The Bee-eater Merops apiaster in Menorca. Current situation of breeding populations.

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

The Bee-eater is one of the most beautiful and emblematic of birds to breed in Menorca, and a very highly-regarded bird for birdwatchers and nature lovers who visit the island every year.
The Menorca population of Bee-eaters spent winter at west of Africa, between Senegal and the Chad. At the end of April it is possible to see the first migrants arriving from their winter quarters although many of them will pass over Menorca and continue their journey to the mainland of Europe.
Many of these migrants will cross our small island during May – at the same time as other migrants like the Subalpine Warbler, the Melodious and the Icterine Warblers, the Red-rumped Swallow, the Red-footed Falcon or the Squacco Heron.
Normally, our population arrives at beginning of May with many other transaharians birds that breed in the island like the Red Warbler, the Nightingale, the Turtle Dove or the Spectacled Warbler. They will be at breeding colonies on the first/second week of May.
In Menorca, Bee-eater always excavate their nests in sandy ground (sand dunes, farm land, pine forests, quarries…) sharing a habitat with other birds like the Tawny Pipit, the Thekla Lark, the Short-toed Lark, the Corn Bunting or the Woodchat Shrike.
Our guide, Javier Méndez, knows the habitats of the Bee-eaters very well. He has studied Menorca population for the last two years with his local ornithological group “Societat Ornitològica de Menorca (SOM)”.
The group of volunteers found sixteen Bee-eater colonies in the island, mainly along the north coast but also one in the middle of the island and one at the south coast. They found 146 nests definitely in use and 67 nests probably, but not certainly, in use. With these results, they quantify the Bee-eater population in the island between 146-213 pairs. The biggest population of the Balearic Island.
There have been no previous studies of Bee-eaters in Menorca, so it is not possible to compare these results, but it is believed that population has decreased during the last decades and some colonies have disappeared altogether, especially at the south coast.
SOM will repeat this study in a few years time and then they will know the real situation in Menorca of this beautiful bird.
Each summer season, the Bee-eaters continue to fill the Menorcan countryside with their glorious colours and sounds, and our guide will be very happy to show them to birdwatchers and nature lovers – along with many other interesting birds like the Egyptian Vulture, the Osprey, the Purple Heron, the Little Bittern, the Ferruginous Duck, the Red-crested Pochard, the Purple Gallinule, the Kentish Plover, the Hoopoe, the Sardinian Warbler…

First record of Greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides in Menorca

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

A Greenish warbler was recorded for the first time in Menorca, and in the Balearic islands, during this autumn. This occurred during the study of the postnupcial migration in the Isla del Aire (Menorca). For three weeks, some members of the Menorca Ornithological Society (SOM) have been studying the migratory flow in this little islet of the south coast of Menorca, using the technique of bird banding.

The Greenish Warbler is a typical leaf warbler in appearance, greyish-green above and off-white below. The single wing bar found in the southern and western populations distinguishes them from most similar species.

Their breeding range is in north-eastern Europe and temperate to subtropical continental Asia. This warbler is a strongly migratory and winters in India. It is not uncommon as a spring or early autumn vagrant in Western Europe and is annually seen in Great Britain, but very rare in Spain.

This is a fantastic record for Menorca and very important information for local ornithologist.

First record of Purple heron Ardea purpurea breeding in Menorca

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

After two years of suspicion, this summer has been confirmed for the first time the breeding of 2 or 3 pairs of Purple heron in Menorca.  This beautiful heron was considered as a few migrant and rare summer visitor not reproductive. There were some observations every year of solitary individuals in some marshes of the island but nobody had ever seen evidences of breeding.
For the last three years, Javier Méndez, our guide, and Joan Florit, both members of the Menorca Ornithological Society (SOM), have been observing the summer population of Purple heron in a small marsh. In 2011 and 2012 they controlled a little number of adults, between 3 and 6, all the breeding period but it was impossible to confirmed the breeding. Finally, this summer, they could take some pictures over the marsh with a little flying machine and they detected two nests with young birds, thereby confirming the breeding of Purple heron in this place.
This is the seventh water bird detected breeding in Menorca in the last years. A luxury for the island and bird lovers.

