Monday, January 11, 2016

a short break in Majorca - part 1

After a three week long pre-Christmas bout of antibiotic resistant pneumonia we decided we needed both a morale boost and to get some dry air, a snap choice of Majorca, based on the prevailing weather and convenience (we could fly from Bristol).

Some quick research got us a book on birding locations around Majorca (helpful and reasonably reliable) which we used to choose our area to stay in Alcudia, thereby avoiding tourist central.

The logistics were straightforward and we arrived in Alcudia on a cloudy but warm Tuesday lunchtime, checked-in and decided to have a wander around the last walled town in Majorca.

One of the many churches (with bells ringing out on the hour every hour, every day):

We walked on down to a bay just over a mile from the town.  Very few birds to be seen but a pleasant view, we were just enjoying the lack of rain and the warmth.

That evening we found an Italian restaurant which we then used for the duration of our stay varying across their range of pizzas and pastas.    It's always good to find reliable vegetarian food when staying in Europe hence we didn't bother looking around further, that and the 5 euro for any pizza or pasta dish helped!

On Wednesday morning we visited the Formentor Peninsula, starting with a walk at Cala Boquer:

This is supposed to be one of the best spots in Winter to see the endemic Balearic Warbler, however this location as in fact at all locations except one the birds appear terrified of humans and hide and stay hidden until they are sure we're long gone.    This proved a frustrating theme of our visit to Majorca but also reminded us of a similar experience in mainland Spain a few years ago.  It has to be the relentless persecution of birds through hunting, shooting, mist-netting and every other method devised to catch and kill them, including the small songbirds.   At one spot we were told that the people doing this are old and ageing and the youngsters are generally not interested, i really hope this is true.

Anyway the walk got quite tough as there were strong winds blowing across the Island, gusting to 50 mph and the walk was through a narrow valley to a cove:

The net effect of this was like walking in a wind tunnel.   Only a few hardy locals were out and about too and the return trip was something else.   We actually struggled to move forward at times the wind was so fierce.

The next stop was somewhere we felt more confident of, the extensive wetlands at S'Albufera.   It feels like a different place as you enter (though it was closed for a public holiday we weren't alone in climbing the low side wall and walking in).

There's an initial 1.1 km walk to the visitors, centre and then trails and hides radiate out from there.

We saw Common Stonechat:

 Black-crowned Night-heron:

 Greater Flamingos, an unusual bird for here:

Lots and lots of Kentish Plovers:

and many other birds including Sardinian and Cetti's Warblers, Coots, Herons, Ducks and waders.   It really was a lovely spot to visit and one we knew we'd return to on the trip.


Blogger rakesh kumar said...

Your patience is admirable,
Selection of pic excellent

4:02 am  

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