• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Tenerife & Fuerteventura 26th Jan to 5th Feb 2020 (1 Viewer)

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Sunday 2nd February

We weren't meeting up with John & Lorraine until 10.00am (they seemed to think being on holiday was a good enough reason to lie in bed half the morning!) so I had plenty of time for an early morning visit to Tindaya. I set off earlier than the previous day, and was in place not far out of the village to make a start as the sun came up. Just as the day was dawning an unusual 'bubbling' call alerted me to a single bird on the wing approaching from the south! The silhouette was unmistakeable and a quick playback of the flight call from my Collins app confirmed it - Black-bellied Sandgrouse! Overjoyed at having found perhaps the most elusive of all the desert birds I moved on with a metaphorical 'spring in my step'! I went up to the crossroads and briefly explored all three tracks before returning to the hotel for breakfast. I managed to add three Berthelot's, a Great Grey Shrike, three Coursers and three Lesser Short-toed Larks. On my way back a solitary male Houbara was in the same area as the previous day, this time in much kinder conditions for photography (see below).
John & Lorraine (who have recently become interested in birding) safely on board, we headed off to Los Molinos reservoir. The dirt track to the dam offered plenty of Trumpeter Finches, a couple of Lesser Short-toed Larks and a handsome male CI Chat, all of which J&L were happy to see. Parking at the dam it was interesting to have our first water birds of the Fuerteventura leg of our trip:
At least 50 Ruddy Shelduck, half a dozen Black-winged Stilta plethora of Coots, and good numbers of Little Egret and Grey Heron were present. A pair of Ravens and a Great Grey Shrike were also added.
Lunch was beginning to exert its siren call by now so we headed into the beautiful village of Betancuria (the oldest settlement on Fuerteventura). The Crossbill guide came up trumps again, site 1 on p.134 yielding a pair of Sardinian Warbler ssp. leucogastra and African Blue Tit ssp. ultramarinus! Definitely time for lunch!

Chris

Male Houbara Bustard, Tindaya plain
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4869cLthumb.JPG
    IMG_4869cLthumb.JPG
    522.1 KB · Views: 53

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
This is a great report Chris - you're doing an excellent job lad.

Many congratulations on the grouse too... and a super picture of him to boot!
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Sunday 2nd February (contd.)

After a very pleasant postprandial stroll around the village, which yielded umpteen Collared Doves and a Kestrel, we headed higher into the Betancuria Mountains. Passing the village of Vega de Rio Palma we stopped at a mirador which offered splendid views back over Betancuria. The main reason for the stop though was the presence of a couple of tame Ravens. It was a real joy to observe them at such close quarters and see how they differ from our European Ravens. It was easy to note the smaller size and brownish necks, along with the different call which I had been hearing for days. Another draw were at least a dozen Barbary Ground Squirrels which fed from our hands!
Having dropped everyone back to their respective hotels I decided to investigate the other end of Los Molinos as per site 4, p.26 of Gosney's book, hoping for further Sandgrouse on the stony plain. It wasn't to be, but I did find the first White Wagtail of the trip near the goat sheds along with some very obliging Trumpeter Finches! Also seen were Great Grey Shrike, Common Buzzard, four Ruddy Shelduck, Berthelot's Pipit and a male CI Chat.
We were meeting up with our friends again the next day to make the trip to Isla de Lobos so I decided to call it a day and headed back to Villaverde.


Chris

Trumpeter Finch Los Molinos
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4885Lthumb.JPG
    IMG_4885Lthumb.JPG
    451.8 KB · Views: 41

redeyedvideo

It's like water off a duck's back!
A great report and fabulous photos! I'm visiting Tenerife for the first time soon and hoping to catch up on some of the endemics.

Spent the first week of March last year in Fuerteventura and I loved it; hoping Tenerife comes close.
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
A great report and fabulous photos! I'm visiting Tenerife for the first time soon and hoping to catch up on some of the endemics.

Spent the first week of March last year in Fuerteventura and I loved it; hoping Tenerife comes close.

Many thanks Dave! I'm sure you've done your homework but if I can help at all just ask!

