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A Report from

La Palma, 19 - 27 October 2007,

Henk Hendriks


From 19 to 27 October 2007 I made a short trip to La Palma, one of the Canary Islands.

Together with my wife, her sister and her husband we made daily hikes all over the island. La Palma is a beautiful mountainous, volcanic island and is mostly visited by people, looking for hiking opportunities and tranquility.

For a birdwatcher La Palma hold an endemic species, La Palma Blue Tit Cyanistes palmensis, an endemic subspecies of Chaffinch Fringillae coelebs ssp.palmensis and other Micronesian endemics like Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae, Bolle’s Pigeon Columba bollii, Plain Swift Apus unicolor, Tenerife Goldcrest Regulus teneriffae, Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii, Canary Island Chiffchaff Phylloscopus canariensis, Island Canary Serinus canaria.

The Palma Blue Tit , the Chaffinch and the 2 species of Pigeon are most reliable at Los Tilos, especially the area around the visitor centre and along the trail to Cubo de la Galga and the nearby mirador. These sites are found at the east coast of La Palma, north of Santa Cruz.

So birders with limited time should definitely visit these sites to find the specialties of La Palma.

But from my own experience I can only say that La Palma is a really nice island to spend some more time.

We flew with Martinair from Amsterdam to Santa Cruz for which we paid € 440
We rented a large Opel Zafira for which we paid € 250
Through the internet we rented a nice house in a rural area near Tijarafe. Casa Limon € 400, booked through

We had fabulous views from our balcony, roof of the ocean and the surrounding hill sides.

Books and Reports

La Palma en El Hierro. - Sunflower books 2000  By Noel Rochford 
A guide with info about walks/hikes and general info.

A Field Guide to the Birds of the Atlantic Islands.
By Tony Clarke a.o.(Helm 2006)

A Birdwatcher’s Guide to The Canary Islands.
By Tony Clarke & David Collins
Limited info about birding on La Palma.

Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe.
K.Mullarney a.o. (Collins)    

La Palma August 25th – September 8th 2006 
By Vincent de Boer


Friday October 19. Flight from Amsterdam to Santa Cruz, La Palma.In the early evening we picked up our car and drove to the other (west) side of the mountain. At a roadside bar we had dinner and met our guide who would lead us to our house.

Saturday October 20. Some early morning birding on the scrubby hillside around our house and to my surprise within one hour I scored my main target, a Palma Blue Tit, which gave good views in the scope. Other birds were Red-billed Chough, Canary Island Chiffchaff and Island Canary. We visited Punta Gorda and its market and then continued to Roque de Los Muchachos. After endless hairpins we reached the site where the scenery was stunning. Here we saw some Berthelot’s Pipits and a lonely Raven. A long drive back to our house.

Sunday, October 21. Today we made a nice hike from Cumbrecita de Taburiente. As it was Sunday it was rather crowded at the beginning of the trail. In the afternoon we visited the reservoir at Puntagorda (no birds present) and the coast near Puntagorda.

Monday, October 22. Drive from Tijarafe to Los Canarios. Saw a small flock of Plain Swifts near San Nicolas. It turned out to be the only observation of this species on this trip. Hike from Los Canarios to the light house of Fuencaliente. Nice walk along 2 volcanoes (Volcan de San Antonio, Volcan de teneguia). At the latter we had good views of a Barbary Falcon. Birded at the salt works near the light house.(Faro de Fuencaliente)

Tuesday, October 23. Drove from Tijarafe via the northern barrancos to Los Tilos. Hike up the mountain to Mirador de las Barandas. Saw Palma Blue Tit and the endemic subspecies of Chaffinch near the visitor centre. A few Bolle’s Pigeons were observed along the trail. Via Santa Cruz we returned back to the east coast.

Wednesday, October 24. A long hike near Las Tricias.

Thursday, October 25. Drove to the east coast and walked the trail to Cubo de la Galga and further to the nearby mirador. The trail goes through beautiful laurel forest. We saw both species of pigeon (only 2 Laurel Pigeons though) as well as more Palma Blue Tits and Chaffinches. In the afternoon we visited Los Llanos.

Friday, October 26. Our last day. After a lazy morning we left for Santa Cruz. After a late and extensive lunch we drove to the airport. At we left for Amsterdam where we arrived at 2.00 am the next day.

Saturday, October 27. Drove the short distance to Oegstgeest. After some sleep we left for Geldrop.


Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris borealis
A few birds seen near the lighthouse of Fuencaliente

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo ssp.insularum
Small numbers daily.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus ssp.grantii
On October 20 1 near Punta Gorda.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus ssp.canariensis

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides
On October 21 1 ex. at the coast near Punta Gorda.
On October 22 1 ex. near Fuencaliente.

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
On 22 October 2 exx. Saltworks, Fuencaliente.

Sanderling Calidris alba
On 22 October 1 ex. Saltworks, Fuencaliente

Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Regularly observed along the coast.

Little Stint Calidris minutes
On 22 October 2 exx. Saltworks, Fuencaliente.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
On 22 October 5 exx. Saltworks, Fuencaliente.

Redshank Tringa tetanus
On 22 October 3 exx. Saltworks, Fuencaliente.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans ssp.atlantis

Bolle’s Pigeon Columba bollii
On 23 October 5 exx. (1 perched and 4 in flight) between the visitor centre of Los Tilos and mirador de Las Barandas.
On 25 October 7 exx. (several perched) observed in the beautiful laurel forest along the trail to Cubo de La Galga and also 4 exx. from the nearby mirador.

Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae
On 25 October 2 birds along the trail to Cubo de La Galga.1 perched bird seen well.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
A few in villages.

Plain Swift Apus unicolor
On 22 October a small flock of 5 birds seen near San Nicolas, while driving to Los Canarios. Apparently scarce at this time of the year as this was my only observation of this species.

Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii
Rather scarce. Daily a few seen.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea ssp.canariensis

Blackbird Turdus merula ssp.cabrerae

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla ssp.heineken
Observed in small numbers.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
Common. More heard than seen.

Canarian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus canariensis
Common throughout.

Tenerife Goldcrest Regulus teneriffae
On 21 October 3 birds on the hike from Cumbracita de Taburiente.

La Palma  Blue Tit Cyanistes palmensis
On 20 October 1 in the garden near our house was a surprise.
On 23 October 5-6 exx. near the visitor centre of Los Tilos.
On 25 October 3 exx. near the mirador above Cubo de La Galga.

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Common throughout.

Raven Corvus corax
Single birds at higher altitudes like Rocas de Los Muchachos and near La Cumbracita

Chaffinch Fringilla (coelebs) palmae
Common at the visitor centre of Los Tilos and a few along the trail to Cubo de La Galga.

Island Canary Serinus canaria
Common throughout.


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