Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mallorca - Cuber Reservoir...

On our way to a day out in Soller on the west side of Mallorca we stopped twice on the way, hoping to catch up with a few more birds of prey...

First was the viewpoint overlooking the Torrent de Pareis, where we suspect we were too early for vultures, however a group of 17 birds sat on a ridge eventually took off and revealed themselves as Black Kites. A dark morph Booted Eagle also appeared over a distant ridge and a couple of Wrynecks were calling from the trees behind.

Further west we stopped at Cuber Reservoir, which proved to be much more successful with really nice views of 4 Black Vultures, and eventually 3 Griffon Vultures, along with 2 Booted Eagles, a Red Kite and 10+ Raven. Passerines here included Water Pipits and Firecrests.

On the drive back from Soller, our only Osprey of the trip was sat on a rock overlooking the reservoir at Gorg Blau and 2 Crag Martins flew over.

Black Vultures

Griffon Vulture
Red Kite
Video best viewed in HD at 720p/1080p. Note the Wrynecks calling in the background!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Mallorca - Birding around Albufereta...

On the morning of day four we decided to have a short look at Albufereta, stopping at the pull in to C'an Cuarrassa on the way.

From the pull in, we were able to look back towards a large hotel and managed to pick up 5+ Spotless Starlings on the roof. Other birds around the small reserve here included a couple of Whinchats and iberiae Yellow Wagtails and our only Meadow Pipit of the trip.

At Albufereta itself a really nice selection of birds included 4 Stone Curlews sat on an island, a Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Purple Swamphen and 2 more Spotless Starlings sat right alongside a Common Starling. We also got our best views of Booted Eagle of the trip and also had three more flyover Audouin's Gulls.

Spotless Starling - sat with a Common in the second photo.

Booted Eagle being mobbed by a Yellow-legged Gull!
Stone Curlew
Iberian Yellow Wagtail
The view from the watchtower at Albufereta

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