- On arrival in Palma de Mallorca, we meet our local English-speaking naturalist leader, then drive around one hour to our hotel in Cala Sant Vicenç in the northeast of the island.
- Our first sortie is to the spectacular Formentor Peninsula, stopping en route at the lighthouse at its tip to see birds, endemic plants and fine coastal views. The rocky cliffs are a great place to watch seabirds as well as magnificent sunrises and sunsets. There’s a chance of seeing serin, firecrest, blue rock thrush, Eleonora's falcon, Balearic shearwater and crag martin - a great introduction to our stay - while endemic plants such as the rare peony Paeonia cambessedesii nestle among the rocks.
- We then continue to Talaia d'Albercutx in the hope of seeing Balearic warbler, another endemic species.
- Accommodation: Hostal Oriola, 4-nights on full board basis.
- Most of our time on Mallorca is spent birding in the north of the island, visiting some of the varied habitats that make up the landscape. One day we explore the Parque Natural de S'Albufera, whose mix of wetland, grassland and woodland is home to plants, waterbirds and shore birds - as well as one of the world’s largest populations of rare moustached warbler.
- We picnic at nearby Maristany, in whose lagoons and reedbeds we may see moustached warbler, purple heron, yellow wagtail, little egret, little bittern, and purple swamp hen.
- On the edge of Port de Pollença the tiny wetland of the Reserva Natural de S’Albufereta is a good place to see waders, herons and egrets, plus terns and possibly osprey, as well as some interesting marsh and coastal plants.
- To the south lie the dunes, garriga and pinewoods of Son Real. This is a good area for Hermann’s tortoise, the endemic Balearic warbler, orchids and Mediterranean plants. Further south the salt pans of the Salobrar de Campos hold flamingos and waders such as Kentish plover and black winged stilt, plus various migrants.
- On our final morning walk around Cuber Reservoir, we may see the world’s last island population of black vulture, plus griffon vulture, booted eagle, peregrine falcon and the recently introduced Bonelli’s eagle.
- After an early breakfast we take a morning ferry across to Menorca. On the two-hour crossing we keep a lookout for pelagic species such as Balearic, yelkouan and Scopoli's shearwaters.
- On disembarking in Ciutadella we make our way east along the island, stopping to see colonies of spotless starling and cattle egret. We continue to Punta Nati for a picnic lunch and a chance to thekla and short-toed larks, tawny pipit, pallid swift, and Egyptian vulture.
- Our final stop before we head to Ses Salines, on a wide sheltered bay on the north coast, is to see a colony of Alpine swifts - although we may also see pallid swift and peregrine falcon.
- Accommodation: Hostal Port Fornells, 4-nights on full board basis.
- We have another two full days to explore Menorca. On one full and varied day we drive to a nearby area where we can see Dartford warbler, then continue to the Albufera des Grau, a wetland whose highlights are various waders, herons, ducks, raptors, and migrants. After stopping on the way to Addaia Salt Pans for our picnic lunch, we visit Favàritx lighthouse to see a host of endemic plants and migrant birds.
- On our second full day we head off in the morning to nearby Son Saura del Nord to see ferruginous duck, red crested pochard, purple gallinule, nightingale and Cetti's warbler, then search for migrant bee-eaters, booted eagle, red kite, harriers and Egyptian vulture at Lluriac Marsh. Our lunch stop is at Monte Toro - the highest point on Menorca - after which we drive to Son Bou, where - with any luck - we can see great reed warbler, migrants, dragonflies and damselflies.
- Transfer the short distance to Mahon international airport for a flight back to the UK.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in a small and simple family-run hotel on Mallorca in the tiny quiet resort of Cala Sant Vicenç on the rocky northeast coast, just a short drive from the Formentor Peninsula. All 23 rooms have an en suite bathroom and balcony, the terrace bar at the front has views over the bay, and there is a small pool at the rear.
On Menorca we stay in a small and simple family-run hotel in a peaceful hamlet beside the wide bay at Port Fornells. The hotel has around 20 rooms with en suite facilities and a balcony. There is a bar, and a small pool in a garden nearby.
All meals are included. Breakfast and dinner are taken in the hotels, and we take picnic lunches in the field so we can make the most of our time.
Despite the relatively small size of the islands, the variety of habitats offers a surprising range of birdlife.
- Moustached warbler
- Balearic warbler
- Balearic shearwater
- Black vulture
Although the abundance of birds is the main attraction, we keep an eye open for pine marten - especially in the woodlands and meadows of Menorca.
- Pine marten
- Bottlenose dolphin
- Mediterranean monk seal
- Mallorcan wild goat
The insect highlights of the trip should be the dragonflies and damselflies we encounter in the wetlands, although some butterflies may also be spotted.
- Cleopatra butterfly
- Two-tailed pasha
- Scarlet dragonfly
- Copper demoiselle damselfly
Reptiles and amphibians
Around all our locations on this trip we can enjoy amphibian and reptile species.
- Green tree frog
- Balearic green toad
- Hermann’s tortoise
- Italian wall lizard
In early April there are plenty of spring flowers around - including a selection of orchids. The Balearic Islands offer a great variety of endemic plants.
- Balearic orchid
- Balearic St John’s wort
- Balearic cyclamen
- Balearic peony
The varied scenery ranges from Mallorca’s rugged wave-lashed northern coast and the imposing Serra de Tramuntana, plus the flat agricultural plains and salt-pans of the interior and a great variety of wetlands, to the pastoral countryside of central Menorca, which is very green at this time of year, and its amazing sea cliffs.
On the ferry crossing from Mallorca to Menorca we hope to spot pelagic seabirds such as Balearic, yelkouan and Scopoli's shearwaters.
Photographic opportunities on this trip are good - especially for seabirds and waders wildlife and landscape, as well as spectacular coastal scenery.
Some trails are steep in parts, but most walking is on the flat or on gentle inclines, and taken at a slow pace.
The fields outside Ciutadella on Menorca contain numerous remains of local Talaiot culture that date from the late Bronze Age (1.500 BC). There was little building material other than stone, so the ancient inhabitants used the soft rock to construct their shelters or excavate caves. Due to the abundance of these, Menorca is sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean's largest open-air museum.
Price includes return scheduled flights London-Palma de Mallorca and Mahon-London.
Price includes a one-way ferry crossing from Port d’Alcudia on Mallorca to Ciutadella on Menorca.
By minibus, nine-seater van or small passenger vehicle, driven by the leader.
On this trip the highest point that we reach is at Cuber Reservoir in Mallorca (750 metres above sea level).
At this time of year it is usually warm and sunny, with temperatures typically averaging 15-25⁰ Celsius, although there may be some cooler weather and even some rain. It is frequently windy along the coast, so you need a warm outer layer - especially first thing in the morning, when it can be fresh.