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A Report from

Tenerife 27 September to 4 October 2006.,

Grahame Thompson

Stayed at Puerto Santiago, next to Los Gigantes at the Tamaimo Tropical Aparthotel

First of all, this was not a birding trip, it was R&R, however…..

In and around the swimming pool were loads of Chiffchaffs, Collared Dove and Spanish Sparrows, three very easy ticks, also spotted were Blue Tit, Kestrel, possibly Lesser, could never suss out the calls, and one afternoon a Barbary Falcon came along, having a go at the feral Pigeons.

Clarke and Collins Guide to the Canary Islands was used to take us to the Erjos Ponds, directions were spot on, and you end up right next to them at the end of the track, arriving 0930 ish. Place was alive with Blackbirds and brambles in fruit, but they would not stop alarm calling, thought it was us causing this till along came a feral cat.

Despite this got Sardinian Warbler, Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Greenfinch, Canary, Blue Tit and Linnet. Spotted a Common Buzzard along the way.

After this went along to the Laurel Forest, lots of signs saying you couldn’t drive along it, so parked up and went for a walk, immediately heard pigeons in the trees, but only got a few brief glimpses as they dashed off, and the cloud was well in place, never went as far as the view point, but got Tenerife Goldcrest after a patient wait upon hearing their calls.

Next day went up to Mount Teide and the Las Lajas picnic site, arriving at about 1000. Next to the rangers hut, there is a tiny man-made pond at the base of a pine, sitting on the stoop outside the hut spent the next 20 mins with bins full of Blue Chaffinch, Canary and GS Woodpeckers, quite unconcerned with our presence, even when the Ranger arrived and parked under the tree, the pond was refilled by her immediately, whilst she went off and chain sawed wood for the rapidly arriving weekend picnickers. Flock of Rock Doves hanging around also.

The following day took the Tf-436 to Masca and onto Faro de Teno, set off early, but the tour buses still beat us to it. It’s a real road to hell, single track,  full lock around some of the hairpins so take extreme care, the safest way I found to do it was to get behind another car, but not too close as they will pull over and let you go first !!!!

Picked up Raven along the way and at one of the view points were some Berthelot’s Pipit’s.

The road to Faro de Teno is open, however there are some very new warning signs in 4 languages stating that you take this road at your own risk, the tunnel is very disconcerting and as it is not lit and the change from daylight to darkness is scary. Wasn’t quite sure why the warning signs were there until you looked up and found yourself under some very vertical and extremely high cliffs. There were some small stones on the road, one of these on your windscreen would not have pleased Avis. If anything bigger came down……..Scoped some Cory’s at close range as well as YL Gull.

Read about the ferry to La Gomera, but skipped it and took the ‘Flipper Uno’ out of Los Gigantes to see the whales and dolphins.

Get a place up at the front, and you should see some flying fish, we were soon in a raft of Cory’s, got great close up views and then a pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales came along. Soon after a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins arrived to play, the skipper just opened her up and they couldn’t wait to get on the bow wave, and leaping out of our wash as we went hurtling along. The food is great, free beer and wine, watch out for that squeegee wine, its lethal stuff, and the swim in Masca Bay was magic, they hand feed YL Gulls on the way in.

Took a walk up to Lomo de Nifa, (TF-454), starting next to the first view point on the road out of Los Gigantes, its steep and you need good footwear, watch out for guard dogs, indicated by red flags?, do not show any fear and they back off, they are chained up, but what I didn’t notice was that the chain could run up and down the pipe!

Surprised a flock of Barbary Partridge on the way.

Other stuff picked up whilst out and about around the resort, Blackcap, Swift (sp), Turnstone, Robin and Starling. Whilst having dinner at El Timon on the seafront, spotted a wader fly onto the rocks in the fading light, got the bins on it and I reckon it was a Spotted Redshank, which would have made it my only migrant of the trip.

The final tick was a pair of Great Grey Shrikes on wires on the motorway back to the airport, but never saw Rock Sparrow, despite keeping an eye out every where we went, there were Kestrels everywhere however, and the lizards were amazing, especially at the start of the walk into the laurel forest.

So to sum up, got some endemics, a great tan and some magical memories, highly recommended. The weather was very warm, at least 25 deg C at night rising up to 32 during the day, and very humid.

Grahame Thompson
21 Upper Aird
Isle of Lewis

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