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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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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