Friday, 26 May 2017

Majorca 2017

Majorca 2017 was just as good as 2016, but with better birds and more of them. We had a car for a few days and were able to get a bit further afield to Lluc Monastery, Cuber Reservoir, Cap Formentor, Albuferata, and Son Real as well as the local stuff round Puerto Pollensa. We also had longer at Albufera but still didn’t get round the long walk. There is so much to see there you could spend most of the day in one or two hides.The migration was in full swing and the weather was kind for birding. Most of the good bird pictures were taken by my good friend and birding pal David (Dusty) Miller who has a better camera and more patience than me. Thanks for the memories!!

Several evening visits and a dawn chorus to the Boquer Valley produced spotted and pied flycatchers, woodchat shrike, blue rock thrush, wheatear, serin, crag martin, whinchat, black redstart and cirl bunting.

Looking towards Puerto Pollensa from the Finca terrace

La Finca, the terrace is in front.
Woodchat shrike by David Miller

Blue rock thrush by David Miller

Cirl bunting by David Miller
Can Curassa gave good views of spotted redshank, common sandpiper and yellow wagtail plus our first singing nightingale.We took the bus there, birded for an hour, lunched at the restaurant and walked back along the beach road. The inland lanes might have offered a better alternative but not the Audouin's gulls. 
Can Curassa
Audouin's gull by David Miller
Next day we took a bus to Cala de San Vincenc and walked out to the headland and back. Stunning views plus osprey, shag, and redstart. 

Cove Blanc looking east

Cala de San Vincenc bay
The same evening we went to the front for coffee and an ice cream and walked up through a small local park to get back to the hotel. As you can see from the photographs it is only about 200m long and 50 m wide and is an urban environment with dog runs, playground, exercise equipment etc., but it was dripping with warblers. I have never ever seen as many. 

Having read about “falls” of birds on the east coast of England where there are so many birds you don’t know where to look I finally experienced something similar for myself.  The birds were mainly willow warbler and chiffchaff but there were also garden warblers, whitethroats, spotted and pied flycatchers, wood warblers and redstarts. I literally had no idea where to look next and every time I focused on something another bird moved and caught my eye. An English birder who was also there said it had been like that for three days. Later in the week it still produced birds but less numbers and less variety.If you are fortunate enough to be there in April or May and are staying at that end of the resort it is worth checking. It runs towards the coast from the Boquer Valley roundabout.

Next day we picked up the car and headed for the mountains. We had been warned about the MAMILs but were totally unprepared for the sheer numbers of them. We reckoned there were 7 - 800 crawling up and about 3 - 400 zooming down. Some even passed us on the way down. The visit to Lluc took us into the mountains and we were rewarded with booted eagle, black vulture, more nightingales and two firecrests at close range in the botanical garden

Lluc monastery
Botanical garden
 By the time we arrived at Cuber it was 3.00pm so our walk was short on small birds apart from even more nightingales. We did however see more small eagles, red kite and raven. Unfortunately vultures eluded us.
Cuber reservoir
  The next day was spent at Albufera which delivered in spades. The egret roost on the way in had cattle egret, little egret, squacco heron and night heron. The full list is in the 2017 firsts but the highlights were osprey, all three plovers, stone curlew, little stint, green sandpiper, cetti’s warbler, reed warbler, great reed warbler, and collared pratincole.  A late lesser kestrel over the hotel was the icing on the cake.

Cattle egret by David Miller. Taken on the way in
Red-crested pochard on the Gran Canal behind the hides

 The following photos were all taken by David Miller from the Es Cibollar hides. I had to be brutal in selection as David had quite a few images.

Black-winged stilt

Common sandpiper & Kentish plover

Curlew sandpipers and Kentish plovers

Green sandpiper

Little stint with ringed plovers
Spotted redshank
Three good ticks, avocet, stilt and spotshank.

We then moved to the Es Colombars hide where we had not been in 2016, Again all the photos are David's.
View from the hide looking north to the power station


Little egret


Marbled teal

Little ringed plover eyeing a passing chopper

Stone curlew
Stone curlew

We then legged it back to the Sa Roca hides with a few stops en route and were fortunate to connect with the bird of the day and a squacco heron. 

Collared pratincole

Squacco heron
All this and we still haven't done the long walk round the perimeter or found the Son Bosc deck. Nothing else for it we will have to do a return visit. PS on the way out we came across this as well.

Cap Formentor gave us pallid swift, but we were a little early for Eleanora’s falcon. However the views are stunning the sky was blue and the sea was azure. The views are mine by the way, I can get views but not birds.

On our last day we visited Son Real – a sort of folk museum with added birds.  We had brilliant views of hoopoe, whinchat, serin and sardinian warbler, plus a couple of tortoises at the water hole. On the way home we detoured to try and find the way to Son Bosc and Depuradora. We missed the viewing platform but a couple of English birders put us on to bee-eater, turtle dove and thekla’s lark in the 5 minutes we were there.Again all the photos are David's
Hoopoe behind the ofices on the way to the dolmen

Linnet at the "Big sink"

Sardinian warbler (F). Apologies to those who heard me call it a lesser whitethroat!!

Serin near the offices

Spotted flycatcher at the "big sink"

His name is Speedy

Distant whinchat

Pied flycatcher

Oi flycatcher, are you havin' a barf?
Thekla lark
The total for the trip was 87 species of which 49 were 2017 firsts. No lifers this year but hey, you can’t have everything!!

133: Swift
134: Red kite
135: Yellow-legged gull
136: Audouin's gull
137: Crag martin
138: Sardinian warbler
139: Spotted flycatcher
140: Pied flycatcher
141: Woodchat shrike
142: Blue rock thrush
143: Spotted redshank
145: Yellow wagtail
146: Nightingale
147: Wheatear
148: Hoopoe
149: Serin
150: Osprey
151: Redstart
152: Whinchat
153: Garden warbler
154: Whitethroat
155: Wood warbler
156: Black vulture
157: Firecrest
158: Marbled teal
159: Red-crested pochard
160: Night heron
161: Cattle egret
162: Squacco heron
163: Kentish plover
164: Red-knobbed coot
165: Purple swamphen
166: Black-winged stilt
167: Stone curlew
168: Collared pratincole
169:  Little ringed plover
170: Little stint
171: Green sandpiper
172: Reed warbler
173: Great reed warbler
174: Lesser kestrel
175: Pallid swift
176:Marsh harrier
177: Curlew sandpiper
178: Bee-eater
179: Thekla lark
180: Turtle dove
181: Cirl bunting
182: Booted eagle


  1. Derek What a wonderful trip and I am green with envy. A good number of birds seen. How about taking me along next time?

  2. Great trip report, like the lesser whitethroat comment, you needent of mentioned it i never told a sole ;-)
    heres my trip report from the same week