Monday, 17 December 2012

Winterings


Lots of species of  birds choose Mallorca as wintering place.

Some kinds of Thrushes, Robins, Goldcrests, Siskins, Black Redstart, White and Grey Wagtail, Grey Herons, some Raptors, Seagulls, different species of Waders and Ducks join to the sedentary birds.

While this happens, the Black Vultures are starting their nuptial flights. First ones were seen two days ago near Bàlitx, at the Serra de Tramuntana.





Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rains that give life


Due to the last rains, water reservoir is increasing and this comes alive again torrents, streams and ponds.



Also another places like meadows, wetlands and saltpans become great points specially for some species of birds.


One of these places is el Prat de Sant Jordi, in the municipality of Palma. Either cultivated areas or land where grows wild vegetation are now flooded becoming a good habitat for birds like ducks, herons and waders.

Mallards,  Teals, Ruddy Shelduck, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Bittern, Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Redshank, Snipe, Lapwing, Stints, Sandpipers, Plovers are some examples.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Ornithological course visiting Salobrar de Campos

Last October 5th and 7th took place the second part of the ornithological course organised by NHS-Balears Wildlife and the Balearic Museum of Sciences.

On Friday there was a talk about post-breeding migration and the autumn season in the Balearics and in Majorca.

José Luis Martínez was the person in charge to give the talk

And on Sunday there was a trip to observe some species of migrants and sedentary birds at the Salobrar de Campos and Salines Cape.

Birdwatching at Salobrar


Amazing group of Flamingos at Salobrar de Campos

Spotted Starlings, Winchats and Stonechats, Goldfinches, Swallows, Plovers, Sandpipers, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Ruff, StoneCurlew, Flamingos, Black-headed Gull, and raptors as Osprey, Eleonora's Falcon or Marsh Harrier were observed.

Next observation point was Salines Cape, where we could see some species like Swallows and raptors flying to Cabrera Island or direct to Africa.

Next December will take place the last part of this course to speak about the wintering in Majorca.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Birdwatching in Mallorca

High moment to observe migration.
One of the best point during the postbreeding migration is Salines Cape, at the South of Mallorca. If birds doesn't stop in Cabrera National Park, that's the last point before arrive to Africa. A hard way to do!

Interesting observations during last two weeks:

Salinetes Colònia de Sant Jordi: Black-winged Stilt, Stonecurlew, Common Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Audouin's Gull, Flamingo.

Cap de ses Salines: Hobby, Kestrel, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Barn Swallow.

Cap de Formentor: Eleonora's Falcon, Cory's Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Blue Rock Thrush, Spotted Starling, Pied Flycatcher, Wheatear, Redstar, Winchat, Willow Warbler.

Cúber reservoire: Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Red Kite, Peregrine Falcon, Booted Eagle.

Albufera Natural Park: Night Heron, Little Egret, Little Bittern, Grey Heron, Coot and Crested Coot, Purple Gallinule, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Osprey, Teal, Marbled Duck...

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Migration has begun

  First  migrants, the majority of them waders, were already observed one month ago, but now is beginning the real migration.

  Raptors as Honey Buzzard or Marsh Harrier, passerines as Redstart, Pied Flycatcher or Wheatear,  even  first Bee-eaters are now in their way to Africa.

    So,  Eleonora's Falcons, are in their nests just waiting the hatch of their eggs to begin the big hunt of the passerines.


     All this is an amazing show that you can't miss.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Birds at Summer


  Heat is increasing these days and the majority of birds have finished their breeding, so birding becomes more difficult and uncomfortable.
  Birding early in the morning and two or three hours before the sunset will be more efficient. But if we want to observe raptors, for example, we must go out during hottest hours.
  One option to enjoy the birds and at the same time help them is the installation of troughs. These can range from a pond dug in the ground to a simple dish with water.


 It's better if it's placed in the shadow to minimize water evaporation and avoid that water becomes warm. It must be also a place where birds feel safe while they are drinking or taking a bath.


