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Menorca – A Bird Watcher’s Paradise

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Menorca is famous as a popular holiday resort for people from the UK and all over Europe. Sun and sea, bars, restaurants and clubs make this a great place to relax and party.

But Menorca is also a bird watchers paradise! It sits in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, directly in the migratory paths of hundreds of species migrating between Africa and Europe.

Menorca also enjoys the status of a UNESCO protected biosphere and has a wide variety of landscapes and habitats, from marsh land to rocky outcrops to deep canyons. These are protected locations, far off the beaten track, where huge flocks of birds can rest, feed and recuperate before continuing their journey.

Menorca offers a fantastic variety of migrating bird life of almost 300 species, including numerous species of waders, ruffs, house & sand martins, swallows, wagtails, swifts, warblers and many more. So birdwatching in Menorca is possible all year round!

Did you know that until the end of the 18th century nobody knew why birds seasonally disappeared from the British Isles? It wasn’t until 1797 that Thomas Bewick, in his History of British Birds, wrote of “a very intelligent master of a vessel" who, "between the islands of Minorca and Majorca, saw great numbers of Swallows flying northward". It was only then that it was finally realised that birds migrated!

Where to Go and What to Look For

You have many different locations to choose from when you’re birdwatching in Menorca. Following is a list of some of the more prominent locations and the types of birds you can expect to see. Algendar Gorge

Situated on a limestone plateau between Ferreries and Cala Galdana, in the south of Menorca, this deep, rocky, 4 mile long gorge was forged over millennia by streams that run into the sea. It contains one of the island’s richest ecosystems with a great diversity of vegetation and provides the perfect conditions for many different birds – but also other animals including turtles and butterflies. Access can be a little challenging and it’s definitively not for everybody. But, once you’re there, the reward of seeing herons, buzzards, booted eagles, kites and kestrels from close up as they feed and rest before continuing on the next leg of their journey is immense.

Salinas de Montgofre

Set in the S’Albufera Natural Park, on the north-eastern coast of Menorca, the ancient salt flats are the migratory home for over 20 different species of birds including Mallard ducks, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank & Greenshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Wood Pigeon, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit, Common Nightingale, Woodchat Shrike, Blue Tit, Great Tit and others.

Access by car is problematical and you will need to use a public footpath that crosses over private property.

El Prat de Son Bou

When birdwatching in Menorca, El Prat de Son Bou has to be the ultimate sighting site.

This reed filled, 100 acre wetland sits on the southern end of Menorca, surrounded by the Island’s longest beach. The area receives a constant supply of fresh water brought down by streams from the surrounding gorges and ravines, and contains a rich and varied mosaic of habitats that provide for dozens of different bird species - including those that are all year residents.

Winter residents include gannets, black-headed gulls, cormorants and many, many others. In the summer you’ll find Night & Purple Herons, Nightingales, Osprey, Mallards and more. Migratory birds (spring and autumn) include the Honey Buzzard, the Red-Rumped Swallow, Curlew Sandpiper and others. Year-round residents include Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Cetti Warbler to name just three. Altogether over 100 different species of birds can be observed during the year.

Staying in Menorca

If you are into ornithology, combining a great holiday with some fantastic birdwatching in Menorca is an excellent idea. Because bird watching activities are carried out at all time of the day and night, you might want to consider renting an apartment to get a good night’s rest in between.
About author: Desiree Michels

Brenda Jaaback, Managing Director of Bartle Holidays, is a renowned Menorca expert. From its history to its people and from its wildlife to its cuisine, no secret of the island remains hidden to her. Personally selecting the finest properties for her clients, Brenda is the go-to person for anyone planning a relaxing holiday to go birdwatching in Menorca or to simply enjoy the stunning natural environment. Bartle Holidays makes no warranty as to the accuracy of information contained in this article and excludes any liability of any kind for the information.

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