Swan Lake

Not many things are prettier than the grace of a swan. On the lake of the Palacio Real de la Almudaina in Palma we have a brace of white swans – years ago there was a pair of black swans, but one died and the other one got into a severe depression and had to be moved to a home for widowed swans. Recently, the pair of white swans have grown into, one can only assume, a happy family of five. Three little swan babies, or is it chicks, have hatched a few weeks ago. The proud parents show off their brood happily to the visitors, begging for attention and perhaps for food as well. I think we should not feed the swans but I definitely think you should go and see the regal offspring next time you make your way to Palma. It is such a pretty, graceful and soothing sight.

We are so lucky to be blessed with such marvels of nature, right at our doorstep, so to speak.

The photos were taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 10th, 2012. The time was 12:45:37 and 12:46:48, respectively.

Swan Lake

El Portitxol

El Portitxol is the name of what used to be a fishing harbour just outside of the island capital. El Portitxol forms part of El Molinar which is now a suburb of Palma. Over the last twenty years, both, El Portitxol and El Molinar have slowly but surely begun to be transformed from a down-market area where fishermen and gypsies lived, as well as workers and other people on low incomes, to a popular area with lots of bars and restaurants, some of them a little chichi and some of them catering for Palma’s yuppies.

Even though El Portitxol is near the capital city and really part of it, it seems worlds apart. If you go there early in the morning or late in the evening, it seems rather sleepy and rural. You can hear and sense the busy life going on in a distance but here, time seems to pass much slower. In fact, it is so quiet and laid back here that some wildlife can be found prospering here, such as the Corb Marí Emplomallat (Common Shag). A rather large flock gathers every late afternoon on the low rocks between Club Nàutic Portitxol and the Club Nàutic Es Molinar.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 18th, 2012. The time was 18:05:37. The photo (bottom) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 28th, 2012. The time was 14:47:21.

El Portitxol

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta

If you know Mallorca and love the island for its natural beauty you will most likely know the Parc Natural s’Albufera de Mallorca. The wetland of flooded marshes between Can Picafort and Alcúdia is certainly one of my favourite areas for peaceful outings, tranquil ambling and walks and exciting activities such as bird watching or nature studies of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat.

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta is a smaller but similar wetland but is a bit of a poor relative of the better known and more popular s’Albufera. I somehow prefer s’Albufereta because I can watch the same bird varieties with less Hoi polloi and fewer self-important bird-spotters. The vegetation of s’Albufereta is typical of the wetlands of the Mediterranean shore, with a predominance of reeds, bulrushes and rushes. S’Albufereta holds the Balearic Islands’ most important Tamarisk grove (Tamarix gallica and Tamarix canariensis). The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta provides a nesting ground for species such as the Purple Gallinule, the Marsh Harrier, the Black-winged Stilt, the Yellow Wagtail and the Sedge Warbler. Fan-tailed Warbler, migrant Bluethroat and Green Sandpiper can also be seen here. In Winter, common visitors are Cormorants, Egrets, and various species of ducks and geese.

Although s’Albufereta is a Nature Reserve, most of it is private property, so your visit should be limited to the perimeters of the protected area. Please, do not trespass.

The photo (top) was taken near Alcúdia, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 23rd, 2012. The time was 12:40:52. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of birdinginspain.com.

Thank you very much.

The Reserva Natural s’Albufereta

Of European Shags and Eastern European Thugs

I went back to the scene of our bag-snatching robbery yesterday in Es Molinar on the off-chance of finding a stolen laptop computer or else, a sign of the culprits. Instead, I found an idyllic scene of a flock of seagulls and a covey of European Shags (Latin: Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Castellano: Cormorán Moñudo), also known as Common Shags, being members of the cormorant family. The birds were waiting for a catch of fish, I suppose, before I saw them flying away, oblivious to our plight.

