Tour At A Glance

Cost:

1599.00

Deposit:

500.00

Single Room Supplement:

None [Limited number available]

Tour Code:

Leisurely with optional early morning starts.

Group Size:

Seven plus leaders

Scops Owl Audouin's Gull Red-footed Falcon Balearic Shrike European Serin Squacco Heron Zitting Cisticola Purple Swamp-Hen

Mallorca - Balearic House Party!

Date: Returning in 2020
Leaders: Jason Moss

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE

We catch a morning flight to Palma and take the one hour transfer to our villa near Pollenca. Once everyone has settled in, we spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful setting of our accommodation. Typical Mediterranean species such as Serin, Nightingale, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler, European Bee-eater and Firecrest are likely to be early additions to the list. We can enjoy a cold beer by our private pool and plan our first full day in field. 

 

DAY TWO

A pre-breakfast walk around our grounds may reveal a newly arrived Common Redstart, Wryneck or Pied Flycatcher, and perhaps even a glimpse of a Golden Oriole. Every day may bring something new, and we will no doubt spend plenty of time exploring the habitats close at hand. This gives us a huge advantage over those based at the main hotels in Puerto Pollenca, and not being tied to times for breakfast means we are totally flexible to allow the birds to dictate the itinerary. The north of the island is far removed from the bustle of the main resorts in the south-west, and conveniently many of the best birding locations are located close to hand. The excellent Boquer Valley just a few minutes drive away. This area is renowned for attracting a variety of migrants on their way north, and we spend several hours exploring the scrub here. A target species here will be the endemic Balearic Warbler, formerly considered conspecific with Marmora’s Warbler. With patience and of course our leaders knowledge of their call, we might be lucky with a sighting. Pied Flycatcher, Cirl Bunting, Balearic Woodchat Shrike and European Bee-eater are typical, and perhaps a migrant Wryneck, Mediterranean Flycatcher, Whinchat or Common Redstart might appear. Rarer species such as Melodious, Western Subalpine and Western Bonelli’s Warblers can occur, and the ridges here often host Raven and Peregrine, Rock Dove and Eleonora’s Falcon. Later we head along the stunning Formentor Peninsula and from one of the many viewpoints look for raptors which can include Eleonora’s Falcon. These superb birds are just arriving, so we will need to be a little lucky to find one, but hopefully by the end of the tour we will be lucky! The views from the peninsula are stunning, and are a good place to look for other passage raptors such as European Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle and Black Kite. Blue Rock Thrush deliver their fluting call from the cliff ledges below and Crag Martins cruise by at eye level flashing their diagnostic white tail spots. Perhaps a Balearic Warbler might also be noted on the scrubby hillside below. Back to the villa for dinner, and a chance to see what has arrived in the garden today! 

 

DAY THREE       

An exciting dayb is in store today as we travel down to the south-east of the island for a boat trip to the island of Cabrera, just off the tip of Mallorca. Our route down will take us through agricultural land where Thekla and Greater Short-toed Lark can be found, and with luck passage falcons which can inlcude both Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Kestrel. Arriving into Colonia de San Jordi, we board a fast boat which takes about 45 minutes to reach Cabrera. After a tour around this most stunning of islands, where we might see Balearic and Scopoli's Shearwaters and nesting Ospreys, we land for three hours ashore. Exploring on foot, we will go in search of migrants - Cabrera is like the Scilly Isles are to the UK! Many rare and scarce birds have been found here over the years, but in our short time, we are more likely to enjoy some of the commoner species which make landfall here in big numbers such as Willow Warbler, Common Redstart, Pied and Mediterranean Flycatchers. There is also a good chance of Turtle Dove, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Balearic Woodchat Shrike and perhaps a Western Bonelli's or Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Wryneck or something more unusual. Common Nightingales hop around on the paths and among the bushes and scrub, we have two key targets. The recently split Moltoni's Warbler is quite easy to find here, and Balearic Warbler breeds at one of its highest denisties in Mallorca, so we have a good chance to see both these key target species. Whatever we see today, we are sure to fall in love with Cabrera and its stunning scenery and azure blue waters. We return to dry land around 1800, making the drive back to base in time for dinner in the main square in Pollenca.

 

 DAY FOUR                          

Awakening yet again to the constant sound of Nightingales our pre-breakfast stroll might reveal a newly arrived gem. Familiar European migrants such as Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler and Blackcap might be supplemented by a skulking Wryneck or passing Red-rumped Swallow. Flocks of swifts overhead must be checked for Pallid and Alpine, while again passing raptors are a constant feature. Today we make our first visit to the vast expanse of Albufera Marsh, just a short drive away. The network of pools and waterways are well served by a variety of trails and hides, while the reed bed here is simply colossal! Our trip list is likely to soar as we add Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Common Tern, Red Crested Pochard, Little, Cattle and Great White Egrets, Purple and Black-crowned Night Herons, Cetti’s and Great Reed Warblers and Marsh Harrier to the total. Parties of Yellow Wagtails often pause here, and might include one of the more interesting races, and shorebirds abound. Common Greenshank, Common and Wood Sandpipers and Little Ringed Plovers occur, and we will also search for another one of the specialities, Purple Swamp Hen. Rarer still are the few Red-knobbed Coots that occur here, and our other target bird is the skulking Moustached Warbler. Overhead, flocks of Eleonora’s Falcons often congregate and perhaps a Eurasian Spoonbill or Squacco Heron might pass through. Albufera is the jewel in Mallorca's birding crown and one visit really only scratches the surface. There are also several excellent sites around the edge of the main reserve, such as the Depuradora ponds where Marbled Duck can often be seen, and passing Whiskered Terns and Collared Pratincoles might be found. There is also a small colony of European Bee-eaters here, and the whole area is good for migrants generally.                                                                                

