Tuesday, May 06, 2014

S'Albufera #2

A second visit to S'Albufera and this time an early start: well early for Dee that is! In fact we arrived shortly after 9am but today we'd decided to give the information centre and hides a miss and take the track that leads south overlooking both Es Ras and Ses Puntes marshes. There are also a couple of raised towers along this stretch too with good all around views of the reserve.

Best I've managed thus far of Eleanora's Falcon.
It wasn't long before the first of several sightings of Eleanora's Falcon but not since arriving here have we had one come particularly low, so photographing them has been a real challenge. The usual Little Egret and Cattle Egret were constantly overhead and at least a half dozen Marsh Harrier, including a particularly nice looking male, were quartering the reserve.

Cattle Egret over S'Albufera
The reedbeds I have to say were almost devoid of song, maybe we're here a little too late for some species, but at least one Moustached Warbler was heard singing. Cetti's Warbler and Fantail Warbler are a constant all over the Island and only a single Great Reed Warbler was recorded during our walk. The highlight of the day occurred when Dee and I were walking back towards the centre, when suddenly a Little Bittern flew out of the reeds and along the path in front of us before disappearing back into the reedbed, priceless. Other species of note: Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Red-crested Pochard, Water Rail, Peregrine, Hoopoe and Night Heron.

Marbled Duck - Another of Dee's pics with my Canon SX50
After registering our visit back at the information centre we left and took the short drive to the old saltpans (Ses Salinetes).This is a water treatment plant which has a couple of fresh water lagoons and after investigating these there is a walk that leads down to Son Bosc. We parked at the sign saying S'Illiot and in fact had only just reached the first lagoon when a couple of Marbled Duck came into view. A single Avocet was noted along with Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper and Little-ringed Plover. Surprisingly, despite visiting many pools and marshes throughout our stay, not a single Whiskered Tern or Gull-billed Tern has been recorded, in fact only three Common Terns have been seen throughout!

Bee-eater at Son Bosc.
From the pools we walked the track along to Son Bosc for around 500 mtrs. Here Woodchat Shrike, Great Reed-Warbler and at one stage we were almost on top of a singing Moustached Warbler and still didn't connect. At the bottom of the track several Bee-eater were on the wires and a single Short-toed Lark before the return journey.