Finding Birds in  the canaries update

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Fuerteventura Tindaya plain


4-14 Dec 2013 We took the track through the Fimapaire valley, 1km from the village on the Caldereta road. We found the Chat about 2km down the track on wire fence enclosures. At the fork, we followed the left hand track towards the sea looking for Barbary Partridge, but no luck. The track now ends where the new motorway is under construction, so we doubled back and took the right hand fork, and eventually came out in the village of Caldereta. We visited site 2 several times, but spent most of our time behind the Casa de Los Coroneles. Here, over several days, we found: Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Hoopoe, Pallid Swift, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Buzzard, Raven, G.G. Shrike, Berthelot's Pipit, Kestrel, Grey Heron, large mixed flocks of Trumpeter Finch, Spanish Sparrow and Linnet. Barbary Squirrels were everywhere and very tame. (Pat Harrison)


15 Jan 2014 The Fimapaire Valley a couple of kms E of La Oliva is one of the best sites on the island for seeing Fuerteventura Chat.I have never failed to see them here. After leaving La Oliva on FV102 to Caldereta, on a sharp right-hand bend  it is  NE then E up a wide unsurfaced road. It is one of the more reliable sites for Barbary Partridge but alas they were elusive this time. Several pairs of chats seen here. Also good for Hoopoe and Spectacled Warbler. (Ian Cameron)


18th May 2014 07.00 ferry to Correlejo. We had an unexpected White-faced Storm Petrel about 10 minutes from harbour. We didn't see a great deal around El Cotillo but did hear later that a pair of Red-billed Tropicbirds were attempting to breed near the lighthouse and were there for at least part of May. Whole island was fairly dry and sandpits at Antigua KM18 were completely dry, although there is a pump in the biggest pit with piped to other pits so it may be used for irrigation later in the year. No bustards or Sandgrouse here. Only Sandgrouse we saw were near Triquivijate but as Rosa del Taro was also dry we didn't finding a drinking site. Canary and Blue Tit were easily seen at Betancuria in the restaurant garden near the Church and Museum. (David and Sarah Blair)


13th Jan 2015 P29 Site 3  I have found over the years this site to be the most reliable area on the island for Houbara Bustard sightings. I had a minimum of 8 birds here in Jan 2012 - found only 2 birds here this time - a displaying male and what looked like a very disinterested female and 4-6 Cream Coloured Coursers (also seen regularly here). We have often driven the full length of the track to the sea but it gets rougher the further you go - but the tracks around the crossroad area highlighted by Dave is usually the best area to find both bustards and coursers. Have occasionally seen flocks of BB Sandgrouse here too but only usually in flight.  The small copse of fig trees often has a Hoopoe or GG Shrike perched up conspicuously. (Ian Cameron)


mid March 2016 Bustards and sandgrouse at site 3 and coursers along a track between there and El Cotillo. (Roger Smith)



Fuerteventura Los Molinos


4-14 Dec 2013 As we were driving to this site, towards site 1, we saw our first Houbara Bustard on the plains, just a few feet from the road. We had an amazing view, as it didn't scurry away. We continued on to the end of the road to site 3. On the bridge by the carpark, there was a pair of Fuerteventura Chat. We then doubled back and took the track past the goat farm to the dam. In and around the goats,there was a huge mixed flock of Spanish Sparrows and Trumpeter Finch, some males still in summer plumage. We also saw a Buzzard (Buteo buteo insularum) perched on the wall of an old ruined building. Berthelot's Pipit was everywhere, especially on the dam. Other species seen at the reservoir include Ruddy Shelduck (100+), Marbled Duck in good numbers, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, B.W. Stilt, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Snipe, Teal, Coot, Ringed Plover. A flock of 100+ Black-bellied Sandgrouse were flying overhead.  On subsequent visits, we saw Plain Swift (12+) which was a bonus for us as they hadn't been on our target list for some reason. Another visit produced 5 Cream-coloured Courser which flew in as we were leaving the track and settled in front of us.  (Pat Harrison)


