Stephen Burch's Birding & Dragonfly Website
TENERIFE - WINTER 2002
(8 - 15 February 2002)
This is a brief report on the birding highlights from a one week family (half term) holiday to Tenerife in February 2002. Despite this, I did manage enough birding to find most (but not all) of the islands specialities.
I am sure there are plenty of other web trip reports around for Tenerife. This one probably doesn't add a great deal to the general pool of knowledge about the island, but we did find an apparently new site for Bolle's Pigeon, and visited some of the less well known sites which proved quite productive.
For this report, I will skip the customary itinerary and overall species list, and just give some notes on the sites visited, and key species seen.
Very much warmer than England in February! - probably low 20s most of time, but quite windy a lot of the time. Usually just about warm enough to lie by the hotel pool and swim. Little rain.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
The "Birdwatchers' Guide to the Canary Islands" by Tony Clarke and David Collins is good for the major sites.
"Where to Watch Birds in Tenerife" by Eduardo Garcia del Rey is also useful. This describes a wider range of sites, some of which were well worth visiting.
Being interested in walking as well as birding, we also had the Sunflower Landscapes guide to Tenerife, which was useful for providing details of the walk which provided a (new?) site for Bolle's Pigeon.
However, starting at the same site, an interesting and rewarding longer walk is "no 18" in the Sunflower Guide. This starts at the pools, and then climbs the hillside behind, giving good views of the distant, snow capped El Teide. Once the ridge is reached, the path goes through an extensive area of Laurel forest, which was good for Tenerife Goldcrest, the local races of Blue Tit and Chaffinch (both of which look significantly different from the normal European birds). More notably, just beyond the path which goes off to the left up to the peak of Mua Jala, there is a short track down to the right which provides a good viewpoint over the forest. In half an hour, we had several pigeons, most of which were Bolle's but there was one possible Laurel Pigeon as well. The walk then took in pine forest and more open areas before returning to the pools - definitely recommended for those who like to combine some leg stretching with birding.
Summit of El
The summit is reached in a few minutes and was notable for lack of oxygen (you really notice this at 4000+ m), snow and ice (which blocked the path to the north/right), an icy wind, remarkably low temperatures generally (bring woolly hats and gloves!) and superb views of the island and the volcanic formations. Note that when we visited at least, there is no access to the actual crater for casual tourists. The best viewpoint was reached by going along the path which goes to the south of the peak, past a sulphurous area - the start was not obvious from the cable car building, but is there if you look!
Birdwise, this site provided my first siting of Bertholet's Pipit, but later I saw several more obliging individuals of this species much lower down by the road, around the area's visitor centre.
Las Laja Picnic
Hell's Gorge at
[Note added on 4 Jan 2010 - some recent web searches for information on the black headed Parakeets has shown they were almost certainly Black Hooded Parakeets - which breed in this exactly area of Tenerife. See for example this link.]
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