Four plus at Mongofre Nou on 17th

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Six plus at Mongofre Nou on 17th

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Five at Tirant on 15th, four at Mongofre Nou on 17th with one at Cap de Favaritx and one at Tirant on 19th

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

One seen at Mongofre Nou on 17th

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Two seen at Mongofre Nou on 17th

Sanderling Calidris alba

One seen at Son Bou on 14th

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii

Two seen at Cap de Cavalleria on 15th close views at Mahon on 16th

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Recorded on all days from 14th to 19th

Black-headed Gull Larus ridbundus

Two seen at Albufera Es Grau on 16th

Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

One seen at Son Bou on 14th and two seen at Albufera Es Grau on 16th

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus

Singles seen at Tirant on 15th and 19th and at Albufera Es Grau on 16th

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

Seen on four days from 14th to 17th

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia

Recorded on all days from 13th to 18th including six genuine rock doves at Mongofre Nou

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

Seen from 15th to 19th in twos

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Recorded on seven days from 13th to 19th, now all over the island

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Singles seen on 16th, 18th and 19th at Albufera es Grau, Algendar Gorge and Sa Roca

Scops Owl Otus scops

Heard most nights at Matchani Gran and seen on a few occasions

Common Swift Apus apus

Recorded on all days from 13th to 19th mainly small numbers

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus

Singles seen at Son Bou on 14th, Mahon on 16th and three plus at Es Castell on 17th

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Seen on every day from 13th to 19th mainly singles but six on 15th

Wryneck Jynx torquilla

One seen distantly at Matchani Gran on 14th

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla

Mainly seen at Matchani Gran with one on 14th

Thekla Lark Galerida theklae

Recorded on every day from 13th to 19th again mainly at Matchani Gran

Sand Martin Riparia riparia

Seen on four days on 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Recorded on every day from 14th to 19th

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica

Two seen on 15th and 19th at Tirant

House Martin Delichon urbica

Recorded on six days, 14th to 19th

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris

Recorded from 14th to 19th with four plus at Matchani Gran on 18th

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis

Singles on 15th and 16th at Monte Toro and Albufera Es Grau

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

Three seen on 17th at Mongofre Nou

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava

One seen at Son Bou on 14th and four plus seen on 17th at Mongofre Nou

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Singles seen on 15th at Tirant

Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos

Mostly heard but seen on a few occasions from 15th to 19th

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

One male seen at Matchani Gran on 15th

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

One male seen at Es Mercadal, the Depuradora on 15th

Stonechat Saxicola torquata

Recorded on six days from 14th to 19th

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

One male seen at Son Bou on 14th and a female seen at Tirant on 15th and 19th

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica

One female seenat Son Bou on 14th

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius

Four seen at Cap de Cavalleria on 15th and singles seen on 16th, 17th and 19th

Blackbird Turdus merula

Recorded on all days from 14th to 19th

Song Thrush Turdus philomenos

One heard at Matchani Gran on 16th

European Robin Erithacus rubecula

One seen at Son Bou on 14th

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti

Mostly heard on six days from 14th to 19th but seen three times on 15th, 17th and 18th

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis

Seen on 14th, 15th and 17th, heard on 18th and 19th

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Singles seen from 14th to 19th

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Seen everyday from 13th to 19th up to threes

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala

Recorded on every day from 13th to 19th seen well in all habitats

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

A female and male seen on 14th at Son Bou and males seen on 15th 16th and 18th

Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus

Two seen in Algendar gorge on 18th

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

One male seen at Matchani Gran on 17th and 19th and one male at Algendar Gorge on 18th

Great Tit Parus major

Seen from 16 to 19th at Albufera es Grau, at Algendar gorge and at Sa Roca on 19th

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

Seen on four days, 15th to 16th,18th and 19th in pairs at Tirant to Sa Roca

Raven Corvus corax

Mostly seen at Matchani Gran from 14th to 19th with ones and twos but six at Cap de Favaritx on 17th

Common (European) Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Twos seen on 14th and 15th

European Serin Serinus serinus

One seen on minibus from Monte Toro on 15th

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Recorded on every day from 13th to 19th and mainly at Matchani Gran

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

Recorded on every day from 13th to 19th

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Recorded on every day from 13th to 19th

Linnet Carduelis cannabina

Recorded on six day from 14th to 19th

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra

Recorded on six days from 15th to 20th

MAMMALS

Algerian Hedgehog At least 3 seen dead on the roads on 14th and a different one seen, again dead, on 19th.

