RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

The coastal wetlands of S’Albufereta are one of the natural treasures of the Bay of Pollença, thanks to their singular landscape and their ornithological and botanical value.

The Nature Reserve covers a surface of 211 hectares, with additional peripheral protection of its surrounding 290 hectares, where certain land use and activities are regulated to prevent unwanted environmental impact.

S’Albufereta was declared a Nature Reserve by virtue of Decree 121/2001 (BOIB Number 130, of 30 October 2001), and four years later it was reclassied as a Special Nature Reserve through Law 5/2005, of 26 May, on the Conservation of Environmentally Important Sites (locally known as the law LECO). The S’Albufereta Natural Resource Management Plan was also approved by means of the Government Council Resolution of 19 October 2001 (BOIB Number 130, of 30 October 2001). Yet the site had already been protected by legislation years earlier, thanks to its declaration as a Natural Area of Special Interest in 1991, by virtue of Law 1/1991, of 30 January, on Natural Spaces and Urban Regulation for Areas of Special Protection of the Balearic Islands (locally known as the LEN).

S’Albufereta also forms part of the Natura 2000 Network, an initiative designed to contribute to the conservation of plant and animal species and their natural habitats in protected natural spaces around Europe.

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

  • Please remain on the marked paths and trails at all times.
  • Visitors are not allowed to enter the Nature Reserve by boat, on horseback or in motorised vehicles.
  • Please keep the environment clean. Be sure to take with you any waste that you generate during your visit.
  • Dogs and cats can damage unique habitats like this one and are therefore not allowed in the Nature Reserve.
  • Please do not engage in sports or competitive activities in the Nature Reserve.
  • The collection or removal of plants is not allowed.
  • Please do not disturb the animals.
  • Construction activities of any type require the corresponding previous municipal permit.

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

It's placed in the north of Mallorca, in the Bay of Pollença, in the municipal areas of Alcúdia and Pollença. The Reserve can be accessed via public bus line from the Port of Pollença or Alcúdia, or by bicycle or private car. Visitors in private cars are asked to park in the nearest urban area

MAPA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

Like other Mediterranean wetlands, S’Albufereta is an essential sanctuary along the annual migratory paths of countless aquatic birds. Moreover, during the harsh summer droughts that typify the Mediterranean climate, wetlands like S’Albufereta become genuine oases for many bird species. Watching a group of Eleonora’s falcons (Falco eleonorae) as they hunt in the late afternoon or catching a fortunate glimpse of an osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are just some of the pleasant rewards to be enjoyed by the attentive and quiet visitor. S ’Albufereta abounds with plants that are typical of wetland areas with heavy saltwater influence, given the proximity to the sea. Thus, glasswort prairies and tamarisk groves are prevalent amid the Reserve’s lagoons, streams and canals. In fact, the tamarisk forest that lines the El Rec stream is one of the most noteworthy communities of its type in Mallorca. No less striking for their unique hydrogeological features are the varying surges of the saltwater springs known as Els Ulls del Rec, which emerge in the streambed itself. The presence of the endemic plant Limonium alcudianum, which only grows in the brackish waters of S’Albufereta and the neighbouring Albufera, as well as the only Balearic community of another type of statice, the Limonium algarvense, along with many other species, make this an exceptional site of botanical interest.

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

Office of management: schedule from Monday to Friday of 9 to 14 hr. Telephone 971 892250.

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

       
  • Volta en bicicleta a s'Albufereta
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  • Les platges de sa Marina i Can Cap de Bou

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

Volta en bicicleta a s'Albufereta

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:11,3 km
Duración:120 min

Color:   

This route circles the S’Albufereta nature reserve and we suggest you make it a cycling tour. You will be able to explore one of the most important and interesting wetlands on the island. You will come across farmland, cattle and many traditional buildings giving this itinerary great cultural, ethnologic and natural value. The beauty of the Rec tamarisks, the scenery of the lakes, Es Grau and the beach, changing with the seasons, the light at dawn and dusk… all this grants S’Albufereta a singular beauty and places it in a special category among the protected areas on the island.

