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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Mallorca, 12 -19 October 2012,
From 12 to 19th of October I made a trip with my wife Danielle to the Balearic island of Mallorca.
Besides the fact that we want to have a nice week of in a pleasant climate, my main objective, bird wise, was to try to find Balearic Warbler, which was a lifer for me. Though I anticipated that it could be difficult to find the species in October, this turned out not to be the case.
Mallorca also harbours some interesting subspecies of Spotted Flycatcher, Crossbill and ssp. badius of Woodchat Shrike. Of these I only observed the Crossbill.
Other interesting species seen on the island were Black Vulture, plenty of Eleonora’s Falcons, Crested Coot, Marbled Duck, Purple Swamphen, Audouin’s Gull and Moustached Warbler.
So I booked a charter from Eindhoven to Palma de Mallorca for which I paid € 250,- A 5-doors Ford Focus for the week cost me €170,- (Gold Car). Near the village of Pollenca we rented a spacious house for which we had to pay €690
We had daily lunch somewhere on the island and cooked our own dinner in our house.
I mainly birded the northern part of the island and visited the Boquer valley 3 times, twice the Albufera marshes and twice Cabo Formentor.
The weather during this week was really nice. At the start of the week temperatures of 22-23 degrees and later climbing up to 27 degrees. Mostly sunny and we only had rain one early morning and on the day we left the island.
Books and Reports
I used the Collin’s Bird Guide – Field Guide to the Birds of Britain & Europe.
A guide to Bird-watching in Mallorca – Eddie Watkinson. A bit outdated.
Mallorca September 2003 – Concalo Elias
Mallorca September-October 2008 – Derek Lister
Majorca 10th September-21st September 2009 - Derek Lister
Mallorca 6th – 10th April – Ian Merill
Website of Birding in Spain. www.birdinginspain.com
I used an I-pod with “voices of Europe” and I downloaded song and calls of Balearic Warbler from Xeno-Canto.
Friday October 12
Drove the short distance (20 minutes) from my home to Eindhoven Airport.
At 13.05 we left for the less than 2 hour flight to Palma de Mallorca.
After collecting our luggage we picked up our rental car and drove in 40 minutes to Pollenca. In the centre of town we met our host who drove with us to our house at the outskirts of Pollenca. The house was nicely situated with views of the Tramuntana mountains.
Saturday October 13
After a late breakfast at 10.00 am we decided to drive to nearby Port of Pollenca. It was still overcast but the sun started to get through. After a cup of coffee we decided to drive towards Cabo Formentor. The road was quite busy with other cars all heading in the same direction. We made an extensive stop at the tunnel area, where we had great views of several Eleonora’s Falcons.
We slowly continued towards Cabo Formentor and made several stops at miradors.
The landscape was astonishing. After a break at the light tower we drove back to Port de Pollenca where we had a late lunch. In the afternoon I checked some nearby hill sides but besides plenty of Sardinian Warblers and Crossbills it was not very productive.
Sunday October 14
Dawn saw me at the start of the trail into the Boquer Valley. It was with great anticipation that I started to walk towards the area where I thought I had the best chance to find Balearic Warbler. After some 30 minutes I reached the obvious patch of large pine trees at the left side of the trail and from that point I started to search in earnest for the species. From time to time I played the contact call but all I heard were the calls of the ever-present Sardinian Warblers.
I reached an area of lower scrub and suddenly I got a response and within minutes I had great views of a single Balearic Warbler. Mission accomplished.
After shooting some photos of this very cooperative bird I turned back. Other notable species seen in the valley were Red-legged Partridge (only heard) and a pair of Booted Eagles (light phase and dark phase bird), Blue Rock Thrush and Cirl Bunting.
Robin was very common as was Song Thrush.
At 10.00 am I was back at the house, in time for a late breakfast. Meantime the weather had improved significantly. Sunny with nice temperatures. We decided to drive towards Puerta Soller and do some birding along the way. It was a very scenic drive but it was almost impossible to make road side stops and at the various miradors it was impossible to find a parking spot. But it was Sunday! Also a lot of cyclists on the road.
We arrived at Monastery Luc but decided to continue because it was too crowded. We drove steep down to Sa Calobra. Good views of Firecrest at Sa Calobra.
On the way back-up the escarpment Danielle discovered a large raptor above the road. It turned out to be a huge Black Vulture. Later we saw another bird at a greater distance.
We continued to Soller where we had a pizza at a nice place, overlooking the harbour. A single Shag was seen near the beach.
Late afternoon we returned to Pollenca.
Monday October 15
It started to rain heavily in the early morning, so got up a little late. Later that morning we drove to the small city of Arta and walked around.
In the afternoon Danielle stayed in the garden of our house while I birded around the harbour of Port Pollenca and the first stretch of the Boquer Valley. Several Audouin’s Gulls and Shags in the harbour.
