Thursday, 16 August 2018

Dolphins and Shearwaters

Whilst in Mallorca Jayne and I went on a early morning "Sunrise and Dolphin" cruise. We started out from the harbour at Puerta Pollenca at 5:45am, and spent about three and a half hours travelling about 9 miles out to sea. We saw the sun come up and got excellent views of a small pod of about 6 Bottlenose Dolphins, and a new bird; Cory's Shearwater!

Sunrise


Bottlenose Dolphins

Cory's Shearwater

Year List update:
186: Cory's Shearwater

Mallorcan Insects 2018

Whilst in Mallorca Jayne and I looked at, and recorded some of the insect life to be found there. We didn't see many species, but we did get a few new species.

The first new species was the dragonfly Keeled Skimmer. Several were seen on the River Sant Jordi just outside Puerta Pollenca, as well as in Albufera and at the Lluc Monastery. Another new species, the Small Red Damselfly, was also seen at the Lluc Monastery, in the Botanical garden. Other species seen included Blue-tailed Damselfly, Black-tailed Skimmer, Emperor and a large Hawker species that may have been Southern Migrant Hawker though that was not confirmed.

Keeled Skimmer (male)

Small Red Damselfly

Two species seen at Son Real were also new. Both were butterflies. The first, Two-tailed Pasha, was enormous, and the most impressively beautiful butterfly I have ever seen. I managed to get this shot of the underwing.

Two-tailed Pasha

The second species seen at Son Real was Geranium Bronze. This attractive species was seen, unsurprisingly, on a geranium! Apparently it's an introduced species from South Africa.

Geranium Bronze

The last three "lifers" were a Striped Grayling and Cleopatra (butterflies) seen at Cuber Reservoir and Passenger ( a moth found in the hotel).

Striped Grayling

Passenger

Other species seen were: Common Blue Butterfly, Small Copper, Clouded Yellow, Hummingbird Hawk-moth and Small Heath.

Cuber Reservoir

My last post about the birds of Mallorca concerns the Cuber Reservoir.

Cuber Reservoir

Jayne and I visited it to see Griffon and Black Vulture, both of which were seen flying over the reservoir. In total we saw 4 Griffon and 2 Black Vultures. Whilst walking around the site, we also heard Nightingale singing, and saw 1 Tawny Pipit, a group of 11 Ravens flying over and a hunting Osprey that landed on the water's edge. Another Black Vulture was, surprisingly, seen later in the holiday flying about 30m above the main motorway whilst travelling towards Palma!

Black Vulture

Griffon Vulture


Year List update:
182 – Black Vulture
183 – Griffon Vulture
184 – Tawny Pipit
185 - Nightingale

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Son Real

Whilst in Mallorca, Jayne and I spent a few hours at the Son Real Nature Reserve.

Son Real

We went hoping to find the Balearic Warbler (details here). Obviously July isn't the best time of year to see this species, and, although we had a brief glimpse of a small warbler disappearing into the bushes, we couldn't be 100% sure it was this bird, so this tick will have to wait for another visit! We did, however, get great views of Red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Thekla Lark, Nightjar (1 flew up from the ground about 1m away!), Turtle Dove (1 flew over), Serin and Woodchat Shrike (ssp badius).

Woodchat Shrike (juvenile)

Year List update:
180 – Woodchat Shrike
181 – Serin

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Albufera Marsh - Mallorca

If there is one site that you should visit whilst in Mallorca, then Albufera Marsh on the outskirts of Alcudia is definitely the one. It is the largest wetland on Mallorca and has a good network of paths and many hides. Jayne and I had one visit to this reserve and visited just a small section, but, as you can see from the list of "year ticks", it holds some very nice birds.

The first birds we saw when we arrived were Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Little and Cattle Egret. All four species breed on the site in trees by the main entrance, and can give amazing views.

Night Heron

We walked further onto the reserve and saw Purple Heron, Purple Gallinule, Stone Curlew, Avocet, Bee-eater (12 birds), Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, Kentish Plover, Marsh Harrier and Black-winged Stilt

Stone Curlew

Purple Gallinule 

One species that I was very keen to see this visit was a "lifer", namely Red-knobbed Coot. We were lucky enough to see several birds, including 1 feeding young. 

Red-knobbed Coot

The last species I wanted to mention is one that I didn't think we'd see, but, thanks to Jayne's eagle eyes, we managed to get great views of, Little Bittern. We saw one bird, a female I think, fishing from some broken down reeds just by a bridge. Brilliant bird!!

Little Bittern

Year List update:
167 – Night Heron
168 – Cattle Egret
169 – Glossy Ibis
170 – Purple Heron
171 – Stone Curlew
172 – Black-winged Stilt
173 – Purple Gallinule
174 – Common Tern
175 – Bee-eater
176 – Marsh Harrier
177 – Kentish Plover
178 – Little Bittern
179 - Red-knobbed Coot

Cap de Formentor - Mallorca

The first place Jayne and I visited outside of Puerto Pollenca was the Cap de Formentor (see details here).

Lighthouse at Cap de Formentor

The key species we were hoping to see was Eleanora's Falcon, and we managed to see 4 individual birds flying over the cliffs. Other new species seen were: Crag Martin, Swift, Pallid Swift and Blue Rock Thrush.

Year List update:
163 – Crag Martin
164 – Eleanora’s falcon
165 – Pallid Swift
166 – Blue Rock Thrush

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Majorcan Birds - Puerto Pollenca


Jayne and I have just spent two weeks in Puerto Pollenca in Mallorca. Whilst there we hired a car for a few days and travelled around the island to a few of the birding sites. This first post will, however, cover just those birds seen in and around the seaside town of Puerto Pollenca.

One of the first birds seen was one that many birders travel to this island to see, namely Audouin's Gull. Birds were seen everyday flying in and around the town, harbour and beaches.

Audouin's Gull

The other gull species seen here was Yellow-legged Gull. Again, birds were seen daily, in and around the beaches and in the nearby La Gola nature reserve.

Yellow-legged Gull (La Gola reserve)

La Gola Reserve is a small reserve right in the centre of Puerto Pollenca (2 minutes walk from the harbour). Although it wasn't great for birds, I did get daily views of Yellow-legged Gull, along with Blackbird, Kingfisher (1 sighting), Moorhen, Coot, Great Tit, Mallard, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Linnet, Little Egret (flying over), Fan-tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola), Hoopoe (2 fly overs), Sardinian Warbler (see and heard daily, but impossible to photograph!!!) and Mediterranean Flycatcher

This last species, Mediterranean Flycatcher, (Muscicapa tyrrhenica baleric) was a bit of a surprise for me, as I hadn't realised it was a full species until I was actually in Mallorca!  It was formally accepted as a full species in January 2018 (see article here), so was a very nice addition to my "life list". The birds were plentiful around the town, in the gardens and in trees on the beach.

Mediterranean Flycatcher

Other species seen daily were Common Tern and Shag (sub species desmarestii) Both species were out on the breakwaters by the main beach. House Sparrows, Woodpigeons and Collared Dove were also seen every day. The final species for this site was Oystercatcher. One bird was seen on the breakwaters on one occasion. 

Year List update:
157 – Audouin’s Gull
158 – Yellow legged Gull
159 – Fan-tailed Warbler
160 – Mediterranean Flycatcher
161 – Hoopoe
162 – Sardinian Warbler