This was our first trip to Mallorca and was partly a 'birding' holiday and partly an opportunity for my partner to enjoy warm-weather convalescence after a serious operation late last year. I had planned for six full days birding - but obviously took the bins wherever we went - you never know! Although we are not exactly novices we have only recently taken our hobby more seriously, keeping records and submitting to Birdtrack & Birdatlas and this was our first overseas trip where we intended to keep a record of where we went & what we saw.
The advice was to situate ourselves in the north-east so we stayed in Cala Sant Vicenç, which is a pleasant village with four good beaches and the clearest sea you could wish for. As usual, we arranged our flights online & found the accommodation on the "Owners Direct" website. The apartment was owned by a couple in Kenilworth & although the flat itself was OK, they 'forgot' to mention the building site next door and that the bar, described as "100yds away", was in fact also next door & noisy as well!
I could find no 'trip reports' for the area so we had a good scout around and found an excellent woodland adjacent to the village; Mallorcan Pine with various varieties of scrub - impenetrable in most places but ideal for warblers to skulk! Good, well defined paths through the extensive woods allowed excellent birding with access along Font de L'Estro to the west of the village. The woodland leads on to a superb coastal path with a rocky hillside rising a couple of hundred feet to the west and a rock & scrub strewn slope to the east, dropping down towards Cala Sant Vicenç. A 2 mile path winds round the headland to a promontory overlooking the sea, great for picnics & goat-spotting! Across the bay to the east was the 500 foot, 3k long crag that divides Cala Sant Vicenç from the Boquer Valley.
We made this 'our patch' for the fortnight & were well rewarded with good birding - Crossbills were common & also seen were Redstart, Cetti’s Warbler, Treecreeper, Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Eleonora's Falcon, Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush & Raven; Sardinian Warbler were plentiful as were tit flocks, assorted finches, robins & flycatchers. Scops Owl was heard & there was a roost of 200+ sparrows in the village each night. Bats were a common sight each evening. "Our Patch" totalled 25 species, with highlights marked 'CsV' in the list below; this particular area would reward time spent, especially during the spring migration, when I think it would be great for warblers - apart from Cetti’s and Sardinian we saw little warbler activity whilst we were there.
We paid 2 visits to Albufera, one to the Boquer Valley and one to Cuber Reservoir, in addition to six walks around 'our patch' and two over the headland west of Cala Sant Vicenç. Our week’s total was 85 (12 over my expected 'target') with 12 'lifers' which included the totally unexpected Red-knobbed Coot.
I wouldn’t recommend staying in the village, pleasant though it is; it's a bit remote with only a basic bus service which starts late & finishes early. There are a couple of decent eateries but Port de Pollença is so much better. Cala Sant Vicenç is however worth a days birding for the woodland & the headland path.
Bird Species List
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Seen at Albufera plus juveniles feeding at CsV bays.
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis Half-dozen on old pylons at Albufera.
Little Bittern* Ixobrychus minutus One seen at Albufera + one heard.
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 40+ in bushes by canal at Albufera.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Reasonable numbers at Albufera.
Cattle Egret* Bubulcus ibis Common at all sites & scattered in fields around Port de Pollença.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Plenty seen in most places.
Great White Egret* Egretta alba One seen flying over Port de Pollença bay.
Glossy Ibis* Plegadis falcinellus 4 at Albufera both days.
Teal Anas crecca Plenty at Albufera.
Gadwall Anas strepera As Teal.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Ubiquitous at all expected locations.
Shoveler Anas clypeata Plenty at Albufera.
Greylag Anser anser 8 flew into Albufera - CIM hide, but had gone a few hours later.
Black Vulture* Aegypius monachus 4 seen over Cuber Reservoir.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Seen 'casing the joint' at Albufera both days.
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus One dark phase seen over CsV headland.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus One resting in reeds at Albufera.
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Common all over & frequently seen.
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae 4 over Boquer Valley & 2 over headland west of CsV.
Red-footed Falcon* Falco vespertinus 1 seen over headland by CsV.
Peregrine Falco peregrinus 4 seen over Boquer, 2 over cliffs near CsV.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Single bird feeding in the open by Bishops Hide 1.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Reasonable numbers at Albufera.
Coot Fulica atra As Mallard.
Purple Swamphen* Porphyrio porphyrio Plenty at Albufera.
Red-knobbed Coot* Fulica cristata 2 pairs by bridge at Albufera.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Common throughout Albufera.
Kentish Plover* Charadrius alexandrinus Common at Albufera - especially CIM hide.
Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 6 or so o/s CIM hide.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Seen both days at CIM hide.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax One seen at Bishops 2 hide.
Snipe Gallinago gallinago Good views of 3/4 birds at all hides at Albufera.
Redshank Tringa totanus Half-dozen on each visit to Bishops 1 hide.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 4 birds at Bishops 1 hide, 2 at Bishops 2 on same day.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2 at Bishops 2 hide.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus Small numbers at all Albufera hides.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Occasional bird at CIM & Bishops 1 hide.
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 2 at CIM hide 14th Oct.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus Reasonable numbers - noticeable increase throughout week.
Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii Plenty at Port de Pollença, Albufera & occasionally at CsV bays.
Yellow-legged Gull* Larus cachinnans Common everywhere, plenty at CsV.
Rock Dove Columba livia Lots in Boquer Valley & occasional elsewhere.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus Common all over island.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Almost as common as "woodies".
Scops Owl Otus scops 1 calling at CsV.
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Seen regularly along Albufera canals.
Hoopoe Upupa epops Single bird seen at Albufera.
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris Good numbers in Boquer and over headland at CsV.
Swallow Hirundo rustica Not as many as expected, more week commencing 7th Oct.
Swift Apus apus Small groups seen at Albufera, Boquer & CsV village.
House Martin Delichon urbica Small gathering over CsV village 17th Oct.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea Small numbers seen in all expected locations.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 2 at Albufera.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 2 seen at CsV woods.
Robin Erithacus rubecula Noticeable increase in numbers throughout the fortnight.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus At least 4 in CsV woods, pair had nested in roof opposite apartment in CsV; also seen at Boquer.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros Male + female at Cuber by dam.
Stonechat Saxicola totquata Seen most places.
Whinchat* Saxicola rubetra 1 male seen Albufera.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 1 male in Boquer Valley.
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius Plenty at expected locations - lots at CsV headland.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Seen & heard singing CsV woods.
Blackbird Turdus merula Fairly common most locations.
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti Very common all over - lots at Albufera.
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 1 seen in CsV & lots heard, but skulking!
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus Small number singing at Albufera & 1 seen.
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala Lots and lots at all sites inc CsV, very common - & noisy.
Willow Warbler Philoscopus trochilus 2 seen at Cuber by dam.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus Small numbers in CsV woods.
Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus 1 seen feeding at Lluc Monastery gardens.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata Regularly seen in CsV & Boquer.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca 1 male in CsV woods.
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus Lots in CsV woods.
Great Tit Parus major A dozen or so in CsV woods.
Treecreeper Certhia familiaris 1 seen in woods at CsV.
Raven Corvus corax Seen in Boquer and regularly over hillside by CsV.
Starling Sturnus vulgaris Numbers building noticeably through fortnight.
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus Single male in Boquer.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Seen everywhere - nightly roost of 200+ in CsV village.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Common everywhere.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Fairly common at most places.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Large flocks seen feeding at most locations.
Crossbill* Loxia curvirostra Very common in CsV woods, male & female seen daily on tree opposite apartment in CsV with male singing loudly.