Visit your favourite destinations
|A Report from birdtours.co.uk
Majorca 10th September-21st September 2009,
You can never get tired of Majorca, its rich and varied habitats offer the chance to see many species of birds. For the second year running we returned travelling in the Autumn, a little earlier this year. This year we travelled with Portland staying at the Picafort Park holtel in Can Picafort ( a location very close to Majorca jewel the S’Albufera Parc National Park). Once again a car is essential, if you are to visit the major bird sites,although public transport drops you off outside the Albufera enterance.You could see most of your target species in the reserve alone! We hired our car through Travel Jigsaw in the UK,they subbed out to Record in Palma airport. Unfortunately, the Fiat Punta was dirty inside and Record charged an additional fee for “extra insurance”.this is in addition to the full tank of petrol charge.
Very hot for the first three days (38c in full sun), but after tremendous thunderstorms and heavy rain the weather settled down to a comfortable 27c.The rain filled the Albufera pools and effected viewing waders, also the salines of the Albufera were not productive for the rest of the stay due to being to deep for all but the long legged waders.
PICAFORT PARK HOTEL AND GROUNDS
The hotel offers good accommodation, food is well cooked but limited choice,entertainment was every night, but the hotel does not warrant the 4* status. The extensive gardens always had 1-2 Spotted flycatchers,goldfinch and the every present Sardinian Warbler. Also it visted by House Martin,Swallow,Swift and on one day Red Rumped Swallows
PICAFORT SEA FRONT
The sea front is about 400mtrs from the hotel,two small rocky outcrops on the shore provide loafing sites for Audouins Gull, and Shag were always present.The river running into the sea is worth a visit with Kingfisher present and Little Grebe
This site is worth several visits if you have the time, our first visit was in high temperatures and therefore birds were difficult to see,our second visit on a cooler morning was more productive. One word of caution, avoid the weekends as the whole area has a constant stream of joggers and walkers traversing it. Only one juvenile Balearic warbler was seen.Spotted Flycatcher, were common, they were joined by a few Redstart, Willow warbler, Northern Wheatear, Nightingale,Garden Warbler ,most of these in the first section up to the two rocks .Residents in the valley included Raven, Blue Rock Thrush, overhead 2 Booted Eagles performed well, 4 Crag Martins gathered insects around a rock face a Kestrel supported by two Elenoras Falcons. Oustandingly however was a gliding adult Egyptian Vulture,which quickly headed out to the cala.
TRAMUNTANA MOUNTAINS/CUBER RESERVOIR
Its best to get on the road early to cuber,as the day runs on the roads become clogged with coach load after coach load of tourists,also the motorbikes become more numerous and sometimes quite intimidating. However the viewpoint to the Sa Colabra part of the coast on the main Sollar-Pollencia road was very quite for birds, Crag Martins and 1 Black Vulture were on view. The Cuber reservoir however was outstanding however,still very cool and with drifting clouds obscuring the mountains,vultures were very much in evidence!. Up to 5 Black Vultures and 8 Griffon Vultures were on view(the Griffon are recent colonisers from the mainland). They were joined by close up views of Red Kite,Booted Eagle and Peregrine.
S’ ALBUFERA SALINES
These lay close to the Alcudia-Can Picafort road on your right,about 1000 mtres down from the Albufera entrance. On our very first visit it was hot and the saline’s were almost dry,apart from three pools of water, these pools very however very productive for birds. Several Little stints, fed with Kentish,Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers,also Common Sandpiper was present,however in one corner a Temmink’s Stint showed it self well.After the storms only Black Winged Stilts were able wadein the water,although early morning visits often produced Water Rail and Woodchat Shrike on the wires.Also ever present at this site on the edge of the pans was Fan Tailed Warbler.
Within 10 minutes of leaving the hotel at Can Picafort,I was at the Deporadora, although very often workman had disturbed any birds on the water pools. The fields scrub and especially the old quarry area on the approach to the Deporadora should not be ignored. Small flocks of Stone Curlew were always present,as was Hoopoe,Thelka Lark,Wryneck,Woodchat Shrike and Bee-eater. This area is also good for transiting Raptors, with Osprey max 4,Red Kite,Honey Buzzard,Booted Eagle seen on my visits to this super area. Take time to scan the fields for migrants, apart from the Whinchats and Northern Wheatears there were uncommon species like Black Eared Wheatear. Large mixes flocks of finches included over 50 Serin and Tree Sparrow. At the quarry early one morning I was surprised to find 3 Rock Sparrow,presumably in transit from there island breed locations!. At the Deporadura viewing from the elevated platform, birds came to drink included Alpine,Pallid and Common Swift. Odd waders also dropped in,Bar Tailed Godwit was seen and passing through as well was 8 Whiskered Terns.
S’ALBUFERA PARC NATURAL
The S’ Albufera is unquestionably one of Europe great bird reserves. At weekend however is is extremely busy with cyclists, joggers and noisy groups Spanish visitors. Before the storms the reserve was very dry,and from Cim Hide a loafing group of over 50 Stone Curlew was a great sight!.After the storms Duck numbers increased with Red Crested Pochard flocks of over 20,other interesting Ducks included Garganey in eclipse. Waders were varied especially from the Bishop Hides, with large gatherings of Spotted Redshank (22) Greenshank (28),other waders included Green,Common and Wood Sandpipers. Purple Swamp Hens are flourishing in the reserve,small numbers were visible all the time,as is the Red Knobbed Coot,now breeding freely in the canels. Passerines included Melodious Warbler and Short Toed Lark, Bluethroat was also seen down the long track towards the Power station.Raptors over reserve included the ever present Osprey,Marsh Harrier(up to 5) and a Montague’s Harrier a 1st year bird from Bishops 1.Glosssy Ibis also visiterd daily,the Night heron roost on the canel always attracted attention, but view early as they retire mid morning! From the “Orange bridge” Great White Egret was ever present and a very viewable Little Bittern along the canal under the Orange bridge.
SALINES DE LAVENT
Don’t miss these Salines! They are about an hours drive south east from Can Picafort and are marked on all maps.Most of the area is viewable from the road skirting the salines,with elevated viewing spots.Marsh Harrier and Osprey are constantly overhead,and on the pans were many species of waders including over 80 Avocets,Sanderling,Grey Plover,Ruff,Dunlin,Little Stint,Curlew Sandpiper and Black tailed Godwit. There must have been well over 100 Black winged stilts feeding as well. A Large loafing Yellow Legged Gull flock numbered well over 100. Also roosting was a Squacco Heron (immature). Nearby in adjacent fields a Short Toed Eagle hunted.
Can Picafort is perfectly positioned for early or late visits in the Deporadora and Albufera,taking only minutes to get to. Also travelling south to the Salines is easy. It must by stressed that we were only birding morning to very early afternoon most of the time,combining relaxation in the afternoon at the hotel. This approach only goes to inspire you the next day to seek out the huge range of species nearby. If you are looking for one place to combine birdwatching and sun/relaxing then Majorca most be at the top of your list! With 125 species of birds seen, this is more then enough to satisfy even the most serious birdwatcher.
Derek and Lynne Lister,