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Fuerteventura, Tenerife and Santa Pola; 3 months mostly with no car (1 Viewer)

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Tuesday, 11 Jan 2022 "Fancy a chat?"

Sun. No cloud and light winds. Feeling very warm. Up to 3 Barn Swallows kicking around the southern end of town first thing. For me it was a return for a proper look at the caldera of the Volcano Bayuyo, or Montaña San Rafael if you prefer. I went via the abandoned Acua Water Park where half a dozen Western Cattle Egrets were hanging out along with a good many Collared Doves and Spanish Sparrows, 1 Common Chiffchaff and a Great Grey Shrike.

From here I headed through the new Tres Islas development. A pair of Great Grey Shrikes were interacting on the wires and a pair of Spectacled Warblers showed nicely. Then I struck gold with a very showy male Fuerteventura Stonechat perched on an outbuilding of the only completed development here. The noisy dogs here were a momentary annoyance but soon shut up and I was able to enjoy lifer number 4.

So on to the volcano along the clear dirt road leading off from here. A large information sign explained a bit about the geology and farming attempts in this extreme environment and also mentioned the wildlife. Common Buzzard, yep. Common Kestrel, OK. But also very specifically Fuerteventura Chat (local name "Caldereta") and Trumpeter Finch. Of course soon after 3 small finches flew over. They didn't call but they could have been Trumpeters; or was that just the power of suggestion? Anyway a party of five cracking Barbary Ground Squirrels soon had me distracted. Haven't seen these since years ago in Morocco and love 'em to bits.

At the base of the northern ridge the track turns right and a path headed off left, SE into the caldera. I followed this and dropped into the base for a look around. 2 Ravens were flying around calling throughout but I kept hearing faint passerine calls from somewhere, really difficult to pin down in this bowl of rock. Then I picked them up. On the eastern rim of the crater a flock of around 10 Trumpeter Finches with 4 or 5 Linnets. I scurried back up to the path that runs along there and was rewarded with stunning views. Another species I'd not seen for years and a much anticipated target.

But the volcano wasn't finished with me yet. I took the well worn path leading out due east from the southern end of this low eastern ridge and, after crossing a service track leading to a large square building higher up, found myself watching another pair of Fuerteventura Chats. Don't be tempted to take the clear path that heads east at the northern end of this ridge (from near the top of the path going into the crater), as that seems to lead directly to the quarry and a difficult or impossible exit. Coming from town the start of the path I took is extremely hard to pick out and it's no surprise I couldn't find it the other day. To locate it take the road at the southern end of Tres Islas west towards the quarry workings. Just before you reach the works there is a track to the left with a chain between two concrete blocks across it. Take this about 150m to a red and yellow no entry type sign and head right where the path should soon become clear and edged with stones. I also had my first lizard here, a small species which rapidly hid.

Another stroll along the beach in the afternoon revealed a couple of additions to the trip list. 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Grey Heron were new and there were now 3 Spoonbills roosting out on rocks at low tide. 5 more Swallows heading north finished the day's birding.

Edit: and a couple more Painted Ladies today. In slightly better nick than the earlier ones.

 

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Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Can't believe I forgot to post this pic of Barbary Ground Squirrel from yesterday. I'll also include a poor shot of an Atlantic Lizard I came across today. Must have been this species I encountered briefly at the volcano yesterday as it's the only small lacertid on the island.
 

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Ruud3105

Dutch in Spain
Spain
Some great pictures there! I am very envious of people shooting focussed birds - I never seem to get a sharply focussed bird on my Panasonic FZ300.

Enjoy beautiful Canaries, all the best from mainland Spain!
Ruud
 

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Thursday, 13 Jan 2022 "the measure of success"

Before I tackle today I should just mention a bird from yesterday. I decided to take it easy yesterday and only wandered down to the shore to check out the high tide wader roost. A fair few Ringed Plovers had been there and I'd been reading up on Semipalmated but the 20 or so birds there all checked out. However I did notice a "Common Sandpiper" a little way off that had rather yellow legs. I remembered this was a feature of Spotted Sand but the bird remained distant and I couldn't pursue it any further. Fast forward to this afternoon and I came across a few Common Sands in the harbour area, none of which showed legs anything like as deep yellow. Well at least it gives me something to check out tomorrow.

So on to this morning. I really wanted to see Cream-coloured Courser again, which I've not seen for many years now, so headed off deep into the Natural Park again. The now familiar 30-40 minutes of bird free semi-desert made me realise my first day encounters with Barbary Partridge and Med Short-toed Lark were very fortunate indeed. I pushed further south than I'd been before well into the very sandy habitat west of the isolated development of hotels here and beyond. I soon started to notice a different set of tracks in the sand and they became very common. Similar to the partridge tracks further north and often with a distinctive drag mark between them. Surely this was the target species. Also found bustard tracks and some smaller mammals than the ubiquitous rabbits. In fact these were absolutely tiny and surely must have been made by the endemic Canarian Shrew.

