Trip Report: Mallorca, March 2-16, 1996

Gunnar Engblom, Jaringegrand 19, S-163 63 Spanga, Sweden;

Working as guide for Scandinavian walking and nature travel-agency Temaresor I spent two weeks on Mallorca between 2-16th of March 1996. This was a bit earlier than usual, but I got a pre-notion of spring anyway. If you want to combine walking and birding you find most walks that we did in Landscapes of Mallorca and Herbert Heinrich's "12 classic Hikes through Majorca". There are also specific guide-books for birding in Mallorca.

Most noteworthy was a probable record of Bonelli's Eagle. We were driving the bus from Lluch towards Cuber- dam and I was on the look-out for Black (Cinereous) Vultures, which are usually seen here. Two large birds were discovered so we stopped the bus and indeed at first I took them for vultures as they appeared big. But there was something wrong about them. The tail was too long. Soon I noticed that the hand was not as "fingered" and it did have a white belly and at least a small area of white on the under wingcoverts. I could not discern a black band under the wing, but on the other hand there wasn't the sharp contrast between white and black as in much smaller Booted Eagle. That's all I could see in my bins. I didn't see the upperside which would have been indicative. General shape and size suggests Bonelli's Eagle. According to litterature they do probalby not breed on Mallorca. The white under the wing does suggest adult birds and being a pair it could indicate breeding eventually. Bonelli's Eagle is usually stationary and do not migrate. Has anyone out there ever seen Boneli's Eagle on Mallorca? If you are going to Mallorca soon. Keep an eye for Bonelli's in this area. Time was about 11.00. Please notify me if any Bonelli's.

Of the classic Mallorca specialties we saw three out of four. Marmora's warbler likes open macchia/garrigue. I have always had good luck during the walk from P. d'Andratx-Sant Elm. There are other areas described in "Finding birds books". The first week was a bit could so there wasn't much activity when we did the walk then and we consequently missed it then. Audouin's Gull can usually be seen at Port d'Andratx harbour. A new site which was very good was the walk from Cala Pi-Cap Blanc. This site was also brilliant for Shearwaters. You walk on high ledge with sea-view at almost all times. Also good numbers of Blue Rock Thrush and Hoopoes here Black (Cinereous) Vulture is readily seen near Cuber-dam. I have never missed it walking from just west of the tunnel at Coll de Puig Major (where there is a small water reservoire. Walk on jeep-track SE with the calceous ridge on your left to the very end of this road. Cross over the the ridge towards Ofre mountain. From here you can walk down the beautiful Barranc de Soller - an old pilgrim trail to Lluch. This walk is highly recommended. An other option is to walk back to the main road pass the the Cuber-dam. Be aware of not leaving anything you don't want to loose in your rental car if you get one. There are thefts reported from this area. The site is also reached by bus from Pollensa or Soller.

Eleonora's Falcon arrives in April and was not seen by us. In season you can take a boat between Sa Calobra- Port de Soller. There is a breeding colony there and the boat usually pulls up for you to see them. I would have thought to see Flamingoes at Salinas de Levante this time of year but they were not to be found. An other specialty here opposite the salines is Stone Curlew (Eurasian Thickknee).

Noteworthy migrants were: Ring Ouzel (my first for Mallorca), Tufted Duck (also my first for Mallorca), Lesser Black-backed gull and Black Kite (a rare bird on Mallorca).

Early spring records were: White Wagtail, Reed Warbler and Cuckoo. I don't know when they are supposed to be due but to me it seemed pretty early. Any comments anyone?

