- Region: Islas Baleares.
- Island: Mallorca
- Declared a Natural Park: 1988.
- Park surface area: 1,646 hectares.
- Villages: Muro and Sa Pobla.
Points of interest
S’Albufera de Mallorca Natural Park is a Wetland Area of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, and is included in the EU Natura 2000 Network both as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the Habitats Directive. It is the largest and most important wetland area in the Balearic Islands. Made up mainly of wet grassland and marsh.
The origins of the wetland date back to ancient times, and its surface area and features have fluctuated with changing sea levels. While part of the grassland area developed during the Tertiary Era, the current wetlands were formed less than 100,000 years ago. The coastal dunes are considerably more recent, forming over the last 10,000 years or so.
Water is the basis of S’Albufera’s great biodiversity. Water and soil moisture allow vegetation to grow continuously, which varies depending on depth, proximity to the sea and the nature of the soil. The nature park gets most of its fresh water from streams. The influx of seawater in summer is not significant, but it has a significant effect on flora and fauna.
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Reed (Phragmites australis), rush edge (Cladium mariscus) and cob reed (Thypa spp.) dominate the vegetation. In the canals you can find aquatic plants such as the crested pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus) and the rough horn leaf (Ceratophyllum demersum). Rushes (Juncus sp.) And samphire (Salicornia sp.) Grow in the salt water marsh. Among the tree species represented are the white poplar (Populus alba), the elm (Ulmus spp.) And the tamarisk (Tamarix sp.) are present.
The vegetation of the dunes is adapted to the harsh conditions of the environment, including the dune funnel-shaped daffodil (Pancratium maritimum), Peu de Milà, a Mediterranean species of the sparrow-tongue family (Thymelaea velutina), and the coastal juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus macrocarpa).
With a total of over 200 species there is also an enormous variety of mushrooms and funghi. One of them, Psathyrella halofila, was only discovered in S’Albufera in 1992.
As for the fauna, the river eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the mullet are particularly noteworthy among the fish. The Iberian water frog (Pelophylax perezi) and reptiles such as the viper (Natrix maura) and the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) are found in large numbers.
The total of 22 mammal species include rats, mice and several species of bats.
Invertebrates are also very diverse with many species of dragonflies, beetles and over 450 species of moths.
Over 300 different bird species have been observed in the area and around 60 are resident or species represented in summer that reproduce in the nature park. More than 10,000 birds overwinter in S’Albufera: ducks, herons and also large flocks of starlings. The nature park is an important stopover for many migratory birds, many of which are only guests for a few days, such as teal ducks, swallows … and even, sometimes, cranes.
Can Bateman Interpretation Centre is open to the public from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm all the year, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The visitor centre is close to the park entrance (6 KM southeast of Alcudia) but can only be reached by foot. The centre provides permits to visit the park and general information for the area and its Wildlife. there is an exhibition housed in the Can Bateman.
Can Bateman was built in 1870 which used to belong to Mr Bateman, one of the Englishmen with a license to reclaim land from the wetlands. Restored in 1991. The building once contained the pumps and machinery and was also used as a paper mill making paper from reeds.
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