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A Report from

Ibiza, August 24-31, 2007,

Andrew Greenwood.


This was my second successive August family holiday in the Balearics, last year having been Mallorca, and my first ever visit to Ibiza. As both trips have involved other friends as well, I have been excused a reasonable amount of time for bird watching. August in the Mediterranean is a difficult time for amateurs like myself: the weather is too hot, migrants are mostly not yet around, and there are a lot of very young birds about making identification a struggle, especially among the Sylvia warblers, pipits and larks. However, the fantastic light and general tameness of the birds helps a lot.

I didn’t keep a daily diary as such, but did take note of the places where birds were seen and have added a list at the end.

We were very fortunate to stay in a small group of chalets set on a promontory overlooking too small valleys about 500m from the sea near Port Roig on the south of the island. The area was surrounded by pine forest with small areas of clearing and some cultivation further inland which, with patience, provided a good few species seen close up, including Orphean warbler and Thekla lark, both new birds for me. Most spectacular were two early morning choruses of bee-eaters flying high over the forest. The largest group numbered 15 on 31st August and eventually flew off south out to sea, perhaps beginning migration. The award for most irritating bird goes to the spotted flycatcher which cropped up everywhere, constantly catching my eye from the car or in the fields.

A trip to Sa Atalaya was worthwhile. This highest peak on the island is easily reached by car, and the pinewoods at the top yielded a small group of crossbills and firecrest. Cap l’Oliva is the south-westerly point overlooking Illa Vedra where I had a fantastic view of the only Eleonora’s falcon I saw, gliding round the hillside and overhead at no more than 30m.

Ses Salines, the large area of working salt pans to the south of the airport, is the main bird watching site, and I found the best views along the road which runs west along the south of the main lagoons signed to Cap Falco. Most of the lagoons are fenced off, but it was possible to walk along a bank north from Pont de Baix at the southwest corner, behind the big pebble bank of the Platja d’es Codolar beach. There were hundreds of yellow-legged gulls, but I failed to pick out any Audouin’s among them, and over 200 flamingos, as well as purple heron, black-winged stilts, common sandpiper and Kentish plover. The pebble bank itself had a mixed group of tawny pipit, yellow wagtail and northern wheatear, which gave an interesting identification lesson at this time of year, as well as stonechat. Shelduck, both young and adults, were present in small numbers.

My only other deliberate trip was inland from the main Eivissa-San Josep road, across a very quiet rural area to San Rafel. This would be a very good area in spring, but was unrewarding at this time, except for the fortuitous very clear sighting of a melodious warbler, another new bird for me. Hearl’s Bird Watching Guide to Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, which is somewhat out of date now, lists both Orphean warbler and melodious warbler as vagrants to these islands, but the Collins Guide marks them for Mallorca at least. The long observation time and close view, with the book in my hand(!), makes me reasonable confident of these two identifications.

Highlights were the three new birds, the flamingos of course, the crossbills, bee-eaters and the Eleonora’s falcon. Obvious misses were Audouin’s gull, rock thrush, serin and any kind of bunting – certainly reason enough to go back again at a better time of year.

Species seen:

Purple heron: 1 Ses Salines
Greater flamingo: 200+ Ses Salines
Shelduck: Ses Salines, numerous
Kestrel: several sites
Eleonora’s falcon (light phase): 1 Cap l’Oliva
Quail: Port Roig, heard, not seen
Black-winged stilt: 3 Ses Salines
Kentish plover: 3 Ses Salines
Common sandpiper: Ses Salines, numerous
Yellow-legged gull: Ses Salines hundreds, and generally around coast
Wood pigeon: 2 Port Roig
Collared dove: widespread
Turtle dove: Port Roig, numerous
Hoopoe: 1 Port Roig
European Bee-eater: Port Roig, largest group 15
Thekla lark: 1 Port Roig
Barn swallow: widespread
House martin: occasional while travelling
Tawny pipit: Pont de Baix
Yellow wagtail: Pont de Baix
Northern wheatear: Pont de Baix
Stonechat: Ses Salines and Pont de Baix
Blackbird: widespread
Orphean warbler: 1 Port Roig
Sardinian warbler: widespread
Melodious warbler: 1 inland near Biniferri
Firecrest: Sa Atalaya small group, and 1 Port Roig
Spotted flycatcher: widespread and very common
Great tit: Sa Atalaya and Port Roig small groups
Woodchat shrike: Port Roig, Es Cubells and inland, individuals
House sparrow: widespread
Linnet: 1 Port Roig
Goldfinch: Port Roig
Greenfinch: Port Roig numerous
Common crossbill: Sa Atalaya, small group


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