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|Friday 27th April 2007, 21:00||#1|
Mallorca 7-14th April 2007
We flew to Palma from Gatwick, using MyTravel Airways, which was okay. We stayed in a house near the base of the Ternelles Valley next to the beautiful old town of Pollensa, and as a result there was always something to see in the garden, regardless of the weather, which wasn't great for most of the trip. On the afternoon we arrived and the following day the weather was beautiful with blue skies, sun and a light breeze. But for the remainder of the holiday it was quite miserable, with a lot of rain and low clouds. We spent a day up in the mountains where visibility was down to less than 5 metres along the roads, and unfortunately our visit to Cuber Reservoir was pointless as we could barely even see the water, yet alone the hillsides where the various BOPs should have been soaring in the afternoon heat! Illness was also a problem. On the second afternoon stomach aches turned into vomiting and by the end of the week all of us had spent a day at home on the sick bed losing precious time, but you probably don't want to hear about that anymore. Despite this we managed to see lots of good birds and overall it was a very successful trip. The programme was busy but not demanding, with lots of fairly late starts. We used the late Graham Hearl's A Birdwatching Guide to Mallorca as an excellent guide, and we also used Birding in Mallorca with Dave Gosney (DVD), Wild Spain by Frederic V. Grunfeld & A Guide to Bird-watching in Mallorca by Eddie Watkinson (although being published 1982 made this one less useful). Of course the ever-present Collins Bird Guide was as useful as ever, although A Field Guide in Colour to Butterflies and Moths was less valuable due to the unfriendly weather for butterflies.
Around the house
We didn't need to leave the house to see good birds. Serins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Sardinian Warblers, House Sparrows, Blackcaps, Blackbirds, Swallows, House Martins, Swifts & Fan-tailed Warblers were usually present and Woodchat Shrike, Crag Martin, Kestrel and Hoopoe were also seen or heard most days by someone, and Firecrest was heard once. Scop's Owls were heard on the first 2 nights (I don't think they like rain) while Cattle & Little Egrets, Grey Herons & Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen flying over. However the undoubted highlight (and perhaps of the whole trip as well) were the Black Vultures. On the first afternoon excited calls from outside were because of a Black Vulture soaring fairly low over the house, by the time I'd made it outside 4 more had appeared from nowhere, also soaring fairly low and giving good photo opportunities. The next morning a single bird flew over. This was very fortunate as if we had not of seen these birds we wouldn't have seen Black Vulture at all on Mallorca. We also saw Wall Brown and Clouded Yellow butterflies on the sunnier days.
The Albufera Marsh thoroughly deserves the title as the best location on Mallorca. We could have spent all week exploring all the little corners of the park. You can only park outside the reserve and then have to walk down the entrance track to the interpretive centre and picnic area at the centre of the reserve. However this is not a problem in any way as the entrance track is a good area for birds. We saw our only Night Heron of the trip here, although only briefly in flight. We also saw an Audouin's Gull along the canal as well as Red-crested Pochards, Cetti's Warblers, one or two Reed Warblers, and also a Goldfinch having a fight with a Willow Warbler. The best hide is the Bishop I hide where extremely close views of a variety of waders can be had. Black-winged Stilts nest just a few feet away from the hide and Snipe, Redshank, up to 8 Spotted Redshank, up to 3 Greenshank, a Marsh Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, Kentish, Ringed & Little Ringed Plovers & various hirundines and ducks were also seen. We also saw a Common Tern sitting on a post, which is listed by Graham Hearl as a rare vagrant, however we have since learnt that they have recently started to colonise Albufera and that there are now several pairs. CIM hide was also good with Purple Heron, Purple Swamp-hen (Purple Gallinule), Common Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, hirundines, ducks & Marsh Harriers seen. This was also the best place to see Stone-curlew, although we only saw them in flight, making themselves very obvious by their loud calls. The Depuradora de S'illot is at the southern edge of the area. It is ideal for a quick evening or morning visit as you can park right next to the viewing platform and then scan across the pits from there. On our first visit there were 6 Garganey around the edges. A variety of waders including Common, Green & Wood Sandpipers were seen plus Little Ringed Plovers, Spotted & Common Redshanks, Black-winged Stilts and several Little Egrets. Yellow (Blue-headed race) and White Wagtails were numerous and this was also a good place to watch Marsh Harriers, herons, egrets, hirundines & Swifts feeding over the Albufera. From here we were able to estimate several thousand hirundines and Swifts as well as a maximum of 4 Marsh Harriers at once. The land around the Depuradora is worth exploring (or getting lost in as we did). Hoopoes were easy to see here with at a maximum of 7 including 4 in view at one time. Other birds seen here included Marsh Harrier, Serin, Wheatear, Stonechat, Cattle Egrets and Kestrel. Other birds around the Albufera included Great White Egret, Sardinian, Willow, Cetti's (these were ridiculously common and easy to see!!), Fan-tailed, Reed & Moustached Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Stonechats, Serins, Stone-curlews & Water Rails (only one seen very briefly though).
Although we didn't find the valley particularly good for migrants in our two visits we did find it good for several specialities. A pair of Blue Rock Thrush were quite easy to see at the start of the valley on both visits. Booted Eagles were also observed on both visits, as well as an Osprey, a Marsh Harrier, several Kestrels and 2 Sparrowhawks. We also saw Marmora's Warbler without much difficulty, including one perched on a bush for several seconds at the end of the valley. Crag Martins were fairly numerous and other highlights included 2 Cirl Buntings, 2 Subalpine Warblers showing well, Firecrest, 2 Raven and Hoopoe. Willow Warblers were the only migrant passing through in any numbers though.
