Not long returned from a guided bird watching week in Mallorca. I've not been there before and the trip didn't look too arduous as it was single centre with not too many long journeys.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic islands and we were based in the north of the island between Port Polença and Arcúdia.
© Google Maps
We stayed in a place called the Pollentia Club Resort which looked out over a bay popular with kite surfers and to the rear the Albufereta Marsh. I've never stayed in a place like it. As the name implies it was a self-contained resort spread out over a large area with small apartment blocks, swimming pools, tennis courts, spas, bars and several restaurants. It was very much geared towards to the sporting set including cyclists of which there were many. Everyone looked lean and toned so as scruffy birders with bins, cameras and telescopes we got a few curious looks. However, it was very comfortable, well maintained and most importantly the food was good and plentiful. I only got lost twice on the complex. LOL
This is just the entrance to the resort which I was told could cater for 1500 people.
© Google Streetview
Enough waffle let's get on with the report.
The resort had its own hide reached by a short boardwalk which overlooked a small lake and the marshes. This would usually be our pre-breakfast walk at about 7am when it was just light. Distant views of things like Marsh Harriers, Purple Herons, Stilts etc but the only bird near enough to photograph was my bogey bird, Cetti's Warbler. It's been eluding my camera in the UK for years. Strange I had to go to Mallorca to get one. Dim light unfortunately so not great pics but at least I got the little blighter.
And a bit of relaxed preening
A longish walk up the Boquer Valley which is supposed one of the best birding spots proved to be quite disappointing. We did have distant views of Cirl Bunting, Woodchat Shrike and Redstart but nothing in range of my camera. Several Booted Eagles were seen but again rather distant. In fact the only photo I took was this Painted Lady butterfly in the car park.
Oh, and the Red Baron flew over. I think he was bird watching from the plane.
On a separate day we visited the Cúber Reservoir up in the mountains. On the way there we had distant views of Griffon and Black Vultures which are quite scarce in Mallorca. It's an attractive spot.
A quick video panorama. I don't know who the scruffy birders are. LOL
As we walked around to the dam I thought it was going to be a bird free zone. All we could hear were Chaffinches calling from the pines. I got distracted by a couple of lovely young calves which seemed to be licking the mud possibly for the minerals. Mum was in the background watching over them.
Below the dam we saw and heard a Nightingale in full song. The situation was further retrieved by a Firecrest. These photos are pretty long distant shots against a dark background so not great quality but I was pleased to get them.
During our picnic lunch amongst the pines an alert member of out group heard Crossbills calling. Very difficult to see as they were in the top of the canopy but I managed a few shots of the male - probably a youngish bird. I couldn't get on the females.
After a slow start to the day we ended up with some reasonable sightings
To be continued ...........
My Flickr Photostream
A promising start.
Glad you got your Cetti's and the Firecrests are always nice to see. Look forward to the rest.
PS I don't know if it's just me but the vids didn't play.
In reply to Nigel O:
Well done on your Cetti's Warbler TJ and the Firecrests too, it looks to be a nice area so looking forward to more updates. The XBills are pretty chunky birds and more colourful than I thought.
No I also couldn't play the videos Nigel, I have just tried to open them on the PC but to no avail.
Lot to learn
In reply to gaynorsl:
Really enjoyed your report and photos - you saw some great species! Cetti's warbler has eluded me too,I hear them, but frustratingly can't ever see them.Looking forward to part 2
See my Flickr photos here.
In reply to welsh lass:
Fantastic report Tony and can't wait for the next additions; to be able to get the Cetti's and Firecrest plus the Crossbill so well on camera is just brilliant, a tad green with envy here lol Love the map, scenic and video clips as it really gives a clear idea of the area and how beautiful it is. Glad the resort was tip-top but sounded like you needed a Sat-nav to find the restaurants and room lol Nice to see the young calves, I've heard they lick for minerals including salt so interesting to view your clip.
You weren't tempted to hitch a Red Baron ride then ? lol
Once again, a most enjoyable read and roll on the next part of your report. Thanks for this one and the effort you put in.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
In reply to HAZY:
I was looking forward to your report TJ after your mention of holiday in Mallorca earlier. It looks fabulous up at the lake & has given me hankering signs to head back off to the Pyrenees soon! Good that you got your Cettis, at last!
Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France
In reply to Noisette:
Good report and photos TJ,we have had several enjoyable trips to the island. We have always just booked a package break in Porta Pollenca at a small family run hotel and got about most places by public transport or organised day trips. The walk through the Bocha valley has always been good with impressive raptor sightings, got an itch to return after your posting.
Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can
Sorry about the videos. I forgot to hit the "Publish" button.
