Friday, 18 May 2012

Mallorca: 9th May 2012 (part 2) - Albufera

Mid afternoon we decided to go to Alberfera again. On the entrance track there were the normal Cetti’s, Sardinians, Nightingales. There were only a few little and cattle egrets in the heronry and where the path branches off to the left we heard a moustached warbler but couldn’t see it.
We first visited the hides on the green path - we hadn't gone to these on our first trip. At the first hide we could see the normal stilts, Kentish plover and little ringed plover only today a couple of the Kentish plovers came right up to the hide. Both a male and a female came up with the male hanging around for at least 10 minutes; the female only made a fleeting visit.

Kentish Plover - female

Kentish plover - male
One of the little ringed plovers also came quite close but the LRPs spent most of the time chasing each other around both on the ground and in the air.
 From this hide we could see several purple gallinules but they always very distant. The second hide on the green path looked over the same scrape so what we saw was very similar however 4 Kentish plovers were fighting/chasing each other in front of this one.

Kentish plovers
As we continued on the green path we came to a small pool where a red knobbed coot had taken up residence. This one seemed very at ease with people and came right up to us. We did see red knobbed coot on our first visit (and which was a life tick) but I had been hoping to get some pictures of unringed birds.
Red knobbed coot
After that we went to the hides on the purple route on the way seeing a great reed warbler in flight though Mary had actually seen it in the reeds singing but it flew off before she could direct us onto it.
 On the purple path there was nothing really new from the hide by the heronry but down towards the other hide I could see a marbled duck asleep on a spit so we packed up and went to get closer. When we arrived the duck was still in sight though asleep we I settled down to wait for it to rouse itself. Good job too as whilst we were waiting a purple gallinule walked from the bank out to an island in front of the hide and gave us great views.  After 10 minutes of feeding (i.e. ripping plants out of the ground) the gallinule returned to the bank and disappeared.

Purple Gallinule
Eventually the marbled duck showed its face and we got some reasonable, if quite distant images.

Marbled duck
From the hides we saw lots of black winged stilts young, some coming right in front of the hide, numerous Kentish plovers, Kentish plover, common sand, curlew sand, greenshank, redshank, a lone spotted redshank and several avocets.
On the walk back to the car we finally got decent if distant views of a nightingale that was singing near the visitor centre and Pete also found a great white egret – the only one we saw during the holiday.

Great white egret
 As we left the swamp we looked for moustached warbler down the side track but it had stopped singing though we did find and get distant shots of a great reed warbler. Also whilst standing there 2 purple heron flew past as did a hoopoe.

Distant great reed warbler
That was our last visit to Albufera and in reality it’s large enough to warrant a couple of full days. We managed most of our target birds though failing to find a moustached warbler was a major disappointment. We also failed to locate white faced duck. Herons were not easy to photograph from the hides/areas we went to and the only raptors we saw were marsh harriers and a lone osprey.

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