Birding in the sun and flip-flops!
A week in the Canaries - apt place name for a birder! - was arranged as a surprise for my wife Karen as a Christmas present. Calete De Fuste a resort only 10 minutes from the airport on Fuerteventura was the location for the week long break.
Now our holidays normally comprise of a late breakfast then a walk around the resort with a stop for a beer, a walk a stop for a beer, a walk - oh you get the gist! All of this is done with my 7D and 400mm lens slung over my shoulder in case something interesting is seen while walking, or even while supping a cold beer!
The first birds seen were Collared Doves and they proved to be the most common species seen wherever we went in Caleta De Fuste or Corralejo when we ventured there for a day out of resort.
As is normal I guess; we headed to the coastline for our first walks of the holiday where we saw Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern and Whimbrel with ease.
Spanish Sparrows could be heard in the distance and seen occasionally but all at a reasonable distance away, it took a few days to find good locations for photographing these great looking Sparrows, eventually I managed a decent number of images of both sexes.
Good numbers of Little Egret were seen on any coastal walk we did as you would probably expect.
On one coastal walk in our resort at the southern end Karen says to me "is that 3 people out there on those rocks?” I hold my camera to look through like a telescope and bugger me it was 3 Spoonbills! So of I went across the sharpe uneven and sometimes slippery volcanic rocks to see if photos with the light behind me could be achieved.
A few minutes later a 100 or so clicks of the camera and I was happy with the results, this trio stayed in the same spot for the whole of the holiday. As you can see 1 of the birds had a number leg ring and photographs of this has been sent off and I look forward to hearing where this bird was rung, how old it is etc.
A day out at Corralejo; a place where we had been some 4 years previously was next on the agenda and here across the water you can see Lanzarote and on the coast here 4 years ago I some of my best Berthelot's Pipit images but this time none were seen at all but good views of Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Sanderling and Yellow Legged Gulls were had.
Back in our resort we found a cafe that was reached via a footbridge to a man made island out a little way into the sea. Here we had extremely close views of a Ruff and several Turnstone along with Collared Dove with the first two species coming to those having a drink or food in the cafe to see what food they could pick up them selves! Across the water was a Greenshank too.
I found out about the Fuerteventura Stonechat favouring 'Barranco's' - dried up river beds - and discovered that the end of our resort in Caleta De Fuste had a 'barranco' so a walk to see what was there was undertaken, this took us near the golf course where I was told lots of Hoopoe were based, we never did see one all the time we were there though!, I did though catch a view of a lifer on the way a pair of Ruddy Shelduck that landed on the golf course and were in view long enough for me to get a photo of two, nice!
The 'barranco' was reached and immediately we saw a Redshank and Little Ringed Plover also a lot of Spanish Sparrow activity too. I then caught a glimpse of a Stonechat, still undecided as to whether it's a European or Fuerteventura species some of my twitter followers are saying European while some Facebook pals are saying Fuerteventuran, so who knows? If you have any ideas please let me know via my contact page.
Walks on the seafront promenade proved good for birds too with a lone Laughing Dove being spotted eating grit near some tennis courts, a bit out of the resort on a walk towards the next small settlement Nuevo Horizonte, finally a Berthelot's Pipit was seen, great!
A small group of up to 10 or so Swifts were seen occasionally near hotels I am not sure if these were Swift or Pallid Swift or indeed Plain Swift, again jury seems out on the few images I got, you let me know what you think please!
On the usual large patches of desolate scrubland people could be seen feeding the Barbary Ground Squirrels but very little bird life was on these apart from one area close to resort and the promenade where a group of Ground Squirrels were living so the local birds had learnt to kick around here too to get a little left over food, birds such as Trumpeter Finch, Monks Parakeet, Raven and the usual Collared Doves were seen as close as 6 to 8 feet away!
So all in for a non-birding holiday with my wife I was pleased to come away with a few nice photos and about 30 species seen in total, i cannot wait until my next holiday this time Mexico for the first time in March.