Tuesday October 16
After breakfast we drove to the back side of Albufera, where I tried to locate Moustached Warbler. No success and later we drove to the Boquer Valley and we walked all the way down to the sea. At least 6 to 7 Balearic Warblers were observed, all in the low scrub before you actually descend to the sea.
Afternoon some casual birding along the coast between Port Pollenca and Alcudia which gave me species like Whinchat, Meadow Pipit and several Corn Buntings.
Wednesday October 17
Early morning at 8.30 at the entrance of Albufera. When entering the reserve I noticed several Night Herons in trees along the main canal. At the first bridge I heard a call, which I thought could be a Moustached Warbler. And soon enough I had good views of one. Cetti’s Warbler was extremely common. I walked several trails and saw Red-knobbed Coot, Purple Swamphen and I accidently bumped into Dutch birder Ruud van Dongen and his family.
In the afternoon we drove to nearby San Vicente. Just before entering the village I noticed a single Red-legged Partridge sitting on a rock, which gave great views from the car. After that I visited Port Pollenca again where I was able to photograph Audouin’s Gull on the beach.
Thursday October 18
Drove with Danielle to Albufera and we hiked for several hours through the reserve.
As we were unable to park the car at the main entrance we entered the reserve further along the road at the salt pans. Some waders seen were Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpipier, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint and Dunlin. At the edge of the pool good views of a foraging Bluethroat. At one time I discovered a Harris Hawk on a pole with prey. A long way from South America. I reported this at the entrance but they already knew of the occurrence of this escaped species. I only paid a short visit to the main hide because it was rather crowded. Just long enough to observe Marbled Duck and Red-crested Pochard.
In the afternoon we visited Pollenca itself and climbed up the stairs to the chapel at the top.
Friday October 19
We tried to find a track to the coast from Pollenca but we had to return because the track ended at private property. We again visited Pollenca to do some shopping and at 13.00 we brought back the keys of our house and drove to the airport.
Delivered our car and at 16.15 we flew back from Palma de Mallorca to Eindhoven, where we landed at 18.35 pm. One hour later we were back home.
Balearic Warbler Sylvia balearica
Boquer Valley 14-10-2012
Systematic list of observations
Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea 2 near Cabo Formentor
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Albufera
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Albufera
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii Soller and harbour of Port Pollenca
Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 7-8 along main canal, Albufera
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Albufera.
Great Egret Casmerodius albus Twice Albufera
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Gadwall Anas strepera
Shoveler Anas clypeata
Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris Albufera from main hide
Pochard Aythya ferina
Red-crested Pochard Aythya rufina Albufera from main hide
Black Vulture Aegypius monachus Twice seen Sa Colobra to main road
Osprey Pandion haliaetus Single near Alcudia
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus A pair at Boquer valley.
Marsh Harrier Circus auriginosus Albufera
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 1 seen at Boquer Valley
Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonora Up to 8 seen Cabo Formentor
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1 near Pollenca
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa Heard Boquer valley and 1 San Vicente
Waterrail Rallus aequaticus Albufera
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Fulica atra
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata A few Albufera
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio Albufera
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Saltpans Albufera
Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus daily/nightly heard near our house
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 4 at Albufera
Kentish Plover Charadrois alexandrinus 4 Saltpans, Albufera
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 2 Saltpans, Albufera
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus Albufera
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 1 Saltpans, Albufera
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Greenshank Tringa nebularia Albufera
Little Stint Calidris minuta 2 saltpans, Albufera
Dunlin Calidris alpine 1 at Saltpans, Albufera
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus Port Pollenca
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii Port Pollenca
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 3 at Port Pollenca
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Barn Owl Tyto alba Heard one night near our house
Hoopoe Upupa epops A total of 8 on 3 dates
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis twice at Albufera
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris A few at Boquer Valley
Barn Swallow Hirundo rupestris
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis 2 flushed near Alcudia
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis a few in flight calling.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 3 birds near Alcudia
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava spec. 1 in flight calling.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Robin Erithacus rubecula Common
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus a single bird near Alcudia.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 1 saltpans, Albufera
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Only 3 exx on 2 dates
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Common Boquer Valley
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus Boquer Valley and a few near Cabo Formentor
Blackbird Turdus merula
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephalus
Balearic Warbler Sylvia balearica First visit a single bird, Second visit 6 to 7 birds.
Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon Good views of a single bird at Albufera
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis Alcudia and Albufera
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus Albufera
Great reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus Albufera
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus Only a few seen
Great Tit Parus major
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Carrion Crow Corvus corone 2 near Pollenca
Raven Corvus corax
Spotless Starling Sturnus A small flock near Alcudia believed to be this species.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Linnet Carduelis cannabina Once 2 birds near Alcudia.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Serin Serinus serinus
Crosbill Loxia curvirostra ssp. regularly encountered
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus 1 only seen and heard at Albufera
Cirl Bunting Emberiza citreola
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra 6 near Alcudia
92 species recorded