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Day 1 (Thursday, 10th November)

Maspalomas

Maspalomas

Maspalomas chaca looking seaward at dawn

The inland end of the lagoon

Parking seems to be a premium in the area of the Chaca (lagoon), in particular later on in the morning, so I was lucky to find one of the last spaces for on street parking adjacent to the oasis streets. This street cut through a few openings to find the lagoon directly in front of me. There were a few people around at this time of the morning, but not the crowds who would be more than an irritation later on. There is a boulevard which runs along the length of the lagoon, with the sand dunes on the opposite side. That side of the reserve is supposed to be off limits, bit that dictat was of course ignored by a wanderer disturbing the birds. The boulevard does give excellent views of the chaca, which is very good for wading birds.

The best part of two hours was spent just strolling up and down this section, scouring the surrounding vegetation and small enclosed “park” (adjacent to the boulevard) as well as the water and surrounding mud. Most common water birds were Coot and Moorhen, with supporting Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, & Grey Heron, but I was surprised to find three species classed as accidental – 3 Spoonbills (2 juveniles and an adult), 9 Ruddy Shelducks (all together on the mud to the North of the water), and a juvenile Greater Flamingo, initially circling over, and then coming to rest at the sea end of the lagoon. I had expected this part of the reserve to be open to the tidal influence of the sea, which it probably once was, but the sandy beach now bars this action. As with all other parts of the island, the most common passerines were Canary Islands Chiffchaffs, calling constantly from just about any habitat, but a small group of Waxbills came fairly close to in the reeds after a single Sardinian Warbler. In the “park” opposite the wet chaca – not so much a park as more a collection of loose trees surrounded by a fence – a small group of Hoopoes were playing and chasing, with seemingly a lack of regard for my presence. Parakeets were also noisy residents within – Rose-ringed the most common and raucous, but a small group of Monk appeared, landing on a small fruiting tree to feed. I did walk a little further along to where the first bridge crossed the dry bed to meet with the camel riding area, but there didn’t seem to be much of interest here.

As time progressed, the tourists and weirdos became a lot more abundant, along with a more than comfortable amount of exposed flesh that was more suited to being covered up making their way to the lure of the beach. So I decided to have a look around the lighthouse, which was at one time reported to be a good area for specialities such as Lesser Short-toed Lark. Predictably, the whole of the promenade following the sea from the lighthouse West has been built on, replacing the once rocky area with shops and restaurants. Unfazed, I set up the telescope seawards, and turned up a small group of Cory’s Shearwaters circling what may have been a shoal of fish. Perched on some of the rocks were Whimbrel, Herring Gull, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and single Grey Plover. I did return again to the lagoon, but the masses of tourists were quite an annoyance by then.

To try again for Lesser Short-toed Larks, I drove about 4km West out of Maspalomas towards Punta de las Carpinteras, and parked up next to a stony area which looked like suitable habitat. None were found, but I did turn up 4 Southern Grey Shrikes, Kestrel and Common Buzzard.

Spoonbill

Flamingo

Eurasian Spoonbill

Greater Flamingo

Canary Islands Chiffchaff

Hoopoe

Canary Islands Chiffchaff

Hoopoe

Whimbrel

Common Sandpiper

Whimbrel

Common Sandpiper

Sanderling

Sardinian Warbler

Sanderling

Sardinian Warbler

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