Weasel One seen at Montgofre Nou on 17th.

Rabbit One seen at Montgofre Nou on 17th.

Pine Marten Spraints, but sadly no actual animals seen on 17th at Montgofre Nou and on 18th in the Algendar Gorge.

AMPHIBIANS

Stripeless Tree Frog At least 9 seen at Tirant Marsh on 19th to add to our audible record there on 15th.

Marsh Frog Heard at Tirant Marsh on 15th and 19th and at Son Bou on 20th.

REPTILES

Moorish Gecko Sightings were as follows:- 3 seen as we walked above the western end of Son Bou Marsh on 14th, 1 on 17th at the Matchani Gran, 2 on 18th in the Algendar Gorge and 1 on 19th near Es Mercadal.

Italian Wall Lizard Seen every day except 13th.

Hermann's Tortoise 2 seen by the 'early arrivers' on 13th at Matchani Gran where another was seen on16th. This was seen later that day by another at S'Albufera Es Grau and finally another at Matchani Gran on 19th.

European Pond Terrapin Just a single sighting at Tirant Marsh on 19th.

Ladder Snake One seen to 'reverse' into a hole in rocks in the Algendar Gorge on 18th. Are you sure it was not on a piece of string being pulled by you Graham?

BUTTERFLIES

Species seen with the number of days on which they were noted in brackets:-

Swallowtail (6)

Large White (6)

Small White (1)

Clouded Yellow (4)

Cleopatra (3)

Green Hairstreak (1)

Small Copper (1)

Geranium Bronze (1 possibly)

Common Blue (7)

Brown Argus (3)

Red Admiral (2)

Painted Lady (3)

Speckled Wood (6)

MOTHS

Hummingbird Hawk Moth Just one seen at Torre d'En Gaumes on 14th.

Pine Processionary Moth Caterpillar 'tents' seen on 16th, 17th and 19th.

DRAGONFLIES

Red-veined Darter Noted on 14th, 17th and 19th.

OTHER INSECTS

Egyptian Grasshopper Noted on 14th, 17th, 18th and 19th.

Violet Carpenter Bee Seen on 14th, 18th and 19th.

Tawny Mining Bee Seen on 14th, 17th and 18th.

Honey Bee Seen on 17th.

Cockroach species One rather large cockroach (species unknown) landed on Lynda's jumper on 19th.

Dung Beetle Seen on 14th and 16th

Rhinoceros Beetle 2 removed from the outside light shade on 16th and another seen in the Algendar Gorge on 18th.

Oil Beetle Only noted on 18th.

Menorca Plant List

(Order as in "Mediterranean Wild Flowers" Blamey and Gray-Wilson)

E - Endemic SB Son Bou TG Torre den Gaumes EM Es Mercadel, Depuradora

MG - Matchani Gran T Tirant CC Cap de Cavallaria MT Monte Toro

MN Mongofre Nou CF Capde Favaritx F Fornells SR Sa Roca AG Algendar Gorge

NT Naveta des Tudons EG Albufera Es Grau

Gymnosperms (Conifers)

Pinus halepensis (Aleppo Pine) - most common tree

Juniperus phoenicea (Phoenicean Juniper) - adapted for life on dunes SB EG

Ephedra fragilis (Joint Pine) - erect shrub with brittle stems CC EG

Angiosperms (Flowering Plants)

Dicotyledons

Fagaceae (Oak family)

Quercus ilex (Holm Oak) - everywhere

Rafflesiaceae (Rafflesia family)

Cytinus hypocystis (Cytinus) - toothy bulbous parasitic perennial; SR

Ulmaceae (Elm family)

Ulmus minor (Smooth-leaved Elm) - a few scattered trees in fruit AG

Moraceae (Mulberry family)

Ficus carica (Fig) - mainly planted surrounded by circular stone walls MG

Urticaceae (Nettle family)

Urtica urens (Annual Nettle) - odd plant at MG

U. membranacea (Membranous Nettle) - common eg MG and waste ground

Parietaria judaica (Pellitory-of-the-wall) SB

P. officinalis (Common Pellitory)

Polygonacea (Dock family)

Polygonum maritium (Sea Knotgrass)

