So Rachel and i decided to visit Majorca again but this time in April, not like our usual September trips. We flew into Palma airport around mid afternoon and arrived at our room in the Eix Lagotel hotel Playa de Muro on the 6th floor. They gave us the same room as last year over looking the S'Albufera NR.
Immediately it felt like the birds would be better this time of year than it was last September.
Just from the Balcony i could scope a Greater Flamingo, Marble Teal, Garganey, 10 Glossy Ibis, 3 Great White Egret, lots of Red Crested Pochard, Purple Herons and Night Herons. A few Record shots from the balcony.
Sunday 30th April
I spent a couple of hours watching from the Balcony again, didnt feel like i neede to leave the room at this point as i could scope scare 4 Black Terns a Whiskered Tern, Gull Billed Tern, Squacco Heron loads of Purple Heron, a Turtle dove was nice as was a Stone Curlew. The amount of Swifts over the reserve was tremendous tens of thousands mostly Common with plenty of Pallid. I did pick up a Swift with odd colouring a white back and belly with dark wings, just an aberrant bird. a Red rumped swallow joined the Barn Swallows.
As Black Tern is a scarce passage migrant i wanted to try prove id seen them by heading onto the reserve, typically by the time id arrived at the tower platform all the Terns had gone. Its a long walk and the Robust Orchid, (i think) Bee and Bug Orchids took my eye.
A Hornet Moth took my eye and the Nightingales were singing everywhere as were the Serin.
Visited the hides where the waders were excellent and really quite close. A mix of Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Curlew Sand, Common Sand and Green Sand. Along with Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and Black Winged Stilts.
That was from Bishop 1 and 2 as were these Black Winged Stilts shot.
Onto CM hide where a there was 2 cracking Collared Pratincoles and a Squacco Heron along with a few different Yellow Wagtails. a record shot of a late European Starling. Purple Swamphens always show well from here.
Finished the day at the Son Bosc Deck and this is where a Black Tern was still and a nice Whiskered Tern Phew...
Our First Bee Eaters of the holiday were distant as were Wheatears and Whinchats and then 2 funny looking ducks Bahama Pintail that were escapees.
Monday 1st May
Started back on the Reserve where this stunning Collared flycatcher and was only my second ever, what a bird. Had a quick look from the other areas for Great White Egret, Hoopoe, Marble Teal, Night Heron, Red Crested Pochard, Red Knobbled Coot and a few plants. Pale Toadflax and Milk Thistle.
After returning to the hotel to collect Rachel i had Another short watch from the balcony, i was able to add Osprey, Audouins Gull and Booted Eagle to the list.
We were heading to Vilafranca de Bonany today but the bike race was shutting roads and preventing us getting there very easily but a detour past Son Real had us spotting our first Roller.
We didn't get to Vilafranca but did get to Maria de la Salut where we were amazed to get at least 3 Red Footed Falcons 2 Females and a male. Stunners. (Spotted by Rachel) Another surprise were 2 Female Lesser Kestrels and what looked like a male distantly.
From the same are or the Plains as people call them it was good for Species such as Short Toed Lark, Tawny Pipit and 3 Quail. Also Raptors such a Red Kite, 7 in total and a Black Kite. As we took the scenic route we saw a couple of Turtle Doves, Peregrine and more Red Kites. The countryside was awesome.
Heading back towards the Hotel via Campanet we watched as 7 Black Vultures and a Griffon took off from what was probably a carcase in a field by the main road. When we stopped to look Rach spotted a Moorish Gecko.
Tuesday 2nd May
A Trip up the mountains to Cubar dam was the plan today, the push bikes were filling up the roads making driving conditions difficult but we made the slow drive to the dam picking up lots of Firecrest as we went.
My one and only life as we reached the damn a cracking singing Moltoni's Warbler the 2 males.
Pics don't do it justice.
We made our way to Port de Soller were there was no birding although there was a Shag in the harbour.
Back at the hotel 5 Great White Egret flew together to roost.
Wednesday 3rd May
Walked up the Boquer Valley starting with nice scope views of Roller and hearing Wryneck. Pied fly and Common Redstart on the way up then Balearic Warbler on the flat top. Blue Rock thrush and the local Peregrine seeing off the Booted Eagle, a Golden Oriol was a nice surprise at it flew over. On the Sea a couple of Shag and lots of Purple Stingers preventing Rach from having a paddle. On the way back down the Wryneck gave itself up and a Woodchat shrike showed nicely. Plenty of Willow Warbler.
Bit of Touristy stuff done then back to the hotel where a Gull Billed Tern was feeding in the water to the front of it, Audoins and Yellow Legged Gulls too.
Thursday 4th May
Formentor lighthouse was todays trip we had been putting it off due to the amount of pushbikes going up but we left early and the trip up was easy.
Crossbill everywhere with plenty of Firecrest on the way up. At the lighthouse and dark phase Eleanoras, Peregrine a few distant Shearwaters probably Corys and then Blue Rock Thrush, Pied Fly and Redstarts, plenty of White Asphodel growing lower down.
Then onto Cala Sant Vicenç a lovely little quiet harbour area with 16 Shag and plenty of groups of Bee Eaters over.
Moved onto Campanet Caves for lunch which was great, nice meal and great birds Bonellies Eagle and Egyptian vulture were a great surprise. I only had a hand held 70mm lens on the camera so no scope so pictures were impossible but i still tried.
Humming Bird Hawkmoths are always showy here and always worth the trip just for them. Swallowtail and Cleopatra butterflys were added bonus's.
Finished the day back at the Son Bosc hide which had Black Kite, Bee Eaters, Gull Billed Tern, and Short Toed Lark, back at the hotel room the Flamingo again.
Friday 5th May
We had the day at Son Real spending a lot of time in the hide which id never been in before, it was awesome and would probably have been even better had it been really warm.
Still a nice collection of birds visiting the pool, Spotted and Pied Fly, Hoopoe, Corn Bunting, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Nightingale and Woodchat shrike, also male and Female Spectacle Warblers and Sardinians too. Hermanni tortoise and African Green Toad? was a new species to me.
A Walk further round the area produced 2 Balearic Warblers and a Turtle dove.
Orchids were nice with Pyramid, Tongue and something i am very unsure about.
Saturday 6th and time for home, but a few hours spent at Valldemossa but no birding done. except for the Reef/Little Egret that flew over the road as we left the hotel.
A great time had and probably better than ever. Started planning for next year :-)
I'm sure Ive got a lot of the orchids and mammals wrong if i have please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Probably missed some silly ones but Species list HERE