Friday, 26 October 2018

October in Mallorca

Date: 16th - 23rd October
Location: Mallorca
Overcast, Heavy Rain and Thunderstorms, Second part of week mid 20's Sunny
Species Highlights: 
Moustached Warbler, Black Vultures, Osprey, Violet Dropwing

We'd planned a trip to sunny Mallorca only problem was weather was not looking good with rain showers forecast and low temperatures, but for birding this was ok, for wife and daughters sitting around the pool relaxing not so good! 
We arrived around 11am on the Tuesday and after checking into hotel I popped into S'albufera which conveniently was next door, in fact our room overlooked the reserve!

After the walk up to the reserve 1km passing the roosting Night Herons and Cattle Egret's, I collected my permit and my holiday started. First spot was this 3 inch Wasp Spider outside one of the hides.

Plenty of the Purple Swamphen about saw a group of 8 together one morning, such a colourful bird and surprisingly big standing at nearly 2 ft tall.

Didn't expect too many Butterflies apart from Cleopatra's, Clouded Yellows but spotted this Lang's Long Tailed Blue a new species for me.

From the walk in between the hides I had the Lang's then a beautiful Violet Dropwing posing just long enough to get my macro lens out another new species.

1000's of Egyptian Locust and these the White Banded Grasshopper around.

From the Es Cibollar hide the water level was much higher than i've seen it meaning waders were far fewer, but the Black Winged Stilts had a advantage with their massive legs keeping them out the flooded waters.

 Very active constantly buzzing past the hide. The other birds from this hide were Spotted Redshank, Shoveler, Kentish Plover, Common Sandpiper and a few Little Egret.

My hotel from the hide, our room was just left of tree in pic, called Mar Hotels Playa de Muro Suites a great hotel with good food, a very conveniently placed!

No Nightingale seen on this trip but lots of Cetti's Warbler calling from the reeds.

One of the highlight was seeing Ospreys everyday somewhere around the Island 2 in S'albufera, this one landing on its favorite post for a clean.

The other birds seem very used to them landing above their heads most of time not even moving.

For a couple of days we had 2 Spoonbill feeding and mostly sleeping.

The light had gone to a dull grey, getting ready for the heavy rain and thunder which would arrive shortly.

Shoveler in eclipse plumage.

Plenty of Marsh Harriers on the reserve this one checking out the Osprey.

The next morning I met with Matt Scott who was staying at a hotel next door! unfortunately we didn't see much but nice to catch up. After breakfast I decided to finally get a Moustached Warbler on my life list and set of on the 7.5 Km walk around the reserve, more like 11 miles.
 my day ended with Matt in Morning and reserve that day a total of 13 miles!
But a huge flock of Serins and Linnet was a good start to my walk.

The Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron looks so different to the adults.

While waiting for the Moustached to turn up Cetti's could be heard sing from all over the reserve, a good sound to hear.

From the platform I was stood on and decided I was not gonna move until i'd seen one, i saw not one but 2 Moustached Warblers they even showed quite well. So after 3 years and multiple attempts to get a photos they were now on my life List, TICK.

I continued around the perimeter path and same as last year this Golden Eagle soared over my head, a escapee i'm told (it did soar over my head but couldn't get picture until it was out in middle of reserve!)

Only saw 2 Purple Herons but always good to see this bird.

Another new Dragonfly this, happy to be corrected, Willow Emerald or Western Spreadwing Dropwing.

Spectacular  landscapes with this soaring Marsh Harrier, saw Dark morph Harriers too.

Still on the perimeter path this Zitting or Fan Tailed Warbler checking above for threats.

Not seeing much more around the Perimeter path i'd arrived back into reserve proper only to be told i had just missed a Montagu's Harrier, typical. 
A few Red Knobbed Coots floating by in the Grand Canal.

Back into hides and a very brief visit from this Glossy Ibis, it landed and immediately took off never to be seen again.

All the regulars from hides Cattle Egret but think i'd seen more Cattle Egrets in somerset this year !

Osprey still cleaning.

Spoonbill still spooning it over Sa Roca

And the Purple Swamphens showing off their huge feet!

The next morning i walked into the reserve just as the heavens opened and got very wet! Watched 4 Hoope leave their roost this one looked at me wondering where the sunshine had gone.

Today i walked down to the Power station hide or Es Colombars after the rain had stopped. More Marsh Harrier were out hunting.

From the hide 20 or so Marbled Duck and apart from the Osprey on another post little else to be seen.

With rain showers still threatening this female Blackbird was sheltering in bushes.

Think you can just see this so what flat Rainbow, plus the lack of birds on the used to be scrape.

But Black Winged Stilts still flew past.

The Sardinian Warblers flitting around the reed beds, female.

Night Heron from their roost on way out of reserve ready for my tea!

