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MALLORCA BIRDQUEST’S 35th ANNIVERSARY REUNION TOUR

Saturday 30th April - Thursday 5th May 2016

Mike Watson

Balearic Warbler, Cabrera Island, Mallorca (Pete Morris)

Balearic Warbler, Cabrera Island, Mallorca (Pete Morris)

Mallorca has long been a classic birding destination going back to the 1960s. John Gooders wrote ‘In spite of the tourist development Majorca is one of the best and most accessible places to watch birds in south-west Europe’ in his 1970 book ‘Where to Watch Birds in Britain and Europe’. This still holds true and it may be a surprise to learn that we had never visited the island before. Most of its special birds were available in other places that we go to until fairly recently but since the splitting off of its lovely little Sylvia, Balearic Warbler, it has reappeared on the world birding radar. Add to this, further fairly recent splits, like Moltoni’s Warbler, Balearic and Scopoli’s Shearwaters and there is a great line-up of Mediterranean specialities. So it was an obvious choice for our 35th Anniversary Reunion! We spent a very enjoyable few days surrounded by great birds, wonderful scenery and renewing old acquaintances, not to mention making a gourmet mini-tour of eateries in the northeast corner of the island.

In addition to the recently-split-brigade and a host of other interesting sightings, our main avian highlights included: Cinereous and Griffon Vultures; Bonelli’s and Booted Eagles; Eleonora’s and Red-footed Falcons; Audouin’s Gull; Eurasian Scops Owl; ‘Balearic’ Woodchat Shrike; Thekla Lark; Western Bonelli’s and Moustached Warblers; Spotless Starling; ‘Balearic’ Spotted Flycatcher; Ortolan Bunting and a vagrant on the lovely Isla de Cabrera in the form of Spain’s third (or thereabouts) spring Common Rosefinch. Our wonderful group also included a couple of special record-breakers in Nancy Boggess, who became our most senior Birdquester ever and hot on her heels, Audrey Baker, who is now our most senior solo travelling Birdquester. Well done ladies!

European Scops Owl (Pete Morris)

European Scops Owl (Pete Morris)