  Water points have a very important role during these hottest months for the survival of birds and other animals. Mountain springs, small natural and artificial ponds, irrigation ditches, etc., are elements that are necessary to preserve and care our wildlife.


  At home we can install a small trough. It's sure it will be discovered very soon by the birds of the surroundings. They will be grateful for that and we'll enjoy their daily chores. 


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Nest boxes at the Camí des Correu

The Camí des Correu as its name suggests in Mallorcan (post path) is an old route used to join the towns of Esporlas and Banyalbufar and for the last five years has been used for nest box study and monitoring of their occupation by insectivorous birds.
                                                                      Nest box hanging

In these types of studies the yearly accumulation of information is important to be able to determine nest box occupation, species interrelation, phenology etc.
Nest boxes can be a constant source to study the biological different aspects of the birds that occupy them, at the same time favouring nesting by species that prey on insects that damage the forests and are an excellent tool for environmental education.
                                                                   Great Tit nestlings

This year, still awaiting a final count, around 20 boxes have been occupied by Great Tit (P. major) and a dozen by Blue Tit (P. caeruleus).
Once the nest boxes have served their purpose they will be have to be taken down, cleaned and prepared in time for next year!
                                                                    Blue Tit nestlings

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Common bird monitoring in Cabrera National Park

During the last few days the spring census of common birds in the Cabrera National Park has been taking place.

NHS collaborates with the Sociedad Española de Ornitología (SEO-Birdlife) by undertaking transects and listening points to be able to detect spring breeding species and obtain distribution and abundance results.
The tasks are carried out on the island of Cabrera Gran, and at the moment the species with the largest distribution is the Balearic Warbler (S.balearica).

Saturday, 26 May 2012

New bird ringing session

Last Sunday, included in the activities organised by the Ajuntament de Sóller and NHS Balears, a new ringing session was carried out at the parc del Camí des Cingles at Puerto de Sóller.

                                                         Ornithologist J.L. Martinez explaining

The assistants were able to observe species such as Sardinian Warbler (S.  melanocephala),  Blackcap (S.  atricapilla),  House Sparrow(P. domesticus) and Great Tit (P. major), an help out with the ringing.


                                                                  One of the participants with a Sardinian Warbler

Nest box monitoring of the ones installed in the Park was also explained to the participants.

The ornithology course begins at the Museu de Ciències

This last Friday and Saturday the Introductory Course to Ornithology “Discovering Bird Life” began at the Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals, organised by the Museum and NHS Balears.

This first part covered prenupcial migration and bird reproduction coinciding with the season in they take part.
The prenuptial migration is undertaken by migratory species travelling to their breeding grounds. This is motivated by a series of environmental factors and involves a race against time to beat all the obstacles along the route and claim the best breeding areas.
The survival of a species or population depends on the breeding success, so a lot of energy and effort is invested in rearing young by means of different mechanisms and strategies.
                                                                       C.Fiol lecturing on bird reproduction.

The theory part was complemented with an outing on Saturday morning to the s’Albufera Natural Park.
There the participants managed to see various migratory species and some birds in the middle of breeding.

                                              Bird watching from a hide with  J.L.Martínez explaining.

Tiny Kentish Plover chick searching for food.

Species observed:
Tringa erythropus                                           Anas strepera
Charadrius alexandrinus                                 Anas clypeata
Himantopus himantopus                                 Netta rufina
Sterna nilotica                                                Tadorna tadorna
Sterna hirundo                                                Burhinus oedicnemus
Gallinula chloropus                                         Circus aeruginosus
Fulica atra                                                      Apus apus
Fulica cristata                                                 Hirundo rustica
Porphyrio porphyrio                                       Turdus merula 
Bubulcus ibis                                                  Passer domesticus
Egretta garzetta                                              Carduelis chloris
Egretta alba                                                   Carduelis carduelis
Ardea cinerea                                                Serinus serinus
Ardea purpurea                                             Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Nycticorax nycticorax                                    Cettia cetti
Ardeola ralloides                                            Luscinia megarhynchos
Anas plathyrhynchos                                      Sylvia melanocephala