25/12/13 A Marbled Duck, 90 Ruddy Shelduck, c100 Black-bellied Sandgouse and 3 E Vultures. (Colin Wilson and Derek Charlton)


14/1/14 P26 Site 1 On our visit here we were lucky to find 6 Black Bellied Sandgrouse wandering amongst the goats !! The pair of Chats performed admirably around the bins at Site 3. I think they hang around there as it attracts flies. (Ian Cameron)


mid March 2016 No chats at site 3. The path up the barranco here is closed from mid February to mid July to protect the Egyptian Vultures. (Roger Smith)



Fuerteventura Puerto del Rosario tip


From the ringroad (circunvalacion) take the Antigua road. Go through one roundabout and at the next roundabout turn left along a track (signed  Complejo Ambiental) which leads to the tip.


4-14 Dec 2013 Among the Y.L. Gulls circling overhead, we saw 5 Buzzards (Canary Island race) and 2 Egyptian Vultures. Another Egyptian Vulture was on the tip itself. On another visit, several Buzzards were on the tip and were easily viewed through the scope.


Fuerteventura - Antigua plain


Oct 2006 On the track south from Triquivijate towards Las Pocetas.  27 Egyptian Vultures were coming to roost on the pylons and there were 7 Cream-coloured Coursers and a Dotterel in a walled field marked by a red fuel tank. Site 2 had small numbers of stilts, Coots and Moorhens, 4 Indian Spotbills of unknown origin and a flock of 40 Cattle Egrets. Nearby was a flock of 100 Lesser Short-toed Larks and 27 Black-bellied Sandgrouse. (Frances Gatens)


late Dec 2013 2 Houbara Bustards at site 3 and found pits with water a couple of km north of site 2 where we had 60 Black-bellied Sandgrouse, 6 Ruddy Shelduck and 4 F Chats (Colin Wilson and Derek Charlton)


15/1/14 P20 Site 3 No sign of Bustards,Sandgrouse or C C Coursers here on our couple of visits but found it a good area for Lesser Short Toed Larks.  (Ian Cameron)


15/1/15 P20 Site 4 The car park just south of the town was an excellent site for F. Blue Tit but I could not find any Canaries. (Ian Cameron)


14/1/14 P22 Site 6 As is often the case at this site you are looking at a dried up reservoir.  Can be good for raptor watching but only Kestrel seen on our visit.  Ravens are so fearless here they will even come down to be hand fed .There is even a sign encouraging people not to feed them. Lots of Berthelots Pipit and Spanish Sparrow also like to be fed. Fuerteventura Chat and Southern Grey Shrike also seen here. (Ian Cameron)


15/1/15 P22 Site 5: Brief visit here produced Sardinian and Spectacled Warblers and a small flock of apparent local rarity - Greenfinch. P22 Site 6: For the first time in years there was water in the res here with just a pair of Ruddy Shelduck. The tame Spanish Sparrows and Berthelot`s Pipits that come begging for food were in residence and soon joined by the pair of tame Ravens.  A German birder pointed out to me an Egyptian Vulture nest site on a steep cliff face of the mountain to the immediate right of the res as you look from the viewpoint. About midway up the mountain clear white splash marks were visible but alas only Buzzard appeared while we were there. (Ian Cameron)


12-16 Jan 2015 Plenty of water at site 2 but only a pair of Ruddy Shelduck and a few Coot on both of our visits - but always worth a look as I saw a Lesser Scaup here in Dec 2005 (Ian Cameron).


Fuerteventura - Rosa de Catalina Garcia


Jan 2014 During our visit there was no water here so nothing of interest to report. (Ian Cameron)


26 Dec 2014 There's now water here (I was told by a local that it's the first time for several years) but the track has been dug up so you have to park near the two palm trees and walk from there (only 10 mins, though). I had 2 Ruddy Shelduck, 4 Greenshanks, a Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover and Spectacled Warbler (Mike O'Neil)


14 Jan 2015 Just 19 days on from Mike`s visit we checked this site but it had dried up again - which was somewhat surprising as there was plenty of water at most of the other sites on the island. (Ian Cameron)