Rumex crispus (Curled Dock)

R. conglomeratus (Clustered Dock)

Chenopodiacea (Fathen fmily)

Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima (Sea Beet)

Halimone portulacoides (Sea Purslane)

Arthrocnemum fruticosum [Salicornia fruticosa] - shrubby type of Glasswort. SB, EG

Salicornia ramosissima [europeaea?] (Glasswort) SB EG

Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed family)

Phytolacca arborea (Ombu) - intriguing S. American tree at MG also Mao

Aizoaceae

Carpobrotus edulis - (Hottentot Fig) - known locally as 'patatas fritas' because of the leaf shape

Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Spergularia media (Sea Spurrey) seen at Binidali rocks by Janet Macpherson

Silene gallica (Small-flowered catchfly) CC EG

S. vulgaris (Bladder campion) at car park near mosaic site

S. sedoides

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Clematis flammula (Fragrant Clematis) - on walls

C. cirrhosa (Virgin's Bower) - usually blooms in winter but a few flowers seen

Adonis annua (Pheasant's Eye) - bright red flowers NT

Ranunculus macrophyllus - large-leaved plant seen in wet ditch

R. muricatus (Rough-fruited Buttercup) - found in moist habitats T

R. peltatus (Pond Water-Crowfoot) - a water plant; Tirant was a sheet of white with its blossoms

R. scelartus (Celery-leaved crowfoot)

R. flamula (Lesser Spearwort) T

Papaveraceae (Poppy family)

Papaver somniferum (Opium Poppy)

P. rhoeas (Common Poppy)

P. hybridum (Rough Poppy) MG AG

Fumariaceae (Fumitory family)

Fumaria capreolata (Ramping Fumitory) - white/cream flowers, tipped with red

F. officinalis (Common Fumitory)

Cruciferae (Cress family)

Sisymbrium officinale (Hedge Mustard)

Matthiola incana (Hoary Stock) - mauve or white with sweet scent

Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alison) - common; our annual bedding plant at home SB

Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd's- Purse)

Cakile maritima (Sea Rocket) SB

Raphanus raphanistrum (Wild Radish) - some fields were white with it

Resedaceae (Mignonette family)

Reseda alba (White Mignonette) - common roadside and field weed but pretty

R. luteola (Weld)

R. lutea (Wild mignonette)

Crassulacae (Stonecrop family)

Umbilicus rupestris (Navelwort or Wall Pennywort) TG

Rosacae (Rose family)

Poterium verrucosum [Sanguisorba minor subsp. Magnolii] (Mediterranean Salad Burnet)

Potentilla reptans (Creeping Cinquefoil)

Rubus ulmifolius (Bramble)

Leguminoseae (Pea family)

Circis siliquastrum (Judas Tree)

Calicotome infesta [C. spinosa] (Thorny Broom) - Widespread with yellow gorse-like flowers MN

Ceratonia siliqua (Carob Tree) - Surprisingly rare and probably planted when seen

Lupinus micranthus (Hairy Lupin) T - further up the road, nearer the sea

Psoralea bituminosa (Pitch Trefoil) -attractive plant with blue pea-flowers, leaves smelling of pitch AG EG

Astragalus balearicus - hedgehog-like shrublet with tiny pea-flowers adapted to exposed sites. E MN

A. lusitanicus - at mosaic site

Vicia benghalensis - a handsome fodder vetch with red flowers - everywhere

V. hirsuta (Hairy Tare)

V. laxiflora (Slender Tare)

V. sativa (Common Vetch)

V. lutea (Yellow Vetch)

V. bithynica (Bithynian Vetch) - bi-coloured pea-flower in dry, stony places

V. villosa (Fodder Vetch)

Lathyrus cicera (Red Vetchling) - lovely brick-red flowers

L. ochrus - cream pea-flower with enlarged leaf stalks

L. annuus - flowers with orange veined standard and yellow keel

L. setifolius - orange flowers

Melilotus indicus (Small melilot) - seen by Janet Macpherson at Binidali

Medicago marina (Sea Medick) - golden pea-flowers with silky grey leaves on dunes