Anyway to cut a very long story short I completely failed to see courser, bustard or sandgrouse in the 3+ hours I was out. However I did see plenty else eventually and had I not already ticked the chat and had such great views of the Trumpeters yesterday this would have been a sensational morning. So, yes, I would say a success. The best location, at a small rocky gully and plateau on the western edge of the sandy habitat, held a good 30 Trumpeter Finches plus maybe 10 Mediterranean Short-toed Larks and a Fuerteventura Stonechat. There was also Barbary Ground Squirrel here and nearby first two then third (this one singing) Hoopoe. Just before I'd been watching an adult and an immature Egyptian Vulture and a few Great Grey Shrikes. All in all pretty good.

Otherwise later in the town there were a few Monarch butterflies about, none settling unfortunately, and this very large potter wasp, which looks likely to be Delta dimidiatipenne. Hope Ruud is happier now the bird photography has largely reverted to my default quality of fuzzy and distant :rolleyes::ROFLMAO:.
 

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Dave Williams

Well-known member
Like Ken it nice to compare notes on sightings,I was in Fuerteventura in November and like you, had no transport option other than the bus as my driving licence was being renewed so I couldn't hire a car( that's another story but it took me nearly 6 months to get it!)
The Spoonbill ,"Naja" was there and I sent details in to the Dutch bird ringers who replied, first ringed in Holland on 5/6/2019, last reported there on 9/9/2019. Seen twice in France en route to Fuerteventura where it was first reported on 12/09/2020 and been reported in April and again by me in November this year.
We were staying at the very top end of Corellejo so a walk to the beaches at the southern end of town was some distance and I never ventured to higher ground which I now regret with your report of Egyptian Vulture and Houbara Bustard, neither of which I found but were in my top 5 target birds. I did take a bus ride to the other side of the island to El Cotillo, one of only two direct bus routes. It wasn't very productive for me, a walk of around 12 kms gave me very distant high flying Kestrel, a probably Thrush sp , some Berthelot's Pipit and a a brace of Barbary Partridge and a pair of Raven. I decided not to return.
I had set of to Fuerteventura with low expectations but was actually surprised and delighted at the birding local to Corallejo. I managed photographs of about 26 species but failed on another 4 or 5.
Photos if you are interested here:-

I enjoyed Fuerteventura far more than anticipated. Much preferred the more traditional top end of town beyond the port in Corellejo and might possibly return before long. I would want a hire car to get around though and might decide to try another base instead.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Like Ken it nice to compare notes on sightings,I was in Fuerteventura in November and like you, had no transport option other than the bus as my driving licence was being renewed so I couldn't hire a car( that's another story but it took me nearly 6 months to get it!)
The Spoonbill ,"Naja" was there and I sent details in to the Dutch bird ringers who replied, first ringed in Holland on 5/6/2019, last reported there on 9/9/2019. Seen twice in France en route to Fuerteventura where it was first reported on 12/09/2020 and been reported in April and again by me in November this year.
We were staying at the very top end of Corellejo so a walk to the beaches at the southern end of town was some distance and I never ventured to higher ground which I now regret with your report of Egyptian Vulture and Houbara Bustard, neither of which I found but were in my top 5 target birds. I did take a bus ride to the other side of the island to El Cotillo, one of only two direct bus routes. It wasn't very productive for me, a walk of around 12 kms gave me very distant high flying Kestrel, a probably Thrush sp , some Berthelot's Pipit and a a brace of Barbary Partridge and a pair of Raven. I decided not to return.
I had set of to Fuerteventura with low expectations but was actually surprised and delighted at the birding local to Corallejo. I managed photographs of about 26 species but failed on another 4 or 5.
Photos if you are interested here:-

I enjoyed Fuerteventura far more than anticipated. Much preferred the more traditional top end of town beyond the port in Corellejo and might possibly return before long. I would want a hire car to get around though and might decide to try another base instead.
Some great shots there Dave!…very impressed with your Whinchat, I still need that and BTGodwit!👍
 

