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A Report from

Fuerteventura, 16th-23st May 2004,

Mark Cornish

Myself & my Girlfriend took a one-week package holiday to be allocated on arrival for £140 through First Choice. I did little reasearch on where to go before hand and on arrival we were allocated at Caletes de fustes on the east coast just south of the airport. We rented a car for 3 days for 75 euros and I basically birded for two hours on 5 mornings and an hour and half in the evening.

I found many good birds immediately in the desert around the resort of Cateles de Fustes. The golf course here held Berthelot's Pipits, Souhern Grey Shrikes, a family of Kentish plovers and Hoopes all down to a few metres. Behind the last villas to the west behind the golf on the desert area I saw 10+ Canary Island Chats, several Trumpeter Finches, Berthelot's Pipits, Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black-bellied sandgrouse and Spectacled Warblers with excellent views of all. Chats, pipits, Larks and Trumpeter Finches were seen at most places around the island away from the immediate coast.

Just to the south of Caletes de fustes (2 km) is Las Salinas and a well vegetated Embalse. The Embalse held good numbers of Spectacled & Sardinian warlers, Chats and Hoopoes. I also saw Plain Swift and Eygptian Vulture here. In the evening from the cliffs at Las Salinas 16 Cory's Shearwaters passed close inshore in 20 minutes. Across the main road from the Embalse and village is flatter sandy desert where I had excellent views of my only Cream-coloured Courser, along with more Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Trumpeter Finches, Larks, Chats and Pipits.

The other place I visited twice was Embalse des la Molinos. This area proved very good and where I saw my only Houbara Bustard one late afternoon, and only Barbary Partridge and Stone-curlew all on the deck. The area was quite good for raptors with 2 Egyptian Vultures and several Kestrels. At the start of the dirt track to the dam on the Embalse is a small farm here Lesser Short-toed Larks (one ringed) and Trumpeter Finches fed around the car. On the Embalse itself there were 20 Ruddy Shelduck, Marbled Duck, several Black-winged Stilts & Little Ringed Plovers along with plenty of pipits, Southern Grey Shrike and Plain Swift. There was also plenty of other swifts about.

Otherwise the commonest birds on the coast were Spanish Sparrows, Collared Doves and Yellow-legged Gulls. Other birds included: Turtle Dove, raven, Coot, Linnet, Swallow, House martin, Goldfinch, Ringed Plover and feral pigeons. Particularly amusing are the plentiful Barbary Ground Squirrel. Some excellent birds without manicly birding and plenty of time for boyfriend duties.

Mark Cornish

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