M. arabica (Spotted Medick)

M. arborea (Tree Medick) - occasional road-side shrub

M. polymorpha (Toothed Medick)

Trifolium nigrescens - the white clover seen in fields

T. resupinatum (Reversed Clover) - pretty pink flower with reversed flowers. Punta Prima & Tirant

T. tomentosum (Woolly Trefoil)- pale pink clover with woolly fruiting heads

T. stellatum (Starry Clover) - pink clover with starry fruiting heads

T. scabrum (Rough Clover)

Dorycnium hirsutum - hairy shrublet with pale pea-flowers. Open places

D. pentaphyllum - more slender and seen with the above at Montgofre Nou

Lotus cytisoides - dunes yellow with this pea-flower SB

L. creticus (Southern Bird's foot Trefoil) Blamey says "absent in islands"?

Scorpiurus muricatus (Scorpiurus) - easily identified by simple leaves (no leaflets)

Anthyllis vulneraria ssp insularum (Kidney Vetch) - hairy ssp balearicum - more glabrous

A. tetraphylla (Bladder Vetch) - creamy flowers with inflated fruits AG

Coronilla juncea (Rush-like Scorpion Vetch) - lunch stop after Algendar Gorge

Hedysarum coronarium (Italian Sainfoin) - unforgettable. Striking red pea-flowers

Oxalidaceae (Sorrel family)

Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda Buttercup) - many fields over-run with this yellow S. African plant

Oxalis corniculata (Yellow Sorrel)

Geraniaceae (Geranium family)

Geranium molle (Dove's-foot Crane's bill)

G. dissectum (Cut-leaved Crane's-bill)

G. columbinum (Long-stalked Crane's-bill)

Erodium malacoides (Mallow-leaved Stork's-bill) - common in fields and road-sides

E. cicutarium (Common Stork's Bill)

Linaceae (Flax family)

Linum bienne (Pale Flax) - dainty plant with delicate blue flowers

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family) - many species seen but difficult to identify

Mercurialis annua (Annual Mercury)

E. dendroides (Tree Spurge) - common hill-side shrub in open situations EG

E. helioscopia (Sun Spurge)

E. paralias (Sea Spurge)

Meliaceae (Persian Lilac family)

Melia azedarach (Indian Bead Tree) - street tree in Es Castell. Seeds once used for rosary beads

Anacardiaceae (Pistacio family)

Pistachia lentiscus (Gum Mastic) - widespread shrub. Once much used for its resin

Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)

Paliurus (Christ's Thorn, Jerusalem Thorn)

Rhamnus alaternus (Mediterranean Buckthorn) - common evergreen shrub

R.ludovici-salvatoris - similar but leaves spiny-edged

Malvacae (Mallow family)

Malva sylvestris (Common Mallow)

M. neglecta (Dwarf Mallow) foreshore Santa Tomas - Anne Gittins

Malvella sherardiana (Malvella) Sa Roca

Lavatera cretica (Cretan Mallow)

L. arborea (Tree Mallow) SB TG

Hypericaceae (Hypericum family)

Hypericum balearicum (Balearic St. John's Wort) MN E

Cistaceae (Rockrose family)

Cistus albidus (Grey-leaved Cistus) - large pink flowers

C. creticus - similar but leaves stalked

C. monspeliensis (Narrow-leaved Cistus) - small white flowers and sticky leaves

C. salvifolius (Sage-leaved Cistus) - large white flowers

Tamaricaeae (Tamarisk family)

Tamarisk - probably several species

Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber family

Opuntia ficus-carica (PricklyPear) -introduced. Occasionally seen with fruit

Arialiaceae (Ivy family)

Hedera helix (Ivy)

Umbelliferae (Carrot family)

Eryngium maritimum (Sea Holly)

Smyrnium olusatrum (Alexanders)

Conopodium majus (Pignut)

Feniculum vulgare (Fennel) MN

Oenanthe globulosa (Mediterranean Water Dropwort)

Crithmum maritimum (Rock Samphire)

Ferula communis (Giant Fennel) - impressive umbellifer

Daucus carota (Wild Carrot)

Ericaceae (Heath family)

Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) - evergreen tree often with flowers and fruits together SR MN

Erica arborea (Tree Heath) - MN SR

Primulaceae (Primrose family)

Anagallis arvensis - (Scarlet Pimpernel) - mainly in its blue flowered form

Cyclamen balearicum - TG E

Plumbaginaceae (Thrift family)

Limonium spp - (Sea Lavenders) - several species found but not flowering including:

L. echioides

Oleaceae (Olive family)