Feb 2016 Lake dry and track to the lake blocked off to cars (Ena Bradley)


August 17 In the hills between Taralejo and Tuineje we found a small reservoir on the east side of the FV-511, near the small village La Calabaza. (28.2500980, -14.1094226). This had a few waders including Black-tailed Godwit and Pectoral Sandpiper (Martin Grienenberger)



Fuerteventura  Caleta de Fuste and Barranco de la Torre


2005-2007 Site 4 has had rarities including Audouin's Gull (Feb 2005), White-rumped Sandpiper (Oct 2005) and Marsh Sandpiper (Jan 2007) (Birding World).



Dec 2013 A female Ring-necked Duck (and Ruddy Shelduck, Greenshank and Common Sand) on the pool on the last golf course south of Caleta. Also Red-throated Pipit and lots of L ST Lark by disused saltpans en route to site 4. Waders were found by a stream immediately south of Caleta and also along the shore. At site 5: 4 Egyptian Vulture, 4 Black-bellied Sandgrouse, 4 Fuerteventura Chat etc  (Colin Wilson and Derek Charlton)


14/1 14 P24 Site 5 Very reliable site for both Fuerteventura Chat and Trumpeter Finch and both found relatively easily. Fairly quiet on our visit.  Only other birds seen here were Barbary Partridge, Raven, Spanish Sparrow,Spectacled Warbler and Little Egret.


12-16 Jan 2015 The 5 Lesser Scaup + 3 Ring Necked Ducks seen on the golf course at Caleta (Birdwatch *272) had obviously moved on by the time of my visit but I did have a major success in finding my first ever Houbara Bustard in the area (a displaying male) on the inland plain south of the golf course. This plain was also particularly good for Trumpeter Finch and Lesser Short Toed Lark. At site 3, the barranco had several pools of water where Ruddy Shelduck lingered and a Green Sandpiper was found. Also at least 2 pairs of F.Chat here. Raven,Kestrel and Buzzard all seen easily but no luck with Egyptian Vultures. Site 5 proved again to be a very reliable site for F.Chat. Having failed to find Egyptian Vultures at site 3 we headed to a range of mountains called the Cuchillos de Vigan described in the new Crossbill guide Canary Islands - 1 (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) as having the highest densities of Egyptian Vultures on the island.  Around 20-25 mins drive south from Caleta down the FV2 towards Jandia we turned left at the roundabout for Tequital. The road briefly heads back north before swinging eastward up towards the mountains. It is tarmac for about 1.5km before  it changes to a decent, perfectly driveable dirt track. We saw at least 4 Vultures here so can confirm it is a good site for them. (Ian Cameron)


Fuerteventura Costa de Jandia and La Pared


12-17 Jan 2014 P32 Site 4 20-30 Black-bellied Sandgrouse came down to drink here on our visit but like Dave said in his DVD birds seem very wary and it is best using the car as a hide to view them and not going as far as the car park. P32 Sites 1,2 & 3 Being based in Costa Calma I spent many hours over 4 days wandering around in the desert here. Like Dave said it can be frustratingly birdless  - but BB Sandgrouse are often found here (but much easier to see at Site 4). Had several sightings of small groups of birds over the 4 days but only managed to find CC Coursers on just one occasion. No sign of any Bustards but there are only a few areas that seem to have the cover of scrubby bushes that they seem to like to hide behind (Site 3 down towards the sea has produced sightings in the past). S G Shrike, Kestrel and Raven appear to be the commonest birds and on some days you can even struggle to find a Berthelot`s Pipit. Dave raised the question in his dvd about many visitors staying in the south and after staying in Costa Calma this time instead of our usual base in Costa Caleta I cannot see any real benefits to being down south instead of central on the island.  Over 15 years ago when I first visited the island we stayed in Costa Calma and had reasonable success on the Istma De La Pared (p32 new book)  but on this visit I really struggled to find birds  - as Dave obviously did here in Aug. The wooded areas had very little with just the odd Chiffchaff and a few Goldfinch to be seen.  Will not be staying down south next time.  Costa Calma is not a very inspiring resort.  Lots more fun in Costa Caleta and much better birdwatching on the doorstep !! (Ian Cameron)


