Friday 26 January 2018

Tenerife - January 2018 - Day Eight

Day Eight: 13th January 2018 

What to do on a last full day? Like all holidays they have to have an end and so we spent couple of hours pottering around and packing up before consuming an epic absolutely non-continental style fry up of almost everything we had left in the fridge.  A brief moment for digestion and looking at those Pointy Chiffchaffs, Sun-ripened Canaries and Ultramarine Tits from the corner lookout and then it was off once more with a car full of luggage and poorly family. 

I was completely torn as to where to go as we did not have to be at the South Airport till 5pm and so headed down to the seafront at Punta del Hidalgo to get closer to the modern lighthouse and the rocky foreshore. Being a Saturday it was busy with dogwalkers, cyclists, fishermen and various enthusiastically energetic exercise types but there are always birds and I soon picked up a little selection of waders searching the crevices for crustaceans and such like. Five Turnstone scuttled on short orange legs around the feet of a man with a rod while two Greenshank and a very well marked (but definitely European) Whimbrel went about things in a more sedate manner. A single Common Sandpiper bobbed and weaved between outcrops and a very bleached first winter Grey Plover dozed throughout but was keeping an eye on proceedings. This added three new species to the exhaustive list which had now reached the heady heights of 40...




Grey Plover

Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper & the two Greenshank

Two Little Egrets were patiently fishing closer in and were deliberately waiting for small mini-waves to bring things out of the pools and to their eager daggers.

Little Egret

Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull

Punta del Hidalgo - the 1992 lighthouse

And so we left the coast and climbed back up the hill to the TF5 where I decided to continue upwards for a final indulgence in the grand landscape we had found the day before. I made for the TF24 and followed this up through the trees offering a different perspective to the journey down the previous evening.

The views were no less special but once again different with less low cloud and a better appreciation of how far ‘down’ was.  There was more traffic on the road that day with superbikes adding to the tarmac challenge but it was still safe and leisurely to be honest. 

La Palma for the final time

Two different angles and backdrops on the same female Kestrel

Re-crossing the highlands through the Canadas caldera was awe inspiring once again but there were no spaces to stop and lunch was a no goer so I decided to head back to La Paz for a lighter meal with the sound of melodic Canaries once again, ‘chicking’ Great Spots, thundering motorbikes and whirring lycra clad cyclists actually frantically peddling downhill rather than up. The sun was shining and warm, the food was great and the service delightful and with all four of us under the weather to some degree it was a pleasant way to while away some time before continuing our decent through Vilaflor to the airport below.

A South Devon Lava Field

This was all new territory and it was, at this time of year, bone dry and dusty with tiny terraced fields of vine trunks dotting the landscape and not a fleck of green vegetation to be seen. A single Southern Grey Shrike was practically the only bird I saw and I was so glad that we chose to stay up at Miguel's place in Bajamar on that lush and verdant coast with the fresh air and mists and changeable cloudscapes.

The airport beckoned and after an easy Cactus drop off back to Autoreisen we settled ourselves into the usual airport routine and although our flight was delayed for an hour it was still a trouble free flight back to a cold and chilly Gatwick.

Would I go back to Tenerife? Absolutely.  For the birding? No, not necessarily although Blue Chaffinches are magnificent.  I managed to see almost everything I could expect to see including all the island endemics and races of the familiar species and yes, seeing both pigeons closer would be great but to be honest it was the landscape itself that sold the island. 

I apologise if I have repeated myself in my somewhat verbose descriptions of what I experienced but I began to run out of superlatives.  Having now seen images of the high tops in bloom I would go back again just to see the red flower towers of Echium wildpretii pointing skyward against the backdrop of El Teide...

The List:

Barbary Partridge
Common Sandpiper
Sardinian Warbler
Night Heron
Atlantic Yellow-legged Gull
Canary Island Chiffchaff
Little Egret
Rock Dove
Yellow-browed Warbler
Grey Heron
White-tailed Laurel Pigeon
Tenerife Goldcrest
Common Buzzard
Bolle’s Laurel Pigeon
Tenerife Blue Tit
Collared Dove
Southern Grey Shrike
Plain Swift
Barbary Falcon
Spanish Sparrow
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Canary Island Chaffinch
Berthelot’s Pipit
Blue Chaffinch
Grey Plover
Grey Wagtail
Atlantic Canary


40 species

1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enjoyable account, Howard. You've not lost your touch at all. Been to Tenerife a few times with family but not birded there. Your blog definitely highlighted what I was missing in the wonderful moonscapes of Mt Teide. Thanks. My optics will be with me in Lanzarote in a couple of weeks...