Trip Menu


CasesnovasAgain, as in previous years, we chose Villa Select to provide both our accommodation and our flight. Our choice this year was the beautiful Villa Casesnovas. The villa is situated within the triangle of Pollensa, Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia. A little further out than any of our previous villas, but it did mean we were within a 10min drive of the premier birding site “Albufera”.

Our carrier was Monarch Airlines. Both outward and inward flights were bang on time with both planes approximately 75% full. The flight out was 06:20 am, possibly a little early for some, but great when you are sipping your first cold drink at your destination by lunch time. Return flight was mid morning giving us the luxury of a leisurely breakfast.   

For superb self catering accommodation and late availability list I strongly recommend you check out Villa Select’s web site.

Villa Select can be contacted on 0845 277 3370 or by email.


Birding in style (the G & T is missing though)

In the main the weather was dry and warm with temperatures in the mid 20s for most of the holiday. Night time temperatures dropped to single figures making early morning birding a bit parky. Rain was restricted to a couple of nights and the Friday morning prior to our departure.


With virtual parity between the Pound & Euro Mallorca ain’t cheap any more, with most food stuff costing at least the same as England. Eating out at night had risen, both in the cost of the meal and the poor exchange rate.


As with the cost of living, the price of car hire had also increased, with an equivalent car in England costing at least 25% less.
Fuel however was slightly cheaper with diesel costing approximately 89p per litre.     

Now where was it I was supposed to end up?These trips to Mallorca have turned into bi-annual events with Lesvos being visited in alternate years. It amazes us how much the island changes over such a short period. New roads, including dual carriageways, have materialised in the Pollensa Bay area. Many are roads to “nowhere”; this indicates that further large scale development of the bay area is on the cards. The main thoroughfare through Alcudia has also been upgraded, with all the traffic lights being replaced with roundabouts, all sporting their own piece of sculpture. Brightly coloured cycle lanes have also been installed. The spine road that runs from south to north has also been upgraded. With a “motorway” & dual carriageway terminating approximately 10k short of Alcudia, making transfer times from the airport to the north of the island comfortably less than 1hr.

With all the development of the infrastructure and the continued building of holiday accommodation, many of the small scrubby areas that used to be so attractive to passing migrants have disappeared. This has greatly reduced the wild flowers & weeds and in turn the insects on which the birds feed. We have noted a steady decline over the last 10 years in the numbers of birds that either nest on Mallorca or stay briefly to fuel up.

Birding sites that once were a must to visit a few years ago are now a shadow of their former selves. It’s not surprising when you see that most of these are the ones that have suffered most from urbanisation. The Boquer Valley is a prime example; birding here has declined to such an extent that it’s best left to the walkers. I could not have imagined myself saying that a few years ago. Other northern sites that have also markedly declined, to such an extent that a cursory visit is all they warrant, are “Casas Veyas” (no access), “Albufereta” (no management), “Back Lanes”, “Smelly River” and “Lenair Road” (lack of areas to park).

AlbuferaAs I have stated in previous reports, the bird species are still there, it’s the numbers that have declined, making the birding challenging at the very least.

S’Albufera – On a more positive note, after many years of resources being channelled into the visitor centre, toilet blocks, pretty boardwalks, hides and viewing platforms, all great for the human visitor, it now looks like the park authority is getting to grips with improving the habitat for the birds….and how it shows! With improvements to water level management and the general habitat, bird numbers and species were up considerably.


 Once again we had problems with Hertz car rentals. Although we had documentation which clearly stated that the price taken over the internet was guaranteed, we still had to spend 15 minutes arguing with the staff, who were quoting 40 € more. We were also charged 8 € a day for a second driver when the web site clearly stated the second driver was free. This added a further 112 € to the bill. We had a similar situation several years ago in Lesvos. On our first venture out in the vehicle we had a puncture. There was no spare tyre, so we had to wait several hours whilst they delivered a replacement. We were charged 120 € for the pleasure when we returned the vehicle. Total cost of the vehicle rose from the 344 € quoted, to 576 €. “Never again Mr Hertz”.

Those pillocks in Lycra who invade Mallorca in their thousands during the early spring. We believe in “live and let live” but when they decide to ride 3-4 abreast in their hundreds on the road, completely ignoring the lovely new cycle lanes provided, it’s difficult to look benevolently upon them. Meeting several dozen of them, spread right across a very narrow winding lane and gesticulating to me to get over, was the last straw. My outburst of “single file dicken ze headens” was greeted with hysterical laughter from my own passengers. Well you have to laugh!              