Birds recorded on Mallorca 3.3.-15.3 1996

Little Grebe          Tachybaptus ruficollis   4 heard and seen Albufera
Great Crested Grebe   Podiceps cristatus       2 seen Albufera 8.3
Black-necked Grebe    Podiceps nigricollis     6 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Cory's Shearwater     Calonectris diomedea     6 at sea from Sant Elm 10.3
                                               2 during walk Cala Pi-Cap Blanc 14.3
Yelkouan Shearwater   Puffinus yelkouan       10 Cala Pi-Cap Blanc  14.3
Great Cormorant       Phalacrocorax carbo      1 ad in  P. d'Andratx
                                                 some at Albufereta
European Shag        Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1 imm in harbour of P. d'Andratx 3.3 and
                                              10 Cala Pi-Cap Blanc
Gadwall               Anas strepera            4 Albufera 15.3
Common Teal           Anas crecca             20 Albufera 15.3
Mallard               Anas platyrhynchos some 10 at Albufera
Northern Shoveler     Anas clypeata        20-30 at Albufera
Red-crested Pochard   Netta rufina       some 10 at Albufera. Reintroduced here.
Common Pochard        Aythya ferina           10 at Albufera 8.3, 2 here 15.3
Tufted Duck           Aythya fuligula         10 at Albufera 8.3, none 15.3   
Little Egret          Egretta garzetta         1 at Albufereta 8.3, c 4 at Albufera 15.3
Gray Heron            Ardea cinerea            1 Albufera 15.3
Purple Heron          Ardea purpurea           1 in far distance at Albufera appeared to
                                                 be this species  15.3
Cattle Egret          Bubulcus ibis            2 Albufera 15.3         
Osprey                Pandion haliaetus        1 Albufereta 8.3
                                               1 at Albufera 15.3
Black Kite            Milvus migrans           1 at Albufereta 8.3
Cinereous Vulture     Aegypius monachus        2 over Es Barranc of Soller 6.3
                                               2 at foot of Ofre 13.3
Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus     1-3 at Albufereta and Albufera
Bonelli's Eagle       Hieraaetus fasciatus     2 ? near Gorge Blau (S'Estret) 13.3
Booted Eagle          Hieraaetus pennatus      1 light phase at the look-out point over
                                                 Torrents de Pareis 6.3
                                               1 light phase foot of Ofre 13.3
Eurasian Kestrel      Falco tinnunculus          seen almost daily at various places on
                                                 the island
Peregrine Falcon      Falco peregrinus           a pair in acrobatic display between P.
                                                 Andratx-Sant Elm 3.3
                                               2 in display foot of Ofre 13.3
Red-legged Partridge  Alectoris rufa           1 road near Lluch 6.3 and 1 near Cuber-dam
Common Pheasant       Phasianus colchicus      1 heard in Soller 5.3
Purple Swamphen       Porphyrio porphyrio      2 at Albufera 15.3 where it has been
Common Moorhen        Gallinula chloropus        com at Albufera
Eurasian Coot         Fulica atra                com at Albufera
Common Redshank       Tringa totanus           6 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Sanderling            Calidris alba            4 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Curlew Sandpiper      Calidris ferruginea      6 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Ruff                  Philomachus pugnax       3 AlbuferA 15.3
Eurasian Thick-knee   Burhinus oedicnemus      1 near Salinas de Levante
Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius        1 at Albufera 15.3
                                               2 at near Albufera Salines 15.3
Snowy Plover          Charadrius alexandrinus 10 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Audouin's Gull        Larus audouinii        1-3 at P.d'Andratx 3.3 and 10.3
                                               2 seen from look-out at Son Maroig
                                           3+3+3 during walk from Cala Pi-Cap Blanc
Yellow-legged Gull    Larus cachinnans           common
Lesser Black-backed Gull  Larus fuscus         1 P.d'Antratx 10.3
Common Black-headed Gull  Larus ridibundus     3 P d'Andratx
                                              10 salinas de Levante 14.3
Gull-billed Tern      Sterna nilotica          1 at beach of Albufereta
Sandwich Tern         Sterna sandvicensis      1 over sea at Playa de Trench, near
                                                 Salinas de Levante 14.3
Eurasian Collared-Dove  Streptopelia decaocto    heard and seen in Palma
Common Cuckoo         Cuculus canorus          1 heard at Salinas de Levante 14.3
European Scops-Owl    Otus scops               1 heard during daytime during walk between
                                                 Bens d'Avall and P. Soller 11.3
                                               1 heard in Palma at night on 12.3  and 13.3
Common Kingfisher    Alcedo atthis             1 ex Bishop Pools, Albufera 15.3
Eurasian Hoopoe      Upupa epops f.              com seen in various places.
Eurasian Wryneck     Jynx torquilla              heard near Bens d'Avall
Common Raven         Corvus corax                pair seen at foot of Ofre on 6.3 and 13.3
                                               2 over the mountains above Deia
Blue Rock-Thrush     Monticola solitarius      1 walk between P.d'Andratx and Sant Elm 3.3
