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Tenerife, La Gomera & Fuerteventura Feb 28- Mar 7

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Old Monday 9th March 2009, 20:08   #1
will bowell
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Location: Deeping St James
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Tenerife, La Gomera & Fuerteventura Feb 28- Mar 7

Hi all,
This isn't a trip report as such but just thought I would share a few interesting sightings a group of Deeping birders (Trevor Williams, Brian Lawerence, Roger Teasdale & Will Bowell) had in two Canary Islands this last week, with details on sightings of endemics/rarities.

Ring-necked Duck- adult drake at Las Salinas, Fuerteventura on the rock pools there with up to 5 female Teal on the 4th and 6th. We were unaware of its presence when we found this bird but it had been photographed the week previous. It can be tricky to find, indeed we failed on a brief search on the 4th (perhaps due to the disturbance as the spot is a tourist spot- Salt Musemum) and a guided group had failed to find it on their visit on the 2nd. Las Salinas was an excellent site with several wintering waders and a flock of Sandwich Terns.

Barbary Falcon- Seen at several sites on both Tenerife and Fuerteventura, including excellent views at Punta de Teno, Tenerife.

Barbary Partridge- at Guargacho and a Punta de la Rasca, Tenerife. Remarkably, none were seen on Fuerteventura.

Houbara's Bustard- Total of 5 birds were seen at two sites on Fuerteventura. On the evening of the 5th we went to the old roost site at La Oliva as described in Gosney. We arrived at around 4pm and after a few minutes quickly got bored so decided to go for a drive further along, hanging a left on a track which followed a fence which turned out to be a Bustard protection area. After reaching a private quarry we turned back and stopped and scanned the area inside the fence (which is huge!). At great range TW picked up a stunning male Houbara's which displayed twice, it's mental display! We drove on to find that we could probably see it closer and stopped, we couldn't find this bird but a much closer male was again picked up and this time proper detail was viewable as it displayed- what a cracking bird! A word of caution on this track though, the quarry at the end is active and HGV do use it which does kick up so dust.

The next morning we headed to the desert north west of Costa Calma and walked across the desert. Three tracks are marked coming out of Costa Calma on the AA Island map of Fuerteventura and we took the middle one. The area was stuffed with Lesser Short-toed Larks and eventually a male Houbara's was picked out displaying to the north east of the wind farm. We approached to find a female with it and a second male being seen off. We watched the pair wander off into the distance and turned to our surprise to find the single male had come to have a look at us, giving us just brilliant views. Certainly bird of the trip for me.

Cream Coloured Courser- a pretty common desert species on Fuerteventura. We found 1 on the approach road to Los Molinos Reservoir on the 4th, 4 at the Bustard protection area at La Oliva on the 5th and 1 at Costa Calma on the 6th.

Spotted Sandpiper- bird at the botanical gardens west of La Lajita on the south side of the FV-2*, Fuerteventura on the 6th and 7th. A really frustrating bird, which we flushed off a small sewage pit 8 or so times during the 2 days and proved completely unapproachable. Unlike the Common Sands we had encountered which had virtually all called when they had been disturbed at other sites we had been to, this bird remained silent bar on one occasion when it called a single KP like call twice. Presumably this bird has been wintering here at this excellent site.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse- 2 flew off the Bustard protection area at La Oliva on the 5th and another 6 were at Costa Calma on the 6th (both Fuerteventura).

Bolle's Pigeon- Very easily encountered on La Gomera where we had sightings of perhaps 50 different birds. On the day of our visit it was extremely windy and all the sightings were at altitude and all the birds were flying along ridges at Monte el Cedro. Best views were to be had from the track at Bosque de Tejos where birds flew extremely fast just over our heads at times.

Laurel Pigeon- A single bird was heard at Erjos, Tenerife but unfortunately was not seen. Another bird was seen at Monte el Cendro, La Gomera below the layby at 4.4km after the road starts (see Clark & Colins) by one of our team. We all eventually connected with the species at La Grimona, Tenerife, a seemingly unlikely spot right on the main coast road near Puerto de la Cruz. They were extremely easy at this site and in view for the duration of our visit.

Nanday Parakeets- c20 near Hooters at Playa de las Americas, Tenerife.

Ring-necked Parakeet- Several with Nanday Parakeets at Playa de las Americas, Tenerife.

