Kiko finds a carnivorous turtle in the Albufera des Grau
Would you like to see birds, lizards and other animals? I am going to make an excursion to the Albufera of Es Grau, in Mahón. It is the only large natural park there is in Menorca. There are 3 itineraries you can visit and today I have chosen Cala Llimpa. Will you join me?
I am waiting for two friends. I have already prepared a backpack with water and fruit and I will take my camera too. Am I missing something? Yes, a cap to wear. Although it is a cloudy day, it is always best to protect yourself from the sun.
A yellow duck with a green head?
We get to the parking lot. From here on there are two roads you can take, ours is the red one and we have to follow the number 1 signs. The trees and grass are very green. You can tell that spring has arrived. A sign indicates that the path we are taking, will lead us up to "Aguait d'en Biel", a bird observatory.
- "There´s a wooden house, can we go in?" Ana ask us when approaching.
- "I like this house. We can see the waters of the Albufera from the window. Have you seen the silence sign? We cannot make any noise or talk loud so we do not disturb the nature, "I tell Ana whilst she takes out her binoculars and points towards an area called "Cala de sa Font" where you can see several animals walking around.
- "On the signs are photos of the birds that live in the Albufera. Look! That one that just jumped into the water is a cormorant. What kind of duck is the one which has a white spot on its head called? "Marta asks us.
- "The sign tells us it is a coot. I have never heard of this animal before. Look at that, what beautiful colors it has! It has a yellow beak and a green head. It must be a mallard, "I say, whilst pointing to the bottom of the Albufera where I thought I saw some small herons with long thin legs.
Why does this turtle have such a long tail?
It has been hard to get Marta out of the observatory. She loves birds but we still have to continue the rest of the tour.
- "Stop Ana says. "Be careful, there is a turtle nestling on the ground, right in the middle of the road. He wants to turn but can´t. "We have to help him".
We take it off the ground and carefully leave it on the edge of a wall, but then realize…
- "This is not a turtle, look at that long tail!" Marta says.
- If it is a Florida tortoise, we must take it to the Wildlife Recovery Center in Menorca. Do you remember the visit I made a few months ago? There they explained that these turtles are not in their natural habitat, and therefore are aggressive and attack other animals. There they keep them safe them and take care of them. "
- Ana thinks it is a freshwater turtle, "I have never seen them before but I have heard of them. They are called Galapagos and live in the moist areas of the island. In some places in Europe they are disappearing by pollution, but in Menorca there is the Agency of the Biosphere Reserve that control and protect them.
- "Ana, you know a lot, don’t you!" I say I with astonishment.
- "Yes, I like turtles very much and I have read that these are carnivorous that eat small frogs, insects and fish. Let's leave it here so it can go its own way. "Surely it will be going to the lagoon to meet other freshwater turtles, "Ana says whilst laying the freshwater turtle gently on the ground.
Are the eagles planning to ask us for food?
We have not even completed halfway and this excursion has become an adventure full of animals I did not know of. We have come to a kind of tunnel made among the trees. We see a wooden bench and we sit in the shade for a while to rest and eat some tangerines.
Two eagles are flying and gliding above us as we approach the viewpoint of Es Tamarells. Maybe they think we'll leave the leftovers of our food. But no, we collect everything in a bag and store it in our backpacks to throw away in a container.
There are many reeds that move with the wind and, from here on, we can see the lagoon of the Albufera and the small islets.
The missing lizards
Did you know that on one of these islets, Illot d'en Mel, the Balearic lizard lives? You can only find them in Menorca. They started disappearing when men and other species of animals arrived on the island, which was thousands of years ago.
- "So you are telling us that this islet has not dried up for at least a thousand years?" Marta asks! "This type of lizard was disappearing because other animals ate their eggs and their young ones. They live happily on this island as they are in the middle of the lagoon and therefore other animals cannot reach them. "
Black clouds are approaching in the north. The sun is still shining here and we are almost at the end of the road. We entertained ourselves by looking at some orchids. In Menorca they are small and of many colors. Everything is filled with precious flowers. Marta wants to make a bouquet to take to her mother but there are signs that say it is forbidden to pick flowers. This great natural park must be kept well maintained and protected.
Why have all the eels gone?
Another sign informs us that there are eels in the lagoon. Do you remember the excursion we made to La Gola, another one of the itineraries of the Albufera de Es Grau? There they told us that you can only fish these fish within traditional methods and if you have a special permit. They live in sweet water but every seven years swim out to the sea to breed and afterwards bring their babies into the lagoon.
From the viewpoint of Ses Puntes you can see, in the distance, the village of Es Grau, with its white house’s. We cannot see the beach, but we know that the sea is near because it smells of salt.
I look forward to returning to Club Kikoland and telling my friends about the adventures I have experienced during this excursion. Have you ever seen a baby turtle? We were lucky because I think it will start to rain soon but we are leaving and we have some great memories of this day. Have you heard of the Albufera de Es Grau before? Do you love animals? In this place you will have the opportunity to see a lot of them.