Cornwall Birdwatching Tours
Mallorca Birdwatching Trip Report – Sept 2022If you are wanting to experience Mediterranean birdwatching then you need look no further than the island of Mallorca. Set in the northern Mediterranean off the coast of Spain, Mallorca is a great place to ‘cut your teeth’ with species associated with the Mediterranean area. We normally go in the last week of April or early May, but on this occasion we decided on an autumn excursion. Flying from Bristol Airport, we booked with Easy Jet holidays and stayed for four nights at the BQ Holiday Village in Alcudia. The cost included bed, breakfast, evening meal, flights and transfers from Palma airport.
We arrived in the early hours of 16th September and were pleased to find we had been upgraded at no extra cost, to an apartment room from our booked double room. After a long journey we were happy to get into bed and made no attempt to get up too early. Fortunately our balcony looked straight out onto the S’albufera nature reserve and we were soon racking up the species for our ‘balcony list’. This included, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Purple Heron, Audouin’s Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Cattle Egret, Mediterranean Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Sardinian Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Night Heron and Kingfisher! We also heard Scops Owl early one morning calling in the hotel grounds.
We always base ourselves in the north of the island and Alcudia is ideal being situated between two birding hotspots. Firstly, to the east, the S’Albufera Parc Natural, which is a huge reed bed and wetland reserve (imagine RSPB Ham Wall on steroids!) and to the west, the famous Boquer Valley, an amazing mountainous valley with dry valley bottom leading to the sea. In the middle there is the smaller Albufereta reserve just east of Pollenca, which is another wetland reserve with pools and viewing platforms. We didn’t visit there on this occasion due to time constraints and there is nothing there that can’t be seen at the other reserves.
The S’Albufera Parc NaturalDay 1, 2 and 4 were spent at S’Albufera. You can spend two days on the reserve and still not cover it all! The main gate leads down to the visitor center and from there there are a number of hides nearby all overlooking scrapes and shallow marshy areas. Running through the center of the reserve is a large canal, lined with reed and trees that hold Night Heron (we counted 35 one evening), Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Western Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) and numerous Kingfishers. On the canal we saw, Red-crested Pochard, Marbled Duck, Pochard and Mallard. South of the visitor center there are three hides overlooking the same scrape. This area is great for passage waders and we saw Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper amongst the resident Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilts. There had been 2 Pectoral Sandpipers the day prior to our arrival. There were lots of duck here too with hundreds of Shoveler, Eurasian Teal, 3 Garganey, Shelduck, Gadwall and Marbled Duck. Fan-tailed Warblers can be seen all over the reserve but a juvenile showed down to a few feet in front of the hide here! The grassy area between the hides held a few Northern Wheatear and Glossy Ibis were everywhere. Marsh Harriers were the most common bird of prey on the reserve and we saw at least 4 Ospreys, one on a nesting platform that didn’t move the who;e time we were there! Kestrel was the only small bird of prey on the reserve but we also had Booted Eagles, Red Kite and two Griffon Vultures overhead during our visits.