Second record of Pochard Aythya ferina nesting in Menorca

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News


This spring has been detected the second Pochard nesting record in Menorca. During one visit of our guide at a small marsh covered by reeds and rushes, he observed a female of Pochard with four young ducklings. He has been observing established pairs of Pochard for this spring with an evident territorially behaviour.
The first nesting record of Pochard was in 2008 at Albufera des Grau, when was observed a female of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos followed by five young, and two of them were Pochard young.     
Six species of ducks have bred this spring (2013) in Menorca: the Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, the Mallard, the Gadwall Anas strepera, the Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina, the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and the Pochard. A treat for the island and bird lovers.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus in Menorca

Written by admin on . Posted in News

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus © Menorca Walking Birds

This spring-summer, our customers have been enjoying with the presence of a Glossy ibis in Menorca. During spring until mid-June we saw three in a small marsh at north of the island accompanied by Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis and Purple Gallinules Porphyrio porphyrio. Thereafter, one has remained in Menorca until late August, when the marsh began to dry up as a result of the lack of rain.

The Glossy Ibis is a rare and irregular winter and migrant bird in Menorca. It frequents marshes with an extensive bed of reeds. In Europe, it is widespread around the Mediterranean Sea until Black Sea.  Spanish breeding populations are showing a strong recovery.  Actually, it breed in Doñana, the highest colony in Spain, in the Ebro Delta and, sporadically, in some marshes of the east of Spain. It is a migrant and dispersive bird that performed nomadic movements.

A treat for our birdwatchers!!!

First quotes of breeding of the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca in Menorca.

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

MenorcaWalkingBirds, Aythya nyroca

Crías de porrón pardo Aythya nyroca © Menorca Walking Birds

In the spring / summer of 2012, it was confirmed for the first time in Menorca the breeding of the ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca. This occurred in a small wetland area north of the island called North Son Saura. Throughout the spring and early summer ¾ territorial couples were identified, but it was not until July 17 when the first offspring were observed. Based on the various comments later, it is believed that they were three couples that were reproducing during 2012 in this beautiful place in Menorca. The presence of pochard on the island in five years has gone from being scarce, irregular and restricted to having overwintering or migrants, but little to be regular throughout the year. The ferruginous duck is a bird very little filling and located in the western Mediterranean, Spanish population being less than 10 partners and a clear negative trend.

Breeding is confirmed of Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus in Menorca

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

MenorcaWalkingBirds, Ixobrychus minutus

Macho de avetorillo Ixobrychus minutus llegando al nido © Menorca Walking Birds

The Ixobrychus minutus was until 2011 a migrant bird with regular quotes during the summer in Menorca, but had never been evidence of breeding. During the spring / summer of 2011, a specific monitoring was carried out for the wetland north of the island, Northern Son Saura. This effort resulted in confirmation of its breeding on the island. There was a nest with two chicks being fed by both adults. Also detected two more territorial pairs, with clear evidence of breeding, although this could not be confirmed. During 2012, it was also able to observe two territorial pairs in the same area with clear indications of breeding, but this time there were no chicks or juveniles.

Signs of Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding in a wetland of Menorca

Written by Menorca Walking Birds on . Posted in News

MenorcaWalkingBirds, Ardea purpurea

Jóvenes del año de garza imperial Ardea purpurea fotografiados en Menorca a principios de julio
© Menorca Walking Birds

For two years, a regular presence throughout the spring and summer of adult Purple Heron Ardea purpurea has been observed in some marshy areas of the island. To this presence, sudden observation of a large number of juveniles is added in 2011 and in 2012, at a very early date for postnuptial migrants. If we add the constant coming and going of adults with the same point of origin, it appears that the heron can be nesting in at least a wetland on the island. Failure to observe nests or chicks, does not categorically confirm this claim, but it is a starting point to keep in mind for the next breeding season.

Increase and expansion of the breeding population of Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor in Menorca

Written by admin on . Posted in News

MenorcaWalkingBirds, Sturnus unicolor

Spotless Starling Sturnus vulgaris colony in Menorca © Menorca Walking Birds

The first observations of breeding in Menorca of Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor date from 1998, when a small colony of 6-8 couples was found at a warehouse of the Ciutadella circle. This colony has been maintained and to date four more colonies have been located in the town. More recently it has also been discovered another small colony in Mercadal, a town in the center of the island, and last year a breeding pair in the sea cliffs of Cala Galdana. Its population has increased exponentially, having observations of Ciutadella colonies of more than 90 individuals.