                                               2 walk between Cala Pi and Cap Blanc
Ring Ouzel           Turdus torquatus          1 ad male in flight above Deia 12.3
Eurasian Blackbird   Turdus merula               com
Redwing              Turdus iliacus              garden of Valldemosa sanctuary
Song Thrush          Turdus philomelos         1 seen in Lluch
                                               4 seen near Cuber-dam 13.3
Mistle Thrush        Turdus viscivorus         1 near Cuber-dam 6.3
                                               2 here on 13.3
Common Starling      Sturnus vulgaris          4 Salinas de Levante 14.3
European Robin       Erithacus rubecula          com
Black Redstart       Phoenicurus ochruros        several seen near foot of Ofre
                                               1 female Bens d'Avall-Puerto Soller
Common Stonechat     Saxicola torquata           f. com
Northern Wheatear    Oenanthe oenanthe         1 near Cuber-dam 6-3
Winter Wren          Troglodytes troglodytes     common
Eurasian Crag-Martin   Hirundo rupestris         com near coastal cliffs
Barn Swallow         Hirundo rustica           2 Bens d'Avall 5.3 (a very early date?)
Firecrest            Regulus ignicapillus        heard Valldemosa 4.3
                                               1 seen and heard Bens D'Avall 11.3
Zitting Cisticola    Cisticola juncidis          some Albufereta 8.3
                                                 some Salinas de Levante 14
Cetti's Warbler      Cettia cetti                heard near Esporles 7.3
                                                 Easy to see and hear at Albufera. In all
                                                 my experience from the Mediterrenean
                                                 Albufera is the best place to see this
                                                 relatively common skulker.
Moustached Warbler   Acrocephalus melanopogon    common at Albufera and quite easy to see.
                                                 Beware of the similarity in call to Reed
Eurasian Reed-Warbler   Acrocephalus scirpaceus 1 with the above species as reference at
                                                 Albufera 15.3. This could be a very early
Willow Warbler       Phylloscopus trochilus      some at Albufera 8.3
Common Chiffchaff    Phylloscopus collybita    3 catching insects at small creek below
                                                 Fornalutx 13.3
                                                 common ar Albufera 15.3
Blackcap             Sylvia atricapilla          com
Garden Warbler       Sylvia borin              1 seen Valldemosa   4.3
Lesser Whitethroat   Sylvia curruca            1 during walk Esporles-Establiments 7.3
Sardinian Warbler    Sylvia melanocephala        common
Marmora's Warbler    Sylvia sarda              2 seen during walk from Port d'Andratx-Sant
                                                 Elm 10.3. There is a very reliable spot
                                                 on this walk 1 km before the pass of the
                                                 walk. They responded well to pishing. In
                                                 autumn they are much more vary and more
                                                 difficult to see. More perseverence is
                                                 needed then.
Coal Tit             Parus ater                1 seen near Son Micó (end of walk Deia-Bens
                                                 d'Avall) 12.3
Great Tit            Parus major                 common
Blue Tit             Parus caeruleus             heard Deia-Bens d'Avall 4.3 and 12.3
House Sparrow        Passer domesticus           com
White Wagtail        Motacilla alba            1 in Port d'Andratx 3.3 (early)
                                               1 Bens d'Avall-Puerto Soller 11.3
                                               2 Salinas de Levante 14.4
Gray Wagtail         Motacilla cinerea         1 Fornalutx 13.3
Meadow Pipit         Anthus pratensis          2 ? probably this species on fields near
                                                 Albufera 15.3
Water Pipit          Anthus spinoletta         1 Bishop pool 15.3
Water Pipit/Tawny Pipit Anthus spinoletta/campestris some near Cuber-dam 6.3. I didn't get
                                                 close enough looks. Tawny Pipit common
                                                 here later in season.
Dunnock              Prunella modularis        1 seen very well in telescope during walk
                                                 P. Andratx-Sant Elm 3.3
Chaffinch            Fringilla coelebs           common
European Serin       Serinus serinus           1 singing Albufereta 8.3
                                                 heard and seen Bens d'Avall-Puerto Soller
                                                 heard Cala Pi-Cap Blanc 14.3
European Greenfinch  Carduelis chloris           common
European Goldfinch   Carduelis carduelis         common
Eurasian Linnet      Carduelis cannabina       2 P d'Andratx, 1 male Cala Pi-Cap Blanc
Red Crossbill        Loxia curvirostra           f com in holm oak forest
Cirl Bunting         Emberiza cirlus           1 seen well end of walk Deia-Bens d'Avall
Corn Bunting         Emberiza calandra           heard above Deia 4.3, 1 seen at roadside
                                                 stop on the Southern plain 14.3

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