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A Report from

Fuerteventura 7th - 14th September 2006,

Gareth Jones

This was mainly a family holiday staying in Caleta de Fuste in the Castillo Antigua Hotel right on the northern side of town. 

Birding was limited to early mornings and afternoons (please note sunrise isn’t until at least 8.00 am).

Day 1

A very decent path is constructed to walk along the headlands and to the south to the beach for at least 2 km, with many collared doves, spanish sparrows, y.l gulls, turnstones, kestrel up to nine whimbrel and my first berthelot’s pipit.  Coming to the end of the path after the Atlantico shopping centre there is a dirty stream which held good birds, these include 2 green sandpiper, 9 common sandpiper, 6 little ringed plovers, also nearby willow warbler with many sandwich terns offshore.

Evening walk to the north produced curlew, grey heron, 20 sanderling and 5 corys shearwater, also 3 more pipits and the bird of the day 11 trumpeter finches down to five feet away coming to feed with the ground squirrels.

Day 2

Early morning walk to the north produced 3 new birds, these include 7 southern grey shrike, 6 rock doves and 2 ravens.  Being very familiar with the common raven coming from Snowdonia these had a different croak, getting out the scope I noticed the beak was very thin.  Getting the field guide out noticing the tail was the same length as the primaries these two birds must have been brown necked raven.  Afternoon walk to the stream produced 1 kentish plover.  Walking back to the hotel I heard a familiar sound searching the building site on the beach front my first fuerteventura chat.  The bird was very confiding to at least ten feet.

Day 3

I made some enquires the night before and hired a car from Hertz (a lot cheaper than the others).  I picked the car up at 10 am but had to go round the market.  Itching to go, we travelled south to Cattalina Garcia, observing kestrels, hoopoe, 4 southern great shrikes and buzzard.  Turning of the main road (from Tony Clarke’s book) please beware in scraping the underside of the vehicle.  Arriving in the midday heat I saw 7 ruddy shellduck, coot, 7 little egrets, we didn’t stay long, the temperature in the car was 38*.  Evening walk produced more pipits and trumpeter finches.

Day 4

I drove down the FV2 and turned off and parked the car at Las Salinas.  I crossed the FV2 by foot to a track that led uphill.  I came across my first 2 stone curlew also pipits, kestrel, grey heron, trumpeter finches and shrikes.  Another new bird was a barbary partridge which I nearly trod on!  Reaching the top where it levels out 4 fuerteventura chats and 1 pallid swift were observed.

Walking back down I noticed a peregrine on a small building, after close inspection with the scope a stunning  barbary falcon was identified.  Walking back down with a grin and now quite looking forward to my breakfast 3 black bellied sandgrouse flew overhead.  Stopping to remove a stone from my shoe I removed my rucksack and I couldn’t believe it 20 yards away a houbara bustard flew low over the stony plain. 

After breakfast we travelled south along the FV2 observing southern grey shrike and a kestrel, suddenly I had to stop the car after seeing a small peregrine on a telegraph pole (hazards on and the wife going bananas!)  Another fantastic barbary falcon and more ravens were seen on route along with my first Egyptian vulture near Tarajal.  We spent the day at the excellent zoo in La Lajita but failed to see the laughing doves.  Checking out the top car park 2 spotted flycatchers, linnets, hoopoe and tawny pipits were seen.  Driving further south we turned off left towards Los Goriones, the hotel grounds only produced 2 spotted flycatchers, Sardinian warbler, also a few distant ravens.  We didn’t stay long, we were getting funny looks with a pair of bins.(Nudists!)  Driving home 2 black bellied sand grouse flew in front of the car near Las Salinas.

Day 5

Another early start down the FV2 turning left at Las Salinas through a small village with salt pools to your left.  We parked the car and walked downhill into some kind of gypsy site.  Turning right into the barranco 8 black bellied sand grouse flew overhead, also here Sardinian warblers, more shrikes, buzzard, kestrel and a fuerteventura chat.  Further in 2 egyptian vultures, rock doves, 14 trumpeter finches, pied flycatcher and 3 spectacled warblers were observed.  Back at Las Salinas LBB gulls were added to the list.  After breakfast took the inland route to Corralego.  Taking the FV10 we stopped at La Olivia, scanning the plains produced very little, just a few pipits and my first lesser short toed lark.  The heat haze was very bad and very hot by now.

Seeing 2 ravens on a church tower at Villaverde proved brown necked ravens are found on this island.  Not much to see at all in Corralego and very pleased not to be staying in this resort, being a builder myself I wanted to get away form the construction noise!

Day 6

An early visit to the surrounding plains of Las Salinas in hoping to see cream coloured courser as this was my last chance of connecting.  Up to 20 trumpeter finches, pipits, 2 hoopoe, Egyptian vulture, more shrikes, 2 stone curlew and 6 black bellied sand grouse flew over head.  On the coast there were 11 greenshank, 1 grey plover, 2 whimbrel, 2 grey heron and little egret.  The stream near the Atlantico shopping centre produced 3 green sandpiper, 4 kentish plover and hoopoe

All in all a very good birding holiday getting 7 lifers and many other good birds.  With a mixture of golden sandy beaches and rocky coastline Costa Caleta is ideal for families.  Even though the airport is only 4 miles away we found the aeroplanes entertaining and not disturbing and noisy at all.  I recommend the Fado Rock, the Mexican and the Chinese Slow Boat Restaurants for an excellent evening meal.  I’ll just have to go back for the courser!


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