26th December 2015 to 1st January 2016 - Majorca

Due to two trips to the Canaries in previous years, we had almost seen all of Spain's endemic birds and just had the Balearic Warbler left, which is a resident of Majorca. We thought this to be an excellent reason to book a trip there and extended it so we first spent a day at the Portaventura theme park then a day in Barcelona before we flew over to the island to attend a few days birding and to celebrate NYE. However, after booking the trip, we then read that the Blue Chaffinch we had seen on Tenerife had been split into two species so we would need to take a trip to Gran Canaria to finally complete the endemic list. Darnit. 

From the hotel window in Salou we racked up a reasonable list of 10 species in 15 minutes including Monk Parakeet and Tree Sparrow and Stuart got onto a Hoopoe which I unfortunately missed. Portaventura was nicely planted and landscaped which meant many birds including our first of many Black Redstart for the trip. There were more Monk Parakeet to be had in Barcelona and we came across a small enclave of Ring-necked Parakeet in a square.

It was then across to Majorca for the proper birding to begin. The first day wasn't a great hit, but a small reservoir near to the airport had a few Black-necked Grebe, Sardinian Warbler and a Serin singing loudly right beside the car.  After checking in to our lovely hotel in Alcudia, we drove up the Formentor Peninsula, not really seeing much but enjoying the scenery. A swift species was watched for a while, but having read the field guide which says they have no swifts at all during that time of the year, I'm not sure which it was! 

Thekkla Lark
The next day was started with a wonderful few hours across the island at Porto Colom. After watching a variety of passerines for a while, I thought I spotted something which looked very much like the bird we had come to see, the Balearic Warbler. Stuart got a quick glance and dismissed it instantly, saying it was a Lesser Whitethroat! I continued to insist it was the endemic warbler until the bird kindly popped up very close to us and it was unmistakably clear that that was indeed what it was! After watching it for a while we headed around the corner from the harbour/marina to the coast/headland where we saw a few more, lots of Sardinian Warbler and I caught a few sightings of a Dartford Warbler. We then had our first sightings of another lifer, the Audouin's Gull

Booted Eagle
Another bird we had been hoping to see on the island had so far evaded us so when as we drove out of Felanitx I saw a large bird stood in a field to the side of the road, I made Stuart turn the car around and we pulled up in a road 2 fields away. Upon inspection through binoculars and on the back of the camera, we deduced that this was in fact the bird we had been looking for, a Booted Eagle, enjoying his dinner. 

We finished the day at the salt pans, Salines de Llevant. Our first bird was flushed as we pulled up to park and a ruffled Stone Curlew glared at us from a few yards away. A large bird floating above our heads turned out to be the second Booted Eagle of the trip. On the pools were a mixture of Kentish Plover and Ringed Plover and a small gathering of Greater Flamingo. 8 Marsh Harrier appeared over the salt plans as the light began to go. 

Greater Flamingo

Little Egret
On New Year's Eve we headed to Palma via the mountain route, briefly stopping off at Lluc Monastery, Gorg Blau and finally Es Verger, where we had a delightful late lunch of lamb shoulder and a not so delightful walk up towards Castle Alaro, which was curtailed by a section of the path which affected my vertigo so much I was nearly sick. Ooops.

1 comment :

  1. Some good birds on the list, booted eagle always a special bird to watch.