There are a thousand ways to enjoy your vacation. We know that Menorca is a perfect place for sun and beach, but what else is hidden in this wonderful paradise? We invite you to enter the world of bird watching.
Table of contents:
- This is and is not for professionals
- Menorca, a perfect place for bird watching
- The best places to enjoy ornithology in Menorca
- S'Albufera des Grau Natural Park
- Bassa de Morella and Cap de Favàritx
- Son Bou
- Llacuna de Lluriac
- Services and where to eat
- Where to sleep
This is and is not for professionals
Hello everyone again, here we are again to tell you the most interesting things we can do and find in Menorca to enjoy your holiday in many different ways. We know perfectly well that Menorca is a perfect island to sunbathe and go to the beach, but many times we are not aware of the wide range of activities that coexist in this small paradise.
Today we want to explain you where, how and when you can enjoy the sighting of the different species of birds that live in Menorca. This is intended as a guide to be used by the most expert and enthusiastic ornithologists and birdwatchers of these wonderful animals, but do not be afraid of all the others. We warn you that you can enjoy this activity very much without the pretense of wanting to be a professional.
With this, we want to make you understand that not only can you enjoy watching the beautiful birds that live in our ecosystem, but you can also enjoy the great variety of landscapes and places that the island offers. "Going bird watching" can be the perfect excuse to go for a walk in s'Albufera des Grau and enjoy an extraordinary landscape.
Therefore, we challenge you all, bird lovers, but especially those who have no contact with this world, to discover its wonders. Read on...
Menorca, a perfect place for bird watching
Just over 300 species make a stopover in the Balearics every year to take a break and continue on their way. The Balearic archipelago is on the migratory route of Western Europe, and during spring and autumn it becomes a wonderful setting for birdwatching.
In Menorca we find a good variety of habitats in a quite reduced space: forests, beaches, sea, wetlands, sea cliffs, ravines, pastures or salt marshes form a varied habitat that allows the observation of a good number of different species without long journeys. The agricultural activity has not intensified much and has preserved a mosaic landscape of small fields, framed by margins and dry stone walls, which provides an ideal habitat for a multitude of small birds that will always accompany us on any walk we may take around the island at any time of the year.
The island has areas such as the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau, Llacuna de Morella, Cap de Favàritx, Ses Salines de Addaia, the port of Maó and Torrent de San Joan, Son Saura del Nord, Salinas de La Concepció, Salines Velles de Fornells and badia de Fornells, Lluriac, Es Prat and Tirant, Son Saura del Sud, Torrent de Cala Galdana or Son Bou. Within this list we find different types of wetlands: lagoons, rafts, meadows (reed beds), salt flats, ports and streams which are a privileged place for bird watching.
Together, these locations represent the largest and most important wetlands on the island. Next we will make a brief description of the most important areas detailing the species that can be seen.
Thus, in Menorca, it will not be difficult to observe large birds of prey such as the red kite or the osprey, sea birds such as gulls and shearwaters, vultures such as the Egyptian vulture, steppe vultures such as the hawk, the woodcock or the great bustard, water birds such as ducks or grebes and a large number of rural birds such as shrikes, nightingales, turtledoves, stonechats and a long etcetera.
The best places to enjoy ornithology in Menorca
We have named many places where you can enjoy watching all the variety of birds that can be seen in Menorca, but we will now explain the following in more detail. Even so, the intention is not to disadvantage the other sites, but to provide more information.
Albufera des Grau Natural Park
The Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau, has more than 5,000 hectares where a great diversity of animal and plant species live. This protected area is located in the northeastern part of the island, where we can find a 2 km long lagoon, large areas of the sea coast, an islet and numerous farms where traditional agricultural activities are practiced.
S'Albufera des Grau Natural Park has the distinction of being the most important lagoon in Menorca, and one of the most important in the Balearic Islands. Menorca has the honor of being a Biosphere Reserve, a distinction granted by UNESCO in 1993 for the environmental and landscape diversity of the island, and the Albufera des Grau is undoubtedly the ecological core for which Menorca received this recognition.
Birds such as the cormorant, heron and osprey live there, which you can see from the points set up in the park. It is a real example of a natural reserve due to the incalculable value of its flora and fauna.
Bassa de Morella and Cap de Favàritx
This route is located within the natural park of s'Albufera des Grau and is an excursion through one of the most characteristic and best preserved landscapes of Menorca with a great ecological value. It starts shortly before reaching the end of Favàritx and the whole route is well indicated as it forms part of one of the stages of the Camí de Cavalls.
Cap de Favàritx
The route runs along a wide and stony path where it will be easy to see birds such as the blackheaded warbler or the linnet. After Cala Presili, the path continues to the highest part of the Morella Nou sandbank or Cala Tortuga, a point with better views to observe water birds such as coots and various species of ducks. At the Clos des Síndic, the small temporary pond before the Faváritx lighthouse, it is common to see little plovers and the elegant solitary rocker.