 

DAY FIVE

Heading along the picturesque mountain road from Pollenca towards Soller, our main sites here is the Cuber Reservoir. On our winding route up through the hills, we stop first for a walk through Mortitx. This is a new location for Oriole Birding, and is particularly special for giving us the opportunity to see the rare Bonelli's Eagle, recently reintroduced to the island. This is also an excellent site for both Black and Griffon Vultures, and we can expect to get good views, while the local vinyard may hold migrant birds. Flycatchers can be everywhere if a fall has taken place, and a variety of warblers might be found in the surrounding vegetation. Fence lines are checked for shrikes and chats and an eye as always kept on the sky for passing raptors and hirundines. Moving on to the Cuber reservoir, we can hope to see more of the mighty Black Vulture. The hillsides around the reservoir are great for thermalling raptors and kites, eagles, buzzards and vultures soar along the ridge tops. The dry scrub is also good for sylvia warblers and in particular we will search for Moltoni's Warbler here, or a Tawny Pipit scurrying over stony ground. After a stop at the villa for some chill out time around the pool and grounds, we head out again to the nearby smaller Albufereta marsh. Purple Heron or Great White Egret might be noted, with Zitting Cisticola calling from the surrounding grasses and Kentish Plover and Yellow-legged Gull patrolling the beach. Audouin's Gull is also quite easy to see along this stretch of beach, and in some years when European Rollers are passing, this can be an excellent area in which to find them.

 

DAY SIX

We make the longer journey to the south-east tip of the island today, taking a circular route which passes through some beautiful countryside on the way. Our first stop is at the saline lagoons which make up the islands premier site for shorebirds. Greater Flamingo might be found along with an assortment of shorebirds such as Wood Sandpiper and maybe a Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint or Collared Pratincole. Terns such as Gull-billed, Black and Whiskered sometimes pause over the pools and there are more opportunities to find herons and egrets. Colourful flocks of European Bee-eater pass overhead and at the nearby Cap de ses Salines, newly arrived migrants might be found on the cliff top and scrub. Out to sea, this is our best chance to observe Scopoli's and Balearic Shearwaters and yet more opportunities to see the rare Audouin’s Gull. At a nearby site we will take a stroll to look for the localised Thekla Lark with Tawny Pipit often seen in the same area, and we willvisit a colony of Pallid Swifts near Portocolom on our way back. If we havent already enjoyed good views, this area is also extremely good for Balearic Warbler.

 

DAY SEVEN

We return this morning to the Boquer Valley to look for migrants newly arrived since our last visit and perhaps to find something really special to add to our list. An early morning visit really gets the best from this site and on good days the bushes can be literally alive with migrants. A small oak woodland nearby can also be excellent for flycatchers, orioles and warblers, such as Wood Warbler which passes in small numbers at this time. After a late breakfast back at the villa we head along the coast to Albufera again. On the pools, shorebirds are a focus with Wood Sandpiper often seen and Marsh Terns pause to feed. We will have the opportunity to re visit some of the hides and perhaps catch up with any missed species or new arrivals – if the constant views of Cetti’s Warblers posing uncharacteristically in the open allow us! Moustached and Great Reed Warblers will be high priority and perhaps this time a Stone Curlew, Glossy Ibis or Temminck's Stint might be found. In the late afternoon we return to our villa for our last meal to celebrate the end of a fantastic week of birding on this beautiful island. 

 

DAY EIGHT

Our last opportunity for a couple of hours birding around the gardens and surrounding habitat before we head south to Palma and catch an afternoon flight back to the UK where the tour concludes.

 

             

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED

Return flights from UK/Palma, seven nights accommodation on bed, breakfast and evening meal basis, packed lunches, minibus transport, services of guides and reserve entrance fees. 

 

NOT INCLUDED

Transport to/from UK airport and any overnight stay that might be required, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.  

 

ACCOMMODATION

A luxurious six bedroom villa with private pool and terrace. Some rooms are en suite, so please ask when booking.

 

PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH

Visas are not required by UK nationals. Passports must have 6 months validity beyond the return travel date. Standard health and innoculation requirements apply for UK nationals, visit www.masta-travel-health.com to check these and if necessary, download a free health brief to take to a travel appointment at your local medical practice. 

 

 

 

Tour Reports

 

2009    2010    2017     2018

 

Testimonials

 

"We rate this as a 10/10 holiday - an excellent all round package" M & F. S. Leicester

 
"Just a line to say thanks a lot for organising such a great trip and for all your help in finding and identifying the birds! Again we really enjoyed every moment" V. R. & J. L. Hertfordshire
 
" The villa was quite outstanding - very luxurious and the grounds provided some excellent birding. Ashley worked extremely hard to ensure the tour was a huge success" P H Essex
 
" Another fantasic holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed the villa and the birding was top quality too" M C Edinburgh
 
" Great birding meets luxury villa house party!! We really enjoyed the small group team spirit and all set in a beautiful location & with excellent accommodation and a very high standard of meals. It was absolutely first class. AJ & MS London

 

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