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nest box visit at Mondragó National Park

This Saturday 12th of May, the Mondragó Natural Park (Santanyí) has organised an outing to the nest boxes installed in the park and that are monitored by NHS.
You will be able to see nest made by Great Tits (P.major) and House Sparrows (P.domesticus) in the boxes, also clutches and also with a bit of luck the first chicks. Biologist Cristina Fiol will be in charge of the monitoring.
This outing is free and open to the general public. It will be only necessary to register calling the Park office on tel: 971 18 10 22.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Introductory course to ornithology. Discovering bird life.


Jointly with the Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals a course has been organised to begin to learn about the world of birds.

The course is divided into three blocs which  discuss the most important aspects of the life of birds.

Bloc 1: Prenuptial migration and breeding
18th  of May (lecture) and 19th of May (outing to s’Albufera N.P)



Bloc 2: Autumn and postnuptial migration
28th of September (lecture) and the 29th of September (outing to Salobrar de Campos and cape Salinas lighthouse)

Bloc 3: Wintering in Mallorca.
14th of December (lecture) and 15th of December (outing to the Bàlix trail and the Cúber reservoir)

Al the lecture session will be held at the Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals
Lecture hours: 19:30 to 21hrs
Outing hours: 8:30 to 14hrs
Full course price: 40
Possibility of enrolling by blocs.

INFORMATION AND INSCRIPTIONS AT THE MUSEU DE CIÈNCIES NATURALS
971634063 – musbcn@hotmail.com

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Activities at the Parc des Camí des Cingle

                                              Nest box inspection in the Parc del Camí des Cingle

On the 28th of April another bird activity took place at the Parc del camí des Cingle.
NHS and the Soller Town Council organised a new outing to check out the nest boxes that had been installed in February. 

At the moment no boxes have been occupied. According to the explanations of biologist Cristina Fiol, it’s normal that the first spring after the nest boxes are installed the percentage of occupation is very low or nil. It’s from the second and third year that better result are expected, so it’s important to leave the boxes hung up all year round and keep them well maintained so they are in optimum condition for the birds.

A small ringing session was also carried out in the park by the ornithologist Jose Luis Martinez. Despite the bad weather, the participants were able to see what scientific ringing entails and how it is carried out.

                             Ornithologist Jose Luis Martinez with a Sardinian Warbler (S. melanocephala)
                                                                          giving  explanations to the participants
                                           A participants helping to weigh a Great Tit (P. major) before being released

Also the group was lucky enough to be able to see two Night Herons (N. nycticorax) perched in the pines looking for a place to sleep. This ardeid species is a nocturnal migrant, so they possibly arrived that same morning to rest and then continue their journey at sunset towards their breeding grounds.

The first Griffon Vulture of the Balearics is born

The happy occasion has finally happened!

On the 20th of April members of the Black Vulture Foundation managed to observe the first Griffon Vulture (G.fulvus) chick to be born in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains, Mallorca.

Since its accidental arrival to the island a little over three years ago, this species has adapted and spread to different areas of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains.

Now the development and the interaction with the Black Vulture (A.monachus) will have to be monitored closely.

Congratulations!

More information (in Spanish):

Friday, 13 April 2012

The summer visitors are arriving, the winter visitors are leaving

Spring is here and some of the birds that have spent this winter with us such as the Song Thrushes, Lapwing or Skylarks, have left for northern latitudes to breed. On the other hand we now get the arrival of the numerous species that come to breed in our islands having wintered in the African continent.
  The first Nightingales, Purple Herons, Quail, Cuckoos and Woodchat Shrikes arriving to breed here have already been seen, and others that use our islands as a stopover to catch their breath on their way to their breeding grounds, such as the Pied Flycatcher, Short-toed Eagle or Common Redstarts can also be seen in our countryside. It's time to grab the binoculars and go outside to see what we can discover.
Looking to the sky we can find Swallows, Swifts, and birds of prey, and searching around our gardens discover Willow Warblers, Whitethroats, and maybe even Icterine Warblers.....
What are you waiting for? Look out your window occasionally and let us know what you see.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