14/1/15 Any hopes we had of seeing BB Sandgrouse at the drinking site at La Pared went up in smoke when we arrived to find locals jogging (up and down the stream bed !!) and dog walkers  strolling over the birds favoured hillside so we headed up into the desert from Costa Calma and eventually managed to find a group of 4 birds feeding discreetly. Very few other birds here just a couple of Ravens and GG Shrikes. The saltmarsh/lagoon at Los Gorriones was all dried up so had little to offer but a pair of Egyptian Vulture flew across the FV2 motorway as we headed to Morro Jable (Punto Matorral) where there were plenty of Monk Parakeets, Spectacled Warbler, Linnet, Cattle Egret, Kestrel, GG Shrike and lots of Berthelot`s Pipits. (Ian Cameron)


August 2017 Explored P32, sites 1 and 2 and successfully found 15 Houbaras, 2 groups of Coursers (10 and 14), a few Black-bellied Sandgrouse plus Spectacled warbler, Desert Grey Shrike etc. This is a lot more than DG found there at the same time of year - the secret seems to be to scan from your vehicle. HOWEVER Site 1 can no longer be reached as described in the book since there is a new road around Costa Calma which separates the town from the desert and blocks the track described in the book. There is another track into the same desert area further east which passes under the new road; it begins at the Calle Playa de la Jaqueta (28.1687N, 14.2257W) (Martin Grienenberger)


Northern Fuerteventura


Mid march 2016 At site 1 I just parked and walked about 200 metres down the valley floor dirt road  and easily had the chats and Blue Tit. Site 5 produced blue tit, partridge, and overflying vultures (Roger Smith)


To March 2017 David MacPherson recommends the sandy area on the edge of Correlejo (off Calle Pedro y Guy Vandaele) where over many visits he’s had Fuerteventura Chat, Spanish Sparrow,  Raven, Desert Grey Shrike, Woodchat shrike, Hoopoes, Stone Curlew, Spectacled Warblers, Berthelot’s Pipit and (Lesser?) Short toed Larks. Also Isla De Lobos, lake near the lighthouse is good for Black Winged Stilts and Yellow Legged gulls.  


January 2018 Ian Mears stayed at Tabayesco, on the LZ207 between Arrieta and Haria and said the track at the end of Calle el Chafariz was particularly productive. Birds here and in the village included Laughing Dove, three pairs of Barbary Partridge , many African Blue‐Tits, Sardinian Warblers, Spectacled Warblers, Canaries, Chiffchaffs, SouthernGrey Shrikes etc.



Southern Lanzarote


to 2007 At site 1, Trumpeter Finch is regularly present by the port and the coast to the south of here is good for waders and herons (including a Spoonbill in Feb 2006) The saltpans at site 5 are best viewed by driving down a track along the south edge of the Salinas then walking north along the black beach. We've had Black-necked Grebe here in three successive winters and a Lesser Scaup in Feb 2007. (Christine and Derek Jakeman)


February 2017 Bustards and coursers still viewable at site 2, likewise Black-necked Grebes at site 5. At least 3 Yellow-browed Warblers in gardens in Playa Blanca (Keith Clarkson)


Feb 17 Site 5: 20 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Ruddy Shelduck and over 100 waders of 7 species. Site 4: 2 Barbary Partridge (Nick Skilbeck).


January 18 Over 50 Black-necked Grebes at site 5 plus 7 species of wader including Avocet (Ian and Helen Mears).