Next morning before breakfast i headed along the 2 miles stretch of road to S'illot an old sewage treatment plant, very little to be seen, summer much better with Bee Eaters, Shrikes but today i had to settle for Greater Flamingo still good to see, i think they landed in somewhere S'albufera.

After breakfast and my girls happy to see sunshine and Sit around the pool all day!
I hired a car and headed up the coast to Boquer Valley a stunning day blue skies and very warm, but the Balearic warbler not showing that easily. Sardinian, Booted Eagles Crag Martins all seen.

Lots of Robins, I mean everywhere 50+ at least. but also a few Black Redstarts but always distant.

This my only shot of a Balearics , still not sure it even is one! 
Had one land on rock a perfect pose camera wouldn't focus and a Plain Tiger Butterfly flew past choices! Missed both !! ARRRGGG.

Dropped into Ca´n Cuarassa a site in between Port de Pollença and my hotel and summer time have seen some good stuff here but today apart from this  Red-veined darter a new tick very few birds to be seen.

Next door almost is Albufereta another reserve with some good stuff to be seen but it turnned into a disastrous day. 
First off after parking car had to wade through a foot of water to get to viewing platform should have turnned around but like a fool I carried on...oooo a fish jumped on the path.... o wait that not a fish it was my iphone dropping into the water !!! So not good phone still not working despite leaving it in a bag of rice for a few days.
Bird wise here was Little Egrets, Purple Swamphen, Zitting, Water Rail, Ringed Plover.

Next day my plan was to drive to Cuber Reservoir a place i'd never been, using my wife phone on strict instruction not to lose,drop or damage it I navigated to Cuber. Started early to avoid the cyclist and traffic of which there was none, a very pleasant drive up in to the mountains arrived and waited...and waited with no Black vultures or not much of anything really. Did a small walk did spot Chaffinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Peregrine and Firecrest who wouldn't keep still. Not impressed returned back to S'albufera.

Highlight at S'albufera this Vagrant Emperor yet another Dragonfly tick. After speaking to a few people at reserve I'd realised my earlier in day trip was to wrong place!  I'd stopped at reservoir  Gorg Blau! I saw the parking and thought this was it, me not having my phone was my excuse!

Next morning I started at 730 am still dark and went back to Cuber via Son Real, walked around Son real for 2.5 hours and apart from a Starling murmuration very little to be seen here. I'd imagine spring or summer a magical place with many mixed landscapes.

 so headed back to Cuber via the Soller road, found driving very easy up the narrow mountain roads stopping for the occasional viewpoint, spectacular. 

Finally arrived at the very busy Cuber, see the sign !

A lovely spot but still no Vultures!

The weather starting to cloud over and had to wear a jumper but from across the mountains I spotted my first Black Vulture!!

Saw a group of 8 birds brilliant to see and worth the trip for sure. Also another life tick a Griffon Vulture!!

Plenty of great looking landscapes here.

Also a surprise Red Kite and 2 Peregrine's above me.

The cloud rolling in but as i descended from the mountains the weather improved to a warm 25c here it was 15c!

This my little Seat that got me there only £85 for 3 days bargain.

 Last one from Cuber, worth the visit and a very nice walk around the lake. 

 Second from last day and I spent it in La Gola and S'albufera very little at La Gola but a lovely little reserve in the heart of Port De Pollenca. Back on S'albufera and much the same going on, the Hoope in their favorite field catching a few bugs.

The last morning a due to fly out at 12 so a quick dart around S'albufera again, a few more Cattle Egret from their roost.

It won't be long before Somerset is like this who knows even on my patch!

With sunrise from the hides a few Starling murmarate over the reeds.

Last walk up from El colombre and to hotel and home.

A good week with 1 new Butterfly, 3 New Dragonflies and 3 new birds.
Heres full birds list.

Feral Pigeon 
House Sparrow 
Wood Pigeon 
Lesser Whitethroat 
Night Heron 
Red Knobbed Coot
Little Grebe
Little Stint
Grey Heron
Yellow Legged Gull
Ringed Plover
Spotted Redshank
Black Headed Gull
Cattle Egret 
Ringed Plover
Cetti's Warbler
Little Egret
Sardinian Warbler
Purple Swamphen
Marsh Harrier
Marbled Duck 
Kentish Plover
Black Winged Stilt
Spotted Redshank
House Martin 
Willow Warbler
Collared Dove
Moustache Warbler
Water Rail
Great Tit 
Reed Warbler 
Golden Eagle
Purple Heron 
Glossy Ibis 
Common Sandpiper
Barn Swallow
Greater Flamingo 
Crag Martin
Booted Eagle
Song Thrush 
Black Redstart 
Blue Rock Thrush 
Blue Tit
Ringed Plover
Great White Egret
Pied Wagtail 
Ringed Neck Pheasant 
Balearic Warbler
Audouin's Gull
Wood Sandpiper 
Black Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Red Kite
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Herring Gull
Water Pipit
102 Species Seen 

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