Friday, May 09, 2014

Salobrar De Campos - Majorca

I took my final pre breakfast walk around the Can Cullerassa this morning in the hope of finding a few more additions to our Majorca list. As it happens I was delighted to come across my first Red-footed Falcon of the holiday. A bird on the wires across the marsh spent the whole time I was on site preening, suggesting that this may well have been a new arrival. I was also pleased to finally get a photograph of Great Reed Warbler, when one eventually sat up for an albeit brief encounter.

Great Reed Warbler - Can Cullerassa
Salobrar de Campos is the second largest wetland in Majorca. With a surface area of more the 300 hectares, it is a true haven for birds. A good part of the area is operated by a salt extraction company and access is restricted. However, there are two tracks open to the public and today Dee and I spent our final day on the Island exploring.

Collared Pratincole over Salobrar de Campos
There are shallow lagoons to the left of the track with varying water levels and to the right it appears that what was once lagoons are now devoid of water. Redshank, Little-ringed Plover and Kentish Plover were noted but almost immediately two birds overhead turned out to be Collared Pratincole. Shelduck were in good numbers along with Black-winged Stilt and of course being saline waters Avocet were also plentiful.

'Spanish' Yellow Wagtail
The vegetation alongside the pools is typical of a brackish habitat: Tamarisk, saltworts, sea-lavenders etc. attracting several Stonechat along with many Yellow Wagtails and both were collecting food for youngsters. Several Marsh Harrier were busy quartering the area, along with a single Kestrel.

Dee's image of one of the many Greater Flamingo.
Halfway along the track we met a couple of local expat birders, who initially thought I was German, make what you will of that. These guys were very friendly and their local knowledge was greatly appreciated, in fact Dee and I spent the rest of our walk in their company. Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Ruff as we continued on, plus a distant Booted Eagle and an incredible count of 61 Greater Flamingo! On the return journey Stone Curlew, Thekla Lark and Tawny Pipit before we parted company. As a point of interest I did inquire as to whether this had been a decent spring migration on Majorca, having fallen a little short of a few species I'd have expected to come across. I was told that the migration of 2013 was an excellent year and that this year had been quite disappointing, seems the weather of 2013 was more unsettled and thus downing more migrating species, whereas this year the good weather had probably helped birds move straight through!

Red Kite over the Salt-pans
Before heading off for lunch we took the short drive to the opposite side of the salt-pans stopping on occasions to scan. Here we managed to pick up a few additions with: Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover and Red Kite, which drifted across from the seashore.

Alpine Swift at Santueri Castle and you can just make out the moon.
After lunch at Colonia Sant Jordi we drove to Santueri Castle, Felanitx, where thanks to a tip from our birding expats we delighted in not only the views from 475 Meters above sea level but the dozen or so Alpine Swift which reside there. A cracking end to our holiday which also included Blue Rock Thrush, Booted Eagle and Raven up at the castle.

Finally, during our stay in Majorca the use of Dave Gosney's 'Finding Birds in Majorca' book and DVD and 'A Birding Tourist's Guide to Majorca' written by local birders have proved invaluable. I've also used several extracts from their literature in relation to the sites visited during my updates and I'm thankful. I would highly recommend both books if your planning a visit to Majorca any time soon.