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A Report from

Ibiza Easter 2001,

John Girdley


Contrary to popular misconceptions, it is possible to have a free holiday out of a time-share scam. This was to be my second in two years. There are three simple rules:
(1.) Agree to go to the original presentation.
(2.) Say NO at the presentation. Very important this one! (If you are tempted, remember that prices come in at a 40% discount abroad.) After you say no, they then give you a free holiday voucher!
(3.) There are loads of catches. (e.g.. Perhaps you can only go on a weekend but the plane only flies on a Friday - Tenerife is like this.) Therefore read every bit of small print and act on it accordingly.

One week before Easter, a letter arrived, I had to be at my phone between certain hours the next day for confirmation. I arranged for a reliable phone sitter. The phone rang twice and went dead. The phone sitter, thankfully, 1471'ed it and the flight was duly confirmed. The tickets arrived the next day.

This didn't leave much time for preparation. I didn't think that there would be any new birds for me on Ibiza and I could find no trip reports. I did find one suitable book on "Amazon":
Bird Watching Guide to Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera Heart, J. Busby (Illustrator)
There were eight pages about Ibiza: Not a lot, but essential if I was to get anything out of the week. It also identified two potential ticks for me: Marmoras (now Balearic) Warbler, and with luck, if they had arrived, Eleonoras Falcon.

Diary (Birdy bits only)

Day1 Sun 15th April:
Whenever I arrive at a new destination, I always walk the local area, first thing in the morning, keen to find out what the first bird is that I will see. This time it was Audouins Gull (x5) on the rocks by the hotel. (Sas Fontanelles near San Antoni). Turtle Dove called, Thekla Lark and Sardinian Warbler showed well. Common Swifts and Yellow-legged Gull completed the morning list. More Audouins Gulls were seen flying round Ibiza Harbour later in the morning. (Family walk)

I suggested driving to the highest point on the Island - Sa Talaiassa - 475m. My stated reason was for the view. My actual reason was that my book listed the slopes of this mountain as a site for Marmoras Warbler. The Top of the mountain had a radio mast and lots of tall trees totally obscuring the view. I returned and stopped at an open area about half way down.. I suggested a walk. "No you go, I'm feeling tired." Couldn't be better I thought!

Within two minutes I found a superb male Marmoras Warbler which showed well for some time. I'm not usually that lucky. Other birds seen included some mating Woodchat Shrikes, Serin and Sardinian Warbler.

Day2 Mon 16th April:
I got up before the family awoke and headed for Sas Salinas, a huge area of still active Salt works at the southern end of the Island. My book listed it as the best birdwatching area on Ibiza.
It was an overcast and windy day, far from ideal conditions. The main Salinas were at first sight empty, I didn't see a bird for the first mile. I eventually stopped my car at the far SW corner and decided to scan with my Telescope. Eight Greater Flamingos could be seen about a mile away in the most inaccessible NW corner. Two Shelduck were seen and an Iberian race Yellow Wagtail.
The adjoining Es Cavellet Salinas to the south, proved easier to view. Seven Black-winged Stilts, twelve Kentish Plovers, a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were the only birds. (The NE corner was most productive - though this was a poor count for such a large area.)
Other birds seen included Audouins Gull at Sa Canal just the south and Serin, Stonechat and Goldfinch.

Day3 Tues 17th April:
My early morning trip this morning took me to The Mirador del Savinar which overlooks the "Bali High" Island of Es Vedra. Highlights were a Blue Rock Thrush and nesting Rock Sparrow on the cliffs below the Mirador. My first Pallid Swift of the trip joined a group of common's.

In the afternoon the family took a boat trip from San Antoni, up the coast to the Isla Marguarita. (While waiting for the boat to depart there was a constant stream of Painted Lady Butterflies flying north. This Phenomenon continued well into the next day and must have numbered hundreds of thousands of butterflies.) The scenery on the journey was stunning. The main birds were Audouins and Yellow-legged Gulls with good numbers of Mediterranean Shags. While circling the Isla Marguarita an Eleanora's Falcon soared across giving all too brief views. However, seeing both target birds so early in the week had to be good!

Day4 Wed 18th April:
Early morning at Cala Comte. This was scenically the prettiest place that I visited. It overlooked the Bledes Islands which are a breeding ground for shearwaters. There were a lot of Cory's in front of the nearest Island, S'Espart. Some distant shearwaters around a fishing boat about five km away could have been Balearics, but I realy couldn't be sure. Blue Rock Thrush was present on the headland:

In the afternoon, the family visited the northern most tip of the Island. Whilst having great potential as a migrant trap and a sea-watching point, I saw little worth reporting.

Day5 Thurs 19th April:
The family took another boat trip out of San Antoni, this time to Es Vedra. The map by the booking office showed the boat going via the outer Bledes Islands, and I was hoping for some close ups of shearwaters. In the event we hugged the coast all the way. Es Vedra is very impressive, there was a large Yellow-legged Gull colony and Eleonoras Falcons are apparently present in season. I didn't see any. Very out of place was a migrant Hoopoe on the rocks.

Day6 Fri 20th April:
Day six was unseasonally wet and windy. I had another look at the Salinas in the morning with few more birds than last time. New was a little Egret and I also found another Marmoras Warbler in the low scrub near the edge of the Es Cavellet Salinas, by the NW carpark.

In the afternoon I visited Santa Eulalia, which has the only river in Ibiza. (and a very tiny wetland) It really wasn't worth the trip. The only birds I saw were two plastic looking Muscovey Ducks.

Day7 Sat 21th April:
Home day. In the morning I visited Cala Comte again. The conditions were ideal for migration and I had a continuous north bound stream of Pallid Swifts for all of my brief stay.

Later from the viewing lounge of the airport it was possible to make out about twenty five Greater Flamingo's on the nearby salinas.

Species seen:

Cory's Shearwater: Cala Comte
Shag: Common all round the coast.
Little Egret: 1 Sas Salinas
Greater Flamingo: up to 25 Sas Salinas
Shelduck: Sas Salinas
Eleonoras Falcon: 1 Isla Marguarita
Kestrel: 2 seen
Black-winged Stilt: Sas Salinas
Kentish Plover: Sas Salinas
Greenshank: Sas Salinas
Common Sandpiper: Sas Salinas
Audouins Gull: Common all round the coast.
Yellow-legged Gull: Common all round the coast.
Rock Dove: near hotel
Turtle Dove: near hotel
Collared Dove: near hotel
Swift: Wide spread
Pallid Swift: Mirador del Savinar, big passage at Cala Comte
Hoopoe: 1 Es Vedra, 1 near hotel
Thekla Lark: Wide spread
Swallow: Wide spread
House Martin: Wide spread
Meadow Pipit:1 near hotel
Yellow Wagtail: Sas Salinas
Stonechat: Wide spread
Northern Wheatear:
Blue Rock Thrush: Mirador del Savinar, Cala Comte
Blackbird: Wide spread
Marmora's (Balearic) Warbler: 1 Sas Salinas, 1 Sa Talaiassa
Sardinian Warbler: Wide spread
Woodchat Shrike: Pair ,Sa Talaiassa, rare breeder.
House Sparrow: near hotel
Rock Sparrow: Mirador del Savinar
Serin: Wide spread
Greenfinch: near hotel
Goldfinch: near hotel
Linnet: Wide spread


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