New breeding species for Majorca, the Griffon Vulture

Ornithologists from the islands have discovered a couple of nests of this species which arrived on the island due to heavy meteorological conditions.
It is always gratifying to be able to have extact information that refers to the colonisation of species on islands, and from the work and monitoring of some of the island ornithologists such as Jordi Muntaner or Maties Rebassa (among other), we have up to date news about some pairs of Griffon Vulture incubating on nests located on Majorcan cliffs.
From Balears WildLife-NHS we are very grateful  for all the search, effort and verification of a fact that everyone was waiting for in the Balearics, and it will probably be without doubt the avifaunistic event of the year.
During the next few months we will be awaiting offspring and therefore the first Griffon Vultures born in Majorca.

Nest boxes in the Cami des Cingle park

Last Friday and Saturday the activity to install nest boxes in the Cami des Cingle in the Port of Soller park was started.
     Friday afternoon an introductory presentation was given about the nest boxes.
Nest boxes fulfil three main functions; they complement the effort to control possible insect plagues as they improve the breeding success of species that feed on these insects, they are used to be able to study the breeding biology of the birds that occupy them, and lastly the can be and excellent method for environmental education. So all this can be possible, basic maintenance is necessary.
                         One of the species that can occupy the nest boxes, the Great Tit (P.Major). Photo: C.Fiol

The next morning the participants enjoyed an animated day out where adults and kids helped to install the boxes in the park.

                            Some of the participants with nest boxes ready to hang up. Photo: C.Fiol

A total of 18 boxes were finally hung on pines, olive trees and Carob trees.

                                 The moment when a nest box is installed. Photo: C.Fiol

The next outing will take place in April and May, covering the start and middle period of the species of birds that could use the boxes to breed.
The nest box occupation is a gradual process that takes years, but we hope to see the first nest live during the next visits

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Outings. Nest boxes for insectivores

Find out about nest boxes for birds they are used and the monitoring presently undertaken.

This will be the content of these outings organised by the Soller council and Balears Wildlife-NHS, aimed at the general public.
The participants will be introduced to the world of bird observation and study by means of the nest boxes.

The calendar for the group activities is as follows:
24th of February. Presentation talk: Nest boxes for insectivores; study and management
25th of February. Nest box installation at the Camí des Cingle park.
28th of April and 20th of May. Visit to the nest boxes to see the usage.
29th of September. Cleaning and nest box maintenance

Price for the group of activities 3.5 €.

Family discounts:
2 members 5 € , 3 members 9 €, 4 members 11 €, 5 members 14 €.

Inscription: Joventut de l'Ajuntament de Soller offices. Tel 971 63 83 84

Download the poster here.
For more information: naturalhistoryservices@gmail.com

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Majorca, good birdwatching in Winter too

In spite of best time for birding usually being spring and autumn, Winter is also a good season for birdwatching.

Amazing groups of Starlings (S. vulgaris) overflying their roosting area at the reed beds in the Albufera Natural Park. You can enjoy the song of hundreds of Song Thrushes (T. philomelos), Robins (E. rubecula), Blackcaps (S. atricapilla) which winter in our oakwoods. A visit to the wetlands; the Albufera, S'Albufereta, Salobrar de Campos salt pans, Prat de Sant Jordi and other small wet area are all places you can expect to get a surprise in the form of a rare migrant. Also looking for Balearic Shearwater (P. mauretanicus) from the coast or the first display flights of the Black Vulture (A. monachus) in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains.

This winter the major surprise has been a Moussier's Redstart (P. moussieri). This bird has been seen at Punta de n'Amer up to the last few days.

Photo: S. Nicoll

This rarity for Spain is a resident of North-west of Africa, and this is the second observation on Majorca. The first was in 2008 at Cabrera National Park.