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The Arta Peninsula

The Arta Peninsula To reach the Arta Peninsula, head south out of Porto de Pollenca along the coast road (C-712), through Alcudia, past The Albufera National Park and Can Picafort. To get to the coastal track marked on the map in green, take a left turn sign posted to Colonia de Sant Pere. Carry on along this road past some new houses until the road becomes to rough to drive along. Park at the end of the tarmac road and continue on foot. This path will take you through several stands of pines with scrubland either side of the path. The Arta Mountains to your right and small coves to your left. At the end of the path is a small stand of pines situated next to a ramshackle building at Punta d'es Calo.
The next sites of interest on the peninsula are up in the mountains. You will need to get back onto the main coast road and head towards Arta town. Follow the signs initially through the one way system to Capdepera and Cala Rajada until you pass a church on your right. You will then see pink signs to Sant Salavador, Museu and Ermita. Follow these signs out of the town keeping the cathedral de Sant Salvador to your right on leaving the town. As you leave the town you will see a high stone wall in front of you at a T junction.
At this junction fork left and follow the signs for Ermita de Betlem. This road will take you up over the mountains, past a T.V. aerial and down to the Ermita de Betlem.

We spent two good days along the coastal track on the Arta peninsula. The area is very quiet with few other visitors in the area and the scenery is beautiful. On driving along the tarmac road past Colonia Sant Pere we had excellent views of Wryneck calling from the telegraph posts close to the road and two Booted Eagles patrolled the edges of the cliffs to our right. One pale phase and one dark phase. Along the coastal path itself, flocks of Crossbills called from the pine stands, Blue Rock Thrush were numerous up on the mountainsides with Tawny Pipit and large numbers of Sardinian Warbler. On the first visit to the area I had extremely good views of a Marmora's Warbler to the left of the track just before reaching the pines at Punta d'es Calo. In the small pine wood were numerous migrants such as Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Flycatchers, Redstarts and a single Melodious Warbler. My major "tick" for the holiday, although "tick" isn't a word I like to use, was viewed from the edge of the pine wood looking down the short cliff edge overlooking the bay. Perched on the branch of a small pine over the water was a White Breasted Kingfisher (Smyrna Kingfisher). Unfortunately on seeing me the bird took fright. However, it did fly directly past me along the coast, giving an excellent view. I have since submitted a record of this sighting but have heard no news as to its acceptance.

Both days spent along the north coast of the Arta Peninsula were very rewarding, however, the first trip revealed much greater numbers of migrants than the second.
The Arta Peninsula
Punta d'es Calo
S'Ermita de Betlem On our first visit we also drove into the Arta mountains where the road to the Ermita de Betlem is reputed to be the prime spot on the island for Thekla Lark. We walked around the area close to The Ermita where Thekla Lark could be heard calling from the hillsides above, but after much searching none were seen. From the point where the T.V. aerial sits beside the road Weatear and a couple of Alpine Swifts were visible but no larks were seen or heard. However, a few hundred yards from the T.V. aerial is a bulldozed track with a chain across its entrance. A walk down this track revealed flocks of finches and five Thekla Larks which flew around calling before alighting extremely close to me at the side of the track to feed. It appeared that later in the day was a good time to look for the birds as none were seen earlier during the day.

Other bird watching sites on the Arta Peninsula are mentioned in "A Birdwatching Guide to Mallorca", but those mentioned above were the most rewarding on our visit. We did visit the sewage works just outside of Arta, but at the time found little of interest.

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