MAJORCA (OR MALLORCA) MAY 2014
A few years ago it used to be all the rage to visit Majorca in early May. The Boquer Valley & Albufera Marshes were supposedly teaming with interesting migrants & the odd indigenous resident & the sun would be shining enough to give me a start in the tanning race for the year but not too strong to warm my beer. That all sounded tempting enough to me & the wheels were soon turning to book cheap flights with our Irish friend & accommodation with booking.com. - why am I advertising their services without being paid? I magnanimously allowed my wife to accompany me, explaining that we would be walking & communing with nature rather than out-&-out twitching!
Puerto de Pollenca turned out to be an old fogies’ heaven in early May! Temperature around 23C & blue skies every day but windyish as all islands are. We were soon up the Boquer which is within easy walking distance of the port & being deafened by Nightingales & fed up with counting Spotted Flycatchers! Pied Fly, Cirl Bunting, Serin, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush & Booted Eagle –no probs in our first short outing but no Balearic Warbler! Well, it was off again after breakfast (none of the ‘often recommended’ pre-dawn business) & the accompanying photograph (if published as it’s fairly rubbishy) should shut up any doubters (I’ll not name any possibles). Endemic number 1 in the bag!
Day 3 & it’s off to Albufera Marshes - & wot a reserve!! Free for a good start & it’s big – the size of Minsmere, it’s very user-friendly & has stacks of interesting birds. I’ll just whet your appetite with a few – Hoopoe, Fan-tailed Warbler (I refuse to use its modern name!), Black-winged Stilt, Red- knobbed Coot & all the Herons you can think of! Really enjoyed it there & had lunch sitting on an observation platform with other keen twitchers watching Eleonora’s Falcons, Purple Gallinule & being serenaded by Nightingales. Beat that!
Day 4 & I thought she deserved a small break from birding so we headed to Soller Botanical garden (small but quite well-stocked) & then got involved in the festivities going on in the centre. Some sort of anniversary which required celebrating with a lot of eating & drinking! I hurriedly put herself on a tram to escape to the port. ‘Best take the mountain route home’ I suggested & before long we were strolling round the peaceful Cuber reservoir & eventually watching Moltoni’s Subalpine Warbler! Wot a coincidence & number 2 on the list!
Well, maybe that’s quite enough of this twaddle but I can seriously recommend Majorca in May for sun, good birding even for the non-expert. Oh, Scops Owl every evening at 2130 precisely calling from the tree around the corner!