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A Report from

Mallorca 5-11th September 2002,

John Kirby

This was a last minute booking holiday so we were based in Cala Millor on the East coast. Not the ideal birding base but as the island is smallish all sites were accessible.

Car hire

This was booked on the internet. We booked through SKYCARS. They arranged the hire with local company Centauro. We arranged to have the car delivered to our hotel and to return it to Palma Airport. This meant we were able to make full use of our last day as we had a night flight. We booked a Ford KA a/c for £92 for the week but actually got a Fiat Punto which was very roomy and economical.

Guides used

We used both Gosneys Guide to Mallorca and Graham Hearls A Birdwatching Guide to Mallorca. Both were very useful and accurate even though they were written a few years ago.

Sites visited and main birds seen.

Parc Naturel De S'Albufera.

There is no vehicular access to the Parc although bicycles are permitted. We parked in the access road to the hotels on the opposite side of the road. Entrance is free.

The top birding site in Mallorca, according to the books. It should be renamed Coot City. The first visit produced hundreds of Coots and a few herons -  Grey, Purple and Squacco. Egret - Cattle, Little and Great White, and Purple Gallinule all seen from the CIM Hide. The visitor Centre claimed  Struthio Camelus but I didn't see one!

A second visit later in the week added juvenile Slenderbilled Gull, Greenshanks, Redshank and Spotted Redshank from the Bishop hides. Other birders claimed Night Heron, Sacred Ibis and Osprey.

Old Salinas.

The entrance to these is opposite Kilometre 24 on the road from Alcudia to Can Picafort and is marked S'Illott. These proved quite productive with a good selection of waders. Turnstone, Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Blacktailed Godwit, Cattle Egret, Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff

Arta Mountains

I didn't go to the Communications Tower but went straight to the Ermita De Betlem - a hair-raising drive!! On the way there is a radio mast close to a reservoir (this was dried-up). A walk to this mast produced Thekla Lark and Crag Martin. The walk from the Ermita to the cliffs via some cultivated fields have great potential in a "fall" but only produced Great Tit, numerous Spotted Flycatchers, Serin and Redstart.

Porto Colom

A first visit only produced Theklas Lark and Pallid Swift. Warblers could be heard but only Sardinian was seen. Later in the week the "wet fields" in the guide had 4 Northern Wheatears. Audouins Gulls were on the platform in the harbour.

Cuber reservoir.

According to the guides "10 species of raptors can be seen in a visit". After 2 hours all I had seen was a Stonechat and 2 Linnets!! Eventually a Black Vulture appeared over the ridge for about 10 seconds before drifting off. Nothing else apparent.

Casas Veyas (also spelt Cases Velles)

There is NO access to this site now. The fields are fenced off and the access paths have padlocked gates across them. Parking by the side of the road we saw a few Crossbills flying over the pines.

Formentor Peninsula.

Get there before 10am or the car park will be packed with tourists. 6 Eleanora's Falcons were seen from the lighthouse. K17 had Blue Rock Thrush.

Parc Naturel de Mondrago.

This large parc was opened in 1990. Access is from the C717 between S'Alqueria Blanca and Santanyi.. It has a variety of habitats including sand dunes, 2 coves, open areas and woodlands. The area looks to have potential for birds and should prove good at the right time of the year. Unfortunately we didn't find it until the last day of our holiday. There were Bee-eaters around the visitors centre but we didn't look much further as it was quite late in the day.

Boquer Valley.

A birding hotspot according to the guides. Well, it was hot from the scorching sun but very few birds. We got there fairly late - around 10am - and a steady stream of tourists was walking along the track - not a good sign. We continued, however, and in the fig field at the beginning of the track were numerous Spotted Flycatchers and a Cirl Bunting. The walk produced very little with a few Goldfinches, a Raven, Wryneck, Blue Rock Thrush and Sardinian Warblers. Postage Stamp Wood was birdless.

Salina de Levante.

A good site, but avoid weekends when the access road labelled to Es Trenc is full of locals going to the beach. A telescope is essential due to the distances. Lots of waders were present and gulls included Audouins. On our second visit (11/9) there were 24 Greater Flamingos ( 19 adults and 5 immatures) "Eddie's Track" goes past the entrance to Banys Health Farm/Hotel. I went down the track to the first saltpan but it was dry so I didn't go further.

Cabo de Salinas - Far des Cap Salinas

The best sea-watch site on Mallorca - according to the guides. On the road to the Far (lighthouse) you are advised to stop at several kilometre markings. These places gave all the birds they were supposed to. Red Legged Partridge, Stone Curlew, Thekla Lark, Short Toed Lark. Just before the lighthouse 6 Bee-Eaters were flying about. The sea watch produced nothing.

Other birds seen:

Little Grebe.   Gt Crested Grebe.  Shag.  Marsh Harrier.  Kestrel.  Moorhen.  Ringed Plover.  Dunlin.  Snipe.  Yellow Legged Herring Gull. Black Headed Gull. Wood Pigeon.  Collared Dove.  European Swift.  Hoopoe.  Sand Martin.  Barn Swallow.  House Martin.  Wren.  Nightingale.  Whinchat.  Blackbird.  Cetti's Warbler.  Fan-Tailed Warbler.  Willow Warbler.  Firecrest.  Red-Backed Shrike.  Woodchat Shrike.  House Sparrow.  Chaffinch.  Greenfinch.  Corn Bunting.


A total of 82 species were seen. Birding outside the breeding season was difficult with birds not singing or displaying. Disappointments were the lack of Raptors. ( No Booted Eagles, Peregrine or Kites). No Terns coming through yet and very few hirundines. No ducks were seen apart from mallard!

It would probably been best to go a fortnight later than we did to catch the migration.


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