Lanzarote Teguise plains


to 2007 We've found Houbaras by taking the LZ402 north from Teguise towards Famara and parking at the beginning of the first left-hand track. Walk east down this track to a ridge giving views across a valley. On three February visits we've seen up to 5 Houbaras either before or from this ridge. It's also worth driving on to Caleta de Famara to check the rocky coast for waders. At Arrecife there's a colony of at least 30 Cattle Egrets in the trees beyond the bandstand at the north end of the seafront. The rocks around Castillo de San Gabriel can be good for waders, terns and gulls. The rim of the volcano at Montana Cuervo (off the LZ76, west of San Bartolome) appears to be a breeding site for Barbary Falcon (Christine and Derek Jakeman)


27 Feb 2016 3 Houbaras, 5 coursers and 2 Stone Curlews from point around 800 metres along track (site 4) where many tracks cross and there’s a 5.5t weight sign. Also 8 Houbaras near site 1 (Bob Marchant)


February 2017 - The track at site 4 was exceptional for watching Houbaras displaying at close range. Also, a courser already had chicks there. (Keith Clarkson)


November 2017 Three Houbaras on the south side of the track at site 3 but none at sites 2, 7 and 4 where we got our car stuck in sand (Bob and Ginny Sibley)


January 2018 Houbaras were displaying and easy to see. We counted at least 17 birds, 9 of which were in two groups near the crossroads with the 3 crosses. There were also hundreds of Lesser Short-toed Larks. There’s a saltmarsh (good for waders, gulls and terns and, on our visit, Spoonbill) between La Caleta and La Santa at the beginning of a road bridge to La Isleta (Ian and Helen Mears).


Northern Lanzarote


August 2012 4 Houbaras were seen right beside the car on a couple of visits to the following site:If you are coming from the south (from Arrecife) on the main road between Arrecife and Orzola, turn off at the junction signed 'GUATIZA, JARDIM DE CACTUS, COSTA TEGUISE LZ404' - you know you are at the right junction as just in front of you and to the right is an obvious, large hill. The slip road will lead you to a small roundabout below the main road. Take the road straight ahead to 'GUATIZA' and after 10 metres (so essentially on the roundabout) take the driveable track to the right signed 'TINAMALA'. Follow this for 2.2km until you reach a white farm building on the left hand side - the bustards were on the track here, on the desert area to the right but most notably use the goat pens just beyond this area too. Staying in the car is obviously the best option.  GPS coordinates: - Junction of track/roundabout - N29.06058, W013.48942 White farm building - N29.04222, W013.48708  (Richard Bonser)


March 2015 Clive Hurford writes ‘There was a small, though seemingly established, breeding population of Laughing Dove in the north of Lanzarote, primarily in and around the village of Maguez with at least three pairs displaying at Lat 29;9;57.3059 - Long 13;29;36.2626. The village of Maguez was also a decent site for Canary and the African Blue Tit, I also saw another Laughing Dove in the village Guinate, just a bit further to the north of Maguez. So it looks as though they are getting a foothold on the island’.


Feb 2016 Still no waders at site 4 - Spectacled Warbler was best bird (Bob Marchant)


Feb 2017 - Yellow-browed Warbler at site 3 (Keith Clarkson)


Feb 2017 Barbary Falcon and many Canaries in scrub near the radar station at Mirador del Risco, SW of Mirador de Haria. (Nick Skilbeck).


November 2017 Still no water at Los Cocoteros; Spectacled Warbler and Barbary Partridge around the car park at site 2 (Bob and Ginny Sibley)


January 2018 Ian Mears describes two sites at Haria:1) at the south end of the village the rough areas behind the museum of Cesar Manrique was good for Barbary Partridge, African Blue Tit, Sardinian and Spectacled Warblers and numerous Canaries. 2) the lushest greenery is at the Park El Bosquecillo; take the LZ-10 towards Teguise and, after the hairpins, take a track to the west opposite the viewpoint ‘Mirador del Risco de Famara’. The car park at the end of the track also has views of the cliffs for Barbary Falcon etc.