The wetland area of El Prat de Son Bou represents the most important reed bed on the island, offering protection, food or a place to breed for a wide variety of bird species, mainly marshland species such as the royal reed warbler, the common reed warbler, the stonechat or the calamon, with its spectacular blue plumage.
It is a humid zone of a hundred hectares, separated from the sea by a dune system arranged parallel to the coast. Its waters are fresh and come from the different streams that flow down the adjacent ravines.
Among the most representative species you will find the reed warblers, the royal reed warbler standing out, which has its best breeding place here in Minorca. Other species such as the common squid, the reed warbler, the vulture or the bee-eater also have important populations. It is during the migratory passages when you will see a greater number of species, highlighting among others the ardeida, the waders, the birds of prey and a handful of small birds typical of aquatic environments.
Puput (Upupa epops)
Llacuna de Lluriac
The Lluriac lagoons are the second most important wintering area in Menorca for a large number of water birds. Ducks like the common teal or spoon duck, ardeidas or limícolas like the lapwing or the common snipe find here their ideal place during the coldest months. In spring it becomes a resting and feeding place for a varied number of migrant species such as the crab heron, purple heron, stork or fighter among many others.
A short walk around the area guarantees the observation of a good number of water and agricultural birds. It is also remarkable the presence of birds of prey, mainly booted eagles or small sedentary birds such as the common stonechat, the bastard nightingale, the vulture or the wheat farmer.
The salt flats of Addaia are located within the boundaries of the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau and are the best area in Menorca for the observation of species linked to saline environments.
Waders are the most characteristic birds, especially during the spring and autumn migratory passages, when we can observe almost all the species present on the island such as the Black-winged Stilt or different species of plovers, redshanks and sandpipers. In winter we can observe a great variety of ducks, cormorants, coots, herons or flamingos. Some aquatic species, such as the black-winged stilt and the white jar, find their only breeding place here in Minorca, a fact that is beginning to be compromised by the large influx of users of the Camí de Cavalls.
The surroundings of this route offer us a remarkable richness of different habitats and landscapes. Before reaching the salt flats, the track that leads to them passes through farmland and pasture where there are rocky formations where it is advisable to be aware of the presence of a good number of rock birds and birds of prey such as the solitary rock thrush, red kite, Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, crow or booted eagle. Further on from the salt flats is the head of the Addaia port, an area of very shallow water frequented by herons, where it is possible to see the osprey fishing.
Services and where to eat
We know that this type of activity, for the lovers of the ornithology, is calm and needs long moments of wait before arriving at the summit moment of being able to see that bird in the right moment and in the right place. We know, therefore, that it is not always good to move from the natural area to eat something, so in the Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou we offer a picnic for hikers or nature lovers that we can adapt to the needs of each.
Even so, we will recommend you some places to eat:
Albufera des Grau: This beautiful place is right next to the beach des Grau, which has a small and pleasant urbanization. So if you want you can also take a bath in its beautiful beach. It is a small fishing village that has become a summer resort and has a large beach. We recommend Can Bernat des Grau where you can eat good traditional food, or ca l'avi Bernadet, with a family and friendly cuisine.
Bassa de Morella or Cap de Favàritx: The Morella lagoon is in the Albufera des Grau, so the options for eating are the same as those mentioned above. In the Cap de Favàritx, however, we have nothing relatively close. The closest option is to return to Es Grau or go to the port of Maó, where you will find the most varied selection of restaurants and bars, with all kinds of cuisine.
Son Bou: The beach of Son Bou is the longest beach in Menorca, measuring 3 km in length of fine white sand. There is no lack of services, in the part of the sand closest to the urbanization there are many beach bars. And in the urbanization there are supermarkets, bars and restaurants, pharmacies and a shopping centre.
It is also worth noting that Son Bou is home to the largest Talayotic settlement in Menorca and one of the most important in the Balearic Islands, the Torre d'en Galmés. Therefore, it is an ideal option to complement our ornithological visit. You will find the indicated route on the road between Son Bou and Alaior.
Llacuna de Lluriac: This lagoon is on the way between Cala Tirant and Cala Cavalleria beaches. If you want to go for a meal, the best options are to return to Cala Tirant, which is a small urbanisation next to the beach, or to return to Fornells.
Addaia: The salt flats of Addaia are located within the limits of the Natural Park of s'Albufera des Grau, but they are next to the urbanization of Puerto de Addaia, so you will find all kinds of services and restaurants in this urbanization.
Views of the houses and garden of the Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou
Where to sleep
In our Rural Hotel Morvedra Nou we are totally familiar with all those people who love nature. We have a long history of welcoming groups whose passion is their link with everything related to the enjoyment of nature. Therefore, especially in the months of spring and autumn, we host different groups or couples whose purpose is this. In this sense, we have a schedule adapted to the demands of this type of activity. We have a menu for dinner, with dishes of traditional Menorcan cuisine, to get strength for the next round of excursions. We also have a menu prepared by our chef. Our breakfasts offer all kinds of food to face the exciting day that awaits you, and our waiters will have their picnic prepared just at the time you tell them.