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A Report from

Winter trip to Fuerteventura, 21 January to 4 February 2002,

Georges and Mireille Olioso

We rest 2 weeks in Club Alegria, Caleta de Fuste. Flight by Iberia (Lyon-Madrid- Fuerteventura and return) and rent a Car (106 Peugeot) by Avis (± 920 €).

We saw 38 of the 41 breeding species present in winter, missing  Cory’s Shearwater, Barbary Falcon and Barn Owl. We saw 78 species (with an escape, White Ibis) and two (Yellow-billed Stork and Laughing Dove) with unknown status. All the target species are watched (Houbara Bustard, Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Plain Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit and Canary Chat).


Principal sites

We present here the main sites we visited. When are in the Clarke and Collins Guide, we write C&C. Site numbers are the same in the table.

1) Caleta de Fuste (El Castillo) (C&C 7) :

At this time, the more interesting part is the rocky coast  with some wader species (Turnstone, 3 species of plovers, whimbrels, Black-tailed Godwit, etc.). Unfortunately, the southern plain is damaged by the increasing of the resort. However, we saw Berthelot’s Pipit and Lesser Short-toed Lark. Just north of the resort, in front of the big hotels, Barbary Ground Squirrels (Atlantoxerus getulus) are abundant and very tame.

2) Salinas del Carmen (C&C 7) :

This small village is 4 km south of  Caleta de Fuste. Parking is easy just after leaving the main road.

3) Barranco de la Torre (C&C 7) :

This site also is damaged by heavy work….

Access (1) starts from the sea. Go across Salinas del Carmen and drive the durst road to an old tower and explore the barranco (ouadi). Here, we saw 2 Egyptian Vultures at rest, , numerous Trumpeter Finches, a Quail. The Spectacled Warbler is very common.

Access (2) starts from the FV2 road. Driving from the North, this road goes across the barranco near the km 18. Park ± 100 m after, on the right and explore the barranco upstream or/and downstream. Barbary Partridge, Canary Islands Chat and Berthelot’s Pipit are common.

Access (3) also starts from the FV2 road. After the km 18, drive to the south, go past a restaurant and, ± 200-300 m after, turn right on a gravel road (with a STOP sign), drive to the sandpit, turn right and continue on the road to the dam and explore.

4) Isthmus of la Pared (C&C 6) :

We saw here Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Cursor, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone-curlew and other step species

5) Road North of Triquivijate, to Puerto del Rosario :

Numerous small ponds… Coot, Greenshank,. Lesser Short-toed Lark, Berthelot’s Pipit and Southern Great Grey Shrike.

6) Barranco near the junctions of the FV20 (Pto del Rosario-Antigua) and FV225 (Triquivijate-Tetir) :

Driving from Triquivijate, just before the roundabout, the road dives in the barranco. Park on the left and explore: Berthelot’s Pipit, Canary Islands Chat, Little Ringed Plover, Grey Wagtail, Hoopoe

7) El Matorral – airport :

It is possible to explore the plain and see the usual step species…

8) Tuineje – Pajara area :

a) Catalina Garcia (C&C 5). Here, we saw a pair of Ruddy Schelduck,  Cream-coloured Cursor, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pallid and Plain Swifts, Berthelot’s Pipit, etc. We also saw twice an adult Egyptian Vulture.

b) Road to Barjeda. Starts from the FV20 near the km 34. Barbary Partridge, Canary Islands Chat, etc.

9) Vega de Rio Palma and Betancuria (C&C 4) :

a) Vega de Rio Palma. Beautiful village… with numerous palm trees, tamarix and a dam. The local race degener of the Blue Tit  is common, like Sardinian Warblers. We saw also some Turtle Doves, a pair of  Egyptian Vultures at nest and a Peregrine Falcon.

b) Betancuria. Another beautiful village with good restaurant… Blue Tit is present  in the palm trees.

c) Between km 17 and 19, nest of Buzzard in a palm tree.

10) New road between Nuevo Horizonte and Triquivijate :

Not on our map…Starts from the turnabout to Nuevo Horizonte, just North of Caleta de Fuste. Explore the plain, the barrancos and the ponds… We saw a group of more than 60 Lesser Short-toed Larks.

11) Ajuy – Puerto de la Peña area :

Good road from Pajara. From the sea, explore the barranco… Blue Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Hoopoe and Plain Swift).

Near the road FV621, km 6,5, a pond attracts Barbary Partridges, Pallid and Plain Swifts.

12) Puerto del Rosario :    

On the rocky coast, from the harbour to the power station we saw numerous waders and a Ring-necked Parakeet !

13) Los Molinos (C&C 1) :

4 Ruddy Schelducks, Coots, Little Ringed Plovers, Canary Islands Chat, Black-bellied Sandgrouses, Hoopoe, etc.

14) Région de Jandia (C&C 6) :

a) Salicornia scrubs and gardens near the lighthouse. Exotic birds are common !! Monk ParakeetRing-necked Parakeet, and … a White Ibis !,

b)  Sottovento beach. Large shallow tidal lagoons attractive to waders, gulls and herons. From the main road, at km 72, drive the small road to Risco del Paso and the sea. Explore the beach and watch the cliff for a Raven nest. We saw 5 Slender-billed Gulls (1 ringed in the Ebro Delta and 2 in the Guadalquivir Delta), Osprey, one Common Tern in winter plumage, and, also a … Yellow-billed Stork !

15) La Oliva – Corralejo area :

a) Malpais de Huriamen. At the km 10 of the road FV101, driving from Corralejo, a track starts left, just 200 m before the road to Lajares. Park here and explore the plain. Very numerous Lesser Short-toed Larks; Berthelot’s Pipit, Cream-coloured Courser, Houbara Bustard, Hoopoe, Spectacled Warbler, Southern Great Grey Shrike, Canary Islands Chat, etc.

b) Riu Oliva Beach gardens, Bajo Negro (C&C 8). 5 km south of  Corralero, near the sandy dunes. We eared and saw an Iberian Chiff-Chaff.

16) Coast and plain north of El Cotillo (C&C 2) :

a) On the coast, numerous waders and Gulls. In the rocky plain, we saw a Stone-curlew.

b) The road from Tindaya to Punta Paso Chico is very good : Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, numerous Berthelot’s Pipits, Lesser Short-toed Larks, Trumpeter Finches, Hoopoe...

17) La Lajita :

Explore the place in front of the zoo entrance…Numerous Collared Doves,  some Turtle Doves, and 4 Laughing Doves (with a pair displaying and copulating !). We also saw numerous Pallid Swifts, two Canary Islands Chat, some Song Thrushes and 1 Redwing !

Species list

We saw 77 bird species (+ one escape), 3 mammal species and 1 reptile species. The number of data for every species is between brackets.

A) Birds

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (1). A Jandia, 3, 28 Jan. in the Stella Canaris hotel garden.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta (23). In small number everywhere along the coast. Also at Los Molinos.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea (6). Only at coast coast. Maximum 4, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis (1). One adult, 28 and 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
[White Ibis Eudocimus albus] (1). One, 28 Jan. in the salicornia scrubs near the lighthouse, Jandia. Escape.
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (1). One, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Ruddy Schelduck Tadorna ferruginea (4). Pair, Catalina Garcia, 24 Jan. and 3 Feb. ; at Los Molinos, 4, 27 Jan. and 1, 3 Feb..
Teal Anas crecca (2). A female, Catalina Garcia, 24 Jan. ; 8, 27 Jan. barranco de la Torre dam.
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus (7). On the road FV2, near Gran Tarajal, one adult 23 Jan. and 2 Feb. ; 1 adult Catalina Garcia 29 Jan. and 3 Feb. ; pair at nest, 25 Jan. Vega de Rio Palma ; 2 adults at rest, 4 Feb. (8h a.m.) barranco de la Torre.
Sparrowhawk  Accipiter nisus (granti ?) (1). Female 22 Jan. barranco de la Torre. Wintering European bird or local sub-species ?
Buzzard Buteo buteo insularum (10). Widespread. Barranco de la Torre (1, 22 Jan. and 2 Feb.), between Caleta de Fuste and Triquivijate (1, 24 Jan.), Morro Velosa (1, 25 Jan.), Antigua (1, 25 Jan.), Vega de Rio Palma (3 together 25 Jan.), near Pozo Negro (1, 28 Jan. and 4 together 3 Feb., probably a family), Tixamanita (1, 3 Feb.). Nest in a palm tree, 24 Jan. between Vega de Rio Palma and Betancuria.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus (1). Adult, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus dacotiae (15). Widespread. Two pairs 22 Jan. barranco de la Torre. One young without tail, 26 Jan. between Tuineje and Tesejeraque.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (1). 1, 24 Jan. Vega de Rio Palma.
Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara (8). Widespread. barranco de la Torre, Catalina Garcia, near Vega de Rio Palma, between Anjuy and Pajara, near Barjeda and Lajares.
Quail Coturnix coturnix (confisa ?) (1). A bird seen twice, barranco de la Torre, 2 Feb..
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus (1). 1, 25 Jan. Vega de Rio Palma.
Coot Fulica atra (5). 23 Jan., 1 near Cercado Viejo, north Triquivijate ; 2 Vega de Rio Palma, 24 and 25 Jan. ; 23, 3 Feb. Los Molinos.
Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae (2). Male, 23 Jan. west of the la Pared isthmus, seen during 30 min. ; another male, flying, 31 Jan. Malpais de Huriamen.
Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus insularum (2). 23 Jan., 6 la Pared isthmus; 1, 1 Feb. north El Cotillo.
Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor bannermani (4). 1, 23 Jan. la Pared ; 1, 24 Jan. near Catalina Garcia ; 2 pairs, 31 Jan., Malpais de Huriamen ; 1, 1 Feb. road to Punta Paso Chico, Tindaya.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (5). At coast in front of Caleta de Fuste, 3, 22 Jan. ; 4, 23 Jan. in the barranco near the turnaround FV20/FV225 ; 1, 2 Feb. barranco de la Torre ; 1, 2 Feb. barranco at La Lajita ; 3, 3 Feb. Los Molinos.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (7). Widespread at coast. Maximum 9, 26 Jan. Puerto del Rosario.
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (4). 5 at coast Caleta de Fuste, 22 Jan. ; 2, same day, Salinas del Carmen ; 4, 27 Jan. barranco de la Torre ; 2, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (4). 15, 22 Jan. at coast, Caleta de Fuste ; 5, 22 Jan.  Salinas del Carmen ; 12, 28 Jan. Risco del Paso ; 2, 1 Feb. El Cotillo.
Sanderling Calidris alba (4). 26, 26 Jan. Puerto del Rosario ; 16, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso ; 10, 1 Feb. El Cotillo ; 37, 2 Feb. la Pared beach.
Little Stint Calidris minuta (2). 22 Feb., 1 Caleta de Fuste and 2  Salinas del Carmen.
Dunlin Calidris alpina (1). 22 Feb., 1 Caleta de Fuste.
Snipe Gallinago gallinago (1). 3 Feb., 1 Los Molinos.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (1). 22 Feb., 1 Caleta de Fuste.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (5). Widespread at coast. Maximum 26, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Curlew Numenius arquata (1). 22 Feb., 1 Caleta de Fuste.
Redshank Tringa totanus (2). 22 Feb., 5 Caleta de Fuste and 2 Salinas del Carmen.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia (5). Widespread. 6, 22 Jan. Salinas del Carmen ; 5 Los Molinos 25 Jan..
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos (14). Widespread. Maximum 4, 26 Jan. Puerto del Rosario.
Turnstone Arenaria interpres (6). Only at coast. 17, 26 Jan. Puerto del Rosario ; 22 Corralejo harbour, 31 Jan..
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (2). Risco del Paso, 3, 28 Jan. and 5, 30, (1 ringed Ebro delta and 2 Guadalquivir delta).
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus (7). Graellsii is Widespread. Intermedius seen at Risco del Paso and Giniginamar.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus (michahellis) atlantis (27). Widespread. Maximum 106, 29 Jan. Catalina Garcia.
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis (9). Widespread in small number. 28 Jan., 11 at rest, Risco del Paso.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo (1). Adult in winter plumage, 30 Jan. Risco del Paso.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse  Pterocles orientalis (4). 19, la Pared isthmus, 23 Jan. ; 5 together, 24 Jan. north Catalina Garcia ; 2, 1 Feb. road to Pta Paso Chico, Tindaya ; 1, south Tafia, 3 Feb..
Rock Dove Columba livia (canariensis ?) (10). Numerous feral birds, often with colour rings. In the barrancos and on the coastal cliffs, birds often like wild birds.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto (18). Widespread in towns, very rare out (1, 2 and 4 Feb. barranco de la Torre). Maximum 36, in a 45 min walk, 28 Jan. Jandia gardens and 42 in front of the zoo, La Lajita, 2 Feb..
