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A Report from

Mallorca 17th-24th May 2008 ,

Gareth Jones

We took a last minute family holiday to the resort of Puerto Pollensa on the north east coast. With a smooth flight from Manchester we arrived early evening. We stayed self catering at the Hobby Club Apartments which was ideally based for the birding sites.  Birding was going to have to be done in the early mornings because of a 4 year old son and a pregnant wife.  Swifts and House sparrows were encountered on the way to the First Choice bus and we were on our way by 7.15pm.  A Kestrel, Blackbird and Woodpigeon soon followed on route adding a Grey Heron and 2 Night Herons passing Albufera before nightfall.

Day 1 – A walk to the resort itself, was about 1km long, along  a paved sea road from which I saw many Shags. Yellow Legged Gulls and amazingly many tame Audoins Gull.  The bridge over the so called smelly stream held  a Little Egret and a Whiskered Tern .Walking  the famous pine walk I added Greenfinch,Serin,Spotted flycatchers,Goldfinch and House martin .We ended up at the Postage stamp wood adding Sardinian warbler,and  7 Honey Buzzards drifting east.But best of all 2 Black vultures were above the Boquer Valley one of my target birds.Walking back added only  Collared dove.

Day 2 -A very early start and I was at the entrance to the Boquer by 6.45,added Scops owl on the way from the small playground coming into town ,only one problem ,it was very dark,as I sat and waited for sunrise I added Nightingale and Golden Oriole to the list.By it was daylight ,but still very dark,there was one mega storm brewing.Wondering should I head back,or carry on.I thought what the hell , and I was through the finca,through the big boulders  I reached were it starts to decline to the sea,adding Peregrine, Wren,Cirl Buntings,Stonechat and Swallows,by now I had to make a quick retreat from the valley as thunder ,lightning and heavy rain was hammering down.It rained all day,so we took a taxi to the resort to book a car for 3 days,the cheapest we could find was Hyper car,hiring a Vauxhall Corsa for 120 euros all in.

Day 3 - Arriving at Albufera car park, I was glad to reach my destination  after a nightmare drive through Alcudia,taking  a wrong  turning and market day.Cettis warbler was singing in the car park.The main track down to reception added Mallard,Cattle Egrets and a Little Bittern.Turning left into Cim hide,Kentish,and Little ringed plovers were frantically feeding.Black winged stilts were with young,2 Purple herons flew overhead and unusually 2 Commen terns were present.From the mound a good view of the reserve can be seen,from here Marsh harrier and many Eleonoras falcons were seen.Crossing both bridges and turning left to Watkinsons hide I encounted another lifer. Moustached Warbler were seen briefly along with Reed warbler.The long walk down to Tower hide I saw Common and Crested Coots,Moorhens,Little Grebes,Red crested pochards and 1 Marbled teal.A superb view from the tower an amazing 40-50 Eleonoras Falcons were seen towards the power station.The Bishops hide added Shoveller , Teal ,Great tit and Fan Tailed Warbler.What a birthday!!!.The rest of the day was spent on the beach in Puerte Pollensa.

Day 4 –An early start to Mirador before the crowds arrived.Plenty of parking places on both sides of the road.The first birds I saw were 2 Ravens and Blue rock thrush.Fantastic  views but very dangerous for children.Looking down towards the sea Pallid swifts and Crag martins were hunting for breakfast,and above many Eleonoras Falcons.From the car park looking up there is a small  winding road up to Atalaya D”Albercutx.  Walking up to the monument  , a bird flew from the road,my first reaction was Double spurred frankolin  as this was a mystery and much to thin and brown to be a partridge the only other option could have been Corncrake.I”ll never know!!!.Well worth the walk to the top with magnificent views of the island.Got back to the car to check the field guide of my mystery bird,when suddenly a bird popped out from a bush onto the tarmac.A stunning male Spectacled Warbler only twenty feet away and did I have my camera  no!. Another birder soon arrived ,and was from Canada believe it or not,and he was also in persue of Marmoras warbler,up to 3 were seen in 30mins of searching around the car park.

After breakfast we took the coast road towards Alcudia then taking a small roadto the right towards old Pollensa . Stopping a few times added Woodchat shrike and Tawny pipit along the way.Eventially reaching the monastary ,with a very nervous passenger along side,the first birds I saw were 2 huge Black vultures circling in the cloudless sky.A walk round the monastery added  Blue tits,Hoopoes and Chafinches.The café is well recommended for its coffee and cakesA day spent here birding could be very rewarding . God knows what could turn up.Cuber was a no no after my wife had been talking to someone over coffee ,so the afternoon was spent in old Pollensa doing the Calvary steps and the Roman bridge,with Kestrel added to the list.

Day-5  Just a short drive down the road and I was at the bridge to the entrance to Albufreta marsh by sunrise.I took the track down passing a few houses turning left as dogs were going mental in some kennels to the right,through the pines and finca and your in the marsh,Stone curlews were on a freshly ploughed field,with a  family of Yellow wagtails,Linnets,Corn Buntings in and around the surrounding area.Other new birds were 2 Greater flamingos and 4 Avocets.The old Pollensa road from the coast looked very promising while driving through the other day,so I checked it out on foot,finches,stonechats,Hoopoes were abundant but the best bird was 2 Red Footed Falcon hunting from the telegraph wires ,by now it was raining heavely so I headed back for breakfast.As we had a car we headed for Formentor, driving was very hazardous with many cyclists,not to mention the cliff face bends.I was made to turn around at some view point after the tunnel as my wife was nearly having twins in the backseat,by now the sun was shining,so we headed for the beach.I went for a forest walk adding  Firecrests and Booted eagle drifting south.Afternoon was spent at Cala st Vincent.

Day-6   I hired a bike the night before ,so I could get an early start to check out the back roads.Istill had not seen Thekla or Short toed lark or Wryneck,so I was very hopeful,with Graham Hearl”s map I was off!!Birds came thick and fast with Woodchat shrikes,wagtails,hoopoes,finches etc.The country lanes and scenery were breathtalking,with fig and almond groves and the old traditional way of farming,this was the UK fifty years ago. New birds seen was 1 Red legged partridge with many  calling,also a Green sandpiper being flushed from a ditch,I had reached Alcudia and still no lark! Heading back along the coast road,I took a left as I entered the town,towards Llenaire rd and the orchards,with  major road building  going on,hope this does not affect this beautiful area.Just  about  to give up, 3 Short toed larks were dust bathing on the new road only 10 feet away,giving fantastic views.No new birds were added that afternoon.

Day-7   After finishing family duties,we headed for Boquer valley for some birding and a picnic.After the finca 3 Honey buzzards were drifting east,by now the sun was quite hot and a break in the shade of the boulders were quite refreshing,at the end many Eleonoras were hunting on the ridge with a Booted eagle,the only new bird was a Pheasant.

All in all 80 species were seen without running like a headless chicken  with 3 lifers ,Black vulture,Marmoras and Moustached seen with ease in suitable habitat ,missed birds were Thekla lark,Wryneck,Red Kite and Rock thrush.If hiring a car please be aware of the many cyclists and the drop from the tarmac to the verge.Puerte Pollensa is an ideal place for birdwatching and family holidays, but found the restauraunts a bit expensive to eat out,especially around the square and the pine walk,well I would wouldent I as we had been to Bulgaria the year before.

Any info needed don’t hesitate to email at   HAPPY  BIRDING


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