Memorable moments

Salinas de LevanteThe hospitality shown to us by a Geordie called Malcolm, whose help and hospitality, whilst we were waiting for our exchange vehicle, was very greatly appreciated.

The dozen or so Bee-eaters that decided to hang around the villa for a couple of days giving great views.

Local Stone Curlews being called up, to give great illuminated views as they flew over the villa at night.

Not sticking to our own rule of not venturing down to the Salinas de Levante until we have had at least 3 dry days. Then, finding on our arrival, that “Eddie’s Track” was hock deep in mosquito infested water.

Embarking on what we thought would be an hour’s walk through the Albufera. We finally reached the visitor centre 6hrs later. Incidentally this also occurred on the hottest day of the holiday at 28°c.


Albufera, Albufereta, Casas Veyas, Boquer Valley, Cuber Reservoir, Son Serra de Marina, Son Marc, Depuradora, Postage Stamp Wood, Cala de San Vicenç, S’Illot and Salinas de Levante.

Bird Photos

Bird Species List

  • Great Crested Grebe  Podiceps cristatus   Only sighting was a pair displaying on the Grand Canal Albufera.
  • Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis   Small numbers of birds, main sites being the Albufera, Albufereta and San Serra de Marina.
  • Shag  Phalacrocarax aristotalis   Odd birds seen on the breakwaters at Puerto Pollensa first week.
  • Night Heron  Nycticorax nycticorax   Numbers at the Albufera roost appeared to be down, with no more than a dozen birds encountered during our visits. More than 20 birds seemed to be the norm in 2005.
  • Squacco Heron  Ardeola rallioides   More birds were encountered during this trip than any previously with up to 6 birds seen together.
  • Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis   Now the most common of the egrets on the Island with several hundred seen in the roost near the entrance to the Albufera.
  • Little Egret  Egretta garzetta   Although not now as common as the former, still good numbers were seen most days in suitable habitats.
  • Great White Egret  Egretta alba   Only 1 sighting, a bird flying with a Little Egret at the back of the Albufera.
  • Grey Heron  Ardea cinerea   Birds were very common at all suitable habitats.
  • Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea   A good year for this species with 5 birds seen flying low over the Albufereta. 
  • Sacred Ibis  Threskiornis aethiopicus   Never 100% sure of the status of these birds. They have been at the Albufera for many years. 3 sightings of a single mature bird in flight.
  • Greater Flamingo  Phoenicopterus ruber   Just 7 adult birds seen at the Salinas de Levante. Up-to 50> have been encountered at the same site in autumn.
  • Shelduck  Tadorna tadorna   From only 2 sightings in Oct 2005 to many dozens of breeding pairs at the Albufera, Depuradora, Albufereta and the Salinas de Levante.   
  • Gadwall  Anas strepera   A common duck with small numbers seen at suitable locations.
  • Teal  Anas crecca   Numbers down this spring with 1 female the only sighting.  
  • Mallard  Anas platyrhynchos   Extremely common at all suitable habitats. 
  • Shoveler  Anas clypeata   Small numbers, mainly at the Depuradora. 
  • Red-crested Pochard  Netta rufina   Another success story with more birds being encountered year on year.
  • Pochard  Aythya farina   3 sightings of up to 2 males at the Depuradora.  
  • Tufted Duck  Aythya fuligula   Just a single sighting of a male on the Grand Canal at the Albufera. 
  • Griffon Vulture  Gyps fulvus   1 bird seen at the Son Marc Valley during our first visit. 
  • Black Vulture  Aegypius monachus   Only sighting was six individuals during the trip to Cuber reservoir.
  • Marsh Harrier  Circus aeruginosus   A very common raptor, with six seen in the air at the same time over the Albufera.  
  • Montagu’s Harrier  Circus pygargus   A fly past at the villa by a male at the end of the first week. 
  • Golden Eagle  Aquila chrysaetos   A single sub-adult bird caused confusion with a low fly-over at the Albufera. 
  • Bonelli’s Eagle  Hieraaetus fasciatus   A low fly-by over the villa during the first week. 
  • Booted EagleHieraaetus pennatus   Odd birds seen, but again numbers appeared to be down on previous visits.  
  • Osprey  Pandion   haliaetus   Several encounters during the trip, with 1 bird successfully catching a large fish at the Albufereta and another bird tucking into a fish on the traditional roosting post at “Orange Bridge”. 
  • Kestrel  Falco tinnunculus   Common over the whole island.
