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Day 2 (Tuesday, 11th March)

The journey from Playa de las Americas to this site was not particularly long in terms of distance (only 45km to the turn off the main road on to the forest track), but did take almost an hour due to winding roads and early traffic. Even finding the entrance to the motorway from the resort proved to be a little bit of a test. The track through the forest, all the way up to the large rock viewpoint, was predictably slow and tortuous, with some large rocks and ruts at regular intervals in the poor maintained surface. However, slow progress was the only way to proceed. The 4Ĺkm took half and hour to cover.

Forest

Forest

Despite the sky being absolutely clear on the South of the island, progression on the journey to here became more cloudy as the higher elevation laurel forests were reached. However, arrival at the site revealed quite good visibility over the valleys and slopes. There was quite a wind blowing though, and the temperatures were very cool at this height. The calls of the abundant Canary Islands Chiffchaff are constant, with occasional calling Canaries. I ignored the more obvious large rock with the wind gauge on the top, and rounded the corner down below to a smaller rock, which looked as if it had better views of the forests. A Buzzard over early on was a cause for optimism. It only took a short time for a couple of Canary Islands Kinglets to be heard, and they eventually appeared next to where I was stood. They were very active, and passed through quickly. Next flyover was a female Sparrowhawk.

It took over half an hour of waiting and watching from the rocky outpost to see the first Bolleís Pigeons, which flew from the side and above me in a group. The tail pattern was obvious and distinctive, as they flew on to a spot in the valley below. By this time, a group of forestry workers had arrived to clear the path down into the forest from the track Ė they were surely doing a good job in keeping the paths in good repair, but the intrusion and noise at this otherwise peaceful time of the morning was off putting. The decision was thus made to walk a little way up the track. I found an open corner about 0.8km along, and this had a good view of the slopes above. On the way to this area, it was evident that a good number of pigeons were perched in the branches just above, but they were usually seen as just a flap of wings and silhouette through the canopy. Chiffchaffs were continuing to call continuously, with additional vocalisations from African Blue Tits, Kinglets, and Canaries. A Robin was found, but it didnít look any different from the more familiar British birds.

I set up camp at the open bend in the road for some time, since it felt as if it had good potential. There were more fly through pigeons here, and one or two seemed to have the darker underparts and white tail tip of Laurel Pigeon, but were usually too fast to identify. After yet another uncertain bird, a Laurel Pigeon landed in a quite bare tree which was against the open cliff face above. With a telescope trained on the bird, the characteristic long neck and dark plumage could be discerned. As the Chiffchaff activity increased, a few birds were singing and scrapping almost within armís length. More Buzzards were overhead, with a pair of Ravens circling over the tops.

It was shortly after 10am when I tore myself away from this very productive part of the forest, after having seen yet more flypast Laurel (~3) & Bolleís (1) Pigeons. As I was packing the bag, I looked up to find that the clouds had totally disappeared from the tops of the hills, revealing spectacular views of snow-capped Mount Teide behind.

Forest

Chiffchaff

Cliffs above track

Canary Islands Chiffchaff

Cliffs

It was also now considerably warmer, being much more temperate rather than hot. Walking back to the car, I came across a local birder, who informed me of a good site for Barbary Falcon, just to the West of Buena Vista. He also reassured me of the state of the track further on, since this was the best direction to take. However, as I progressed towards the village of El Palmar, the track broke down almost completely. The inevitable puncture occurred at this point, but this was soon repaired, so I continued on towards Buena Vista, and turned off on the westerly road in the Teno direction. A short way along here is a three part tunnel, where I parked just after the end of the final tunnel. Looking back eastwards into what was a strong wind, a Kestrel was gliding past early on. However, it took some time for the Barbary Falcons to both show eventually. Looking very pale against the dark rock, one was seen to enter the nest chamber far below.

Golf course

The journey back to civilisation along the western road to Santiago was incredible. There were some very steep and winding parts of the road, and unfortunately a lot of traffic, but with some spectacular scenery (the reason for the traffic and tourists). I also managed to add a new tyre to the car with some ease on the main road back. This left a little time to visit one of the golf courses to the East of Los Cristianos. I plumped for Amarilla, which is the usual luxuriant green surrounded by some very rough scrub, which actually looks quite desolate. This area is supposed to be good for larks, but I only turned up plenty of Berthelotís Pipits, a pair of Kestrels, and a couple of singing Spectacled Warblers near the 17th green. Just as I was about to reach the car in the main golf course car park, a trio of Iberian Yellow Wagtails popped their heads up above the rubble.

Berthelot's Pipit

Yellow Wagtail

Berthelot's Pipit

Iberian Yellow Wagtail

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