A trip to the Salinas d'Es Trenc is undoubtedly an exceptional experience for birdwatchers and ornithologists. Even on the hottest days, they can follow up with a relaxing swim in the crystal clear waters of Es Trenc beach. In our salt flats we also offer guided tours so that visitors can learn more about our history, the nature reserve around us and the process of salt extraction.
According to experts, Spain is one of the most exciting countries in the European Union for birdwatchers. It is not surprising that many travelers who choose ecotourism are also nature lovers who travel to remote places to observe special species of birds in their natural habitat.
Bird watching is an activity for the whole family, for couples or even for a vacation alone. It requires a little preparation, a desire to learn and enjoy to the fullest of all the wonders of nature, both large and small. All you need is patience and a little curiosity.
Bird watching takes place in areas where the landscape plays an essential role as a natural habitat for the various birds. Some bird species can be found throughout the year, while others can only be observed at certain times. Experts and guides can identify and distinguish these species. They can even find out details about their origin and behavior if the birds wear an identification ring on one of their legs.
Pere Joan Garcias Salas has accompanied many conservationworks, bird inventories and management of natural areas. He has published articles on the Balearic avifauna in local, national and international journals and has ringed thousands of birds in many migration and wintering campaigns in Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera, Cabrera and Sa Dragonera.
He teaches ornithology courses, is a photographer of nature and has given presentations of ornithological trips around the world. He has also participated in the creation of the documentary series "NuestraFauna", which was broadcasted by a Balearic channel, IB-3 TV. We were allowed to ask him a few questions about his passion.
When did you start bird watching?
More or less regularly at the age of 17.
What does bird watching mean to you?
Well, there are two aspects. First, it is an activity that gives me a lot of satisfaction and secondly, I contribute to the knowledge and preservation of ornithology in the Balearic Islands.
It is interesting that all ornithologists take notes and share them, so that other experts or amateurs have access to the information. How does this sharing take place?
An ornithologist who is working on the conservation and study of birds wants to share the information he or she collects with other ornithologists and the rest of the scientific community. That's why we have a number of communication channels such as journals, discussion forums, congresses, and working meetings.
How often do you go birdwatching in Mallorca? Especially in the area of the Salinas d'Es Trenc? Do you travel to other countries for bird watching?
The frequency of visits to the Salinas d'Es Trenc or any other area of interest for birds often depends on the availability of my time. Fortunately, I am retired and have at least one day a week to go to the countryside to observe and photograph birds. Before the pandemic, I also traveled to other countries where I watched birds when I could. Unfortunately, I was not able to leave the Balearic Islands last year. But yes, although I can only do it on a limited basis at the moment, I do enjoy traveling to other places to watch and photograph birds.
What is the most important thing in a birding trip: Equipment, location, day, weather?
The location is the most important thing. If you go to an urban area, you probably won't see much bird diversity. After the location, the weather is also decisive, because when it is cold in the Nordic countries, it is easier to see birds from the north. It should also be remembered that when it is windy and rainy, the birds hardly move and are difficult to spot, as well as in the midday hours of the hottest summer days. Equipment is also important, but medium sized 8x40 binoculars are enough for good sightings.
What equipment should be necessary? Could you describe what you take on a typical trip and what clothing you recommend?
Clothing depends very much on the weather and the season. You should always wear comfortable clothes in colors that are not too bright. Shades of green, ochreand gray are best. And you should avoid bright blues, reds and greens in anoraks and waterproof suits. If you are traveling to a wet area or observing in winter months, it is advisable to wear waterproof boots to repel mud. Binoculars are also essential. In more specific cases and depending on the intensity with which we perform this activity, a telescope, a tripod and a camera with a telephoto lens of about 400 mm are helpful. Finally, a notebook with a pen or a recorder or even a cell phone is useful for recording observations.
What do you like most or what would you highlight about the area of Salinas d'Es Trenc in terms of bird watching?
The area of Salobrar de Campos, Sa Barrala and Es Trenc beach are three particularly good places to observe wading birds. There are birds of different sizes, with more or less long legs, that live in the mud and on the edges of the ponds and pools. Anatidae (duck birds) are also found in large numbers, especially in winter. As a breeding ground, this area is of great importance for four species, such as the common sandpiper (Charadrius alexandrinus), the avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) and the shelduck (Tadorna tadorna).
Would you recommend this activity to someone who has never tried it before? Do you have any tips on how to go birdwatching and in which areas? How can someone become a birdwatcher?
If someonewants to start birding, I would recommend contacting any local ornithological organization and participating in the various activities they offer. Usually they offer beginner courses as well as advanced courses at all levels. Here in the Balearic Islands there is GOB Formentera, Gen/GOB Ibiza, Somos and GOB in Menorca and GOB Y SEO in Mallorca.
What are the benefits of bird watching or birding? Getting to know the environment, providing data, contact with nature?
The first benefit is purely intellectual, at least for me. You do an activity that fills you up and you enjoy it. At the same time, it forces you to move and is very healthy to combat a sedentary lifestyle. And when we talk about the scientific benefits, these are of the first order because it allows us to collect a lot of data that can give us an overview of the conservation status of populations, detect changes that are occurring in the abundance or distribution of species,and facilitate the study of the effects of human activities on birds, and ultimately contribute to the knowledge of the natural environment in which we live.
Thanks for your time!