Friday 14th June
2.30pm and we are waiting for the taxi to whisk my wife and me off to the delights of Leeds & Bradford airport for the flight to Majorca. Jet2.com again, they are cheap and cheerful and usually on time. Two weeks in the sun and hopefully a few days birding for me.
There was a stag group on the flight, quite a subdued group really, their worst prank was continually hitting the call button. They did buy 3 bottles of the ‘champagne’ during the flight. The plane made good time, we landed at roughly 8.00 local time and after the normal hanging about for the luggage to appear, we had only a few minutes to wait for the pick-up bus to carry us to the car hire depot. I asked for a Ford Focus and got a Hyundai i-30, nice car but boot space limited. The drive from Palma to Alcudia was fun, I only upset one other driver when I had to hang a sharp right to get the correct slip road.
First bird of the holiday was a House sparrow at the airport, sadly the bulk of the drive to the resort was in the dark thanks to a knobhead at the car hire depot who was either stupid, senile or just plain bloody-minded and took forever to sign a piece of paper and pay for a tank full of gas. Got to the depot in daylight and left in the growing gloom.
Saturday 15th June
My god the sun is bright early doors in Majorca, breakfast on the balcony and we are taking in the area. The resort complex is towards the North Western part of Alcudia, at the side of the smaller of the two man-made lakes. We are on the top floor, normally a bit of a bind but we got a roof terrace and a couple of sunbeds to ourselves, plus the views are to die for. There’s a couple of house martins building a nest on the eaves of the balcony to our left so something interesting to look at. Plenty of swifts tazzing about, slowly dawned on me that they weren’t commons, got a couple in the bins against good background and ticked pallid swift for the trip.
First gull of the trip is… yellow-legged, buns, I did so want it to be a different species. Got used to seeing them around the resort complex over the holiday. Distant bird flying South – scope and first Purple heron, also a few egrets but too far off to make any other call.
A walk to the beach later in the morning gave me more yellow-legged gulls and then the first Audouin’s gull of the trip. Most days there were a couple of them hanging about on the beach, never landing for long.
The walk back gave me a nice spotted flycatcher and young,lots of food begging, the first Sardinian warbler of the trip and later in the day collared dove around the resort complex. As this was Majorca and not Lanzarote I didn’t need to rule out African this time. Early evening and the flyover egrets/herons were very nice, managed to id a cattle egret this time, then a lone bird flew close, darker than the egrets but smaller than the purple herons, got the bins on it and thought I had the id, jumped for the scope and managed to get it in focus and nearly had an accident. I’m looking at a bittern, first one on Majorca and I can hardly believe it.
Sunday 16th June
Morning and a walk to Port d’Alcudia got me the first picture of Audouin’s gull, a singleton on a roof but it’s snapped. We saw other birds on the walk, but by now the litany was establishing itself, house martin, swift, flycatcher, sparrow, woodpigeon/collared dove. These were to be ever present, in fact the spot flys were by far the commonest bird I saw.
Afternoon and it’s off to the S’albufera to blag a permit for the fortnight, took bins but not camera. 15 years since I’d been here and last time you could drive up to the visitor centre, not anymore. You got to park outside the reserve, and as the car park only holds about 15 cars it was with relief we saw someone leaving as we arrived to park up. Then you need to yomp a kilometre to the office to get your permit. It seemed churlish not to have a bit of a birdwatch whilst there, so I nipped into the Sa Roca hide for a few minutes, my wife was sat in the shade of the trees by the vc so I couldn’t be long. I managed to rack up both egrets, stilt, Kentish plover, Cetti’s and fan-tailed warblers (bugger zitting cisticola for a name) as well as a particularly vocal nightingale just by the path to the hide. On the walk back couldn’t find the heron/egret roost so unable to get night heron.
Back at the resort complex had an osprey fly between our block and the next hotel along as we were getting ready to go for our evening meal, once more the camera was in another room. I really got to get into the habit of carrying it around with me at all times.