Nature Notes - Mallorca 2005


I don't have any special equipment for taking bird photos, so it's just pot luck what you get.  Even very poor bird shots get included because they bring back the memories...

Ficedula hypoleuca   Podiceps nigricollis

This is a male Pied Flycatcher.  I saw these several times in woodland, away from the coast, and so took them to be summer residents at least, but apparently they are just migrants passing through.  On the right is another bird about to leave for cooler climes, a Black-necked Grebe in full breeding plumage; a magnificent sight but unfortunately I could not get a good photo.

All the remaining bird photos I took were at the s'Albufera bird reserve.  This is a stupendous place; easily the best bird reserve I've ever been to or am ever likely to go to.  It is very well laid out with plenty of hides that get you close to the action, and there's always plenty of action to see, in Spring at any rate.  The day I was there was 3 May 2005.

Bubulcus ibis and Egretta garzetta   Bubulcus ibis

Bubulcus ibis

This group of trees was full of Cattle Egrets and Little Egrets.  The top right picture shows a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage, which consists of a brown wash on the head and breast.  The lower right picture is of a Cattle Egret in flight.

Egretta garzetta   Himantopus himantopus

Here is a Little Egret taken from one of the hides.  The breeding plumage consists of the drooping crest at the rear of the head, and the feathery plumes at the end of the wings  Black-winged Stilts were plentiful on the reserve.  Above right is a female.

Himantopus himantopus   Himantopus himantopus

More Stilt pictures.  The bird on the nest was right in front of a hide.  The ones on the shore are a male (left) and female (right).

Porphyrio porphyrio   Fulica atra with young

The Purple Gallinule, left, is one of the specialities of the reserve.  Its relative, the Coot, right, is common in Britain but not in Skye and I had not seen the brightly-coloured young before.

Netta rufina   Netta rufina

Another of the reserve's major attractions is the Red-crested Pochard.  The drake is the one with the white sides.

Netta rufina

This Red-crested Pochard mother had at least 13 ducklings to look after.  I've left a few off to keep the picture to a reasonable width.

Anas strepera

These are Gadwall.  The duck had her head almost constantly underwater, but the drake wasn't doing any dabbling at all.

Anas querquedula   Charadrius alexandrinus   Sterna albifrons

Now a few that didn't get so close to the camera.  Garganey, Kentish Plover and Little Tern.

Acrocephalus arundinaceus   Lanius senator

I just could not get this Great Reed Warbler in focus, but it was very exciting to see and hear it anyway.  The Woodchat Shrike was also exciting to watch, catching insects from its dead tree perch.  Both these were new species to me and ones that I hadn't at all expected to see.  The Shrike belongs to the subspecies badius which only breeds on Mediterranean islands.

Actitis hypoleucos

Finally, I was convinced this must be something like a Wood Sandpiper, but on examining the photos it can only be the familiar Common Sandpiper.  I watched it for a long time during which it never performed the "teetering" motion which Common Sandpipers do constantly, and all in all it simply did not have the jizz of Common Sandpiper.  There's nothing else it can be though.

Other birds seen at the reserve were Great Crested Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Sanderling, Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull and Sardinian Warbler.  Birds seen or heard during the remainder of the holiday included Nightingale (abundant everywhere), Kestrel, Chaffinch (common), Raven, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon (common), Serin, Firecrest, Osprey, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Shag, Swift, Swallow, Cuckoo and Booted Eagle.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer