Friday 2 March 2018

Mallorca 24th-27th February 2018 : Day Three

26th February: Day Three:

It dawned clear and bright but there was still a chill in the air while we breakfasted with Black Redstarts hopping around outside before making our way back to Albufera.  The walk down was as pleasant as the previous afternoon and the Night Herons were still arrayed in the Mastic bushes like ornamental decorations. 

Night Heron

Night Heron

Scanning along under the bushes produced three surprise Marbled Ducks with bills tucked away but eyes watching us warily. These were my first since seeing vast flocks distantly in Morocco several years ago and the Red-crested Pochard flock was still loafing around.

Marbled Duck

Marbled Ducks

Two smart Black Redstarts hopped around the visitor centre benches and I could hear a Moustached Warbler again but the Gallinules were not on their pool.  

Black Redstart

A quick chat in the centre pointed me in the best direction for Red-knobbed Coots but I was distracted by a superb flowerbed of local orchid species some of which were already in flower.  They had even helpfully named them for us! 

Sombre Bee-orchid Ophrys forestieri

Bumblebee Orchid Orphys bombiliflora

Naked man Orchid Orchis italica
The main bridge over the canal offered distant views of a flock of Pochard and a Gallinule and two Water Rails called from the tall reed edges. A flock of 14 duck took off from behind an island with blue forewings flashing – Garganey!  Always a joy to see and real spring sign. A Little Ringed Plover headed over just after this to kid me further.

Barry had found one of the Red-knobbed Coots and although it was one of the neck collared re-introduced bird, I was still very pleased to get to see one so close after my single distant one on La Janda back in September 2013. This red head jewels were amazing and looked like two small glossy cherries.

Red-knobbed Coot

Just up from 1NA was his un-collared partner who allowed an equally close approach. They have just over 20 pairs on the whole site now. They were quite vocal like most coots and some notes were noticeably different to the regular species.

Red-knobbed Coot

From here we climbed up a viewing mound which offered an amazing vista across the biggest reedbed I have ever seen –it quite literally stretched to the horizon with the mountains behind. Six Marsh Harriers quartered the area and a single Booted Eagle was seen. 

The muddy lagoon behind me held three Greenshank, two Black-tailed Godwits, 46 Lapwing, Green Sandpiper and eight Dunlin and a couple of Shelduck were loafing amongst the Shoveler, Mallard and Teal.  Three Glossy Ibis were a nice bonus and two Little Egrets were nearby.

Greenshank - ACV

There were some very strange sounds emanating from the lagoon, warbling and almost tropical but it took a while to find the culprits – Kentish Plovers. They were close in and mostly out of my view until I descended to the hide where an wide spread flock of 132 were present on the mud with the males running around displaying and singing at anyone who would listen. This was certainly a new sound on me.

Kentish Plover

female Kentish Plover
male Kentish Plover

A Water Pipit was seen running amongst them and a Reed Bunting flicked up off the path. Sardinian Warblers and Chiffchaffs were numerous and the odd Cetti’s sang. Back at the big bridge the Garganey were now with the Pochard but still distant and two Fan-tailed Warblers sand around us as we wandered through the Robins down to the next two viewing screens.

All the dabblers were present including two more rattling Garganey and two female Pintail and three immature Flamingos dozed amongst them. Two Avocet were the first we had seen and 17 Black-winged Stilts were trying to keep out of the chill breeze along with 12 Spotted Redshanks.

Black-winged Stilts

Black-winged Stilt

Greater Flamingos

Presumably wintering sinensis Cormorants & two Spot Reds

A nice mix...

Are these Atlantic Cormorants and one Sinensis?

Shoveler and Shelduck

Cracking male Garganey

Two more Water Pipits were being harried by the White Wagtails and Stonechats, Sards and Chiffs were feeding in the samphire clumps.
Sardinian Warbler
Chiffchaff - Barry Jackson

Sardinian Warbler - Barry Jackson

One chat caught my eye after Barry asked if it could be a distant Whinchat. It was pale and thankfully came closer. She was decked in shades of buff, cream and peach with a demarcated white throat, appeared almost unstreaked and had a plain unmarked peachy rump.  The underwing coverts were at best patchy so I am left as confused as usual regarding the wondrous world of Stonechat id.

Interesting female Stonechat

Interesting female Stonechat

Interesting female Stonechat
Normal female Stonechat also present

The walk back gave us views of four Gallinules and even better views of the Red-crested Pochard flock which now numbered 27 – I do just love those fluffy orange heads and the Marbled Ducks were still loitering on their branches. 

Red-crested Pochards

male Red-crested Pochard

Purple Gallinule

Lunch back at the car and then over the road to walk down to the sea passing a sheltered patch of yellow Cape Sorrel – Oxalis pes-caprae which was being visited by Honey Bees and two others – one a rich fluffy orange (including the hairy legs) with a black back end and the other a well marked grey white and black. Not sure of either as yet but hopefully someone can help.  Two Wall Browns and a Geranium Bronze were also seen here.

Megachile sicula on Cape Sorrel – Oxalis pes-caprae

Anthophora canescens on Cape Sorrel – Oxalis pes-caprae

Anthophora canescens  on Cape Sorrel – Oxalis pes-caprae

Two adult and a 2nd winter Audouin’s Gull entertained and a Little Egret danced with the waves on the rocky canal mouth where it met the wind ruffled sea.  There were several superb specimens of Giant Orchid Himantoglossum robertianum in the roped off dunes along with small Rosemary and a yellow Vetch.

Giant Orchid Himantoglossum robertianum

Giant Orchid Himantoglossum robertianum

Vetch - Medicago marina
Looking north to Alcudia

and south to Can Picafort

Herring-bone scum!

adult Audouin’s Gull

2nd winter Audouin’s Gull

2nd winter Audouin’s Gull

Little Egret

Little Egret

From here it was back to base for a freshen up and a coffee before hitting the road once again (avoiding a Hoopoe on the way out) for Port-de Pollenca and the windy road out to Formentor.   
Hoopoe - Barry Jackson

A driveway Black Redstart

It was another place a superlatives with a superb driving road with sheer drops and expansive views.  The miradors were full so we pushed on to the lighthouse at the end with views across to the Jackson’s beloved Menorca to the north east while Shearwaters flicked past close below us.  Both Yelkouan and Balearic were present although it took a while for me to realise that I had both species present.  Black Redstarts and Robins hopped around this migrant trap and a pair of Peregrine flew lazy circles and a pair of Ravens flew over.

Strike a pose...

The return journey gave views of a different perspective and the main mirador was empty and we had the whole view to ourselves as the sun dropped behind the incoming weather front.

We headed straight to Tolo’s for dinner again passing a flower covered chair where the derelict car had stood the evening before...


  1. Nice read and a good selection of birds. The Gallinule is a lovely bird and the Geranium Bronze is so small. Nice to see both.

  2. The bees are Anthophora, and the brown one is most likely a female A. plumipes (they look quite different from those at home) and the grey one could just be male plumipes or possibly one of the other three species on the island.

  3. thanks folks... Got the bees sorted Tim - cheers for your input.