Monday, 24 April 2017

Mallorca - Birding on the Formentor Peninsular

On day three of our holiday we visited the Formentor peninsular on the north east corner of the island. A really nice area which combined spectacular scenery, good birding and a nice beach!

Birding-wise our target was Balearic Warbler and again we were surprised how easy it was. We found a song-flighting male by the track up to the Talaia de Albercutx. The viewpoint here was also productive with a showy pair of Blue Rock Thrush, 2+ Crag Martins, a Booted Eagle and 3 Balearic Shearwaters offshore.

Working our way towards the lighthouse gave us several brookei Peregrines and a few Crossbills. The light house itself was actually quite quiet with just a couple of Crag Martins, though around the beach there were a lot of confiding Firecrests, and a Audouin's Gull flew along the beach - a welcome first for the trip though we were left wanting better views.

Next blog post will be about birding around Albufereta...

Balearic Warbler

Crag Martin
Blue Rock Thrush
And a few landscapes taken on my phone...

Formentor beach
Looking back towards Puerto Pollensa
Looking back from the lighthouse
Looking south from the point
Balearic Warbler habitat!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

More good patch birding...

The Green-winged Teal at the Budge Screen this morning was my fourth 'scarcity' on the patch this year, and my first here since January 2015. Also on the Budge Fields were 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Ruff, 3 Whimbrel, and, of course, the White-fronted Goose.

At Chevington the Black Tern remained, giving superb scope views in the sun. A Grasshopper Warbler was also showing well and our first Reed Warblers of the year were singing.

A stop at Castle Island on the way home gave an unlikely combination for late April - a sub-adult Iceland Gull and a Long-tailed Duck...

Green-winged Teal

Grasshopper Warbler
Iceland Gull

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Mallorca - Birding at Albufera (Part one)

On our second day we spent the morning at the Albufera Marshes - one of the most important wetlands in the whole of the Mediterranean. Our target for the day was the Moustached Warblers, which despite having several hundred birds around the reserve, we had been told could be quite difficult to see.

After stopping to have a look at the Cattle Egret and Night Heron colony along the main canal (Night Heron was a long awaited lifer for me!), we reached the start of the Ses Puntes track. And there was a Moustached Warbler! We found them surprisingly easy to find, and were able to watch at least two birds both up close as well as more distantly through the scope over the next half hour.

A Water Pipit flew over the track on while we were on our way to the next hide; Cibollar 1. An excellent selection of waders were present on the muddy pools, including...

25+ Spotted Redshank
12+ Green Sandpiper
20+ Wood Sandpiper - some walked to within a few metres of the hide!
1 Redshank
1 Ringed Plover
25+ Kentish Plover
5+ Little Ringed Plover
1 Greenshank
20+ Avocet
40+ Black-winged Stilt
1 Common Sandpiper

Other birds from here included a Great White Egret, 3 Garganey, a Booted Eagle and 2 Purple Heron, while a Nightingale was singing behind the hide!

The area around the Sa Roca hide provided us with our first two Balearic Woodchat Shrikes of the trip, along with a Great Reed Warbler and a Black Redstart.

Other stuff around the reserve included good numbers of Fan-tailed, Sardinian and Cetti's Warblers, a couple of Purple Swamphen and Red-knobbed Coots and a few Marsh Harriers.

My next post will be about the Fermentor peninsula, including the Mallorcan speciality that is Balearic Warbler.

Moustached Warbler

Night Heron

Wood Sandpiper
Wood and Green Sandpipers
Cattle Egret
Balearic Woodchat Shrike
Red-knobbed Coot
Green-eyed (Norfolk) Hawker

Friday, 21 April 2017

Black Tern...

A nice sight at Chevington this evening, despite the rain...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A return to the patch...

Headed back to the patch this morning, and it wasn't as big a reality shock as we were expecting, with a nice selection of spring birds around. First up were the 2 Crane at Longhirst Flash, which provided me with my best views of this species yet. A really nice start!

Up to Chevington where it was apparent that there was quite a few more summer migrants than when were last here three weeks ago. 3+ Grasshopper Warblers and 2 Sedge Warblers were singing from the usual areas, Sandwich Terns were in abundance offshore, 8 Common Terns were on the north pool, and a Wheatear and a White Wagtail were at the burn mouth. 

We called in at the coastal path at Hauxley to look for the recent Green-winged Teal, but unfortunately there was no sign, although a group of 26 Whimbrel provided some compensation. A lone Pink-footed Goose was visible on the reserve.

Heading back south, just my second ever Northumbs Hooded Crow was showing nicely in the field opposite the entrance to Druridge Pools, while a Grasshopper Warbler was singing from the fence line. 3 Ruff, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, the Eurasian White-fronted Goose and 3 Pintail were on the Budge fields.


Hooded Crow
White Wagtail

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mallorca - Birding around our villa & Pollensa

Last Sunday (the 9th) we arrived on the island of Mallorca for a weeks break. We stayed in a villa on the north side of Pollensa, overlooking the mountains and ridges to the north of the town. Within just a few minutes of arriving I had my first lifer of the trip - Black Vulture. These huge birds were seen daily from the villa, the first of nine species of birds of prey.

On the 15th, a superb evening scanning the ridges produced a smart Egyptian Vulture, along with a Golden Eagle, which I understand is an escapee that has been on the island for a while now. While on our penultimate day a Griffon Vulture put in an appearance.

Other raptors seen regularly from the garden were Booted Eagles, Red Kite, Peregrine and Kestrel.

During the night we could stand outside the villa to watch and listen to Stone Curlews flying around. Two Night Herons also flew over on the 11th, while at least two Scops Owls were calling down the road into Pollensa, and on the 12th, we were able to see one calling from a hole in a tree at twilight.

Flocks of Bee-eaters were regularly seen in the area, including a flock of 40+ low over the garden on the 13th, and Hoopoes appeared twice.

Passerines seen around the garden included Serins, Sardinian Warblers and a single Pied Flycatcher.

Lots more photos from other sites on our holiday to come soon on more blog posts...


Sardinian Warbler

Booted Eagle
Black Vulture
Can you see the Scops Owl!? Photo handheld at 1 second shutter speed!

Bee-eaters - stunning birds!

Yellow-legged Gulls on a nearby beach
Pied Flycatcher
Mediterranean House Gecko (I think!)