A few Cattle Egrets were usually around this area and a roost of 80 estimated at one of the smaller reservoirs nearby. Eurasian Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron and Little Egret also recorded. Up to two Barbary Falcons showed here and at Punta del Hidalgo as well as further south along the coast at El Sauzal.
I did get one other shearwater. On 27th February a Manx Shearwater flew north (the only sighting). This showed very well and had rather dark underwings consistent with the putative "canariensis" subspecies described in this paper. The local population of Manx breed earlier than northern birds and nest inland among the laurel forests. It may be severely threatened.
Otherwise I recorded 2 Gannets each on two days and the most bizarre sighting; a Barbary Partridge flying over the sea close inshore, which then landed and swam on the sea for while.
This rocky stretch of coast also had up to 3 Grey Plover, 9 Common Ringed Plover, 6 Whimbrel, 11 Turnstone and 2 Common Sandpiper. It was also one of the only places I saw Spanish Sparrow (up to 4) and Berthelot's Pipit (2).
Parque Rural de Anaga
One of the advantages of being based in the north of the island was being close to the Anaga Rural Park; one of the better areas to search for the two endemic pigeons of the island. Multiple visits may be necessary as the weather in these mountains often closed in shrouding everything in cloud and making viewing impossible.
On my first two visits I saw single Laurel Pigeon
s at Los Batanes (at the lower edge of the laurel forest) and Pico de Inglés. But it took a third visit, once again watching from the excellent viewpoint of Pico de Inglés, to locate a single Bolle's Pigeon
. On this longer stake out 3 Laurel Pigeons showed, one of them repeatedly rather close and often obscured by the trees directly below and often calling/singing. It was occasionally possible to see one perched. Then, as I was driving back through dense woodland close to this spot, a Bolle's Pigeon flew out and directly along the road in front of the car extremely close.
|Canary Islands Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs canariensis|
Also on this last visit there were around 100 Plain Swifts swirling around the steep slopes. I also noted distant Swifts on the drive up and down the road from Las Mercedes on other days but otherwise only encountered them once at Playa de Las Americas.
Other species seen here were Common Buzzard, Raven, Canary Island Chiffchaff, Tenerife Goldcrest, Blackbird, European Robin and the rather splendid Canary Island race of Common Chaffinch.
|Tenerife Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea|
This Área recreativa is in the northern tip of the Corona forestal, an extensive region of (largely replanted) pine forest at an altitude of 1-2000m surrounding the central plain and volcano. The hiking routes around here are easy and in open pine woodland, a pleasant change from the dense laurel forests where views are hard to come by. Birdlife was fairly thin on the ground while walking in the forest but around the car parks and picnic areas there were up to 6 Tenerife Blue Chaffinch.
There was also a Canary Islands Common Chaffinch here, 2 Tenerife Goldcrests and 4 canariensis Great Spotted Woodpeckers. African Blue Tit was particularly numerous here with up to 11. A Barbary Falcon also flew over.
|Tenerife Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major canariensis|
This was one of only two places we encountered Tenerife Gecko
|Tenerife Gecko Tarentola delalandii|
We also saw this well at the Barranco de la Cruz, La Quinta (just NE of Puerto de la Cruz), where there were many Tenerife Lizards and a good number of small birds.
|El Teide rising above a sea of cloud|
The jewel in Tenerife's crown is without doubt El Teide. On clear days we could see the mighty peak from our apartment some 43km away. Variable amounts of snow covered the 3715m peak and while my sister and brother inlaw were visiting us we decided to visit and booked the cable car to the summit.
The day of the trip was clear and sunny but rather cold and as we reached the Área Recreativa Ramón el Caminero at around dawn we found the gates closed due to icy conditions higher up. To be fair it was like glass in places here at about 1580m too. As time ticked by we were clearly not going to make our booked time for the cable car to the top of the volcano but were told we could rebook for a later time once there. Eventually, after seeing a female Tenerife Blue chaffinch here (and nothing else) we were on our way again through the very impressive scenery of the coronal forest and volcanic "cañadas" plain, all the time with the massive conical peak dominating to the south.
We got to the cable car car park and after some confusion got booked on but while waiting in the queue the whole thing was shut down due to adverse conditions at the top. It was just too cold and windy and even those that had managed to get up there were not able to leave the terminal. In the end that would have been a very expensive trip so we were quite glad to accept the refund and enjoy the rest of the time walking in the dramatic volcanic landscape. Wildlife was limited to one Common Kestrel and an unidentified small bird that may have been a Berthelot's Pipit.
Playa de las Americas
We always fancied a trip to the south of the island. While picking up and delivering Jane and David from the airport we were struck by the difference in the climate; so much warmer and drier. Then news came of a wintering Semipalmated Plover - a species I'd been researching, while keeping a close eye on all the Common Ringed Plovers I'd been seeing. So we drove the hour or so to a very busy Playa de las Americas and spent the day there.
I found the waders and eventually located a much slimmer bird (especially seen head on) with a very narrow yellowish eye ring and rather narrow breast band, uniform in width. Outer palmations were visible but seeing the inner palmations was extremely difficult and I had, inexplicably, left my camera with Karen while I negotiated the rocky shore, so this feature wasn't particularly helpful. I did note more white in the lores though but not the shape of white above the gape. Photos would have been very helpful but, along with hearing the rather Spotted Redshank like sharp high "ch-wit", convinced of the ID of Semipalmated Plover. A species I'd like to see again well enough to photograph.
I did make another trip to the same spot a couple of days later to try again for photos but the tide state meant most waders were roosting well out of range on a breakwater. On that visit though I did get superb scope views of several Long-finned Pilot Whale.
Other waders were Common Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, 1 Dunlin and 1 Common Sandpiper, with many Cory's Shearwaters, a few Gannets, a few Black-headed Gulls and up to 50 Sandwich Terns offshore. In the town were a handful of Plain Swifts around palms, Ring-necked Parakeet and the only Hoopoe of the stay.
Tenerife Lizard Gallotia galloti
This was pretty common throughout the island and often easy to photograph. Quite a difference in appearance depending on age.
This vibrantly coloured crab was entertaining to watch on the rocky shoreline.
|Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta|
|Canary Red Admiral Vanessa vulcania|
|Canary Speckled Wood Pararge xiphioides|
|Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus|
|Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas|
|Small White Pieris rapae|
|Annulated Sea Hare Aplysia dactylomela|
|Broad Green-winged Grasshopper Aiolopus strepens|
|Iberian Green Frog Rana iberica|
|Red-veined Dropwing Trithemis arteriosa|
|White-banded Digger Bee Amegilla quadrifasciata|
Total of 53 species (5 lifers) seen during the month
Common Ringed Plover
Great Spotted Woodpecker
African Blue Tit
Canary Islands Chiffchaff
Tenerife Blue Chaffinch