Trip Report: Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, March 11-23, 1998

Liisa Sarakontu, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland;

We visited Tenerife again this March (see also report from January 1997), and this time we chose the north coast of the island and stayed at Puerto de la Cruz (or "Prueto bella Pruz", as my 6-year-old daughter called it). The holiday was mostly a family holiday for swimming and sun, but I managed to see few birds during the holiday anyway.

Puerto itself is not a very good place to watch birds, because there are not many parks, and the coastline doesn't attract waders or water birds. We didn't hire a car and did just a few bus trips, and so we left the endemic pigeons for future holidays. Luckily there were still some nice birds close to Puerto and the Orotava valley. The area is also filled with all kinds of tourist attractions, like Loro Parque (the parrot park), Bananera del Guancho (bananas and other cultivated plants), Oasis del Valle (mini zoo and camel riding), Jardin Botánico (botanical garden), Drago Milenario (ancient dragon tree and a garden in Icod de los Vinos) and Mariposario (a butterfly garden close to the dragon tree). All of these are worth seeing, suitable for all of the family including kids and possible places to see local passerines and other birds.

Best place to swim is the Lago Martínez pool area, but Playa Martínez and Playa Jardin are suitable for people who like black sand and big waves. Better natural beaches than these are Playa Bollullo a few kilometers east from Puerto and Playa San Marcos close to Icod de los Vinos.

Some places worth mentioning:

Parque Taoro, or the park around and below Casino Taoro

Lush vegetation, mostly local bushes and trees. Lots of passerines, even during midday. Sardinian Warblers, Spanish Pparrows, Berthelot's Pipits, Blue Tits, Canaries and Turtle Doves.

Footpath to Playa Bollullo ("Goyuyo" in some maps)

2-3 kilometers east from Puerto. A nice footpath goes through banana plantations, abandoned fields and scrubby slopes and ends at an excellent beach. Close views of Kestrels, Plain Swifts, Sardinian Warblers and Berthelot's Pipits.

La Caldera

A local picnic place just over Aguamansa in the Orotava valley, at the elevation of 1000 m. Easily reached by local bus (345, if I remember correctly). Blue and Common Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Robins, Canarian Goldcrests, Blue Tits, Grey Wagtails and Canaries.

The complete list of birds we saw includes 26 identified species, 3 unidentified species and some short comments about them:

  1. Egretta garzetta -- Silkkihaikara -- Little Egret
    Just a few birds along the coast and by water stores.

  2. Accipiter nisus -- Varpushaukka -- Sparrowhawk
    One bird was seen circling over Puerto.

  3. Falco tinnunculus -- Tuulihaukka -- Kestrel
    Common everywhere, can be seen even over the city area.

  4. Numenius phaeopus -- Pikkukuovi -- Whimbrel
    Seen just twice along the coast.

  5. Larus cachinnans -- Keltajalkalokki -- Yellow-legged Gull
    Common. A group of 15-20 seen everyday, normally hanging around the tiny fishing harbour.

    Larus sp. -- Lokkilaji -- Gull species
    One on the group didn't look like the others: it was slightly smaller and slimmer, back was one shade darker and wings a little longer. It had much more brownish feathers than the other gulls of same age. My> guess: 2nd-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus (Selkälokki), very light-backed subspecies.

  6. Sterna sandvicensis -- Riuttatiira -- Sandwich Tern
    Rather common. Lone birds were seen nearly every day, most of them flying eastward. Just one of them was in adult plumage.

  7. Columba livia -- Kalliokyyhky/Pulu -- Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon
    Very common everywhere.

  8. Streptopelia decaocto -- Turkinkyyhky -- Collared Dove
    Very common everywhere in Puerto. Lots of shades including very light specimens.

  9. Streptopelia turtur -- Turturikyyhky -- Turtle Dove
    A smallish flock was seen few times in or near Parque Taoro.

  10. Myiopsitta monachus -- Munkkiaratti -- Monk Parakeet
    Common. Pairs or small groups were seen daily flying over Puerto. Easiest to see at Plaza del Charco or Loro Parque.

  11. Apus unicolor -- Madeirankiitäjä -- Plain Swift

  12. Motacilla cinerea -- Virtavästäräkki -- Grey Wagtail
    Rather common. Easiest to see in Loro Parque.

  13. Anthus berthelotii -- Kanariankirvinen Berthelot's Pipit
    Rather common outside urban area.

  14. Erithacus rubecula -- Punarinta -- European Robin
    One was seen in La Caldera.

  15. Turdus merula -- Mustarastas -- Blackbird
    Very common everywhere.

  16. Phylloscopus (collybita) canariensis -- Kanariantiltaltti -- Canarian Chiffchaff
    Very common everywhere.

    Phylloscopus sp. -- Uunilintulaji -- Warbler species
    One bird in Parque Taoro, lighter and more yellow than local Chiffchaffs and slightly more distinct face pattern. My guess: Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus (Pajulintu).

  17. Sylvia atricapilla -- Mustapääkerttu -- Blackcap
    Rather common in gardens and other green, bushy areas. Easiest to see in Jardin Botánico, Parque Taoro and Loro Parque.

  18. Sylvia melanocephala -- Samettipääkerttu -- Sardinian Warbler
    Rather common in bushy areas. Easiest to see along the footpath to Playa Bollullo and in Parque Taoro.

  19. Regulus (regulus) teneriffae -- Kanarianhippiäinen -- Canarian Goldcrest
    Few birds were seen in La Caldera and many more heard. Probably very common in that area.

  20. Parus caeruleus -- Sinitiainen -- Blue Tit
    Common everywhere.

  21. Fringilla coelebs -- Peippo -- Chaffinch
    Few birds were seen and heard in La Caldera, and few more were seen from the bus. Probably rather common in that area.

  22. Fringilla teydea -- Kanarianpeippo -- Blue Chaffinch
    Two magnificent dark blue males were seen in La Caldera.

  23. Serinus canaria -- Kanarialintu -- Island Canary
    Very common everywhere, also in cages.

  24. Carduelis chloris -- Viherpeippo -- Greenfinch
    One flock was seen in La Caldera.

  25. Carduelis carduelis -- Tikli -- Goldfinch
    One smallish flock was seen close to Playa Bollullo.

  26. Passer hispaniolensis -- Pajuvarpunen -- Spanish Sparrow
    Common everywhere.

    Avis sp. -- Lintulaji -- Unknown bird species
    A glossy dark blue thrush-sized bird was seen on two days in Puerto. It was probably some kind of Starling, perhaps Lamprotornis sp. (Glossy Starling, Loistokottarainen). I can post a better description of this bird to those who are interested.

Other birds: many kinds of parrots, pigeons, chicken, geese, ducks, muscovy ducks, peacocks and guineafowl were kept in backyards and gardens, and many of them were not in cages or even in a fenced area.

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; March 29, 1998