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Fuerteventura 23rd – 30th April, 2008

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Old Monday 12th May 2008, 22:01   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: East Lothian, Scotland
Posts: 391
Fuerteventura 23rd – 30th April, 2008

Lee J s report inspired me to post a wee rundown of the birds I saw, basically in the week following his trip:

My wife and I spent a great, chill-out week in a villa in Lajares which we chose to combine our need for a relaxing family holiday with my need for birds . To strike a good balance I restricted the birding to first-light and evening outings (when the birds were at their most active anyway) with the island land specialities in mind. As a result I mostly skipped the sea and shorebirds but managed to see most of my target land species.

For info I used Tony Clarke's excellent Canarian site guide and around a dozen trip reports from the internet.
For Ids - Collins Bird Guide.
Map - Berlitz Holiday Map - Fuerteventura.

23rd April – our flight was delayed for several hours and it was late when we arrived on the island. Only bird seen in failing light – 1 Turtle Dove at the Hertz car pickup point at the airport.

24th April – pretty shattered from previous days travelling (no food for 23 hours!!! ) so just birded around villa (off the Calle San Antonio, near the church and windmill):
[Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Barn Swallow, Spanish Sparrow - loads seen every day]

Kestrel (1)
Stone Curlew (5)
Bee-eater (2)
Hoopoe (6)
Lesser Short-toed Lark (3)
Berthelot’s Pipit (2)
Spotted Flycatcher (1)
Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff (1)
Blackcap (1) - heard only.
Chaffinch (1) – a flyby, so race undetermined.
Linnet (several)

25th April – El Cotillo (plain to the south) at first light for some of the specialities. Only found the courser and the finch though:
Barn Swallow, House Martin, Berthelot’s Pipit, Lesser Short-toed Lark - abundant.
Cream-coloured Courser (5)
Hoopoe (4)
Trumpeter Finch (2)

Just west of Lajares: Southern Grey Shrike (1)

26th April – El Cotillo (plain to the south) at first light. Same plan as day before but with no luck:
Barn Swallow, House Martin, Common Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit, Lesser Short-toed Lark - abundant.
Harrier spec. 4 distant fliers
Marsh Harrier (1) – a nearby passing female
Whimbrel (2) – casually crossed the track on foot in front of the car - peculiar sight!
Bee-eater (2)
Spotted Flycatcher (1)
Whinchat (1) - got the pulse racing for a second or two!

La Oliva (cultivation at Fimapaire Valley turn off):
Grey Heron (1) - flying
Ruddy Shelduck (2) – flying
Lesser Short-toed Lark (1)
Berthelot’s Pipit (2)
Raven (1)
Linnet (2)
Corn Bunting (1)

Fimapaire Valley:
Canary Island Chat (2) – a pair at the road junction

Afternoon at villa in Lajares - (weather very hot and windy):
Egyptian Vulture (2) - subadults
Black Kite (1) – adult
Buzzard (1)
Eagle species ? – distant silhouette only
Kestrel (3)
Laughing Dove (2) – pair. Expected to have to go looking for them down at La Lajita but apparently they’ve spread far and wide.
Pallid Swift (1)
Bee-eater (1)
Barn Swallows/House Martins abundant
Willow Warbler (1)
Wood Warbler (1)

Area around Cotillo road west of Lajares at dusk:
Harrier spec (1)
Bee-eater (4)
Berthelot’s Pipit (1)
Spanish Sparrow (1)
Greenfinch (1) – in flight
Back at villas a large flock of swallows, martins, and bee-eaters swooping around trees apparently settling in to roost.

27th April – around Lajares from first light:
Kestrel (1)
Barbary Partridge – heard only
Stone Curlew – abundant
Barn Swallow – abundant
Sand Martin (1)
Unid. grey ‘Hippolais’
Willow Warbler (1)
Whitethroat (1)
Garden Warbler (1)
Spotted Flycatcher (1)
Linnet – abundant
Trumpeter Finch (2) – pair

Between Corralejo and Tamaragua:
Egyptian Vulture (3) – adults soaring

28th April – Lajares. Walk 2 or 3 km east along Calle San Antonio. Near end of houses a row of tamarisks leading to a small pool held loads of migrants. Migrants present everywhere:
Egyptian Vulture (1) – adult seen soaring near communication masts in afternoon
Kestrel (3)
Turtle Dove (2)
Laughing Dove (6)
Common Swift (3)
Hoopoe (several)
Roller (1)
Bee-eater (several) - including one flock of 16
Barn Swallows/House Martins (several)
Red-rumped Swallow (1)
Sand Martin (2)
Tree Pipit (1)
Whinchat (3)
Wheatear (2)
Redstart (2)
Pied Flycatcher (6)
Spotted Flycatcher (several)
Willow Warbler (2)
Chiffchaff (1)
Willow/Chiffs (several)
Wood Warbler (1)
Garden Warbler (2)
Spectacled Warbler (1)
Southern Grey Shrike (1)
Golden Oriole (2)
Linnet (several)
Trumpeter Finch (1)

Trip to Betancuria and Embalse de las Penitas:
Dipped on ‘degener’ Canarian Tit unfortunately.
Grey Heron (1) – near Llanos de la Concepcion
Roller (1) – on a wire between Betancuria & Vega de Rio de las Palmas. Also Turtle Dove (1) and Southern Grey Shrike (2) at this spot.

Embalse de la Penitas viewpoint: fed the Barbary Ground Squirrels - take sunflower seeds. Only Raven (1) seen here. Mind you it was pretty hot and windy at the time. Saw a party of birders scoping something down in the barranco but couldn’t see what it was.
Vega de Rio de las Palmas: Golden Oriole (1)

Near Caleta de Fustes:
Cream-coloured Courser (4) – in flight alongside the FV2

29th April – Early rise to look for last three main targets, Houbara, Sandgrouse and Partridge:
1 Algerian Hedgehog - in car headlights

Rosa de las Negrines:
Houbara Bustard (1) – flew over the track and disappeared over a ridge
Barbary Partridge (2)
Southern Grey Shrike (1)
Raven (1)
Hoopoe (1)

Faro de Cotillo:
Cory’s Shearwater – loads heading north past point
Sanderling (2)
Redshank – one flock of 30+

Feeding on rubbish at the recycling point:
Turnstone (8)
Spanish Sparrow (3) - males

Nearby sandy plain:
Redshank (3) – flyby
Greenshank (1) - flyby
Turtle Dove (2)
Hoopoe (1)
Tree Pipit (1)
Berthelot’s Pipit (1)
Whinchat (2)
Pied Flycatcher (1)
Willow/Chiffs (several)
Trumpeter Finch – abundant, feeding on small green plants in dunes

Dipped on sandgrouse.

After breakfast while sunbathing at villa:
Bee-eater (1) – just one. Previous large numbers of migrants had apparently moved on
Golden Oriole (1) – subadult male
Trumpeter Finch (1)

30th April – heading for home.
Pied Flycatcher (1) – in back garden
Yellow Wagtail (one of the blue headed races, prob. flava, iberiae) – seen briefly from car in airport carpark.

Fuerteventura was great as a birding destination. We had a brilliant relaxing holiday with some very satisfying birding including 10 lifers gained.
Lajares proved to be good and central for visiting sites in the north of the island especially near La Oliva and El Cotillo, while the village itself had plenty of good birds.
Latest Lifer: Citrine Wagtail; Mammal: Reeve's Muntjac; Herp: Perez's Frog; Odonate: Ruddy Darter; Butterfly: Spanish Purple Hairstreak
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