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Red-billed Tropicbird (finally) and other musings (1 Viewer)

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
Not sure any other bird has given me quite this much trouble. Having spent a good deal of time on the Canary Islands before there were not many things I'd not seen. But the tropicbird was one of them. Being seen most days so didn't think it would be much of a problem. Fortunately I'm here for a month, staying about 45 minute walk from the shopping centre that has been this bird's incongruous home for the past few years. Six visits later and many chats with other birders (there were always a few present and most had seen the bird already) and I was still dipping. The bird would show well on the days I wasn't there, and even an hour before I arrived on Saturday.

Anyway yesterday I arrived earlier (advice was always to get there by 2:30) and at exactly midday there it was suddenly over my head. I'd got so used to turning up and not seeing it I wasn't quite sure what to do :rolleyes::ROFLMAO: but fortunately it circled around for a bit before heading off out to sea. Phew!

After that I went to check out the Las Salinas Golf Course where a long-staying Blue-winged Teal had been seen the day before. Unfortunately it was a hot cloudless day and by this time the heat haze was dreadful. Viewing is tricky from out side the fencing and although I found a group of 5 teal, I was unable to confirm the ID of the slightly larger-looking one there. In fact my very fuzzy photos seem to suggest it might have been a Garganey. I'll give that another go earlier in the day at some point, although I've seen the species before.

Very happy with how the day was going I thought I'd give the sea a go at the headland at Nuevo Horizonte. Wind was fairly strong from the NE and I was quickly on to a few Cory's Shearwaters, these passing both north and south at varying distances. I'd just shifted my fixed eyepiece down to 20x to cut down shaking as it was difficult to get right out of the wind when I picked up a petrel going south. Seen late it was already moving away, keeping very low to the waves and almost immediately lost to view. Saw no detail at all, just a darker, much smaller bird than the Cory's hugging the surface. Frustrating but encouraging at the same time. Petrels are rare this time of year here but reported from the ferries every now and then. Band-rumped or Leach's seem to be the options with the former perhaps being more likely. I'll be back out there this afternoon as the wind is picking up again.
 

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Brian - you haven't mentioned which island you are on; I assume Fuerteventura?
Apologies. Yes indeed. The site for this bird is at Centro Comercial Atlantico south of Caleta de Fuste.

Nice write up Brian. I’ll try dipping it on Friday. Might even try dipping the teal too

There's no really reliable time of day for the tropicbird. I know one guy who came over from Lanzarote for the day and staked it out all day without seeing it and I've done some long stints there myself. It's appeared at all sorts of times between 12:00 and 17:00 but I would say to come earlier rather than later. I definitely missed it by about an hour arriving at 14:00ish on Saturday.

Note that the teal gets seen on the main golf course too and that is very difficult to view. Know of at least one birder getting thrown off there :oops:. Viewing at Las Salinas requires a time when the heat haze is absent. You don't want to see the photos I got of the teal flock there!
 
Apologies. Yes indeed. The site for this bird is at Centro Comercial Atlantico south of Caleta de Fuste.



There's no really reliable time of day for the tropicbird. I know one guy who came over from Lanzarote for the day and staked it out all day without seeing it and I've done some long stints there myself. It's appeared at all sorts of times between 12:00 and 17:00 but I would say to come earlier rather than later. I definitely missed it by about an hour arriving at 14:00ish on Saturday.

Note that the teal gets seen on the main golf course too and that is very difficult to view. Know of at least one birder getting thrown off there :oops:. Viewing at Las Salinas requires a time when the heat haze is absent. You don't want to see the photos I got of the teal flock there!
There were three teal, a garganey and the blue-winged teal on that pool in January .
 
Another cracking seawatch from Nuevo Horizonte (just north of Caleta de Fuste) this afternoon. In 2 hours: 52 Cory's Shearwaters, most heading south, a dark Arctic Skua north and a fabulous display from a disperse collection of Risso's Dolphins headstanding with tails (and a good amount of body at times) out of the water, mini-breaching and deep dives.
 
Are there any whale watching trips out of Fuert at this time of year? Might increase the chances of shearwaters and petrels.
 
