Stephen Burch's Birding & Dragonfly Website
21 - 28 October 2006
By Stephen Burch
This year I was however hampered by a knee problem which only allowed birding from the close vicinity to a car. Because of this, I was only able to visit a few sites, but hopefully these notes might be useful for others with similar mobility problems.
This holiday was also another opportunity to further try out my new DSLR, which I used for all the bird pics shown below. This was not without some limitations, and I reckon I could have obtained better pics of the Wood Sandpiper and Bluethroat (see below) with digiscoping - with the DSLR you have to get incredibly close to small birds for good results.
- Depuradora (Waterworks)
This site is well described in Hearl and King, but this was the first time in several visits to Mallorca that I have visited it. I was pleasantly surprised, and my visits here were certainly the highlight of the holiday, as far as I was concerned
The approach road to this site was nice and quiet (apart from the odd water lorry), and allowed some reasonable birding and photography from the car. There were plenty of Cattle Egret in the area, feeding in fields by the road. The first visit also produced 4-5 Stone Curlew in flight, while on the second I saw at least 3 Hoopoe.
Before the end of the approach road (which ends in a small farm), the narrow track off to the viewing point for the waterworks is on the left, before the waterworks buildings/fence, and appears to have a battered no entry for cars sign, which I ignored!
This track goes down the side of the waterworks. At the end is a large car parking area with two notable features. Immediately obvious is an impressive new high wooden viewing platform, which gave good views over the waterworks and the main Albufera reed beds beyond, and to the left.
Also of interest is a damp area, enclosed by a fence, behind the car park. On my second (early morning) visit, this area was particularly productive, with plenty of early morning activity (which soon tails off). Pride of place went to at least 2 and maybe as many as 4 Bluethroats, which were too distant for good DSLR pics. I wish I had brought the digiscoping gear as well, as they were nicely sitting up on the far fence on the left hand side for short periods. Also in this damp area was an extremely skulking Moustached Warbler, several Cetti's Warblers (giving surprisingly good views early morning) and some Chiffchaffs.
The viewing platform would have been better with a 'scope. Despite the high water levels in the waterworks pools, there were a few waders round the edges of the pools, including Black-winged Stilt, Green and Wood Sandpipers, and a probable Temminck's Stint (identified by another British birder I met). Also, there were plenty of Marsh Harriers over the marshes, and most surprising a Crowned Crane! I have no idea where that came from. An escape from the local zoo, perhaps, but it did seem quite wary. Also, I took some flight shots of this bird, and there was no sign of any rings, although the pics were of poor quality, so it was difficult to be sure.
I have since been in correspondence with a German birder who had good views, and confirmed there were no rings on this bird. Nevertheless, the general view seems to be that it was probably an escape, maybe from the Palma de Mallorca zoo. I wonder if someone could ask them if they have lost a Crane?!
Back along the track, it was actually possible to sneak into the waterworks, which was useful for getting close enough to some of the birds for photography. There were also 2+ Hoopoe in this area.
I didn't go far into the marshes from this point, but did find plenty of Serin, Stonechat and Zitting Cisticola etc in the fields just beyond the nearby houses.
This year I also found another access point for the Albufereta - the track on the east (Alcudia) side of the Pollentia Club hotel complex, which goes past tennis courts etc. You can drive down to a spot which gives a good view over the marshes. There was not much to see mid/late afternoon, and a wide flooded ditch prevents further access into the marshes. However some nearby pools had Chiffchaffs, and there were Cetti's Warblers around. I suspect there could be Bluethroat here as well, but I didn't visit in the early morning, which would have probably increased my chances of seeing them. Also plenty of dragonflies here (see below).
left pic below is a good match to Vagrant Darter
as shown in the "Field Guide to Dragonflies of
Britain and Europe", by Dijkstra & Lewington,
but is not shown as occurring in Mallorca in that book.
However, I am reliably informed this is a difficult
species to identify without views from other angles as
well, so it could just be a Common Darter (which does
occur in Mallorca).
|© All pictures copyright Stephen Burch|