Plain Swift- Seen in small numbers at many sites on both Tenerife and Fuerteventura.

Pallid Swift- Seen at several sites on Fuerteventura including over the woods at Canada del Rio, Costa Calma, Fuerteventura.

Great spotted Woodpecker- up to 3 at Las Lajas giving excellent views.

Lesser Short-toed Lark- Common in Fuerteventura, especially at Costa Calma.

Berthelot's Pipit- Common on both islands and often fearless of man, easily found by their wagtail like call.

Fuerteventura Stonechat- Not exactly that common on Fuerteventura. We recorded a family party near La Oliva and a pair at the botanical gardens west of La Lajita on the south side of the FV-2*.

Redwing- described in Clarks book as being a rare winter visitor. We had one on the 6th and two on the 7th at Canada del Rio woods, Costa Calma, Fuerteventura. On the 7th they were joined by several Song Thrushes- we noted Song Thrushes elsewhere that day as well, for the first time this trip.

Tenerife Kinglet- Seen at Las Lajas.

Blue Chaffinch- Easy at Las Lajas.

Rock Sparrow A large flock was present at the Tomato plantations on the road to the lighthouse at Punta de Teno, Tenerife and this was the only site where we had Linnet on Tenerife as well.

Red Avadavat- There appears to be a small population at the botanical gardens west of La Lajita on the south side of the FV-2*, Fuerteventura. Doubtlessly these have escaped from the Zoo over the road, but with at least 6 and probably many more (they were elusive and hard to track down) these are potential Cat C birds in the future and definitely worth checking out if you are passing, if only to see how the population is doing.

Canary- Present in most suitable habitat on Tenerife, including at Las Lajas.

Trumpeter Finch Common at most rockey desert sites on Fuerteventura.

*= the botanical gardens west of La Lajita. We are unsure at how well known or watched this site is but during the 6th and 7th we visited it on a number of occasions to get the Spotted Sandpiper nailed. Located on the south side of the FV-2 west out of La Lajita, it is directly opposite the Zoo. A track leads from the main road to the coast, which we walked; it proved to be a really fantastic site. The track has palms either side of it all the way to the coast, with the gardens (no access) and a thicker plantation of palms near the road, they are all fed by water pipes which are of course a lure to birds. The sewage pit itself was very small but a Spoonbill flew up off it on the 6th when we first visited. We also recorded in that small area Little Egret, Grey Heron, Blackcaps, Spectacled Warblers, Fuerteventura Stonechats, Barbary Falcons, Laughing Doves, Hoopoe, Meadow and Berthelot's Pipits and Trumpeter Finches. Out at sea Cory's passed by in good numbers and on the 7th we had good numbers of Gannets going by as well as a large pod of Dolphins and several whales 'blowing' in the distance. During passage times I am sure this site will produce good numbers of passerines and the sewage pit will be a lure to passing waders as well.

In all we had an excellent trip and certainly cleaned up on endemics and island specialities during our short stay. It was a most enjoyable holiday and there was certainly a feel that almost anything was possible when we visited reservoirs and coastal locations- I would imagine a visit in the autumn could be interesting, for those who can't afford Azores.

Will Bowell:

Don't take what I say seriously.....!

Last edited by will bowell : Monday 9th March 2009 at 20:13.
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2009, 06:36   #2
Stephen C
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canary islands

Cheers Will. The vast majority of people I think don't post anything so thanks for taking the trouble to at least go through the key species.

I haven't been there for a while but a trip is impending and I'm sure your notes will prove useful.

All the best
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Old Tuesday 10th March 2009, 07:37   #3
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Thanks for that Will. I am keen to visit Tenerife & Gomera and if I do so your info will prove very useful.
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Old Thursday 12th March 2009, 14:57   #4
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Thanks Will. I've printed off your report because I'm off to Fuerteventura for the first time next week to get the endemics (I hope).

Your spotted sand and ring-necked duck would make nice additions. Lets hope they are still there when I get there.
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Old Tuesday 17th March 2009, 14:29   #5

Join Date: Jul 2008
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We did Tenerife and Fuerteventura 5-12 March 2009. Sad that, we didn't have any gen about the Rock Sparrow, Sandpiper and the duck.

Here you can see selection of pictures i took:

The trip report is in Estonian but it has names of the places and scientific names:

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