We were expecting not to see Eleonora's Falcons as we new that we would be a bit too early, but we were disappointed not to see any shearwaters offshore, or anything else of interest around the lighthouse. However we did stop at Casas Velles on the way back down which we found to be excellent for mingrants (the rain did help in this aspect). Scanning from the road the Pied Flycatchers stole the show with 3 seen very close and several more more distantly. We also had a good view of a Black Redstart, 15+ Redstarts, 2 Winchats and lots of Willow Warblers plus a few Chiffchaffs. Every time we looked over the fields something new seemed to have appeared, so although there is unfortunately no access to the area anymore, it is certainly still worth scanning from the road.
Cap de Ses Salines and Salines de Levante
We spent a day on the south of the island visiting the Cap de Ses Salines, the Salines de Levante and Es Trenc. The journey there was quite eventful, Corn Buntings were abundant in the fields and we also saw 7 Kestrels, several Buzzards and 2 Sparrowhawks. As we drove along the road to the Cap a female Marsh Harrier flew across the road right in front of us. When we got to the Cap we sewatched for over and hour and saw 3 Belearic Shearwaters passing as well as c20 Cory’s Shearwaters passing by and feeding offshore. Several very large groups of Shags also passed as well as 2 Sandwich Terns, a Gannet and a flock of 15 Oystercatchers – a good record for Mallorca. On the beach there were at least 3 Audouin’s Gulls.
When we arrived at the Salines we immediately saw several Blue-headed Wagtails and Corn Buntings in the fields at the start. The the first pans on the left of the track were the main place for the smaller waders, including c100 Little Stints, c100 Kentish Plovers and a Sanderling. Further along Eddie’s Track we saw lots of Stilts plus an Avocet, a Wood Sandpiper, Redshanks, a Spotted Redshank, 2 Marsh Harriers, Shelducks, Cetti’s, Sardinian & Willow Warblers, a Water Rail and best of a Spoonbill seen in flight in the distance, although unfortunately it settled out of view. On the way back we found a Wheatear, a Redstart, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and numerous Linnets in the field at the start. We then drove just to the south to the beach at Es Trenc, where we had a very late lunch. The beach here had 5+ Audouin’s Gulls. Driving back towards the Salines we found 2 larks in a quarry that showed very well allowing them to be identified as Thekla Larks, and a Tawny Pipit also accompanied them. Also here a Marsh Sandpiper was on one of the pans as well as more Little Stints.
The mountains west of Pollensa
During the day we spent in the mountains there was low cloud and constant drizzle, so Cuber Reservoir produced pretty much nothing, except some Crag Martins flying around and a few Stonechats. We could also hear large numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls on the water but couldn’t see them. Elsewhere in the area the species that stood out was Blackcap. Everywhere we went there were large numbers of them and as usual plenty of Sardinian Warblers. We also saw single Redstarts at Deia and Lluc Monastery (this smart male was watched at about 1 metre from the car in the car park.). There was also a Pied Flycatcher at Lluc, as well as several Firecrests in some woods. The Alfabia gardens had some Crossbills and a Kestrel.
Lots more pics later when I have got the rest and reduced their size
Last edited by teamsaint : Friday 27th April 2007 at 21:34.
|Friday 27th April 2007, 21:11||#2|
Lifers in bold
Blue Rock Thrush
Great Crested Grebe
Great White Egret
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Little Ringed Plover
Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed race)
Last edited by teamsaint : Friday 27th April 2007 at 21:14.
|Friday 27th April 2007, 21:16||#3|
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Leeds, Yorkshire
Great list but it would be so much better if it was in species order, rather than alphabetical. (tip..use Jeff's database and you can cut and paste the list into BF)
Didn't you see egyptian vultures in the Bocquer Valley? Last time I was in Pollensa they were a permanent fixture in the valley.
Newer scope, even newer camera, same idiot holding them though
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|Friday 27th April 2007, 21:37||#4|
|Friday 27th April 2007, 22:32||#5|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: North of the wall, south of the border
It's a great place to visit in April, I love it. It's a pity that this year you were hit by the weather. According to reports this has been the wettest April in memory in Mallorca.
It's still spring weather and therefore unpredictable, but when I've been there in April it's usually been brilliant (to the extent that my wife managed to get a dose of sunstroke one year - how brilliant is that?)
Pleased you enjoyed it. Eleonoras are there to be had in the summer; Formentor is great, but you also get them hawking over S'Albufera. I have been lucky and had an April bird over the ridge along the Boquer.
|Saturday 28th April 2007, 16:47||#7|
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: York, England.
Last edited by Bubbs : Saturday 28th April 2007 at 16:51.
|Saturday 28th April 2007, 19:09||#8|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Devon. UK.
Nice report, brought back good memories except for a few days of 'Mediterranean Tummy'.
Are you listening to the voice that talks in your head while you read this?
|Sunday 29th April 2007, 19:18||#10|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: West Yorkshire
Great report teamsaint, very enjoyable read, especially your species list!!!!
Are the play-offs a possibility??
|Monday 30th April 2007, 10:03||#11|
|Sunday 6th May 2007, 08:40||#12|
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Plymouth Devon
Nice report will going on the 8 of may for a week never been before so your report was of some help.
|Sunday 6th May 2007, 20:23||#13|
|Tuesday 8th May 2007, 20:48||#15|
details are probably in Graham Hearl's book if you don't already have it
|Monday 14th May 2007, 11:17||#16|
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK
For shearwaters I've found the Porto Colom area to be the most reliable. Take the track from the harbour to the beach and walk up onto the rock shelf (good place for stone curlew). Scan the sea from here and there will normally be plenty of balearic and cory's shearwaters drifting by.
Later in the year this is also a guaranteed spot for pallid swift.
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