Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Some birds from Mallorca

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be in northern Mallorca for work. It's a great place to go birding, because you've got a huge variety of habitat just a few minutes away from the towns of Port de Pollenca and Alcudia. The former even has a great little urban reserve, La Gola, just back from the seafront – the Common Sandpiper above was there when we arrived, on a drizzly morning.

The Black-winged Stilts above and below were at the famous Albufera reserve – we also saw Kentish Plover, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Booted Eagle, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Red-knobbed Coot (don't laugh) and Shag (oh, come on!) there, among others. At s'Abufereta, another wetland reserve nearby, we'd already ticked Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Sardinian Warbler, Marsh Harrier and Whinchat, plus many of the same waders, and a rather odd-looking shorebird that I finally concluded was just a less than typical Dunlin.

Back in Port de Pollenca, Black Redstarts like the one below were plentiful – in fact, there were a lot around pretty much everywhere we went. Also interesting was the number of Robins, more than I've ever seen in one place before. Presumably at least some of them are northern European, and possibly British, birds, that have migrated to warmer climes for the winter.

Finally, northern Mallorca is just about the easiest place in Europe to see Eleonora's Falcon (below), a raptor that delays its breeding until autumn so that it can take advantage of the glut of small songbirds passing through on migration. They nest on sea cliffs and pick the tired migrants off as they come in, sometimes virtually off the surface of the sea. I'm no photographer, so it was hard to get any decent pics of them, but I found it interesting how relatively easy it was to ID them – they immediately look longer-winged than Peregrines, with a much flappier flight style, but they're larger than Hobbies. We were lucky in that on a couple of the occasions we saw them, we had a Peregrine in the air nearby at the time, for instant comparison.

No comments: