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 List of species seen

Cory’s Shearwater 

This is probably the only seabird of interest that is likely to be seen at this time of the year. However, I was still surprised by the numbers, with birds past the hotel constantly early morning and late afternoon

Little Egret

2 birds on the rocky shoreline in front of the hotel on the 10th (one morning, one late afternoon), and 2 in the water tanks on the approach to Amarilla Golf Course

Sparrowhawk

Female over the rock lookout at the laurel forest

Buzzard

~10 birds over the laurel forest. At one time, 3 birds were circling together over the higher peaks

Kestrel

Quite common - ~10 on both the 9th and 11th

Barbary Falcon

A pair were seen at a nest site on the cliffs above Caleta Anden, to the West of Buenavista del Norte. The site was very easily found – through the third of the three tunnels leading to Punta de Teno, and park 100m along and look back. The nest site was not so obvious, but both birds appeared together after about half an hour and landed in the nesting chamber

Barbary Partidge

This is probably not too uncommon a bird on the island, but seems to be hard to catch up with. I was lucky that the pair I saw appeared in front of the car just after I had parked on the track to Punta de la Rasca

Ringed Plover 

3 birds on the exposed rocks in front of the hotel

Whimbrel

1 on the rocky shoreline around the corner from the hotel

Turnstone

1 on rocks in front of the hotel

Yellow-legged Gull

Common on the coast

Bolle’s Pigeon

After waiting for about half an hour on the large rock overlooking the laurel forests, 3 birds in a group whistled past, and landed somewhere in the valley below. The tail pattern is quite marked, and very different from that of the Laurel Pigeons seen later. A good number of pigeons were seen briefly, or clattered out of the trees, but only one further bird could be identified as Bolle’s

Laurel Pigeon

The numbers seem were quite a surprise, since reports I had seen seemed to indicate that these birds were in vastly lower numbers on the island than Bolle’s, and the site I visited had few reports. However, the lookout that I frequented for some time 0.8km from the large rock had at least 3 birds which could be identified, with one or two others that may have been Laurel, due to the impression of a darker bird. One was even kind enough to sit in the semi-open for some time

Turtle Dove

These had been heard calling for some time in the conifers around the Las Lajas picnic site before showing themselves. A pair of birds were then found strutting around on the ground, feeding amongst some of the picnic tables. What was probably the same pair was found on the ground again a little later

Collared Dove

Very common around the resorts

Monk Parakeet

These very noisy, albeit introduced, birds were seen and heard frequently around Playa de las Americas. Most guaranteed time seemed to be just after 8 in the morning, presumably when they were coming in from roost. In total, about 17 were seen on the 10th, and 3 on the 9th

Hoopoe

A single bird flew across in front of me and landed on the ground on the track to Punta de la Rasca

Great Spotted Woodpecker

These were very easy to see at the Las Lajas picnic site. As soon as I left the car, birds could be heard calling in the area, and the first one was actually in the tree directly above the car, chipping away at a pine cone. During the couple of hours I spent at the site, woodpeckers were more or less constantly heard, usually calling, but also frequently hammering on favoured tree stumps. They were also flying to and fro constantly. One of the dripping taps was a very good spot to get close, since the birds were not nearly as timid as I had been led to believe. When see well, the most obvious difference with this island subspecies to British birds is the much darker underbelly

(Iberian) Yellow Wagtail

These were the last birds seen at the Amarilla golf course. The area had been turning up mainly Berthelot’s Pipits and Spectacled Warblers (in small numbers), until I heard the distinctive call while returning to the car. A single bird was quite close, although jumpy, and when I followed it behind a mound, it flew off with 2 other birds

Berthelot’s Pipit

I had expected these to be a lot more common, or obvious, than they were – in other words, easily seen around the resorts. However, when the more open wastes away from habitation were visited, they became a much more common bird. All the birds I saw were either at the Punta de la Rasca track (~12) or the open scrub alongside the Amarilla golf course (~8). Once the correct habitat is found, they are very evident with their constant calling, and very approachable

Canary Islands Kinglet 

The only birds I saw were a few in the laurel forests, and they were usually more easily heard than seen. My impression of these was that they were very similar to nominate Goldcrests, having very little white above the eye, with longer bills. It was difficult to see the wing patterns on the constantly foraging birds

Blackbird

This is supposed to be another distinct subspecies, but the males I saw didn’t seem to be any different to the ones we have in Britain. The literature seems to point to size (barely smaller than nominate), and slight differences with colour of bill in the female and perhaps shade of the plumage. A couple of males were seen occasional around Playa de las Americas, but most were seen in the hills of the North-west (~6 on the 11th)

Canary Islands Chiffchaff 

These are very common, particularly in the laurel forests, where they could be heard calling almost constantly, but are even in the built up areas. A walk around the resort of Playa de las Americas usually turned up a few birds, usually when a few bushes or trees were passed. A pair were even building a nest just in front of the hotel. A group of 3 to 4 were trying to establish territories more or less at arms length in the clearing of the laurel forests. While I was waiting and watching for the endemic pigeons, these birds were constantly battling and chasing each other. Main differences with Chiffchaff seemed to be the song (bubbly “chup-chup-chup” repeated) and the lighter coloured legs

Blackcap

A pair of these birds were building a nest at the same site in front of the hotel as the Chiffchaffs, and were collecting fibres from the same palm tree trunks. First bird seen was the female of the pair on the first morning, but the male was more frequently seen after this

Spectacled Warbler

These were found in exactly the same habitat as the Berthelot’s Pipits – at Punta de la Rasca (6) and the Amarilla golf course (2). However, they preferred to stay in the bushes and scrub, as opposed to the open areas for the pipits, and were not quite as approachable. Yet, they were easy to find, since they were singing at this time of the year, and this was quite often from perches at the tops of the vegetation

Robin

Another subspecies, although the bird I saw in the laurel forests didn’t look any different from the nominate

African Blue Tit

This species has just been recently split from the nominate Parus caeruleus, and the birds seen in Tenerife are noticeably different. They have a much darker cap, and the wings have no white on them, making the appearance of these birds much darker and more dapper than their northern counterparts. They were also very easy to see, with particularly close views of the birds at the Las Lajas picnic site, where some came to the dripping tap (~20 here). They were a little more distant at the laurel forest (~10)

Southern Grey Shrike 

These were only seen from the track on the approach to Punta de la Rasca, where at least 2 birds were obvious

Raven

2 over the tops at the laurel forest, and 1 near the Barbary Falcon nest site, again over the tops

Spanish Sparrow  

Very common around the resort of Playa de las Americas, with some birds building nests

Chaffinch

Only one seen, and this was very briefly at the corner of the track through the laurel forest where I spent some time scanning the peaks for the endemic pigeons

Blue Chaffinch

Of all the specialities of the island, this is probably the one I was looking forward to seeing most, and they didn’t disappoint. The Las Lajas picnic site is reputed to be the easiest place in the world to see these birds, and my visit did nothing to refute this claim. ~25 birds were eventually seen here, and they are very obvious, singing and calling most of the time, as well as being so used to the presence of people here that you can get very close to them. As with the other birds of the site, one of the dripping taps proved very good for these birds

Island Canary

Some of the reports seemed to suggest that these birds would take a little finding, but that was certainly not true when I was there. They were very easy to see and hear at the Las Lajas picnic site, and as with the other birds, occasionally came to one of the dripping taps that I had staked out. They were also regularly seen at the laurel forest. Eventual numbers were ~20 at the Las Lajas picnic site, and ~10 at the laurel forest

 

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Introduction

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Species list

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