  • Eleonora’s Falcon  Falco eleonorae   Birds not seen until late in the second week of the trip & then in very small numbers. 
  • Red-legged Partridge  Alectoris rufa   Several sightings with a resident pair in the fields below the villa.  
  • Moorhen Gallinula chloropus   Birds in small numbers at all suitable locations.
  • Purple Gallinule  Porphyrio porphyrio   All sightings confined to the Albufera this trip. Since their introduction these birds have spread right across the north of the island taking up residence at all suitable locations.  
  • Coot Fulica atra   Birds abundant at all suitable habitats. 
  • Red-knobbed Coot  Fulica cristata   Reintroduced a few years ago, these birds have now achieved full breeding status. Birds are now common at the Albufera. Some introduced birds still contain white neck rings. These were used to separate the species during the winter, when hunting is permissible.  
  • Stone Curlew  Burhinus oedicnemus   A very good year with many sightings throughout the trip. A pair was very vocal at night in the fields adjacent to the villa.
  • Collared Pratincole  Glareola pratincola   Several birds seen at the Albufera early in the first week.
  • Avocet  Recurvirostra avosetta   50> at the Salinas de Levante.
  • Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus   Very common breeding wader. 
  • Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius   Common at suitable sites.
  • Ringed Plover  Charadrius hiaticula   More birds encountered in the north of the island than previously. Probable cause is the habitat management taking place on the Albufera. 
  • Kentish Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus   Very common this trip, again the habitat management may account for the increase. 
  • Grey Plover  Pluvialis squatarola   A singleton at the Salinas de Levante the only sighting. 
  • Knot  Calidris canutus   A single male at the Albufera and our first for the Island.
  • Little Stint  Calidris minuta   More birds in the north of the Island than previous years. Habitat improvements and water level management, probable cause.  
  • Temminck’s Stint  Calidris temminckii   Small numbers during first week of the trip. All sightings at the Albufera.
  • Curlew Sandpiper  Calidris ferruginea   Far more birds encountered; probable cause the same as the stints.
  • Dunlin  Calidris alpina   A single sighting for the trip at the Albufera.  
  • Ruff  Philomachus pugnax   Odd birds seen, all sightings confined to the back of the Albufera reserve. 
  • Snipe  Gallinago gallinago   Small numbers seen during most visits to the Albufera. 
  • Spotted Redshank  Tringa erythropus   Up to 5 birds seen at Bishops (1) hide during the first week.
  • Redshank  Tringa totanus   Small numbers; more numerous in the south. 
  • Greenshank  Tringa nebularia   One of the few wader species where the numbers were down on previous years. Most sightings at the Albufereta. 
  • Green Sandpiper  Tringa ochropus   Only a couple of sightings, both during the first week and both at the Depuradora. 
  • Wood Sandpiper  Tringa glareola   Another species which has benefited from both habitat and water level management with many more birds than in previous springs.
  • Common Sandpiper  Actitis hypoleucos   Numbers clearly up on previous years.
  • Turnstone  Arenaria interpres   A singleton at the Albufera at the end of the 2nd week.  
  • Black-headed Gull  Larus ridibundus   A small number of birds seen loafing on the rocks in the corner of the lagoon viewed from “Orange Bridge”.
  • Audouin’s Gull  Larus audouinii   Fewer gulls obvious than in previous visits.
  • Yellow-legged Gull  Larus cachinnans   Abundant.
  • Common Tern  Sterna hirundo   3 pairs at the Albufera which will hopefully breed on the newly created tern islands. 
  • Whiskered Tern  Chlidonias hybridus   5 birds hawking over the Depuradora at the beginning of the first week, with a singleton during the second.  
  • Stock Dove  Columba oenas   A couple of sightings of single birds, with 4 seen flying over the Albufera during the second week. 
  • Wood Pigeon  Columba palumbus   Common at all suitable locations.
  • Swift  Apus apus   A strong daily migration with many thousands passing through, especially during the second week. 
  • Pallid Swift  Apus pallidus   Dozens of birds over the Albufera early in the first week.
  • Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto   Numbers appear to have stabilised with birds encountered most days. 
  • European Bee-eater  Merops Apiaster   Many birds passing through the island during the second week.