Resuming from where I left off .........
The Parc Natural de s'Albufera de Mallorca is arguably the best place in the island for bird watching. It is a large wetland area complete with a visitor centre and a number of hides which overlook lagoons and scrapes so provides the best opportunity for photos. Here's some that I took.
Sardinian Warblers are one of the commonest warblers on the island. You hear their scratchy song everywhere but a bit like Cetti's they are skulkers and don't show very often. just occasionally they sing in the open giving good views of their orange eyering.
A rather gloomy looking (Black-crowned) Night Heron amongst the trees.
A Woodchat Shrike was showing nicely but don't you just hate it when there's a twig right across its body. I should have brought my secateurs.
Kentish Plovers seemed to be the most common of the plover family out on the scrapes
Little Ringed Plovers were well represented too.
We saw Purple Swamphen on several occasions and at different locations but this one was the only one that came close enough. Even then it was reluctant to leave the cover of the reeds.
Apart from Mallards and the occasional Gadwall there were not too many ducks around. We did see the endangered Marbled Duck which the authorities are trying to reintroduce but sadly they were too far away to photograph.
Red-crested Pochards were more obliging.
Mum with a solitary duckling. I suspect the others may have been predated.
The most common wader throughout the island was the Black-winged Stilt and they were present in good numbers on the reserve scrapes
Another shaky video
They were often having disputes with their spindly legs flying everywhere.
The strikingly speckled Wood Sandpipers were present in good numbers too.
A Greenshank with two snoozing Common Terns
An as yet to be identified Stint - probably Little Stint but there were also Temmink's Stint there too.
On the search for food
Taking the plunge
The star bird for me was this striking Collared Pratincole. I've only seen them a couple of times before
Mostly, the weather was warm and sunny but we did have a couple of days when it was more cloudy with a strong cold northerly wind. No rain though.
On one of these days we went to the northern most point of the island at Cap Formentor to do a bit of sea watching. This is not something I enjoy very much as I find it difficult to pick out birds against the choppy sea. It was also pretty cold exposed to the wind . We did however manage to see passing Cory's and Balearic Shearwaters and also a migrating Osprey. A Peregrine soaring high above the peninsula was pretty special especially when it dived.
No photos I'm afraid but a couple of shots of the location.
A view of the rugged coast
And the lighthouse
On our return from Cap Formentor we stopped at a small vineyard in a sheltered valley. This proved surprisingly productive with sightings of Black-eared Wheatear, Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush and Pied Flycatcher. It was only the latter that I managed to photograph. Forgive the quality as I was shooting through a chain link fence.
It was still windy when we visited the southernmost point of the island called Far del Cap Salines.
A couple of boats passing the cape.
And my pathetic attempt to photograph a Shearwater.
What else? A few odds and ends to round up.
There were quite a few butterflies around but they didn't often settle.
Speckled Wood - much more orange looking than the ones we are used to seeing in the UK
Is this a Wall or another Speckled Wood?
Although there were loads of Stonechats around I failed to get a decent photo of one. These were about the best of a bad lot.
This Corn Bunting was happier to pose.
Well that's about it. Of course we saw many more birds than I was able to photograph, I think about 107 species in total. One of the highlights which I haven't mentioned was watching a couple of male Montagu's Harriers hunting in the distance. Great to watch through binoculars but much too far away to photograph. It was good trip overall although a lot of birds were rather distant which was a little frustrating at times.
If you've read this far thanks for joining me.
In reply to TeeJay:
Great report Tony. I've been there a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it - and the birding.
"Let loose the Kraken!"
In reply to Stuart Vine:
Wow, simply spoilt for choice with all these beauties Tony, you did amazingly well to see 107 species and appreciate a lot of them were at some distance, however, the ones you have managed to photograph here are fabulous, I'd only heard of these species so its great to be able to put a "face" to a name ! Loved the B-w-Stilt clip too who seemed to be catching lots of tasty morsels submerging its entire head to snaffle them up. I need to go look through again as they really are a lovely selection. How different with the more orange colouring of the Speckled Wood that we get here and what a spectacular butterfly that Swallowtail is. Corn bunting, pied flied' - i'm nearly booking a plane ticket after seeing this thread lol Wonderful report, thanks so much for the mammoth effort to post Tony. Off to take another look on full screen again.
post edit: that Collared Pratincole is a really striking looking bird and great photos of it, super view on full screen for these shots.
Amazing report TJ, Collared Pratincole are rare visitors around here, but I've never seen one, would love one! Also the Wood Sandpipers, what an odd name.
I think all the butterflies were Speckled Woods, but our Wall browns are around so you may have seen one elsewhere.
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