Phillyrea latifolia [P.media]- evergreen shrub: MN

Olea europaea (Olive) - usually planted but wild trees frequent F

Gentianaceae (Gentian family)

Blackstonia perfoliata (Yellow-wort)

Apocynaceae (Oleander family)

Vinca difformis (Intermediate Periwinkle) - some colonies with pale blue flowers

Rubiaceae (Bedstraw family)

Galium aparine (Goose-grass)

Rubia peregrina (Wild Madder) - scrambling plant with hooked bristles EG

Convovulaceae (Bindweed family)

Calystegia soidanella (Sea Bindweed) in sand at F

Convolvulus althaeoides ((Mallow-leaved Bindweed) - common in fields

Boraginaceae (Borage family)

Echium plantagineum (Purple Viper's Bugloss) - frequent and colourful SB

Borago officinalis (Borage) SB

Cynoglossum creticum (Blue Hound's-tongue) - softly hairy with veined blue flower

Anchusa calcarea - similar to Anchusa undulata (Undulate Anchusa) F

A.azurea (Blue Alkanet) SB

Labiatae (Mint family

Teucrium capitatum - clusters of tight pink flower-heads CC

T. subspinosum ssp spinescens - another adapted spiny 'hedgehog' plant. CC E

Prasium majus - attractive shrub with lipped flowers MG TG

Mentha aquaticus (Water Mint) T

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)- prostrate in harsh habitats SR

Lavandula stoechas (French Lavender) - seen on rock-face

Salvia verbenaca ( Meadow Clary) SB

Solanaceae (Potato family)

Solanum nigrum (Black Nightshade)

S. sodomeum (Apple of Sodom) - prickly shrub with mauve 'potato' flowers, yellow-veined fruits SB

Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family)

Verbascum creticum - a lovely tall Mullein with large yellow flowers AG

Scrophularia peregrina (Nettle-leaved Figwort) - saw-toothed leaves with brown flowers: TG

S. ramosissima - persistent dead stems shelter new growth. Crimson and white flowers. Dunes

Misopates orontium (Weasel's Snout or Lesser Snapdragon) - agricultural weed

Linaria triphylla (Three-leaved Toadflax) - common field weed. Yellow toadflax with violet spur.

Cymbalaria muralis (Ivy-leaved Toadflax) SB TG

V. arvensis (Wall Speedwell.)

Parentucellia viscosa (Yellow Bartsia), - damp places AG MG

Bellardia trixago (Bellardia) - attractive spike of pink and white flowers. MG and elsewhere

Orobanchaceae (Broomrape family)

Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape) MG

O. ramosa (Branched Broomrape) - blue flower

Plantaginaceae (Plantago family)

Plantago coronopus (Buck's-horn Plantain)

P. lanceolata (Ribwort Plantain) - common and well known

P. lagopus - resembles the above; whitish velvety heads MG and elsewhere

P. maritima ssp crassifolia - fleshly-leaved coastal plant

Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family)

Lonicera implexa (Honeysuckle)

Valerianaceae (Valerian family)

Centranthus calcitrapa - pink flowerlets, variable and in most habitats

Dipsacaeae (Scabious family)

Scabiosa maritima (Mournful Widow) - a dune Scabious almost in flower. SB

Compositae (Daisy family)

Bellis annua (Annual Daisy) - similar to our lawn daisy but in shades of pink to lilac

Bellium bellidioides TG

Evax pygmaea (Evax) - cute silvery stemless rosettes. MG CC

Helichrysum stoechas - aromatic grey shrublet in exposed rocky areas

H. rupestre - larger leaves than above , not aromatic: seen by Janet on rocks at Binidali

Phagnolon rupestre - similar but single flower-heads

Inula salicina (Fleabane) SR

Inula conyza (Ploughman's Spikenard) - MN

Inula crithmoides (Golden Samphire) - MN

Pallenis spinosa - frequent. Yellow daisy-type flower with green starry bracts

Santolina chamarcyparissus Subsp. squarrosa (Lavender Cotton)

Anthemis maritimus - fleshy leaved coastal plant with daisy flowers

Chrysanthemum coronarium - Everywhere. Bright yellow or bi-coloured daisy flowers

