Monday, 1 May 2017

Mallorca - s'Albufera

I have just returned from a weeks birding in Mallorca. It was good but perhaps not quite as good as I expected. We saw around ninety five species and I ended up with fourteen life ticks so it can't all be bad. However, we lost a day to bad weather, travelling around the island was a nightmare, with thousands of racing cyclists clogging up all the roads, and despite generally good lighting conditions the picture opportunities were limited.

So much for the moans, how about the good points. The main one, in a week, I only saw one dog walker, bliss, no disturbance for me and no disturbance for all the ground nesting birds.

We stayed near Puerto Pollenca giving easy access to the Albufereta, the S'Albufera, the Boquer Valley and the mountains in the north of the island. It was also close to our first target bird the Audouin's Gull.

In the 60s this species was down to around 1000 pairs worldwide. Conservation has enabled a recovery in numbers but it is still endangered and one of the worlds rarest gulls. You wouldn't think so standing on Pollenca beach. Wave a bread roll in the air and you have plenty of volunteers to have their picture taken.

They even come in pairs although there wasn't much sharing of food between them.

Still at least it gives them something to do whilst waiting for the next bread roll.

Our first full day was at the Park Natural de s'Albufera. It is a great place but don't go there on a Sunday. The locals use it as a somewhere to go for a walk with the family and it was full of people. Weekdays it is a bit quieter. You see a lot of the birds that you would find in a wetland in the UK but there are also some unusual ones and some like the Black-winged Stilt are just a bit more common than at home.

Black-winged Stilt

The Park also gave me four life ticks in Purple Swamphen, Collared Pratincol and Squacco Heron, although none of them gave me a decent picture, and Zitting Cisticola that gave me no picture at all.

Purple Swamphen

Collared Pratincol

Squacco Heron

Not life ticks but other great birds seen included Osprey, Great Reed Warbler, Night Heron, Red-knobbed Coot, and the very common (over there) Kentish Plover.


Great Reed Warbler

Night Heron

Kentish Plover

Red-knobbed Coot

The Red-knobbed Coot is part of a program to reintroduce the bird to the Albufera from mainland Spain, hence the neck band.

On the southern edge of the s'Albufera you will find the Depuradora, a sewage works with an observation platform giving views across the settlement pools. This and the narrow road leading to it were the must visit location for our trip and the next blog will cover this area.

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