Trip Report – October 2017
Comments: We visited Fuerteventura and Tenerife for a brief visit on our way back from a family vacation in Mallorca. There are not a huge number of species but a key few we were looking for. There is also a bit of confusion as to what is a separate species versus sub-species. My list is what my research has shown but there is certainly some room for interpretation.
Day 1: We thought we would get some of the easy ones out of the way first (Fuerteventura Chat and Berthelot’s Pipit) so we drove the short distance to Barranco De La Torre. As we got out of the car we were greeted by Berthelot’s Pipits so we thought this was going to be a breeze. We walked down the barranco for about an hour and enjoyed views of Pied Flycatcher, Kestrel, Barbary Faclon, Barbary partridge, Trumpeter Finch, Sardinian & Spectacled Warblers, Egyptian Vulture, Spanish Sparrow, Great Grey Shrike (by the dozen) Long-legged Buzzard and Eurasian Collared-dove but no chat!
The heat was building so we decided to turn back and about 10 metres later there were 3 chats in view.Their behaviour is quite different to other Stonechats -they don’t stay up on the grasses but drop down to the ground behind vegetation. We had good looks at both male and female but that was to be it for our entire trip!!! Not quite so easy after all.
There was nothing on the salinas so we decide to drive up the island to La Oliva area and check out potential locations for the Houbara Bustard and Cream-colored Courser.
We covered the areas described in Dave Gosney’s book (great location directions) in preparation for returning in the morning. We started in La Oliva and then went to Tindaya – while we were driving the track off to the right of the road (as he describes) we bumped into a local birder who was watching Cream-colored Courser. We thought this was going to be the hardest bird but we ended up seeing over a dozen of them the next day.
Had a wonderful lunch in a little cafe/bar in Tindaya and then called it a day. We weren’t intending to do hardcore birding on this trip so spent a lazy afternoon at our hotel.
Day 2: Left early to head back up to La Oliva – our focus was all about the bustard today so we decided to focus on Tindaya. We criss-crossed around the plain and saw many Cream-colored courser but no Bustard.
Decided to enjoy some sightseeing and drove to a beautiful spot for lunch – Betancuria. There was also supposed to be Island Canary and Blue Tit here but we only got the Blue Tit – but the village is worth a visit anyway.
After an afternoon snooze we went back up to Tindaya – determined to get the bustard as it seems more people see them in the evening, We started at the spot described in Gosney’s book outside Tindaya by the fig grove and we hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes when I spotted a bustard seated on the right hand side of the road – right out in the open. We had wonderful views as it walked around and preened and we spent about 15 minutes enjoying it after such a long search.
Day 3: This day was just about relaxing and transferring over to Santa Cruz in Tenerife.
Day 4: Once again using Dave Gosney’s book we had given ourselves 3 days to get the species we wanted on Tenerife. Little did we know we would get all but one before lunch!
Started at La Grimona Mirador to look for the pigeons but had no luck. There were tons of rock doves but none of the laurel pigeons on our target list. So we drove on to his #3 spot Ruiz Gorge. When we got out of the car we started immediately with Island Canary, Tenerife Blue Tit, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel but still no pigeons! Then, just as we were walking back to the car we had great views of Laurel Pigeon in the gorge and a fly-by of the Bolle’s.
Onto the next stop at a closed restaurant on the same road where we immediately had Tenerife Robin, and Tenerife Goldcrest. What a morning!.
Stopped for a late breakfast and then decided to drive over Mount Teide for both a little sightseeing and a few more birds.
The scenery was stunning. We stopped at the picnic site described by Gosney and it was very successful. Lots of views of Blue Chaffinch and we even got the Great Spotted Woodpecker.
So that was it really – we had done the birds of Tenerife and decided to enjoy a lazy few days before heading back to Canada.
Guides & Resources
Guides: We are expert birders in Europe and self-guided for this trip with specific endemic target species.
Field Guide: 2nd Edition of Collins Birds of Europe – Svensson, Mullarney, Zetterstrom
Where to bird books: Exactly where to find birds in the Canary Islands – Dave Gosney
Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.