Autumn is a time of turnover in the bird world. But only if the weather conditions encourage it: settled conditions and stable weather masses are not the conditions in which to expect the wonders of migration to become apparent. So it was this year in Menorca, with barely a songbird migrant to be seen, aside from a few Robins, Blackbirds and Blackcaps.
And even for the island residents like Hoopoes and Sardinian Warblers, the seriously exceptional mid-October temperatures ensured they were keeping deep in shade for much of the day.
Water birds were more apparent, but even then often in smaller-than-expected numbers. The main exception to this were the flocks of Cattle Egrets, up to 80-strong at Tirant, seemingly increasing every time I visit the island, and more than 40 Greater Flamingos on Addaia Lagoons, with a number of barely-fledged grey youngsters which surely means they are now breeding here?
It was also good to see Kingfishers well in a couple of spots, but perhaps because of the weather and the number of bodies on the beaches, Audouin’s Gulls were harder to come by than in previous years.
Which just leaves the raptors, and it it is good to report that the Big Three, Red Kites, Booted Eagles and Egyptian Vultures seems to be in the same places and numbers as during our last autumn trip seven years ago.
It is also gratifying to report that Hermann’s Tortoises were as abundant and widely distributed as ever, along with Italian Wall Lizards (everywhere), Turkish Geckos (in Matchani Gran) and Moorish Geckos (free-range, especially in archaeological sites).
And finally, at breakfast on our final day, a Balearic Green Toad put on a lumbering show, so round off the holiday nicely!
Autumn in Menorca with Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays: Part 4 – Birds and other vertebrates