Obviously they are two completely different islands but we loved them both! Have a great time, I'm sure you will!

Chris
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Monday 3rd February

John had booked us tickets for the glass-bottomed ferry on the 11.00am sailing from Corralejo to Los Lobos, so again I had time for a quick dawn visit to Tindaya!
No Sandgrouse or Coursers but there were a few birds about - a pair of Ravens, Common Buzzard, Great Grey Shrike, a couple of Berthelot's Pipits and the highlight, a group of four male Houbaras just before the crossroads. Back to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast then we headed off on the twenty minute journey to Corralejo to collect John & Lorraine. It was such a beautiful morning and we had plenty of time before the ferry departed, so we decided to park on the other side of the headland and explore the rockpools on our way round to the port. Sure enough several migrant species were feeding unconcernedly yards from the road! Two Whimbrel, three Spoonbills and a solitary Turnstone were added to the trip list, along with Two Little Egrets. Arriving at the little port we located and boarded our ferry and made ourselves comfortable on the top deck (I was hoping against hope to spot an early Cory's Shearwater!). The boat was absolutely full when it departed, and just 15 minutes later we were disembarking onto the small jetty of the island (needless to say 'sans Cory's'!). The Isla de Lobos is part of the Corralejo National Park, and though only small (less than two square miles) supports important seabird colonies (sadly for me not until later on in the year!). We had opted to return on the 14.15 ferry so that gave us plenty of time to explore. A group of at least 20 Grey Herons were visible even before the boat docked, along with a couple of Little Egrets. On the island Yellow-legged Gulls were everywhere, well into three figures in number. On the small rocky beach at the 'fishermans' village' a group of five Turnstones fed almost at our feet and we soon saw the first Berthelot's Pipit.
Taking our time and heading in the direction of the lighthouse, the only birds that weren't Gulls or feral pigeons were a few Ravens! Then John spotted a perched bird off in the distance - the shape was right, it was certainly a raptor, could it be one of my few remaining targets - Barbary Falcon? Out came my trusty SX50, but even at full zoom the images just weren't good enough to be sure, so it had to go down as unidentified!
By now we had decided we weren't going to make the lighthouse without rushing, and as it was a hot day with very little shade on the island, we decided to head back. Rather than retrace our steps (we had been following the path on the eastern side of the island) we took the next turn to go back via the western path. This path ran closer to the coast and we soon picked up another couple of Egrets. Then a mid-air commotion caught my eye which at first glance I thought was a Gull seeing off a Falcon - Barbary Falcon ! Calling to John while keeping the 'vanquished' bird in my glasses to be certain, he quickly said "They're the same!" Sure enough he was right, not one but two Falcons, presumably a pair! It more than made up for the (totally expected) absence of Cory's Shearwater!
Passing by the 400ft caldera which is the main feature of the island (but sadly not having enough time to ascend it!) we headed back to the jetty area to await our ferry. A handsome male Kestrel, presumably hunting the plentiful lizards, hovered overhead, and we picked up a couple of Swallows and several more Berthelot's Pipits. Back at the visitor centre the first House Martin of the trip hawked to and fro. We opted to make the trip back below decks and it was amazing to see the variety of tropical fish - triggers, wrasses, parrotfish, damsels etc. Back on 'terra firma' we enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of the many fish restaurants close to the harbour then parted ways.
Back at our hotel I still had a couple of hours of daylight left, and as our time was running out - Tuesday would be our last full day - headed off to Rosa de Los Negrines once more. Parked up with the stony plain on my left and a small oasis of greenery on my right, a Great Grey Shrike making sorties from its perch had me enthralled. Then a movement to the right drew my attention, something had hopped up onto a low brick wall that ran in front of a row of bushes - a Barbary Partridge, followed by another! They stood stock still and I was able to take in all the details - the powder grey bib and beautiful 'diademed' collar that I had missed on my very brief encounter on Tenerife! Then they hopped down to the other side of the wall and disappeared through a gap in the bushes.
I set off again to follow the track around the fenced-off area and into Tindaya. About half way round, just past the building where I saw the first Trumpeter Finches, something sat in the road! A female Kestrel tearing at the carcass of a rabbit! She seemed unconcerned by my presence (or at any rate not concerned enough to surrender her prize!) so I was able to fire off a few shots. With me skirting round her as far as I could, and her dragging the rabbit with little bursts of flight in the other direction, I left her to enjoy her feast!
Arriving at Tindaya the only activity was from a couple of Lesser Short-toed Larks.

