Menorca trip report, 27th July to 2nd August 2010


I stayed at Son Bou on the south coast of Menorca for a family holiday. There is a large reedmarsh here, lying between a holiday village and sand-dunes, which then flank the longest beach on the island. At each end of the marsh is a high rocky outcrop. The whole place is idyllic. The rest of Menorca is relatively flat (compared with Mallorca), with one large mountain in the middle, ‘El Toro’, at 358m. It is very hot, arid, and rocky, with the vegetation predominantly scrub but with some pine woods. There is a footpath that goes round the complete coast of the island – called the ‘Cami De Cavalls’. I walked several sections of it and they were all superb (if rather hot!).

View of Son Bou marsh from my apartment                                                  View of the holiday village from the sand-dunes


The walk around the Son Bou marsh is about 3 miles round-trip. The section of the Cami De Cavalls at the western end of the marsh is fantastic; old farms right on the marsh edge. Then there is a long section along the sand-dunes. At the east end of the dunes is the only view of open water on the marsh – where the water runs onto the beach. Climb up the dune here to view a small section further into the marsh. Finally a walk along quiet roads between the marsh and the holiday village. It took me about 3 hours to do a circuit.

View from the ‘Cami De Cavalls’ footpath of the west end of Son Bou marsh


I visited the Parc Natural de s’Albufera des Grau for an afternoon, which is on the NE coast. It consists of a large freshwater lake (roughly the size of Chew Valley Lake) surrounded by rocky hills with sandy scrub. There are three short, but interesting, walks of about an hour each. The place is amazingly cost-free ! (Get a free map from the information centre – just follow signs.) It is also amazingly birdwatcher-free.


 (NB. A couple of useful links at bottom of page.)


Trip List

Greater Flamingo – 3 flying along the coast at Son Bou, heading east, and then SE out to sea at 8.50am on 27th July.

Purple Gallinule – Shocked to find 3 feeding at west edge of Son Bou marsh ! In cattle fields on 30th July (am). Then another one in open section of water at east end of Son Bou on 1st August.


Egyptian Vulture – one first seen at head-height flying across the marsh on morning of 27th July. (Must admit, I thought it was a type of Heron until I got my bins on its head !) It gained height and circled around for 10 minutes. Also seen similarly on 1st August. Two seen circling together at Mountain near Binimel-La on 30th July (pm).

Woodchat Shrike – pair with 2 juvs at west end of Son Bou marsh. Also seen occasionally by roadside.


Hoopoe – up to 10 seen on walks around Son Bou, including 6 together at west end of marsh. Also on lawn at apartments at Son Bou regularly.

Blue Rock Thrush – adult with juvenile seen regularly on rocky point where the path meets the coast at west end of Son Bou. Also probables at farms and cliffs at west end. One also at Binimel-La beach, on headland (30th July). Amazingly, one also right in the centre of Son Bou village, by the main round-about !

Thekla Lark – up to 5 among sand-dunes at Son Bou, but quite elusive.

Tawny Pipit – 1 among sand-dunes at Son Bou (27th) and another on headland at Binimel-La (on north coast) (30th).

Bee-eater – 5 seen regularly in a small colony in the sand-dunes at Son Bou. 26 high over Son Bou on 30th July, am. 16 high over Son Bou on 1st Aug (am), mobbing a Red Kite.

Pallid Swift – seen regularly over Son Bou marsh in small numbers. Also at s’Albufera des Grau.

Swift – seen regularly over Son Bou marsh.

Red-Rumped Swallow – c5 with Swallow at s’Albufera des Grau on 29th July (walking route #1)

Swallow – first seen on evening of 27th when c20 flew in to roost in Son Bou marsh (not seen during day). Then a few always over Son Bou after this.

House Martin – a couple at s’Albufera des Grau on 29th July.

Cattle Egret – 18 commuted between cows at west end of Son Bou and main marsh to roost. Then 31 with cows here on 1st August. 5 at s’Albufera des Grau on 29th July.


Little Egret – 12 at s’Albufera des Grau on 29th July.

Audouin’s Gull – in small numbers along every beach.

Yellow-legged Gull – also in small numbers along every beach.

Booted Eagle – seen as per Buzzard in UK.

Osprey – 1+ at s’Albufera des Grau. First seen overhead. Then perched on posts in water several times.

