Friday, May 02, 2014

Sóller to Palma Day Off!

A day off intense birding today and a trip on the Sóller to Palma railway, which having completed it I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the Island.

Sóller to Palma Railway
We decided to complete the journey in reverse and boarded at Sóller, rather than brave the traffic of Palma. In fact the town itself is certainly well worth a visit. The historic electric train takes a route south across the plains, winding through mountains and 13 tunnels of the Serra de Tramuntana, finally ending at the railway station at Palma. Work began on the railway in 1911 on the profits of the orange and lemon trade, which at the time was booming. For this reason, it is sometimes known as the Orange Express. The famous train is now only a mode of transport between these two key Mallorcan settlements, but also an attraction in itself. From a birding perspective, several Red Kites, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Kestrel were the highlights.

Distant record shot of a Turtle Dove in the evening sunshine - Canon SX50
Just prior to sunset I took a delightful walk along the track which leads away from the villa and left Dee and Dave to unwind around the pool! On the ploughed field a couple of Red-legged Partridge were foraging in the open and two Turtle Dove were seen enjoying the evening sunshine. In the adjacent fields Stone Curlew were calling once again but I never managed to connect.

Woodchat Shrike looking for dinner! Canon SX50
Lots of Barn Swallow were feeding low but I'm still to register my first Red-rumped. A lovely ♂Whinchat, along with several Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler on the surrounding fences and Nightingale and Corn Bunting were in full song. Finally, before heading back a Woodchat Shrike came down onto the ground, before perching on a nearby bamboo for a quick photo before heading off.