Chris

Common Kestrel ssp. dacotiae
Lesser Short-toed Lark ssp. polatzeki
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4901Lthumb.JPG
    IMG_4901Lthumb.JPG
    525.7 KB · Views: 45
  • IMG_4908cLthumb.JPG
    IMG_4908cLthumb.JPG
    428.1 KB · Views: 45

KenM

Well-known member
You seemed to have mopped up just nicely Chris with all the Island's specialities, and If I'm right...you took the FV30 South to Betancuria? That's something I'd be reluctant to do ever again, especially with my wife sitting ''cliff-side'' :eek!: Well done with the Barbary's, I didn't connect with those last time...and not just those. ;) A good shot of the LSTL by the way, I could never get close to those buggers. :t:

Cheers
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
You seemed to have mopped up just nicely Chris with all the Island's specialities, and If I'm right...you took the FV30 South to Betancuria? That's something I'd be reluctant to do ever again, especially with my wife sitting ''cliff-side'' :eek!: Well done with the Barbary's, I didn't connect with those last time...and not just those. ;) A good shot of the LSTL by the way, I could never get close to those buggers. :t:

Cheers

Thanks Ken! Yeah I can't believe how well I did, really exceeded my wildest expectations! I will be adding a summary soon for anyone interested!
The FV30 was very scenic, but in all honesty a doddle compared to some of the roads we have here (and like all Spanish roads in far better condition)! :eek!:
Thought I'd missed out on the Barbary when I didn't connect in Tenerife, that was a real bonus!
Re the LSTL thanks, just luck and right time right place!

All the best,

Chris
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Tuesday 4th February

Our last full day (our flight was at 11.05 the next morning) and I had thought long and hard about taking the ferry to Lanzarote and back in a final attempt to see Cory's Shearwater! Sandra was more than happy to go along for the ride as it were, but in the end I decided against it. There was packing to be done after all, and in all honesty I thought the chances of success to be negligible! A nice relaxed lunch at El Horno, followed by a spot of 'retail therapy' in Corralejo, before meeting up with John & Lorraine for a goodbye meal in the Japanese restaurant at their hotel seemed the way to go!
I still had my pre-breakfast trip to Tindaya first though! Unfortunately it was exceptionally windy on the plain, so I headed back to Rosa de Los Negrines which I knew would be more sheltered.It was still blustery there so birds were scarce, but I did see two Great Grey Shrikes, and somewhat incongruously, a pair of Ruddy Shelduck!

That was it then, ten days over two totally different but equally beautiful islands, warm, friendly people, great food and drink, and last but not least, unforgettable birding!

Only 47 birds seen but 15 Lifers and most of the Canarian or Macaronesian specialities were included in that:

1) Atlantic canary
2) Common Blackbird ssp. cabrerae
3) Collared Dove
4) Bolle's Pigeon
5) Canary Islands Chiffchaff
6) Grey Wagtail
7) Common Kestrel ssp. canariensis( TF) & ssp. dacotiae (FV)
8) Blue Chaffinch
9) African Blue Tit ssp. teneriffae (TF) & ssp. ultramarinus (FV)
10) Barbary Partridge ssp, koenigi
11) Great Spotted Woodpecker ssp. canariensis
12) Raven ssp. tingitanus
13) Yellow-legged Gull ssp. atlantis
14) Rock Dove
15) Common Buzzard ssp, insularum
16) Berthelot's Pipit
17) Spectacled Warbler
18) Robin ssp. superbus
19) Sparrowhawk ssp. granti
20) Blackcap ssp. heineken
21) Laurel Pigeon
22) Grey Heron
23) Goldcrest ssp. teneriffae
24) Common Chaffinch ssp. canariensis
25) Spanish Sparrow
26) Lesser Short-toed Lark ssp. polatzeki
27) Trumpeter Finch ssp. amantum
28) Barn Swallow
29) Houbara Bustard ssp. fuertaventurae
30) Cream-coloured Courser
31) Little Egret
32) Canary Island Stonechat
33) Hoopoe
34) Plain Swift
35) Ruddy Shelduck
36) Egyptian Vulture ssp. majorensis
37) Black-bellied Sandgrouse
38) Black-winged Stilt
39) Common Coot
40) Sardinian Warbler ssp. leucogastra
41) White Wagtail
42) Whimbrel
43) Spoonbill
44) Turnstone
45) Peregrine Falcon ssp. pelegrinoides
46) House Martin
47) Great Grey Shrike ssp. koenigi