For those of you who might be interested in the petty crime scene in Mallorca’s capital, we were alternatively pointed to some housing estate of gypsies, to Latino gangs, to the drug scene of Son Banya, to the Moros and the Palma gangland made up of Eastern European thugs. But so far, no luck. Today, in the very early hours, we will try our luck at the Car Boot Sale in Consell. Wish us luck.

The photo was taken in Portixol, Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 28th, 2012. The time was 14:47:21.

Of European Shags and Eastern European Thugs

The Falconry Competition

Last weekend, a couple of Falconry competitions were held in Felanitx, more precisely in Son Valls, where champions were crowned in three categories, IX Campeonato de Halconería de Balears, V Campeonato de Sky Trial and II Campeonatos de Velocidad. Somehow I missed the event, what with the excitement of the Reyes and all, hence I had to borrow a photo from the Internet. To my surprise I then came across an announcement for another Falconry tournament coming up in Campos this coming weekend, the I Campeonato Mallorquin de Cetreria. That’s a lot of tournaments of Falconry. How exciting. I will try to not miss the forthcoming event in Campos, January 14th – 15th, at Finca Sa Barrala. I hope I will be able to find the venue.

The photo (top) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of ultimahora.es and the photographer, Gabriel Vicens. The photo (bottom) was taken in Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 9th, 2012. The time was 13:14:20.

Muchas gracias.

The Falconry Competition

Of Ducks and Foolish Politicians

We had another beautiful day yesterday with the weather giving me a good enough reason to go out on that daily photo shoot. When I found a good ten dozen ducks or Mallards, probably of the Ànnera mallorquina variety (Latin: Anas platyrhynchos), they must have thought I was shooting for real, because quick as a flash they took off and hurriedly escaped from the range of my lens. Well, almost. We have quite a bit of bird life here in the Felanitx area, mainly on account of a kind of wetland that the local compostation plant has created. Now, that Catalina Soler, ex-mayoress of Felanitx, has taken chair and presidency at the Medi Ambient (Environment and Conservation) portfolio within the Consell de Mallorca, she threatens to close Mallorca’s six compostation plants. Can someone tell the lady, please, and in Mallorquin so that she understands, that she is ignorant and foolish. Sorry, it had to be said.

The Ànnera mallorquina is one of 30 razas autóctonas (native Mallorcan animal breeds) and is said to have lived here for the last 200 years or so. Now, it is said that this particular duck is in a critical state of survival.

If you want to know more about Mallorca’s compostation plants you can look it up on my earlier post entry.

If you want to know more about Mallorca’s razas autóctonas you can look for information on this website (in Castellano and Catalan only).

The photo (top) was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: January 8th, 2012. The time was 13:57:05. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Wikipedia and the photographer, Mila Zinkova.

Thank you very much.

Of Ducks and Foolish Politicians

The Red-Legged Partridge

The Perdiu had its big day yesterday in the pueblo of Montuïri. The Perdiu (Alectoris rufa) is a game bird, also known as the Red-Legged Partridge. The annual Fira de sa Perdiu was celebrated in Montuïri yesterday for the 33rd time. This traditional partridge event is quite a fascinating do. Farmers, hunters and game bird enthusiasts converge here every year to have their Perdiz Roja (as the bird is called in Castellano) sing, perform and compete to hopefully win one of the championship trophies. The overall championship winner yesterday was Toni Miralles with a score of 25 points. The rules for the competition are quite stringent, as are the guidelines and restrictions for partridge hunting season in Mallorca, which also happens to be relatively short (October 12th to January 25th).

The Red-Legged Partridge was introduced to Mallorca in the 13th century, possibly coming from the mainland with the conquistadors. The bird is said to now suffer a decline in populations throughout Spain due to excessive hunting. There are some 26,000 hunting licenses for small game in Mallorca; not all of the license holders made their way to Montuïri yesterday.

The photo was taken in Montuïri, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 4th, 2011. The time was 13:27:06.

The Red-Legged Partridge