Etapas

From the village Sa Marina the first part of the itinerary is the bicycle lane running parallel to the beach. Soon you arrive at the Pont des Grau (bridge) offering up a great view of the S’Albufereta that changes greatly depending on time of year and rainfall. Arriving at dawn this is a great spot for observing marine birds such as plovers (Charadrius spp), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), herons (Ardea cinerea, Egretta garzetta)..., and also a perfect location for a photo with the Tramuntana mountains in the background. The houses of S’Albufereta stand out as well as waterways draining the torrents and lakes. Some of the irrigation canals were dug by the same company that tried to drain S’Albufera at the end of the 19th century, and another large area was excavated in the 1990s in an attempt to extend the open-water area for mallards and make hunting them easier.
Leaving the bridge behind you see tamarisks, or sea cedars, flowering all around between spring and summer, with dense, pink or off-white sprigs. These shrubs make the nature reserve unique and cope very well with high salt concentration. That is why you find them from the beach to the bank of the Rec torrent, forming bushes of great value to the landscape as well as the diverse fauna hiding in them.
Along the itinerary, especially if you visit during spring or summer, you will be able to see a large variety of insects. The reason is mainly the abundance of water — essential to their life cycles —, highly productive vegetation that provides food for many of them, and the combination of wetlands with open water, scrubland and wood. During their life stages, insects play a key role in the wetland ecosystem. Blue-tailed damselflies (Ischnura elegans), dragonflies (Anax sp., Aeshna spp.), paper wasps (Polistes gallicus) and praying mantes (Mantis religiosa) are some of the most remarkable predators found in the area, while butterflies are beautiful and easy to spot. The most common are the Green-veined White (Pieris napi), the Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria sardoa) and the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
At the first crossroads, to the left, you leave the coast behind on the Cami d’Almadrava trail. To your right, 1.6 kilometres from the sea, you will be surprised by the remains of a square talaiot, a gigantic construction from the Talaiotic period during the island’s prehistoric past (900 – 123 BC). It is assumed that the structure was a lot higher and bigger than it is today. It was probably one of the most significant buildings of a number that enclosed the Ulls del Rec, near the La Cisterna settlement where inhabitants benefited from the abundance of water, fish and game by the Pollensa Bay coastline.
About 700 metres further on, leave the D’Almadrava trail and turn left. Cross the torrent and follow the right hand side of the Rec, whose water flow is almost permanent, fed by the Ulls del Rec. A mixture of fresh water and salt water flows from there almost all year round and constitutes the main feed of S’Albufereta together with the Font de Mal Any (spring) and the Can Xanet and Can Roig torrents. Shortly after, the road takes you past the location of a sluice gate that diverted water from the torrent, using its power to mill grain in the Almadrava mill. That building — now gone — was probably of Arabic origin. The area surrounding the Rec torrent is a good viewing spot for birds such as the great black cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) or the grey heron (Ardea cinerea), patiently watching fish from the banks while Eurasian coot (Fulica atra) and common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) hide in the hedgerows.
Once you have crossed the bridge over the Font de Mal Any torrent, take a left by the first fork in the path: the aptly named Camí del Bosc (forest trail). You will spot a number of sheds and waterwheels in various states of conservation. Farming is still very much present in the area, even if it is far from what it used to be like when this forest was called the Pantry of Pollensa and cabbage was its most famous and appreciated produce. The fields host well-known birdlife such as the goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), the common blackbird (Turdus merula), the house sparrow (Passer domesticus), the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis). You will arrive at the Camí des Braçals trail — part of the old road from Pollensa to Alcudia — in surroundings that are dominated by non-irrigated farming of grain and almond trees. During the final stretch of the excursion you pass the areas Braçals and Sa Barcassa and as you get closer to Alcudia you can still spot some old sandstone walls.

RESERVA NATURAL DE S’ALBUFERETA

Les platges de sa Marina i Can Cap de Bou

Dificultad:Low
Distancia:1,1 km - 2,3 km
Duración:1 h

Color:   

A tour of the S’Albufereta coastline lets you experience a very special environment: the seashore, a frontier world that will surprise you and where the power of waves and winds shapes a landscape that continuously renews itself. On the beach there are signs of life underwater: the posidonia meadows of Pollensa Bay, algae, shells and seashells show an ecosystem essential to maintain beaches as well as the entire biodiversity of the Mediterranean.

