Monday, 28 August 2017

Menorca and Autumn's First Arrival

I'm back this week from a weeks holiday in Menorca. We went self catering and rented a villa set in its own extensive plot. The owner was clearly a keen birder and had set up a pond with a small hide overlooking it. The water was a draw for birds in the otherwise dry landscape.

These sparrows enjoyed a daily splash but were permanently on edge... more so than the birds that live in my roof back in Thrintoft.

The most widespread bird on the island (that I noted) was spotted flycatcher and they were permanent residents in the garden. I was also lucky enough to find pied flycatcher too.

Another garden resident was turtle dove.

And the pond drew in birds like woodchat shrike from the shrubby slopes nearby.

Finally, the pond was a draw for various reptiles and amphibians. I shared the hide with a few stripeless tree frogs and moorish gecko. Turkish gecko and Italian wall lizard were also present and the garden was full of these wonderful Hermann's tortoise.

Patch Update

The summer seems to have passed by in a flash and I rarely made it out to keep a note of things. My butterfly list is well down on last year though I did note a huge emergence of red admiral, an unusually high number of wall (which is incredibly good news) and found my second small copper of the year, doubling my previous record! This one is pretty worn but might not be the last brood; I've recorded them all the way into October.

Birds-wise, it's been deathly quiet. Quail was a patch first on 14th July, and I heard it again from my bed on the morning of the 15th... possibly my greatest bedroom-tick to date (no comments please).

The first migrant to turn up at the end of this summer was whinchat, found in precisely the same hedgerow that I recorded my September bird last year. Hopefully this marks the start of migration proper; I'm hoping to tick off redstart and osprey before the Autumn is over.

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