Any significant dips? As you might have guessed I would have liked to see Cory's Shearwater but I always knew it was going to be a bit early for them. The same goes for Madeiran Storm Petrel and Barolo Shearwater. I wouldn't have minded if the Dwarf Bittern had stuck its head up when I was in its barranco, but I can honestly say the endemics were a bigger draw for me!


The following books were invaluable:

Crossbill Guides Canary Islands - I & II
Finding Birds in THE CANARIES by Dave Gosney

For maps I used:

Fuerteventura Tour & Trail by David Brown
& Tenerife North & South by freytag & berndt

Now to find a destination for next year that has as much to offer! Perhaps Madeira later in the year, who knows?


Chris
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
Great reading Chris, (almost) like being there! Now let me check, EasyJet Geneva to Tenerife and Fuerteventura to Geneva, hmmm.................
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Great reading Chris, (almost) like being there! Now let me check, EasyJet Geneva to Tenerife and Fuerteventura to Geneva, hmmm.................

Many thanks Richard! If you haven't been I would highly recommend it, it was a great holiday alround!

Chris
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Good stuff, Chris. Madeira in late August was great and if you do the Madeira Wind Birds pelagic you'll be sure to get your Cory's.
 

redeyedvideo

It's like water off a duck's back!
Many thanks Dave! I'm sure you've done your homework but if I can help at all just ask!

Obviously they are two completely different islands but we loved them both! Have a great time, I'm sure you will!

Chris

Thanks Chris, I'm hiring a car for 3 days so concentrating on the main sites, if my son's passport arrives in time. :-C

Many thanks Pete! Madeira does seem to tick a lot of boxes!

Chris

Other than the highly recommended Windbirds excursion I found Madeira to be the most bird-less place I've ever visited. It's most definitely the worst place in the world I've ever driven; struggling up hills in 1st gear and burning the brakes out on the way down while trying to avoid speed cameras!

Only White-faced Petrel would tempt me back.
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Thanks Chris, I'm hiring a car for 3 days so concentrating on the main sites, if my son's passport arrives in time. :-C

Good luck Dave, keeping fingers crossed for the passport!

Other than the highly recommended Windbirds excursion I found Madeira to be the most bird-less place I've ever visited. It's most definitely the worst place in the world I've ever driven; struggling up hills in 1st gear and burning the brakes out on the way down while trying to avoid speed cameras!

Only White-faced Petrel would tempt me back.

Really appreciate the feedback but a lot of my boxes would be non-birding related for my long-suffering wife and friends John & Lorraine! A bit of culture, interesting scenery, comfortable/luxury hotels and good food & drink! Birding-wise the Firecrest and Trocaz Pigeon plus three afternoon pelagics would fit into a week nicely for me!

Chris
 

redeyedvideo

It's like water off a duck's back!
Really appreciate the feedback but a lot of my boxes would be non-birding related for my long-suffering wife and friends John & Lorraine! A bit of culture, interesting scenery, comfortable/luxury hotels and good food & drink! Birding-wise the Firecrest and Trocaz Pigeon plus three afternoon pelagics would fit into a week nicely for me!

Chris

No worries, just my opinion rather than advice. Good luck if you go. I'd be insanely jealous if you managed to see & get good shots of White-faced Petrel, had Desertas Petrel close to the boat which made the trip worthwhile for me. :t:

p.s. thanks also for adding the ssp. to your report.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top