Are there any whale watching trips out of Fuert at this time of year? Might increase the chances of shearwaters and petrels.
There are certainly trips advertised out of Caleta de Fuste marina (€45 for 2 hours?). I know someone who took a trip out from Tenerife last month. They were very happy with the dolphins they saw. I am seeing lots of Risso's Dolphins from shore and plenty of Cory's (often close) plus the odd other thing. I honestly don't know how much more you be likely to encounter taking a boat out at this time of year that wasn't dedicated to finding pelagics.
 
I took a 3 hr boat out of Tenerife at this time of year a few years back. Fin and pilot whale. Bottlenose and spotted dolphin and loggerhead but the only birds were Cory’s and a few terns
 
I took a 3 hr boat out of Tenerife at this time of year a few years back. Fin and pilot whale. Bottlenose and spotted dolphin and loggerhead but the only birds were Cory’s and a few terns
I had a Loggerhead drift past here the other day. Sadly recently deceased.
 
If they’re close enough Brian? check out the Cory’s for scopoli’s.
I certainly had a few during November at CDF.

Cheers
 

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If they’re close enough Brian? check out the Cory’s for scopoli’s.
I certainly had a few during November at CDF.

Cheers
Cool. Some are certainly close enough but I doubt I have the equipment to film/photo sufficiently well. I'm just enjoying watching them. But the Risso's Dolphins are even more entertaining. The pod passed again yesterday evening and was able to get some distinctive markings on some individuals. There's a large individual with a distinctive pale tip to the dorsal that is easy to pick out.
 
Cool. Some are certainly close enough but I doubt I have the equipment to film/photo sufficiently well. I'm just enjoying watching them. But the Risso's Dolphins are even more entertaining. The pod passed again yesterday evening and was able to get some distinctive markings on some individuals. There's a large individual with a distinctive pale tip to the dorsal that is easy to pick out.

The Dolphins sound great!, something I must look out for next time. Can recall seeing some Dolphins sp., on a day trip to Lanzarote once, will try harder next time.👍
 
An update on the tropicbird here on Fuerteventura. I was at the Atlantico complex again yesterday. Didn't see the bird myself but spoke to someone (who also hadn't seen it) but was told it showed around 08:00-09:00 and there was a second bird present. I've not heard of a second bird being seen here and this is of course third hand info by now. Intriguing anyway.
 
Hi Brian, interesting information about the Tropicbird and seawatching. Dipped the tropicbird today for the 4th time this week so I can relate to your story.. About the teals: do you know if there are any recent pictures of the Blue-winged teal? The last observation with evidence I can find is from the 27th of October last year, and during 3 visits to the small golf course ponds I could only find a Garganey, 3 Eurasian teals (1 male, 2 female-coloured) and a bird that looks like an adult female Green-winged Teal which has not been seen before. Curious about you answer! Kind regards, Thomas
 
Hi Brian, interesting information about the Tropicbird and seawatching. Dipped the tropicbird today for the 4th time this week so I can relate to your story.. About the teals: do you know if there are any recent pictures of the Blue-winged teal? The last observation with evidence I can find is from the 27th of October last year, and during 3 visits to the small golf course ponds I could only find a Garganey, 3 Eurasian teals (1 male, 2 female-coloured) and a bird that looks like an adult female Green-winged Teal which has not been seen before. Curious about you answer! Kind regards, Thomas
My pictures of the Green-winged Teal: Green-winged Teal - Anas carolinensis 2024-02-15 | Observation.org
 
Hi Brian, interesting information about the Tropicbird and seawatching. Dipped the tropicbird today for the 4th time this week so I can relate to your story.. About the teals: do you know if there are any recent pictures of the Blue-winged teal? The last observation with evidence I can find is from the 27th of October last year, and during 3 visits to the small golf course ponds I could only find a Garganey, 3 Eurasian teals (1 male, 2 female-coloured) and a bird that looks like an adult female Green-winged Teal which has not been seen before. Curious about you answer! Kind regards, Thomas
Don't think I've seen recent photos of the BWT. I have photos myself that suggest 4 Eurasian/GW Teal, one a breeding plumaged male Eurasian, and a fem/imm Garganey. Yesterday I saw four teal in flight over the sea at Atlántico. These were all E/GW Teal with one breeding male. Certainly none of these were Garganey or BWT.
 

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