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RFI Mallorca birding, October (1 Viewer)


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The missus & I are looking at holidays for late September or early October and Mallorca is currently looking a likely destination. The trip will combine birding with what the missus would call a proper holiday - a bit of sightseeing, some sun etc.

There are currently several options on the table, including:
1. Stay in Puerto Pollensa & bird from there (maybe not so good for general interest sightseeing etc?)
2. Stay near Palma de Mallorca (for the general sightseeing) & do guided day trips out to the east side of the island
3. Combine 1 & 2 above by staying in Palma de Mallorca for a few days then moving to Puerto Pollensa for a few days

Neither of us drive so we won't have a hire car, which maybe makes things a little trickier. We can't so easily base ourselves in Palma de Mallorca and drive out to the east side & the prime birding spots there, for example.

I feel (rightly or wrongly) that we would get more out of the trip by having at least a couple of days of guided birding. We'd be in unfamiliar territory seeing unfamiliar birds and a local guide would surely help us get more out of our experience, especially with it being migration season.

We're both quite into waders and who doesn't love a raptor so the Boquer Valley and S'Albufera are very much on the list of places to see.

Does anyone have any advice on how to keep the missus happy and still get some decent birding in? For example:
- Would we be better staying in Palma de Mallorca & arranging day trips out to Boquer Valley, S'Albufera etc? Or should we do a two-centre holiday (option 3 above)?
- Does anyone know a good English speaking guide for the places of interest?
- Is there any birding to be done on the west side of the island? Much around local parks or even urban birding around the city itself?

All help greatly appreciated
Hi Mat, I am a resident birder living in the south-east. Quite a dilemma for you. Palma is a fine city with lots to do and see, I would recommend a stay there, so many places to visit no matter what you are interested in, something for everyone. Eating out in the evenings is especially good with a fabulous atmosphere all around.
However, like any city, I always feel three days is enough. If you could split it then a stay in the north would be best with the reserve at Albufera being on the doorstep and has lots of waders passing through, good transport too. Boquer can be great at that time of the year...it can also be devoid of birds! Not many people bird in the west, the mountains run down there and access is poor. I hope other people contribute. I don't do guiding but would be happy to meet up for one of those days and take you around the depuradora and other hotspots. Mike
ps urban birding is good with a nice selection of gulls at the port and a torrent running down through the city with good birds around the fringes. Mike
I just googled "Birdwatching Mallorca" and found a company who do guided tours and they seemed very reasonable, I will try to give the link but am rather dim with computers. Mike
As a single birder with no "she who must be obeyed" to appease I'm obviously biased, but I would think a two-center option would probably be best.

I also agree with Mike that most cities can be done from a general tourism standpoint in three days max, often two. I know there are certainly sights in Palma worth seeing, but I can't see basing myself there for an entire week, especially without transport. And there are some nice little towns in the NE to explore if the missus gets bored of the beach.

As to guided birding, I just did Mallorca on my own, and ran into many other birders who were doing the same. Mallorca is a small place and easy to get around (although some of the mountain roads can be a bit hairy to drive). There's plenty of information published and online to get you to the sites, find the target species and help you get around. While I found it of value to hire a guide on the mainland in Catalunya, I didn't find it was necessary on Mallorca.

Your mileage may vary.

Thanks Mike & Jeff - all great info & very much appreciated :t:

It sounds like a few days around Palma and then moving to the other side of the island is the best plan. That way we can do the sights of the city, I can throw in a bit of urban birding to warm me up for the main event around Boquer Valley, S'Albufera and so on. A plan is starting to form :)

How easy are reserves like S'Albufera to get to from resorts such as Puerto Pollensa? Are there buses out that way or are we talking taxis? Given what I have read about S'Albufera it seems pretty well-known across the island & with locals, which certainly hasn't been the case with some reserves I have been to in the past - bus/taxi drivers have started at us blankly before, or worse dropped us in the middle of nowhere! I forget where that happened with one bus driver and to be fair to him he dropped us fairly close to where we wanted to go but forgot to mention the footpath that would take us in the top end so we ended up walking for maybe an hour on the roads to get the bottom end where the main entrance was.

I guess another thing to ask about is guidebooks - can anyone recommend any? I have general Britain & Europe guides (Collins, RSPB) but is there a good Mallorca specific guide?
Hi Mat.

There Is a bus service,which takes you very close to the S'Albufera entrance.It Is situated on the south side of Alcudia,In Playa de Muro.There Is a bridge and a large sign at the entrance and It Is a fantastic place to visit.

As well as all the sites that there are to visit on the Island,my best tip would be to take up Mr Montier on his kind offer to meet you.Top Bloke,Top Birder and I am sure you would see some fantastic birds In his company,like I experienced last year and hope to do so again next month.
There Is also a fantastic book called; "A Birding Tourists Guide To Majorca" which you can buy online and this gives fantastic maps/directions to all the major bird sites on the Island,as well as the species that can be found there In different seasons.

I am In a similar position to yourself,as my wife Is not a birder but Majorca Is a fantastic place for all to visit.

Hope this Is of some help Mat.

In the main tourist season there is a very good bus service along the NE coast (i.e. between Port de Pollença and Ca'n Picafort), with stops in Alcudia (which your wife should like) and near the Albufera entrance. See here for timetables etc. But in late Sept / early Oct the service will probably be less frequent.
Things are starting to come together now but I am having a bit of trouble convincing the missus that several days up around Port de Pollensa/Alcudia is a good idea as she's worried about the mosquitos. Fair enough, same time last year she got bitten A LOT when we did a guided birding trip out to some coastal wetlands north of Valencia to the point where she felt quite ill from it all. That's made her quite wary.

I get the impression that a lot of Alcudia, down through Playa de Muro is/was marshy and there are lakes and standing water that are perfect mossie breeding grounds. I know experiences vary, as does individual resistance to the little biters, but can anyone share any advice or thoughts on mosquitos in this area, especially at that time of year?
It's true that there are large areas of standing water and, of course, s'Albufera, etc., so there can be lots of mosquitoes. I don't wish to alarm your wife but down south is no better, in fact it can be worse as there is a relatively new species on the island, the Tiger mosquitoe, which prefers the south (at least that's where most of the reports originate).
I'm often based in s'Albufera through September and into October - and I react badly to mozzies (plus I'm a mozzie magnet) - so I go well prepared. I have plug-in mozzie repellants for the room (tablet or fluid both work well and can be obtained from the many supermarkets in the area), plus repellant during the day. The one I use currently is Mosquito Milk, which I buy on-line and comes as a roll-on.
The Parc staff have a good one but I can't recall the name. It is a pump spray and has a pleasant, eau de cologne, smell.
I put up with the mozzies lnowing full well that they are food for all the fantastic birds of the area.
Hi Mat,

I just saw your RFI about Mallorca and tour guides; I don't want this to be considered advertisement but just wanted to let you know that Mallorca Natural Tours (a small local business that I run) offers guided bird & nature tours to any site on the island and around it (boat tours along northern coast, to Cabrera and Dragonera islands). Contact: [email protected]. https://www.facebook.com/Mallorca.Natural.Tours.
(web site is under construction)

I will be at the UK Bird Fair in less than 2 weeks time at the stand of the Balearic Islands Tourism Agency (stand 30 marquee 8) to promote Mallorca as a destination for UK birders; if you go to the fair please pop up at the stand to see us and get some for more info.

Also I want to invite anyone else in this forum who will be at the Birdfair to come along; I will be more than pleased to talk to you about your past/future trips to our beautiful island.

Look forward to meeting you there.

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