La Gomera


Dec 2005 Bolle's Pigeon were seen and heard on two visits to site 1 but, in 5 days on the island, the only place I had White-tailed Pigeon, was at the nearby Mirador de El Rejo (between sites 1 and 2) and even then I only heard them, 2-3 birds singing in the fog. At least two Bolle's Pigeon were calling there too. Site 3 The path down to the picnic area at site 4 has numbered points. The best area for Bolle's Pigeon was between points 5 and 9 (at least 6-7 were heard here). The best views were from the 'balcony' at point 9. No White-tailed Pigeon here though. (Eric Roualet)


New site. Dec 2005 The coast at the end of the Valle Gran Rey was good for various shorebirds including Little Egret, Turnstone, Whimbrel, etc. The best bird was an adult Laughing Gull, roosting at the port of San Pedro, amongst many Yellow-legged Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. There was also a Slender-billed Gull at the mouth of the Barranco de la Villa at the main ferry port of San Sebastian. (Eric Roualet)


Tenerife


March 2005 11 Night Herons and a Little Crake at Armenime reservoirs (per Birding World). To get there, drive north from Los Christianos to Armenime then take the roads towards the coast towards El Puertito and Playa Paraiso


July-August 2007 The cliffs close to Los Gigantes, a resort on the west coast, have a colony of Cory's Shearwaters that can be seen and heard calling. I also heard the calls of a different shearwater which I am confident was Little Shearwater (Roger Smith)


Tenerife - Icod el Alto


2nd April 2014 At site 1, had views of Three White-tailed and one Bolles Pigeon, birds were in trees at top of cliffs but had good views through scope. (Ernie Wells)


Tenerife - El Fraile


February 2017 The reservoir is now even more difficult to reach. The track from the football pitch has now been blocked in numerous places by rubble, making it a walk only job. Furthermore, we found a few men with packs of dogs literally guarding the reservoir on the 9th, so we didn’t bother trying to get a look in. A shame, as there are precious few wetland sites on Tenerife. (Ed Stubbs)

 

Northern Tenerife


February 2017 At site 2 it’s no longer possible to use the lay-by recommended for the Barbary Falcons. It’s been blocked off with posts, and a sign explains that falling cliff rocks mean people should no longer stand on the viewing area. We did, and also saw Barbary Falcon from here, but had to park rather awkwardly further up the road.(Ed Stubbs)


October 2017 Note that the road to sites 1 and 2 appears to be only open from Monday to Wednesday (Manda Simmons)

 

February 2017 Erjos track and pools – it’s no longer possible for cars to drive up the track to site 2, ‘Hornbuckle’s Rock’, (or at all). So, one must walk, and it’s about a 45 minute/1 hour each way journey. However, a new viewing platform has been installed right near the start of the track (about 5 minutes from the communications tower), and it overlooks the same valley as the rock. This is surely a better option nowadays. (Ed Stubbs)


Gran Canaria


to 2008 Rare waterbirds have been reported at Maspalomas Pond, at the southern tip of the island (Blue-winged Teal, winter 2005-06), Aldea Blanca on the west coast (American Wigeon, March 2005) and the Barranco de Tirajana in the centre of the island (Blue-winged Teal, March 2007). Laughing Dove has been reported breeding at 'the golf couse' and birders have taken pelagics from Puerto Rico (south-west coast) in May and had exciting seabirds including Red-billed Tropicbird, White-faced, Madeiran, Bulwer's and Wilson's Petrels, and Little and Sooty Shearwaters (Birding World).


Oct 2011 Good numbers of waterbirds at Maspalomas included Greater Flamingo and Audoin's Gull (both Canary Islands rarities). (Stephen Dunstan)


June 2012 Visited La Charca at Maspalomas on three separate occasions. 4 Spoonbills were seen each time together with the long staying Greater Flamingo. Also seen were Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, a Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin and several Whimbrel. (David Winnie)


20 Feb 2013 Pajonales park, around 200 m up from ICONA house look for a small river with still ponds and rocks nearby amongst the trees.  A pair of blue chaffinches sighted on a rock near the ponds, flew to nearby tree, several woodpeckers also seen. (The Frecknells)


La Palma


Oct 2011 Several species of wader seen at the saltpans at Fuencaliente, including Curlew Sandpiper, as well as Barbary Falcon.  A Lesser Yellowlegs was seen there a couple of days later - this and other info on the island on Robert Burton's blog. (Stephen Dunstan)















 

Finding Birds in the Canaries

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