Breathtaking scenery, a wealth of culture and history, cycling and walking, plus some of the world’s most appealing birdlife make the north the destination of choice for birdwatchers, hikers and nature lovers who come to the island in the glorious shoulder seasons of autumn and spring. There’s almost an A to Z of sites to take in (Arta Peninsula, Boquer Valley, Cap Formentor, Cases Velles, Cuber Reservoir, La Gola Reserve, Mortitx, S’Albufera Nature Reserve, Son Bosc and Depuradora and Ternelles Valley) offering the chance to see a wide variety of rare and spectacular birds.
Among the rare species you can spot are Audouin’s Gull (a population estimated at barely 10,000 pairs), the Black Vulture (almost extinct in the 1980s), Bonelli’s Eagle (successfully bred for the first time last year), Egyptian Vulture (only one pair on the island seen in the Arta Peninsula), Eleonora’s Falcon (much sought by birdwatchers), Golden Oriole (a scarce but regular summer visitor), Griffon Vulture (only recolonized in the region since 2008), Purple Gallinule (recently introduced from mainland Spain) and the Sub Alpine Warbler (a summer migrant with an estimated population of barely 1,000).
Enthusiasts can also expect to see Balearic Warblers, Bee Eaters, Blue Rock Thrushes, Booted Eagles, Cirl Buntings, Crag Martins, Crossbills, Firecrests, Hoopoes, Kentish Plovers, Ospreys, Pallid Swifts, Purple Herons, Scops Owls, Spotted Flycatchers, Stone Curlews, Thekla Larks and Woodchat Shrikes.
Puerto Pollensa has Albufera, Cap Formentor, Boquer Valley on its doorstep. It also has its own small reserve, La Gola, in the centre of town, which is due to reopen soon.
The marshy natural reserve at S’Albufereta with its reeds and bulrushes provides one of the best birdwatching spots on the island, with more than 300 species noted. It is the nesting place of the purple swamphen, common stilt, western yellow wagtail and moustachioed warbler. It is the most important and extensive wetlands in the Balearics and is a resting point for birds from all over the world in spring and autumn and some in winter as well.
It’s estimated that some two-thirds of the birds nesting permanently or wintering in Mallorca live here. Residents and visitors include the northern shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, heron, starlings, teal, ruff, cranes and spoonbills. More than 60 species breed in S’Albufera’s wetlands and more than 300 species are recorded each year.
At Cap Formentor you can see see Eleonora’s falcons, warblers, blue rock thrushes, crag martins, pallid swifts and migrating raptors – and, on occasions, the Balearic shearwater.
A walk through the Boquer Valley would prove productive, too, with hoopoes, Sardinian warblers, booted eagles, black vultures, Egyptian vultures, raven, crag martins, blue rock thrushes, Balearic warblers and Eleonora’s falcons all likely to put in an appearance.
Thank you to Enjoy Mallorca for their contribution and for all the images. Look online to enter the competition: www.enjoymallorca.com/competition