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Mallorca 2022 (2 Viewers)

After our short but successful visit there in February this year, Kevin and I arrive back in Alicante on Thursday for a 6 days visit. We’ve managed to secure 2 places to access the north gate at El Hondo wetland reserve which is only open for 3 hours on a Saturday morning, by pre booked appointment for strictly limited numbers. We are hoping to see greater spotted eagle and eagle owl there. We plan on visiting the various wetlands, the coast, the high steppes and the mountains. Our target list includes azure winged magpie, bustards, sandgrouse, black wheatear, green woodpecker, crested tit and short toed treecreeper together with a number of raptors, gulls, larks and buntings. Alicante is almost the same latitude as Palma and only 200 miles away and yet we were struck, last time, by the variety of bird species especially those not seen or considered rare or scarce in the Balearics. We shall let you know how we get on.
 
We met up with Mike and Susan today at Porto Colom for our usual big dip, not in the sea I hasten to add.
We always start with high hopes but happily, we never leave disappointed. There is always so much to talk about like birding around the world and where we would like to go next.
It’s a beautiful place and the surrounding countryside looks perfect for winter visitors.
Sadly, no Redwings nor Fieldfare, just a few larks and Meadow pipits.
Song thrush, Blackcap, Stonechat and lots of Robin.
Further up towards the coast, we heard, and saw, 4 or 5 Balearic warbler. It’s a very reliable site for them. One year we saw 4 or 5 Dartford warbler but no such luck today.
We scanned the whole port and sea in the hope of seeing Razorbill but that was a no-show as well.
No raptors nor Cranes but one highlight was a Monarch butterfly flying along the coast. First impressions are just how big they appear to be with a very distinctive jizz.
Shag, Cormorant and Little egret went onto the rather skinny list as did Blackbird and Audouin’s gull.
We made for our favourite bar to enjoy hot drinks and top-class baguette, all served with a smile and all at embarrassingly cheap prices. I just don’t know how they do it.
We said our goodbyes, another great day birding.
One day I will get a decent photo of a Balearic warbler but they really are quick, popping up momentarily, before disappearing into the undergrowth.
Mike
 

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A short afternoon visit to S’Albuferata. Starting at the blind/Screen at Salvador Dali Street, Several Pintails, Grey Plovers, Gadwalls, Greenshank, at least 50 Lapwings and upto 20 Flamingos seen.
From the new Hide, Black-Winged Stints, Kentish Plovers Common and Green Sandpipers were noted.
Overhead 4 to 5 Marsh Harriers, 2 Booted Eagles and Common Kestrel were enjoying the pleasent weather.
At the observation Tower, another 30 Flamingos were seen as well as Water Rails, Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, Crag Martins, Fan tailed Warblers, Sardinian warblers, Chiffchaffs, and Cettis Warblers.
The stars of the afternoon were the two Bluethroats showing well at the bottom of the tower.
This area has become one of best for number of species on the island.
 

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Interesting trip to Son Real and Maristany.
Very few people on the beach at Son Real; usual species seen including Little Egret, Cormorants, Shags, Turnstones, Thekla Larks, Audouins and Yellow Legged Gulls, and Sandwich Terns. In addition, Stone Curlew, Grey Wagtail and Water pipits were seen on the rocky coast.
I wanted to see the “Malorcan Penguin“ as recently reported in the local Paper.
And there it was…the Razorbill, coming closer and closer attacking the school of fishes near the shore. Sandwich Terns and Shags were also joining the feeding frenzy. Such a great sight.
As we had to buy provisions, we headed off to Lidls at Maristany…I disappeared to see what was about. Few birds on the water, mostly Little Grebes, Common Pochards, Mallards and Shoverlers. A young Tufted Duck was also present.
As Mike Montier reported earlier, possibility of Mediterranean Gull. One Gull caught my eye, having a number attached to its leg. I am sure it is a Med. Gull.
Another Gull reminded me of a young Lesser Black Back Gull….what do you think?
As I left, a Sparrowhawk passed over my head. It was a great day!
 

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Interesting trip to Son Real and Maristany.
Very few people on the beach at Son Real; usual species seen including Little Egret, Cormorants, Shags, Turnstones, Thekla Larks, Audouins and Yellow Legged Gulls, and Sandwich Terns. In addition, Stone Curlew, Grey Wagtail and Water pipits were seen on the rocky coast.
I wanted to see the “Malorcan Penguin“ as recently reported in the local Paper.
And there it was…the Razorbill, coming closer and closer attacking the school of fishes near the shore. Sandwich Terns and Shags were also joining the feeding frenzy. Such a great sight.
As we had to buy provisions, we headed off to Lidls at Maristany…I disappeared to see what was about. Few birds on the water, mostly Little Grebes, Common Pochards, Mallards and Shoverlers. A young Tufted Duck was also present.
As Mike Montier reported earlier, possibility of Mediterranean Gull. One Gull caught my eye, having a number attached to its leg. I am sure it is a Med. Gull.
Another Gull reminded me of a young Lesser Black Back Gull….what do you think?
As I left, a Sparrowhawk passed over my head. It was a great day!
Yes, the ringed gull is a Med gull. Congrats!
 
After a very early start from a very cold Newcastle in -5° it was a delight to meet Kevin at Alicante at 10.30 am in 18°..With time to spare before getting in to the apartment we headed to El Clot reserve which we believe was named after our fellow birder and international tax exile Mike Swiss. There were 4 white headed ducks and a number of black necked grebes,, a kingfisher and both white and grey wagtails. From there we moved on to the salt pans at Santa Pola where slender billed gulls and Mediterranean gulls were the stars. its good to be back.
 