  • Hoopoe Upupa epops   Birds numbers appear to have declined. No birds were seen at the Depuradora where previously a flock of 6 birds were in residence. 
  • Sand Martin  Riparia riparia   Just a handful of birds seen early doors.
  • Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris   Sightings were down this year with a few birds at the Boquer Valley and several around the dam at Cuber Reservoir. Best sighting was a dozen or so flying around Palma airport terminal. 
  • Swallow Hirundo rustica   Strong passage during the whole trip with numbers increasing daily. 
  • House Martin  Delichon urbica   Only birds seen were odd birds with migrating swallows and swifts.  
  • Thekla Lark  Galerida theklae   A couple of birds encountered at the most reliable site, Son Serra de Marina. As this site is so reliable I no longer venture far to find them. 
  • Meadow Pipit  Anthus  pratenis   A single bird in the Son Marc Valley.
  • Tawny Pipit  Anthus campestris   A single bird display flying at Cuber.
  • Yellow Wagtail  Motacilla flava   Many sighting of the nominate race, with good numbers of feldegg also observed. 
  • Wren  Troglodytes troglodytes   A singleton at Cuber.
  • Nightingale  Luscinia megarhynchos   A very good year for this species with birds singing at all suitable locations.
  • Redstart  Phoenicurus phoenicurus   A male and female seen at different locations in the Son Marc valley and a female feeding on the lawn of the villa.
  • Stonechat  Saxicola torquata   Very common at all suitable locations.
  • Northern Wheatear  Oenanthe oenanthe   1 male seen at the Salinas de Levante.  
  • Blue Rock Thrush  Monticola solitarius   Birds at all usual haunts. 
  • Blackbird Turdus merula   Birds common at all suitable sites. 
  • Cetti’s Warbler  Cettia cetti   Very, very common at all suitable locations.  
  • Fan-tailed Warbler  Cisticola juncidis   Birds seen at most suitable locations.
  • Great Reed Warbler  Acrocephalus arundinaceus   Numbers of these birds appear to have tumbled over the years with less than half a dozen pairs encountered over the whole of the Albufera.
  • Balearic Warbler  Sylvia balearica   Several birds reported at the Boquer valley but our only sighting was at the traditional site at Cala Sant Vicenç. 
  • Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala   The commonest of all the warblers with several territories around the villa. 
  • Blackcap  Sylvia atricapilla   Only sightings were during our 2 visits to the Son Marc Valley. 
  • Wood Warbler  Phylloscopus sibilatrix   2 encounters, 1 at the pines near the Boquer and the 2nd at Cuber.
  • Chiffchaff  Phylloscopus collybita   Just a couple of sightings during the trip at suitable sites. 
  • Willow Warbler  Phylloscopus trochilus   Again a couple of birds seen during the trip. 
  • Firecrest  Regulus ignicapillus   Sightings at the traditional site at Casas Veyas. 
  • Spotted Flycatcher  Muscicapa striata   Very common, with the Son Marc valley literally dripping with them. 
  • Pied Flycatcher  Ficedula hypoleuca   A single male hawking for insects in the Son Marc valley.   
  • Great Tit  Parus major   Small numbers of birds seen at most suitable sites.
  • Golden Oriole  Oriolus oriolus   A single bird flew through the villa garden at the beginning of the second week.
  • Woodchat Shrike  Lanius senator   A common bird; all suitable locations appear to  have birds in residence. 
  • Raven  Corvus corax   Odd birds at the Boquer valley and a few in Son Marc. 
  • House Sparrow  Passer domesticus   Birds common everywhere.
  • Chaffinch  Fringilla coelebs   Common at all suitable habitats.
  • Serin  Serinus serinus   Small flocks, especially where conifers occur. 
  • Greenfinch  Carduelis chloris   Abundant.
  • Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis   The second commonest finch of the summer. 
  • Linnet  Carduelis cannabina   Birds not uncommon.
  • Crossbill  Loxia curvirostra   Any large area of conifers will contain Crossbills. The Formentor peninsula holds a very large population.
  • Cirl Bunting  Emberiza cirlus   Although not prolific, both Son Marc & the Campanet valley hold good populations.
  • Reed Bunting  Emberiza schoeniclus   A single sighting of a male at the Albufera.  
  • Corn Bunting  Miliaria calandra   From being a common bird some 10 years ago, a steady decline has taken place with only 2 sightings throughout the trip. 
  • Waxbill  Estrilda astrild   A singleton at the back of the Albufera was the only sighting this trip.

Pat and Judy Hayes