(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
So I had two weeks in Mallorca. Very nice it was to but I also just happened to take my Camera and Bins and a few random lenses and we just happened to end up at a few choice wild life spots, randomly of course.
Let me start by giving a bit of a big shout out and nod to the EFRS's tame Raptor Sage. Non other than your very own Nick P Williams, or NPW as we like to call him. What this guy doesn't know about Raptors isn't worth knowing. Send him a pic of a fuzzy black blob and he will tell you what that Pale morph, second calendar year Booted Eagle had for breakfast!! So with that in mind the majority of the titles of the raptors where provided by NPW and it's not me having a sudden leap up the food chain and actually knowing what I'm looking at.
Mallorca, Sunny isn't it?...............
There were Spotted Flycatchers fighting House Martins for the last of the flies
First call of nature was oop north at the magnificent and very large S'Abufera Reserve. It's a bit Shapwick / Hamwall but the reeds are about twenty feet tall so walking the paths is a bit of a let down since you can't actually see anything at all! Once at a raised platform it's much better and most offer great views over the reeds including the power station and rear of the hotels in Port d'Alcudia.
Short sighted Cattle Egret
Through the glass of the side window int eh hide we were in I saw these three chaps. I've never sen Stone Curlews before but have always been intrigued by them. The don't look like what they are, waders. They look like young Raptors with their colour and big eyes. Very odd bird to me.
Well camouflaged Stone Curlews
A couple of very distant Purple Herons wandered around. A first for me
Stone Chats where a'plenty
A great vantage point was a raised platform overlooking the very tall reeds with a nice channel in front of it. Climbing to the top I was greated with a young German guy with a small beat box pumping out some Kraut-Rap. Quit a bazaar sight and sound considering where I was!
Great Crested Grebe and young
Then something odd happened. I am sometimes prone or rather often prone to compacency. I will look at something and in a moment of 'birding turets' where I think a bird is one thing then blurt out another name (I see a Cuckoo and call Woodpecker), I see what my brain tells me is a Female Marsh Harrier. It's close and slow. I snap....
The moment passes. I'm happy and carry on admiring the rest the place has to offer.
Booted Eagle (Adult Pale Morph) A first again for me. Although I didn't know at the time. I assumed Osprey
Booted Eagle (Adult Pale Morph)
Just as I was wondering where everything was a small motor boat, probably the wardens, went back in a channel close by which instantly put everything up. Most notably this flock of Night Herons
and Cattle Egret in full bloom
A REAL Female Marsh Harrier
Male Night Heron
Female Night Heron
Then that 'Female Marsh harrier' came back......
It was at this point my brain got into gear and I realised what it really was!!!
Osprey with catch
This is my favourite
Off to devour
Cattle Egret looking a little bemused as to what just happened and probably being thankful for not being a fish!
The only macro of the day. Ants enjoying the beer spills from the German Student.
Yet another first for me. A Squacco Heron popped down and had a wander in the reeds before moving on.
S'Albufera is noted for these reintroduced and aptly named Red-knobbed Coot
Great site that really needs a couple of days to do it justice. Bit of a home from home particularly since Shapwick and Hamwall have had most of those I saw over the past couple of weeks. How ironic!
So on to a bit of an old stomping ground for me, Formentor. Many years ago in my hill walking days I came here with a mate and had a week of nothing but mountain walking. I remember it well. Fantastic knife edge ridges with overhangs looking down at nothing but blue sea, perfect sticky limestone you can run up near vertical faces.
This time I was after other prizes at the light house.
Eleonora's Falcon, 2nd calendar year dark morph
Been there, done that!
Some more Spotted Fly Catchers
Dark Morph Eleo (As us pro's call them :¬D )
When this Spanish Air force Aerospatiale SA 330J Puma came showing off I had a funny feeling. I had an inkling that the pair of Eleo's would come back pretty quickly and closer following the path of the helicopter. If I was a raptor I would to. A bit like following a plowing tractor that would churn up and flush out prey. It worked and they did.
Eleonora's Falcon, adult pale morph
Grabbing some flushed prey
Kestrel, 2nd calendar year male was also spooked.
Pale Morph Eleo
It was great watching these hobby/Peregrine-esk birds hanging in the breeze over the light house. No one else was in the least interested in them. Probably just as well.
Another day snatched was a trip out to archipelago of Cabrera. A completely designated nature reserve. Brilliant. I had a bit of a wander but unfortunately there was little in the way of interesting stuff.
The local Lizards where very friendly
View from the castle
Just about got this Sardinian Warbler (A first)
This Wheatear was looking good on it's patch.
The only raptor at all. A single Kestrel
After a very enjoyable and theatrical thunder storm this poor gal was trying to wring herself out. So inspired by the noble and altruistic actions of Carl Bovis I put her on a tissue. She was off in half an hour. I felt good.
WTF said the Cormorant
The big day, my birthday btw but I'm altruistic so I wont go on. A day at Cuber Reservoir. Fab. So after a while at Gorg Blau wondering where all the Vultures were we went to Cuber and started again.
Kestrel, adult male. I thought this was something new since it was so pale underneath
Booted Eagle, adult dark morph
Cow having a drink (as you would)
Eleonora's Falcon, 2nd calendar year pale morph
The cliffs where the Vultures are supposed to be
Common Buzzard, adult
Red Kite, Adult
I love this one
Nearly trod on this bad boy!
We had an understanding and passed without incident but it was tense!
Then they came..............
Never mind your Marsh Harriers and Tor here's two Black Vultures and the military base on Puig Major
Lots of Green Finches about
Booted Eagle, adult dark morph
The big boys - Griffon Vulture
On the way back on the MA-10 and overlooking Port de Soller I spotted this. I had no idea until NPW told me.
Booted Eagle, adult pale morph
They were all taken in between taking this sort of shot
So considering I only had a few days of actually birding I don't think I did to badly. A few new firsts, a great Osprey opportunity and a real surprise when I got the crib sheet from NPW. All the while I was hoping for a few sightings. The Eleo's, the Vultures, the Night Herons, the Purple Herons and............... a Booted Eagle. I thought I had missed the Booties (As no one except me calls them) In my ignorance I didn't realise that I had in fact got at least three Boots in my camera. Thanks Mallorca.