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Friday in Alicante. We spent the morning back at the Santa Pola salt pans then on to Los Balcons for azure winged magpies where we saw at least 20. Next stop was El Pinet for a good selection of waders including both black and bar tailed godwits, avocets, spotted redshank and grey plover. At the beach we were fortunate to have a razorbill very close in and a single sandwich tern. Another cracking day and time for a pint in readiness for an early start in the morning.
 

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Only one pint? Surely not?
Nice birds, glad you are having fun.

I have been seawatching from my balcony every day for several weeks and can only report that it’s pretty dead out there.
Apart from gulls and shags, I’ve only seen a couple of Gannet and two Balearic shearwaters. Not the best time of the year obviously, but it will perk up very soon.
Nothing much else to report, just several Razorbill being logged.
Mike
 
An early start on Saturday morning for a visit to El Hondo north gate which is only accessible for 3 hours one day a week. Our target was to find a greater spotted eagle and we were fairly quickly rewarded with distant scope views of one perched in a tree. On the edges of the shallow water we had a good variety of waders, a peregrine falcon and a merlin. We had to leave at 11.30 and headed to the main reserve which is always open. The ponds here were quite quiet and we didn’t add to our sightings for the day. Next stop was the Vista Bella road entrance to the reserve were we had closer views of the eagle both perched and in flight. There were several marsh harriers and booted eagles. On our way to nearby Santa Agueda we came across a group of over 200 glossy ibis in a field, the most I’ve ever seen. They provided fantastic views when they were in flight together. 90 species so far with the steppes and the mountains still to come.
 

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I was at Cap de Ses Salines just after first light which was a pretty silly idea having said in my last post that the sea was devoid of bird life.
It seemed the same today, save for three Shag out fishing, two Yellow-legged gull and an Audouin’s.
Then a Razorbill came into view to liven things up a bit, and another one quickly appeared.
A ferry steamed through and I’m sure I saw three Razorbill together, but for the records, I will submit only the two.
A Blue rock thrush was on the rocks, and a few Sardinian warblers, some Greenfinch and local House sparrows were in attendance as well as a Meadow pipit and Robins.
A Balearic shearwater flew west and I soon logged two more. Then a group of eight went through so there are a few of them around.
I can’t match the Northumberland coast for low temperatures, but it was a very chilly 9 degrees. It then started to rain and I’d had enough of donating blood to the still very active mosquitoes. Flaming nuisance they are.
December is normally a great month for seeing rare buntings so I will be out as much as I can before heading for the UK to join our family for the festive season. It’s the first time ever that we have been together which will be emotional if a bit chaotic. It’s a great time of the year for kids, lucky things.
I don’t think Santa will be bringing me a new pair of Swarovski’s though. Pity.
Mike
 

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As Mike mentioned, it was a cold and wet day..and the Mozzies were still biting!
Decided to go and shelter in the hides in S’Albufera as this was our last day here.
The first few hides by Sa Roca showed the ususal ducks; mostly Teal, Shoverlers, Mallards, Shellducks, Gadwall. Very few waders, a few Black Winged Stilts and the most numeous collection of Purple Swamphens I have seen.
The Es Cibollar hides were more interesting, with some 70 Flamingos, 20 Avocets, 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 Ospreys, many Blackwinged Stilts, a few Pintails, Bar tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, 4 Marbled Ducks, a few Kentish plovers, over 150 Lapwings, and a single Spoonbill.
Some 20 Night Herons were seen on the roost, usual Cetti and Fan tailed Warblers heard, and a fly past of some 30 StoneCurlews.
What a way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon.
 
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Back home after around 10 days on the Island.
Had friends and relatives to entertain, and jobs to do… so birding was limited.
However some 100 species seen including Black and Griffon Vultures, Ospreys, Razorbills, Balearic Warblers, Bluethroats, Spoonbills, Flamingoes, etc. etc. Many of the birds seen up close.
December is a great time to visit the island. Less cars and cyclists and nature seems to be enjoying itself. I will be back soon.
Feliz Navidad!
 

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A long by day in the high steppes above Alicante yesterday. A group of 7-8 Great bustard being the highlights. We saw a group of around 200 rock sparrow and over 1000 calandra larks. Crested/thekla larks were seen perched up and we had a close up view of a golden eagle which we disturbed near the car. I was struck by the vast openness of the area with spectacular views all round. Throughout the day we had more than 20 marsh harriers including 12 together, hen harrier, red kite and black kite and dozens of crows and common magpies which are absent in Mallorca. We are already planning our return.
 

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I had a really nice short break in November with Mike in the South of the Island.

I've written up my notes from my visit, hopefully the link below will work for anyone interested.

Stew



Several people have come back to say they can't open the notes. I think I messed up the sharing settings on Google Docs (computer illiterate), so I've had a go at changing them. Hopefully the link should now work, if not DM me and I'll find a way of sending it to you.

Sorry!

Stew
 
A very nice report Stew of another memorable visit.
Searching fruitlessly for the elusive Razorbill was a bit frustrating but a great day nevertheless and we made up for out loss at the Cap.
Seeing Common cranes is always a delight and Red-throated pipit were an added bonus. I wouldn’t have got them without you as I can no longer hear them sadly.
Spotting a difficult-to-find Goldcrest right on my doorstep was a bit cheeky though.
Seeing you bag some more Mallorca ticks was a high point and we celebrated them with a high-five, something I have never liked doing but with you, it’s becoming a habit!
Look forward to seeing you here again soon.
In the meantime, enjoy those Norfolk birds!
All the best,
Mike
 
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