Monday 29 February
Today was the turn of the north-west corner of the island with a visit to the lighthouse at Faro de Teno. A quick drive up the motorway and then the new (for us) road to Santiago del Teide passing many Collared Doves and Common Kestrels on the way before taking the twisting road up and down over the sierras with some magnificent views in the sunshine and shade, including the isolated village of Masca, before finally reaching Buenavista del Norte and the narrow road west to the lighthouse.
Two great sightings on the way, apart from the four Ravens, more Kestrels and the occasional Buzzard, when we came across a Laurel Dove on the road looking just like some sort of elongated partridge before it hopped up onto a side rock and then disappeared from view. Similarly, a stop to scope the cliff face for the resident Barbary Falcon was unsuccessful but then, seeing a movement in a bush outside the car window as we were about to carry on, a closer look found our first Tenerife Blue Tit. How different it looked with its dark cap and almost giving the appearance of a diminutive Great Tit.
On to the lighthouse car park where we had the pleasure and privilege of meeting local birder Beneharo Rodriguez who introduced us to some of the birds of the area and scoped one of the three current Osprey nests on the opposite cliff, albeit no bird seen. He also passed on news of is study of the local Osprey, Kestrel and Barbara Falcon population. Incredible to think that in 2002there were only two breeding pairs of Barbary Falcon and now there are fifteen in the Teno area.
Time to move on and we quickly found the designated area which held a good-sized flock of Rock Sparrows along with both Linnet and Canary. Two Sky Larks were in the air as we arrived and a short walk produced a very close pair of Berthelot’s Pipits. Soon we came, once more, across Beneharo and he offered to take us to the best viewing point for a male Barbary Falcon, the female, as he stated, being hunkered down on its Cliffside nest. No sooner had we gone a few hundred metres than he stopped the car and as we approached pointed out the male Barbary Falcon high in the sky above us. What a wonderful sighting which we most certainly would not have had with his help. Whilst stopped we also had Common Kestrel, Buzzard and Raven pass over.
Saying our goodbyes and exchanging contact addresses, we then travelled to the far north of the island where B had informed us there had been an (American) Blue-winged Teal last week. This we did rather than hang around near the Bellavista Golf Course just to see a Common Teal. This must have been the longest journey any of us has made just to see a handful each of Moorhen and Common Coot on the very small lake beyond Tejina as we approached Bajamar! But we did hear another Canary Chiffchaff and also recorded Rock Doves. Leaving the short shower of rain behind us we then made our home via Santa Cruz and the T1 motorway. Passing the local golf course we noticed a Little Egret flying in and then, as we parked the car, noticed that the tree in front was full of Spanish Sparrows.
Only 21 species but a further two new endemics plus another new species for the year.
Little Egret, Buzzard, Barbary Falcon, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Laurel Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sky Lark, Berthelot’s Pipit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Tenerife Chiffchaff, Canary Blue Tit, Raven, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Canary, Linnet.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.