Saturday, 22 May 2010

Magic Mallorca

The reason for the lack of updates recently is because I have been in Mallorca for the last 2 weeks.
I will not do a day by day report as it may get monotonous but will break it down into areas I visited.

 Angela, Becky and I stayed at the Aparthotel Playa Mar, an excellent family hotel right on the northern end of Porto Pollenca.
 Most of my birding was done early mornings between 6:30 and 9:00, when I wandered back for breakfast.
On leaving the Hotel I could almost guarantee that my first ten birds of the day would be,- Blackbird, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Crossbill (very common around the hotel), Swift, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenfinch, Wren, Spotted Flycatcher (there seemed to be a pair every 100 yards or so).
 The pines around the Military Base usually produce good birds and Firecrest and Golden Oriole were the stars this time, both giving exceptional views and a Hoopoe called from within the grounds.
 Opposite the adjacent Football ground is some scrubland which is worth watching, as Sardinian Warbler ( a very common bird here), a Woodchat Shrike and quite a few passage Whinchats showed at times. Spotted Flycatcher

Serins were common birds around the weedy areas of undeveloped backstreets and several Stonechats were encountered


Woodchat Shrike

The fertile meadows along the side of the Bypass were very rich in bird life and held several jangling Corn Buntings and the repetitive 'zitting' of Fan-tailed Warblers. Lots of House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Spotted Flycatchers in every tree, Swallows, House Martins and Swifts zipping along at head-height and on a couple of mornings a spangly Bee-Eater.


This Stone Curlew was seen about 100 yards from the Eroski supermarket on the outskirts of town.

Stone Curlew (click on the picture )

 It was on a trip to this supermarket one morning that we were treated to 2 Honey Buzzards slowly circling northwards over the town.


This was an area I always checked when I was in town. It  is always mentioned in bird reports, but never seems to produce much.
 Mallards and Moorhens are always present as are House Martins that gather mud for their nests. Occaisionally there would be a Little Egret.
The best birds despite being obviously wing clipped were this pair of Wood Ducks and well worth a photo.
Wood Ducks

Some people hate Muscovy Ducks but I think this one was quite smart

Mucovy Duck


I covered the northern part of Pollenca Bay known as the PineWalk nearly every daywithout seeing too much.
House Sparrows and Spotted Flycatchers were very common. Occaisonally ther was a lone Little Egret and a couple of times an Osprey flew over the Bay.

Little Egret

Yellow-legged and Audouins Gulls were seen regularly

Audouin's Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

The southern end of the bay as you head out of town towards Alcudia was better.
Shags were usually seen, often on the rocky islands just off-shore.

 About half a mile out of town where a large stream meets the sea is a place where small waders seem to gather. On one visit I had 5 Common Sandpipers, 8 Kentish Plovers, 2 Little ringed Plovers, a Ringed Plover and a Sanderling.

Kentish Plover


On the morning of Wednesday the 12th, I decided to walk up to the Mirador Albercutx on the Formentor Peninsular. This was some 5km from the Hotel and quite a climb up the precarious mountain road and I would not recommend anyone to do it later in the day when the traffic builds up.
 Very few birds were seen on the climb other than several Sardinian Warblers and a Kestrel. Goats were everywhere and every crag seemed to hold one on lookout duty.
 Nearing the Mirador a Crag Martin skimmed low over the rocks and Swifts flew overhead.
On reaching the viewpoint a constant piercing scream filled the air. I knew it was a Bird of Prey, but couldn't locate where the sound was coming from. Eventually I located it just below me and saw it was a juvenile Peregrine obviously screaming for food. 

Juvenile Peregrine

 Further along the more melodious song of a Blue Rock Thrush filled the air as it sat on a wall briefly. Around 30 Pallid Swifts flew around their colony in the cliffs below and 4 Cory's Shearwaters glided over the calm sea.
 The walk back down was quite uneventful although I did spot some droppings on a wall which I would guess were probably from a Pine Martin.


Friday the 14th was my day out at the Parc Natural S'albufera.
A mere 1.50 euros on the bus from Porto Pollenca, which is great value, it's just a shame the first bus isn't until a quarter to nine.

Walking down the entrance track Cettis Warblers and Nightingales were  everywhere. Halfway down you come across the huge Cattle and Little Egret and Night Heron Colony. It was while looking at this that a Spoonbill flew out and onto the marsh.

Part of the large Cattle Egret, Little Egret and Night Heron Colony. ( If you look closely you will see an adult and a juvenile Night heron.

Cettis Warbler

Black-winged Stilt

Walking aroundto the visitor centre, a look over the wooden gate, gave views of 2 Stone Curlews.
Onto the C.I.M. hide, where numerous Red-crested Pochards were seen, along with several Black-winged Stilts and a couple of Purple Heron flyovers.Kentish Plovers and Little Ringed Plovers squabbled amongst themselves. A couple of common Terns were on the islands, but better still was a Whiskered one that flew around.
Biggest disappointment was not seeing the Marbled Ducks that had been seen a few minutes earlier but had gone into hiding.
 From the nearby watchpoint a couple of Marsh Harriers and an Eleanora's Falcon were observed in the distance.

The Stone Bridge in the centre of the reserve is usually a good place to see the recently re-introduced Red-knobbed or Crested Coot and this was no exception.

Red-Knobbed Coot

It's also good for Purple Gallinule, but this one would just not put it's head up.

Purple Gallinule

The walk down to Tower Hide has proved very fruitful in the past, but this time 7 Eleanora's Falcons hawking over the wetlands were the best on offer.
 The area in front of Bishop hides was flooded out so very little was on show there other than a few Black-winged Stilts and Little Egrets, although on the walk back up an Eleanora's Falcon was sat on the path with an unfortunate young bird which it must have plucked from the top of the water and an Osprey hunted  over the wetlands.
 Finally I talk a walk up to the observation deck at the top of the Es Ras area and from here observed 2 Purple Gallinules having a bit of a 'set-to' out in the field, a Woodchat Shrike, a fantastic male Little Bittern that flew along the top of the reeds, some Black-winged Stilts and a Hoopoe. On the walk back down a Great Reed Warbler showed as it sang, but a Moustached Warbler was not so obliging.


Eleanora's Falcon

Squacco Heron

Cattle Egret


Corn Bunting.


These two rocks are the impressive Guardians of the start of the Boquer Valley. You need to pass through these on your journey towards the sea.

Sardinian Warbler

Blue Rock Thrush

Cirl Bunting

Balearic Warbler

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