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (6). 6 (4 in song), 25 Jan. Vega de Rio Palma ; 1 in song, barranco de Ajuy, 26 Jan. ; 2 Toto village, 29 Jan. ; 2 La Lajita le 2 Feb..
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis (1). In front of the zoo of  La Lajita, we saw 4 birds, 2 Feb. A pair was displaying and copulating. The status of this species Canary Islands is not well know, escape ? natural expansion from Africa ? Breeding not yet proved.
Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri (2). Well know population in la Jandia (5 le 28 Jan.) ; 1 bird, 26 Jan. Puerto del Rosario.
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus (1). Numerous in la Jandia gardens (22 birds and 2 big nests, 28 Jan.).
Plain Swift Apus unicolor (5). 26 Jan., 2 Ajuy and 1 between Ajuy and Pajara (with 18 A. pallidus) ; 27 Jan., 3 Los Molinos (with 8 A. pallidus) ; 6 Catalina Garcia 29 Jan. (with 18 A. pallidus) and 1 Same place with 25 A. pallidus 3 Feb..
Pallid Swift Apus pallidus brehmorum (5). More numerous than Plain. 6, 2 Feb. La Lajita.
Indeterminate Swift  Apus species (1). 27 Jan., 11 Los Molinos, probably  A. pallidus.
Hoopoe Upupa epops (19). Widespread and common. Nest, 1 Feb. road to Punta Paso Chico, Tindaya.
Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens polatzeki (18). Very abundant. A group of more than 60 birds, 24 Jan. near Triquivijate. 31 Jan., 25 in song + 1 nest with 3 eggs, Malpais de Huriamen.
Swallow Hirundo rustica (11). The migration was  begun and perceptible from 28 Jan..
House Martin Delichon urbica (5). Small groups, maximum 11, 3 Feb. Los Molinos.
Berthelot’s Pipit Anthus berthelotii (32). The more widespread species. Pairs feeding youngs 29 Jan. road to Barjeda (Pajara) and 3 Feb. east of Antigua. Very tame species. Maximum 14, 31 Jan. Malpais de Huriamen.
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (2). 28 Jan., 3 in the salicornia scrubs La Jandia ; 4 Feb., 1, barranco de la Torre.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea cinerea (3). 23 Jan., 1 barranco at the turnabout FV20/FV225 ; 25 Jan., 1 Vega de Rio Palma ; 2 Feb., 2 barranco La Lajita.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba (4). Catalina Garcia, 1 24 Jan. and 2 3 Feb. ; 26 Jan., 1 between Ajuy and Pajara ; 2 Feb., 4 La Lajita.
Robin Erithacus rubecula (4). 25 Jan., 3 Betancuria ; 2  Feb., 1 barranco de la Torre (the same, 4 Feb.)and 1 La Lajita.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros (3). 23 Jan., 1 male km 32 road FV2, near Gran Tajaral ; 27 Jan., 1 Los Molinos ; 4 Feb., 1 female barranco de la Torre.
Canary Islands Chat Saxicola dacotiae (7). A very quite species, unlike Stonechat ! 22 Jan., 3 pairs barranco de la Torre ; 23 Jan., 1 pair barranco at the turnabout FV20/FV225 ; 27 Jan., 1 male Los Molinos ; 29 Jan., 1 road to Barjeda ; 30 Jan., pair, km 14 road FV605 ; 31 Jan., 1 Malpais de Huriamen and le 2 Feb., 1 male and 1 young La Lajita.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos (10). Widespread in tamarix and barrancos. Maximum 12, near a pond, Cercado Viejo, north Triquivijate, 23 Jan..
Redwing Turdus iliacus (1). 2 Feb., 1 drinking bird barranco La Lajita.
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata orbitalis (13). Widespread and common. Youngs at nest, 3 Feb. Catalina Garcia.
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans cantillans (1). A male (early ?), 2 Feb. barranco de la Torre.
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala leucogastra (11). Widespread in tamarix. Maximum 13, 25 Jan. Vega de Rio Palma.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla atricapilla (5). Uncommon. Only in town gardens.
Chiff-chaff Phylloscopus collybita collybita (12). Widespread in small number. 25 Jan., 5 in the tamarix, Vega de Rio Palma.
Iberian Chiff-chaff Phylloscopus brehmii (1). 31 Jan. Riu Oliva Beach hotel gardens, south Corralejo (eared and seen).
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus degener (4). Song very different than British and continental birds’. Crown, very dark blue. 25 Jan., 1 in song, Betancuria village and 6 birds (4in song) Vega de Rio Palma ; 26 Jan., pair (male in song) barranco d’Ajuy.
Southern Great Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis koenigi (16). Widespread. The chest is grey.  31 Jan., pair feeding 3 youngs just flying, Malpais de Huriamen.
Raven Corvus corax tingitanus (20). Common. 23 Jan., 10 La Pared isthmus. 30 Jan., pair building a nest in a small cliff near the beach, Risco del Paso.
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis (33). Present everywhere… More of 100, 29 Jan. Toto village.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris (aurantiiventris ?) (1). Only Costa Calma “forest”.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis parva (1). Only Costa Calma “forest”.
Linnet Carduelis cannabina harterti (14). Widespread. Pair building a nest, 24 Jan. between Vega de Rio Palma and Betancuria.
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus amantum (14). Widespread and common. 22 Jan., more than 25 (and pair building a nest) barranco de la Torre .…tame.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra (4). Uncommon. Birds in song,  22 Jan. Llanos Negros (between Valles de Ortega and Antigua) ;  27 Jan. Tafia ; 1 Feb. south La Oliva and 3 Feb. km 17 road FV20.

B) Mammals

Algerian Hedgehog Atelerix algirus (7). Only (but one) dead on the road.
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (9). Widespread
Barbary Ground Squirrel Atlantoxerus getulus (7). Common in place. Very tame near the hotels north Caleta de Fuste.

C) Reptiles

Haria Lizard  Galiotia atlantica atlantica (6). Widespread.

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