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Like Ken it nice to compare notes on sightings,I was in Fuerteventura in November and like you, had no transport option other than the bus as my driving licence was being renewed so I couldn't hire a car( that's another story but it took me nearly 6 months to get it!)
The Spoonbill ,"Naja" was there and I sent details in to the Dutch bird ringers who replied, first ringed in Holland on 5/6/2019, last reported there on 9/9/2019. Seen twice in France en route to Fuerteventura where it was first reported on 12/09/2020 and been reported in April and again by me in November this year.
We were staying at the very top end of Corellejo so a walk to the beaches at the southern end of town was some distance and I never ventured to higher ground which I now regret with your report of Egyptian Vulture and Houbara Bustard, neither of which I found but were in my top 5 target birds. I did take a bus ride to the other side of the island to El Cotillo, one of only two direct bus routes. It wasn't very productive for me, a walk of around 12 kms gave me very distant high flying Kestrel, a probably Thrush sp , some Berthelot's Pipit and a a brace of Barbary Partridge and a pair of Raven. I decided not to return.
I had set of to Fuerteventura with low expectations but was actually surprised and delighted at the birding local to Corallejo. I managed photographs of about 26 species but failed on another 4 or 5.
Photos if you are interested here:-

I enjoyed Fuerteventura far more than anticipated. Much preferred the more traditional top end of town beyond the port in Corellejo and might possibly return before long. I would want a hire car to get around though and might decide to try another base instead.
Excellent photos. I've been surprised not to come across Stone Curlew yet myself. Stuck on 38/9 species (depending on whether or not I believe the flyover Lesser Black-backs I had on the first couple of days; had no further sign since but that particular roost movement stopped as well). Thanks for the background on the Spoonbill. I haven't heard back from the ringers yet. I'm really liking Corralejo as well. Suiting us very nicely as a base for a while. Did you find any fresh water at all while you were here? I'm not sure there is any.
 

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Friday, 14 Jan 2022

Only really checked out the high tide roost today. Now 4 Bar-tailed Godwits and high counts of 65 Ringed Plover and 15 Whimbrel. Still 2 Dunlin and the usual suspects. Spent a bit of time checking out the 5 or 6 Common Sandpipers kicking around. Not sure how I'd pick out a hypothetical Spotted Sand. A couple had quite yellow legs. The one with brightest legs clearly had notched tertials (first photo, cs2) but on another the tertials looked plain to me (other three photos, cs1). Got one shot of the open wing but not sure if it helps particularly.

The wind started up again today and dust reducing visibility dramatically. Straight away a few Plain Swifts and Swallows dropped in.
 

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Dave Williams

Well-known member
Hopefully you should find the Stone Curlew quite easily, there were at least 13 there in November. You are more likely to see them fly initially, but even then trying to relocate isn't easy as they are well camouflaged. They won't allow you to approach too closely either! Try the area I have marked, sometimes they are very close to the road too. Good luck!
 

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Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Hopefully you should find the Stone Curlew quite easily, there were at least 13 there in November. You are more likely to see them fly initially, but even then trying to relocate isn't easy as they are well camouflaged. They won't allow you to approach too closely either! Try the area I have marked, sometimes they are very close to the road too. Good luck!
Thanks. I've had Barbary Partridge and Mediterranean Short-toed Larks in that area (plus pipits and shrikes) but I'm sure there have been no Stone Curlews. I walk through it every other day and overlook it from my apartment. Presumably around somewhere but avoiding me for now. Everything will be keeping it's head down for the next week I should think. The wind is gusting to 40mph for the next 7 days.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Thanks. I've had Barbary Partridge and Mediterranean Short-toed Larks in that area (plus pipits and shrikes) but I'm sure there have been no Stone Curlews. I walk through it every other day and overlook it from my apartment. Presumably around somewhere but avoiding me for now. Everything will be keeping it's head down for the next week I should think. The wind is gusting to 40mph for the next 7 days.
Maybe they have moved on somewhere else. They were there on the four occasions I looked. Sometimes as far along as the single house that juts in to the desert area. The wind should be good for Shearwaters !
 

KenM

Well-known member
Thanks. I've had Barbary Partridge and Mediterranean Short-toed Larks in that area (plus pipits and shrikes) but I'm sure there have been no Stone Curlews. I walk through it every other day and overlook it from my apartment. Presumably around somewhere but avoiding me for now. Everything will be keeping it's head down for the next week I should think. The wind is gusting to 40mph for the next 7 days.
As Dave mentioned Brian, (presume the wind will be NEasterly?) Cory Shearwaters and Gannets could be on the menu. Best of luck 👍
 

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Maybe they have moved on somewhere else. They were there on the four occasions I looked. Sometimes as far along as the single house that juts in to the desert area. The wind should be good for Shearwaters !
I've done a bit of speculative seawatching without finding anything so far. I had a small dark bird pass distantly yesterday but that could have been a wader. The season isn't great for seabirds as far as I'm aware. The wind is SEly and staying that way for the duration.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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