This blog is part one of two and mainly covers a rather laborious visit to Fuerteventura.
On 26 June 1979 I arrived in Tenerife at 02:15 (the disadvantage of a cheap flight) and slept outside the airport until dawn. I then got a bus to Santa Cruz where I waited an hour in a queue to get a return ferry ticket to Fuerteventura but as it made on progress I became impatient and left! I caught a bus to Puerto de la Cruz ad walked to the botanical Gardens where I saw canary, Plain Swift and lots of Spanish Sparrows. I then got a bus back to La Laguna and from there started to walk up the rad into the hills. After 2km a bus came and I got a lift 6km to La Esperanza where it stopped. I walked another 4kms and a car came past and offered me a lift. They were a bit surprised when I said I was going to km 15 and got out in the pine forest in the middle of nowhere. I waited until they had gone before climbing up above the road and finding somewhere to sleep out, but not before seeing a male Blue Chaffinch and several Canary Island Crests. I would have slept better if I'd found a more level patch of ground!
|Spanish Sparrow, probably an immature male, at Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens|
|adult male Spanish Sparrow at Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens|
|Canary at Puerto de la Cruz Botanical Gardens|
|looking down on La Laguna from near km 15|
|looking down on Santa Cruz from above La Espernaza|
Dawn broke off Lanzarote at 07:15 on 29 June. I saw 18 Cory's Shearwaters flying north and a Grey Heron that flew east towards Africa before having second thoughts and returning. At 08:00 we docked at Arrecife. I had 6 hours to wait before the ship sailed and spent it around the harbour and salinas seeing 11 Kentish Plovers, 4 Hoopoes, 5 Berthelot's Pipit, 2 Great Grey Shrikes, and 75 Trumpeter Finches. We departed Arrecife at 14:00 for the four hour crossing to Puerto del Rosario on Fuerteventura. On this crossing I saw 48 Cory's Shearwaters and 10 Storm Petrels, 10 Dolphins, 2 Flying Fish and 3 Sharks. Once off the ferry I walked 4 km to the Airport Barranco, a site found by Dave Willis. Here I had good views of a male and two female Canary Island Stonechats, Hoopoe, 2 Spectacled Warblers, Great Grey Shrike and 55 Trumpeter Finches. The last hour of daylight I spent on the flat desert plain to the west of the airport seeing at least two Black-bellied Sandgrouse (flying over and on the ground), 400+ Lesser Short-toed Larks and more Hoopoes, Great Grey Shrikes and Trumpeter Finches. Unfortunately no Cream Coloured Coursers despite covering a fair bit of ground. I slept on the middle of the plain under an amazingly clear sky with loads of stars, easily my best night yet.
|Berthelots Pipit on Lanzarote|
|Great Grey Shrike on Lanzarote|
|looking back to Lanzarote|
|male Canary Islands Stonechat in Willis's Barranco on Fuerteventura|
|female Canary Islands Stonechat|
|female or juvenile Canary Islands Stonechat|
|my camp on Fuerteventura|
1 July. We docked at Las Palmas on Gran Canary. Four hours wasn't really long enough to get anywhere and back for the next ferry but I did not want to spend any longer on Gran Canary so hung around the quay again. This was getting quite boring. We left Gran Canary at 14:00 and arrived on Tenerife at 17:30 having seen a Little and 50 Cory's Shearwaters, 2 Bulwer's Petrels and 5 flying fish. I caught a bus to Puerto de la Cruz and seawatched on the beach from 19:00 to dusk when I found somewhere quiet to sleep out. 45 Cory's Shearwaters were milling around offshore.
|approaching Gran Canary|
|approaching Santa Cruz on Tenerife|