Trip Report: Tenerife (Canary Islands), January 19-26, 1997

Liisa Sarakontu, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland;

I and my family spent a week in Playa de Las Americas, southern Tenerife from 19th to 26th of January, 1997. We were there mostly to spend time on the beach, but naturally I wanted to see as many birds as possible but without spending too much time away from my family. We didn't rent a car, so all the local endemics were left for next time. I had set my goal to 30 species, but we didn't get even that. This was my second trip to the Canary Island, and still no Canary bird!

All the beaches, and especially the rocky areas between the swimming beaches are worth checking daily, as well as even the smallest barrancos (dried river beds) and other bushy areas. Playa de Las Americas and Los Christianos are growing very fast, and so these are getting rare. Local people seem to use them mostly as garbage dumps and public toilets.

We had two sets of binoculars and my telescope with us. I didn't use the scope much, because most birds were so close that they were easy to see with just binos, or so far away at the sea that even scope didn't help. I had Lars Jonsson's Birds of Europe with me. It doesn't contain Canarian endemics, but it was the best book I owned. I also had A Birdwatcher's Guide to the Canary Islands by Tony Clarke and David Collins, and about a dozen excellent trip reports from other birders, mostly from EBN. (Thanks to them for the reports!)

The list of bird species we saw includes 24 identified species and 2 "sp" birds.

  1. Egretta garzetta -- Silkkihaikara -- Little Egret
    Lone birds here and there along the beach.

  2. Falco tinnunculus -- Tuulihaukka -- Kestrel
    Common everywhere outside the urban area.

  3. Pluvialis squatarola -- Tundrakurmitsa -- Grey Plover
    Rather common along the beach.

  4. Charadrius hiaticula -- Tylli -- Ringed Plover
    Rather common along the beach.

  5. Charadrius alexandrinus -- Mustajalkatylli -- Kentish Plover
    Seen only once, 2 birds near the biggest beach.

  6. Numenius phaeopus -- Pikkukuovi -- Whimbrel
    Rather common along the beach.

  7. Arenaria interpres -- Karikukko -- Turnstone
    Common along the beach, sometimes in big flocks.

  8. Calidris alba -- Pulmussirri -- Sanderling
    Few flocks at the beach.

  9. Larus argentatus/cach. -- Harmaa/keltajalkalokki -- Herring/Yellow-legged Gull
    Very common. They all were cachinnans, which is either a subspecies of herring gull or a separate species.

  10. Larus fuscus -- Selkdlokki -- Lesser Black-backed Gull
    Few adult birds among other gulls. Subspecies graellsii.

  11. Larus ridibundus -- Naurulokki -- Black-headed Gull
    Just one young (2nd cal. year) bird in a small group of sandwich terns.

  12. Sterna sandvicensis -- Riuttatiira -- Sandwich Tern
    Small groups all along the coastline.

  13. Columba livia -- Kalliokyyhky/Pulu -- Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon

  14. Streptopelia decaocto -- Turkinkyyhky -- Collared Dove
    Rather common in urban areas. Both light and dark coloured doves among the typical birds.

  15. Myiopsitta monachus -- Munkkiaratti -- Monk Parakeet
    A flock of about 6-7 birds seemed to be hanging in a private garden close to Punta del Camison.

  16. Psittaciformes sp. -- papukaijalaji -- unknown parrot
    A pair of green parrots in the Zoo area. They looked like Psittacula sp, but were not P. krameri (the other parrot species listed in guides). This one was about same size and shape as krameri, bright green with some darker areas on wings but with dark grey face. Can't find it from my books.

  17. Apus sp. -- tervapddskylaji -- swift species
    A small flock only once, probably due to windy and rather cold weather.

  18. Upupa epops -- Harjalintu -- Hoopoe
    Just few birds in the nearest barranco.

  19. Motacilla cinerea -- Virtavdstdrdkki -- Grey Wagtail
    Rather common everywhere where fresh water was present.

  20. Motacilla alba -- Vdstdrdkki -- Pied/White Wagtail
    Just one at the new golf course.

  21. Anthus berthelotii -- Kanariankirvinen -- Canarian/Berthelot's Pipit
    Common everywhere outside the city area.

  22. Turdus merula -- Mustarastas -- Blackbird
    Here and there in gardens and backyards.

  23. Phylloscopus collybita -- Tiltaltti -- Chiffchaff
    Common in all bushy areas. All the birds I saw and heard were the local dark brownish subspecies, which might be a true species now.

  24. Sylvia atricapilla -- Mustapddkerttu -- Blackcap
    Rather common in all green bushy areas.

  25. Sylvia conspicillata -- Pikkupensaskerttu -- Spectacled Warbler
    Rather common in dry bushy areas. A lifer for me!

  26. Passer hispaniolensis -- Paju/vdlimerenvarpunen -- Spanish Sparrow
    Common in urban areas.

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This page served by Urs Geiser;; February 28, 1997