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Lanzarote - April 2024 (1 Viewer)

B Whyte

Active member
21-26 April 2024

Havig arrived after dark on the Sunday night the first bit of birding I was able to get in was first thing on monday morning. We were staying at the Gran Hotel and Spa in Arrecife which was perfectly located for a walk along the shore in either direction and out to the fort nearby.

Along the rocks by the fort to the east I managed to connect with some smart looking Kentish Plover including one chick very recently fledged. Accompanying the Kentish were a small group of Ringed Plover, a lot of Whimbrel, a pair of Spoonbill and tens of Little Egret, a single Sanderling, 3 Dunlin and my only Audouin's Gull of the trip.

In the opposite direction, west of the hotel, on the rocks at low tide I had a single Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Redshank and common sandpiper.

By the evening around the hotel I had also ticked a single Red-rumped Swallow, many many Spanish Sparrow and a showy Alpine Swift which performed for us off the balcony of the hotel pool area. Aye we were definitely no in the north of Scotland now! The beauty and magical moments of birding abroad put a huge smile of my face. A couple of Plain Swift were also firing around at dusk along the main street.

The 2nd morning I headed farther west past the park and the bus station along the promenade toward Playa Honda. On this outing I had a nice selection including a Grey Plover on the rocks, a hunting Great Grey Shrike and a colony of Cattle Egret near the bus station. Most of the same birds from yesterday were also present with some closer bins views of half a dozen Cory's Shearwaters passing by offshore.

The Wednesday was anticipated with much excitement since this was the day we had booked with a guide to take us into the desert in search of local specialties. It did not disappoint and in fact only blew our expectations away. Very quickly we got onto the many Short-toed Larks which were all over the place and easily sorted from the many Bertholets pipits. I spotted a smart looking male Whinchat before getting my first ever views of Stone Curlew. Great start. A group of 6 Cream coloured Courser then followed and showed well as they fed in the little bit of vegetation among the sand. A call then went out that a raptor was circling on the other side of the jeep. Turned out to be a life tick Montagu's Harrier (ringtail) quartering the desert giving us areal treat as it moved effortlessly from one side of the jeep to the other and then out of sight.
The best was yet to come though as we skulked along the maze of tracks before finally getting sight of that most majestic of birds the Houbara Bustard. Not only was this incredible enough it's neck feathers were fluffed up and sticking out. It was ready to display. And display it did as it's neck feathers completely engulfed its head and neck before it took off running one way in a straight line and back again before repeating this process ending with a little flick of the black feathers up over the head. Slowy it then lowered the feathers to reveal a proud looking bird neck elongated and slowly walking through the scrub. Turned out another 2 Bustard were close by and we wondered if they were female. Truly an astonishing sight and one I will never forget.

A short drive out of the desert then gave us close views of a pair of lovely Trumpeter Finch.

On our last day, the Friday, we hired a car. This enabled a wee tour around to some different hotspots. The first being the glamourous water treatment works right next to the island prison (my wife really does understand my birding passion so much). This gave me a lifer Western Yellow Wagtail and fantastic views of Turtle Dove. A smart Wood Warbler was also a highlight here.

I drove north to the El Bosquecillo viewpoint which was worth it for the view alone. After a wee wander around the parking area I got amazing views of a Spectacled Warbler. A Peregrine was perched on the cliff. A vocal group of Raven went over. Great Grey Shrike. Kestrel and Turtle Dove again.

South then to the Costa Teguise golf course. We spent good amount of time slowly wandering around the course checking all the bushes and trees but nothing exotic turned up unfortunately. The best of it was a large group of Barbary Partridge with 2 young, Common Swift, another Red-rumped Swallow, Hoopoe, GG Shrike and Tree Pipit.

It was then time to head to the airport. I have been thinking about my time birding on Lanzarote with great joy and affection since landing back in not so sunny Scotland at 1am on Saturday morning. It really was a special trip. I ticked 9 lifers in 5 days along with some nice Spanish ticks bringing that total to 112.

Thanks, Blair

Pics below are : Red-rumped Swallow, Kentish Plover, Stone Curlew, Short-toed Lark, Montagu's Harrier, Houbara Bustard, Cream Coloured Courser, Trumpeter Finch, Yellow Wagtail, Wood Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Spectacled Warbler and Turtle Dove​


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