Cory’s Shearwater – not seen as often as I would have expected – only seen on two mornings; 10+ on 30th July and 30+ on 2nd August.

Balearic Shearwater – only seen on morning of 2nd August, when in mixed flock with Cory’s.

Scop’s Owl – up to 2 heard from hotel at night.

Barn Owl ? – large white bird screeching over Son Bou at midnight; either Barn Owl or an Egret ?

Spoonbill – one at s’Albufura des Grau

Wryneck – one calling on outskirts of Ciutadella town.

Nightingale – Up to 3 seen at west end of Son Bou (but not heard singing).

Turtle Dove – Up to 10 seen at Son Bou mainly in farm fields at west end, but also on lawns at holiday village. Some quite tame. Also c10 at s’Albufera des Grau.

Cetti’s Warbler – seen, and heard, at west end of Son Bou.

Spotted Flycatcher – pretty much everywhere, including right in the centre of Son Bou village.

Shag – one on rocks at Son Bou.

Red Kite – singles seen four times: in coach from airport, Son Bou, at two places near the s’Albufera.

Peregrine – an adult and a juvenile seen at s’Albufers des Grau.

Raven – up to 3 seen at west end of Son Bou. 2 seen elsewhere on island.

Rock Dove – many at Son Bou.

Sardinian Warbler – everywhere

Fan-tailed Warbler – constantly heard/seen at Son Bou. Also at s’Albufera des Grau.

Black-winged Stilt – 8 at s’Albufera des Grau, including juveniles.

Little Ringed Plover – adult & juvenile at s’Albufera des Grau (walking route #3).

Common Sandpiper – heard at Son Bou, but never seen. One seen at s’Alburfera des Grau.

Wood Sandpiper – 3 at s’Albufera des Grau

Water Rail – heard a few at Son Bou and 3 seen at s’Albufera des Grau.

Stonechat – up to 5 at Son Bou

Woodpigeon – not that common

Linnet – a couple at Son Bou

Kestrel – common

Mallard – only duck seen at Son Bou

Coot – a few at Son Bou and 100’s at s’Albufera des Grau.

Moorhen – a couple at Son Bou and at s’Albufera

Yellowhammer/Cirl Bunting – one heard at Son Bou

Corn Bunting – a few seen in farmland when in car

House Sparrow – extremely common

Goldfinch – common

Greenfinch – a few seen at Son Bou

Blackbird – a few on the lawns at Son Bou

Collared Dove – a few seen, but not as many as Turtle Dove

Reed Warbler – only heard singing 6 times in the week at Son Bou, and just one seen – amazing for such a big marsh. Not heard at s’Albufura des Grau.

Purple Heron ? – 4 large herons flew into Son Bou marsh to roost at dusk on 27th July.

Grey Heron – one at s’Albufera des Grau.

NB. No other herons seen at Son Bou marsh despite watching from my apartment all week.

Shoveler – 3 at s’Albufera des Grau.

Pochard – a male at s’Albufera des Grau.

Little Grebe - c100 at s’Albufera des Grau

Black-headed Gull – 5 at s’Albufera des Grau (NB. No Med. Gull seen all week !)

Blackcap – 3 seen/heard (sometimes singing) around Son Bou. One at s’Albufera des Grau.

Savi’s/Grasshopper Warbler ? – up to 2 heard in marsh at Son Bou, but distant.

Great Tit – one at Son Bou.

Greylag Goose – 6 domestic-types in the stream at Binimel-La beach.


67 species in total.

(Didn’t see any Alpine Swift or Crag Martin at the high mountain, ‘El Toro’, but looked like they should be there.)


Other wildlife:

Hermann’s Tortoise – one found along Cami des Cavalls at Son Bou on 1st August. About 4 inches across shell.


Clouded Yellow butterfly – common

Painted Lady butterfly – one at Son Bou on 27th July

Gecko – 3 around the apartment

Stripeless Tree Frog – small bright green frog climbed up the stairs to the 2nd floor apartment one evening !

Lizard sp’s – bright green lizards in the dunes and others all over island.

Locust – one in the apartment !

Rat – one wondering down a road at Son Bou

Sand Lily (Pancratium maritimum) – in dunes at Son Bou. Large white flowers.

The moon


Useful Links:


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Last revised: 5 August 2010.