Stephen Burch's Birding & Dragonfly Website
22 - 29 October 2005
By Stephen Burch
We have been to Mallorca in spring (May) a number of times before, but this was our first visit in autumn. Because of this, my expectations were lower than before, and having already seen most of the Mallorcan specialities, I did not spend much time trying to find all of them again.
For this report, I will skip the customary itinerary and overall species list, and just give some notes on the sites visited, and key species seen.
Nowadays, you can't drive in, but there is a convenient parking area just beyond the entrance (coming from the Alcudia direction) on the right, opposite a hotel. I had previously seen roosting Night Herons in the pines close to the entrance but, this time, there was no sign of them there. They were instead to be found a little further on in much lower bushes on the far side of the canal. Most were well hidden, but this juvenile allowed some pics to be taken. There were also a number of adults, but they were mostly better hidden.
Further on, I was suprised to find a new raised wooden walkway alongside the road (purpose not obvious!), and a number of smart new buildings forming a visitor centre complex, which I ignored! However, the place is pretty (too?) popular with the general public. At the stone bridge which affords good views along the main canal, and over reeds etc, I came across the first of two noisy parties of Spanish school children. However, their teacher/guide, seeing my optical gear, helpfully pointed out an excellent Booted Eagle, soaring high above, which I might have otherwise missed.
headed for the Bishop hides, and was dismayed to come
across another herd of school children. To avoid them, I
made first for the Bishop 2 hide, which was quiet, apart
from a distant Osprey perched on a post
and a distant Marsh Harrier or two. The
Bishop 1 hide was better though, with some Black-winged
Stilts, a juvenile Flamingo and
a few waders including Greenshank and
this Spotted Redshank. I spent some time
After the Bishop hides, all I had time for was a quick visit to the raised viewpoint back near the visitor centre. This gave good if distant views over various lagoons and reeds, but with nothing very spectacular. A few winter duck, Little Egrets, an Osprey and a few more Marsh Harriers was about it. No sign of the hoped for Marbled Teal (which do apparently occur in winter).
Also on the beach were some winter plumage Kentish Plovers:
Walking into the marshy area, I made for a slightly raised area beyond and to the right of a new? house, which gives good but distant views over a number of lagoons. Here there were both Cattle Egrets and a single Great White Egret. Also an unexpected probable juv. White-winged Black Tern (or maybe Whiskered). Closer were Fan-tailed Warblers, still singing occasionally despite the season. In the trees on the way back were elusive Serin, Song Thrush, Greenfinch etc.
There is also a track which leads upwards and along the coast, on the south side of the village. This is described in the walking book by June Parker and elsewhere. To start with, it is wide and easy and proved quite productive birdwise with a few (million) Robins. But more interesting were singing Sardinian Warbler, several Black Redstart in a quarry area, and further on, upto six Blue Rock Thrush (most obvious on our return in the early evening, with the sun low in the sky), and even a late Wheatear. Higher up the good track disappears, and a feint path continues onwards and upwards along the rugged coast line. Not for the feint hearted would be to go all the way up the peak of La Molla, but we didn't have enough time for this. But we were rewarded for our efforts with spectacular coastal views, a migrant Whinchat, more Sardinian Warblers and distant Peregrine and Raven.
Blanca & El Fumat
|© All pictures copyright Stephen Burch|