Country Corner - Hoopoe, hoopoe hooray for Menorca

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Chrissy and I are recently returned from a walking and wildlife holiday on the beautiful island of Menorca, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

This bird the Hoopoe could be heard calling 'hoop, hoop, hoop' almost anywhere, but mainly in woodland.

Mind you, hearing the bird and seeing it were two very different things, and it was not until our very last walk before I got close enough to photograph one.

Nightingales were exactly the same, singing loudly from deep within shrubs and tree crowns.

Numerous times we felt we were within feet of one, yet could not spot it.

Only once was I lucky enough to get my binoculars onto a nightingale as it sat in cover only metres away, yet it kept it’s back to me the whole time!

However, almost all other species we studied were much more obliging.

Wildflowers were abundant, particularly wild gladiolas, rosy aliums and mediterranean thistles which combined to give woodland a rainbow of colour.

Butterflies, our specialist area of study, favoured more open meadows, full of wild clovers, trefoils and vetches.

Clouded yellows, holly blues and the beautiful Cleopatra.

Even fish did their best to impress as I explored with my snorkel.

Though where they were feeding on drifting jellyfish, it was sad to see one trying to eat a polythene bag.

Please never discard plastic bags near the sea or anywhere else.

Lizards, terrapins, even a snake, all tempted my camera at some point.

However, our highlight had to be a species we never knew to be on Menorca.

A clan of Egyptian vultures lived in a high narrow gorge upriver.

We will always remember them circling overhead.

Magical Menorca!