Senecio cineraria (Silver Ragwort) - our silver-leaved garden plant

S. rodriguezii - lovely pink daisy found in harsh coastal areas CC E

Calendula arvensis (Field Marigold) - very common fieldweed. MG

Galactites tomentosa - a pretty thistle but many fields over-run with it

Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) - a handsome thistle with white-veined leaves. MG

Cichorium intybus (Chicory)

Hyoseris radiata - a common yellow composite with stepped pinnate leaves

Urospermum dalechampii - a large soft yellow composite with dark centres. Lovely

Reichardia tingitana - a glabrous yellow daisy with a dark centre. Son Bou

Launea cervicornis - spiny shrublet on exposed rocky coasts E

Sonchus oleraceus (Smooth Sow-thistle)

Posidonia oceanica (Neptune Grass) - fibrous 'sea-balls' from this on beach

Monocotyledons

Liliaceae (Lily family)

Asphodelus aestivus - common taller Asphodel. Attractive but a serious weed

A. fistulosus - shorter, with rounded hollow leaves. An equal pest. MG

Aloe vera - succulent spiny leaves, orange-yellow trumpet-like flowers, naturalised in Med: probably from S.Africa - everywhere

Urginea maritima (Sea Squill) - large leafy bulb which flowers late summer

Ornithogalum arabicum (Arabian Garlic) MG

O. umbellatum (Star of Bethlehem) AG

Muscari comosum (Tassel Hyacinth) - mainly blue flowers with a tassel' atop the spike. MG

Asparagus albus (White Asparagus) - white stems with sharp spines beside leaf-like tufts, MG

A. stipularis - spiny looking asparagus - everywhere

Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher's Broom) - a stiff plant with tough flattened shoots AG

Smilax aspera (Common Smilax) - climbing prickly plant with heart-shaped leaves

Allium roseum (Rosy Garlic) - everywhere in varying shades of pink

A. triquetrum (Three-cornered Leek) - a common weed but attractively so

Allium cupanii EG

Amaryllidaceae (Daffodil family)

Leucojurn aestivum (Summer Snowflake) - like a large Snowdrop La Vail estate

Pancratium maritimum (Sea Daffodil) - leaves in plenty on sandy shores

Iridaceae (Iris family)

Gladiolus italicus

G. illyricus - an attractive, rather dainty Gladiolus

Palmae (Palm family)

Chamaerops humilis (Dwarf Fan Palm) - one of only two native European Palms C

Phoenix canariensis (Canary Palm) - Mahon

Araceae (Arum family)

Dracunculus muscivorus (Dragon's Mouth) - the most disgustingly memorable plant of the week! CC

Arum italicum (Italian Arum) - a shade-lover. Several hooded flowers seen CC

Arum pictum (Autumn arum) CC

Arisarum vulgare (Friar's Cowl) - more common in open sites

Orchidaceae (Orchid family)

Limodorum abortivum (Violet Bird's Nest Orchid): SR

Orchis lactea (Milky Orchid)

Ophrys speculum (Mirror Orchid) MG

O. lutea (Yellow Bee Orchid) MG

O. fusca (Sombre Bee Orchid)

O. bertolonii (Bertoloni's Bee Orchid): SR

O. tenthredinifera (Sawfly Orchid) - in great numbers MG

O. bombyliflora (Bumble-bee Orchid) MG

Barlia robertiana (Giant Orchid) MG

Anacamptis pyramidalis (Pyramidal Orchid) - white to deep pink SB

Serapias parviflora (Small-flowered Tongue Orchid) - also albino form SB MG

Graminae (Grass family)

Phragmites australis (Common Reed) SB

Phleum pratense (Timothy Grass)

Briza media (Quaking Grass)

Avena sterilis (Winter Wild Oat)

Ampelodesmus mauretanica - a green robust plant with striking flower heads up to 3m. tall CC

Arundo donax (Giant Reed) AG

Ammophila arenaria -(Marram Grass) - common dune-fixing grass EG

Juncaceae (Rush family)

Juncus inflexus (Hard Rush)

J. acutus (Sharp Rush) - with very sharp spines SB

Luzula pilosa ? (Hairy woodrush)

Pteridophytes (Ferns and Horsetails)

Equisetum telmateia (Giant Horsetail) - Algendar Gorge

Asplenium trichomanes (Common Spleenwort)

Polypodium australe (Polypody)

Cross-checked with list provided by Graham Hearl

08/05/2002


© The Travelling Naturalist 2002