Etapas

Your starting point is the small village Sa Marina at the very south of Pollensa Bay. The intention is to experience the marine borderland by the seashore, parallel to the road between Alcudia and the Port of Pollensa. Near kilometre marker 65.800 on the MA-2220 you will see where to access the beach. As you enter, note the greyish colour of the sand. Along this stretch of sand it is very probable that you will come across the little egret (Egretta garzetta) or a flock of ringed plovers (Charadrius dubius), the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahelis) or Audouin’s gull ( Larus audouinii), or perhaps the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) passing by, flying low.
By the sea, waves mark an area where there is almost no vegetation at all apart from some remains of posidonia. Behind this stretch of land winds, salinity, stark isolation and moving sands — where water easily runs and escapes — shape an environment that is far from inviting for vegetation, yet it still manages to survive. Grass manages to hold the dunes anchored in an extensive underground system of stalks — rhizome — from which new roots and stalks sprout. Further back the large European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) fills the same function together with other species using their own individual survival strategies: the sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum) storing nutrients in an underground bulb; the European searocket (Cakile maritima), with long, well-developed roots; the sea holly (Eryngium maritimum), sharp and very attractive to insects; the sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias), with toxic sap… Along the walk and near the road you will find species of tamarisk (Tamarix sp.). They are deciduous trees that can reach a height of more than four metres, with reddish bark and small leaves, blossoming between spring and summer with thick pink or off-white sprays.
Continue walking along the sea. After storms the sand will be covered in the seagrass species called Posidonia oceanica, popularly known as alga, even if it is a marine plant. It is a herbaceous plant with stem, roots and leaves that can grow to be up to 50 centimetres long. When the posidonia mixes with sand it leaves those characteristic, fibrous balls on the beach. The posidonia has traditionally been used to fertilise fields. This use was particularly important before chemical fertilisers were used when posidonia — together with ant nests, manure and crop rotation — was the only way of improving soil on the fields. Today we know that results are actually not optimal, since nutrients in the posidonia only slowly incorporate themselves into the soil and lead to a certain degree of salinity. The posidonia shields the sand from the constant beating of the waves; the reserve regulations control its removal in order to protect the beach. The posidonia is not removed during winter and heavy machinery is avoided.
Not far from the last houses in Sa Marina you will see the Pont des Grau bridge. Where S’Albufereta opens up into the sea you are presented with a wonderful view of the landscape. When the torrent is at its largest you have to use the bridge to get across. The wetlands at this point consist of five metres of mud, so the 40-metre-long bridge had to be anchored on cement pillars. The Pont des Grau together with the bridge stretching across the mouth of the Sant Jordi torrent more to the north completed the coastal road project between the Port of Pollensa and Alcudia. This was a historical event for those living in the area who no longer had to go all the way around the wetlands. The project began during the Civil War, delayed but also considered of strategic interest. The road was built by republican prisoners but was not finished, bridge included, until the conflict ended. By this point it was already recognised that it would be important to tourism.
Continue your walk along the beach, known as Can Cap de Bou at this point. Along this coastline machine-gun nests were constructed as a line of defence on the Mallorcan coast during the Second World War. They were meant to defend against a possible allied landing, something that never occurred. Further from the Grau the beach gets narrow; walking along the seashore becomes difficult and you have to use the road for a stretch. The system of dunes was destroyed when the road was built and the natural dynamics of the beach changed. Along the seashore you often see someone fishing, either from the beach or halfway out in the water. Towards the end of the excursion, near the hotel complex, sea fennel (Crithmum maritimum) and Limonium abound among the stones protecting the road. Their purple-coloured flowers on thin stems are often visited by the Painted Lady butterfly (Cynthia cardui).
This area is one of the most praised landscapes on Mallorca. To the very south on the horizon the bay is closed by the Alcudia peninsula, where you can see the coastal residential areas Corral d’en Benàsser and Es Barcarès, the outline of Alcudia and the Victoria watchtower, which together with the Penya des Migdia form the highest points. To the north you have the Port of Pollensa and the point L’Avançada with the Formentor peninsula as backdrop. To the west you can admire the nearest peaks of the Tramuntana mountain range: the Puig de Maria, Puig Gros de Ternelles, Cuculla de Fartàritx and the hills Ca de Miner, Tomir, Massanella… You can finish the itinerary once you arrive at the hotel complex, or make it a longer visit by continuing along the Can Cap de Bou until you get to kilometre marker 63 on the MA-2220 road, near the Camí d’Almadrava junction.

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