We decided to have a short pre-Christmas break on Tenerife. We flew direct from Edinburgh by Easyjet. Accommodation was arranged via Travel Republic in a self catering apartment at Marino Tenerife in Costa del Silencio in the far south of the island. Finally we used DoYouSpain to book a car, which we collected from Goldcar Rent a Car at the airport. We got it at a good price – 74Euro for the week, but had to pay 72Euro for a full tank of fuel, which was a bit of a rip off, and return it empty. I had looked at a few trip reports to get details of birding sites, including my notes from a previous visit in October 2005.
20th November. Our first full day on the island, started with us watching Collared Doves and Ring-necked Parakeets from the balcony. We decided just to bird locally in the south of the island and started of by checking some of the small pools and scrub to the east of the road on the way to Guargacho. Saw some confiding Berthelot’s Pipits, a pair of Southern Grey Shrike and flushed a Barbary Partridge. There were three pools, two were birdless, but the one by the big dam nearest the road held a pair of Little Ringed Plover, a Common Snipe and a Grey Wagtail.
Drove on to Las Chafiris and followed the signs for Amarillo Golf. On the southern edge of the town at the start of the road down to the golf course is a larger pool. This held 11 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, a juvenile Spoonbill, a female Wood Duck of unknown provenance and along the shoreline a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper. Drove further down the road to the top of the golf course and walked down the east edge of it. Not a lot bar Common Kestrel and lots of Berthelot’s Pipits and in the scrub Blackbirds and some noisy Canary Island Chiffchaffs. We then drove through Golf del Sur, back to the El Abrigo road then out towards El Medano to check the pool by the beach. It was birdless as there was too much disturbance.
We returned following the signs to Los Galletas and then El Fraille. We reached the football stadium in the southwest corner of El Fraille and followed the track out west. A gate blocked our progress so we walked on towards Embalse de Salema. Unfortunately a new fence blocked direct access to the reservoir. Climbed an adjacent white-topped knoll and scoped the reservoir picking out lots of Yellow-legged Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a few Black-headed Gulls, Coot and a female Pochard on the water. On the shoreline could see at least 31 Little Egret, a Spoonbill and a Greenshank. On a small pool just east of the knoll was another pair of Little Ringed Plover. Disappointed that we could not get better views we criss-crossed the scrub and abandoned fields back towards El Fraille. Flushed a pair of Barbary Partridge, found another pair of Southern Grey Shrikes, a Hoopoe, a few Spectacled Warblers, a group of four Skylark but best of all a pair of Trumpeter Finch.
21st November. An early start as we decided to head northwest up to Erjos. Took the left track by the southern edge of the village and drove up to the radio masts. A big fire had destroyed much of the trees and scrub on the hillside. We walked out further along the track to the marker post labelled 7, where we followed a narrow footpath and got good views over the laurel forest. Watched for a couple hours but only had two passing Bolle’s Pigeons. Walked back getting good views of Goldcrest, and Robin, with Common Buzzard and a Raven overhead.
Once back on the main road we drove back south a wee bit taking the first narrow tarred road on the right, which took us towards Erjos pools. They were mostly dry, though one held a few Coot and Moorhen. In the surrounding scrub were lots of Canaries, Canary Island Chiffchaffs and African Blue Tit.
Returned north and then west via Buenavista del Norte to Punta de Teno. It was now quite cloudy and windy. Checked the abandoned fields east of the lighthouse and located a large mixed flock of c150 Rock Sparrow and 100+ Canary, as well as a group of five Skylark. Very little moving on the sea off the lighthouse, but viewing conditions were not ideal. Returned south on the 436 via Masca through some quite spectacular scenery.
22nd November. An other early start as we decided to use the good weather to head northeast. Took the TF1, 2 then 5 to west of Los Realajos on the north coast. Stopped at Mirador de Lagrimona which is a layby just after the second tunnel west of Playa del Socoro. Scanned the scrub on the cliff and eventually located a perched Laurel Pigeon. Stayed for about an hour and got good flight views of about five in total.
Then drove east to Tacoronte and followed the roads towards El Socora. At the south edge of the village turned down to Valle Molina reservoir. The gate was open so walked in and scanned only finding 10 Teal, a Wigeon and a Grey Heron. In the fields by the village were lots of Canaries and a few Linnet. We continued further east passing through Tegueste and Las Mercedes. After entering the forest park beyond Las Mercedes we took a cobbled road on the left signed to a picnic site. This was a nice area of laurel forest with lots of Blackbirds, African Blue Tit and Goldcrest. We eventually spotted a Bolle’s Pigeon flitting between and perched in trees by the picnic area. After lunch we continued east to Pico del Ingles. Scanned the forest and eventually spotted another Bolle’s Pigeon which landed on an open branch, giving me good scope views as it preened and even cooed.
23rd November. Had a bit of a lie in today and decided to just potter about locally. Walked down through Amarillo Golf course. At the clubhouse followed a track skirting round the west side of the golf course. Here down by some stables had a large flock of Spanish Sparrows, more Spectacled Warblers and a couple of Hoopoes. Then checked out the scrubby area between the El Abrigo road and the airport. Found the pool but it had totally dried out, though flushed a Grey Heron. Enroute located three Southern Grey Shrikes and flushed four groups of Barbary Partridges, totalling 13 birds in all.
24th November. Another early start as we headed inland via San Miguel and Vilallor to Teide NP. First stop was at Las Lajas, where due to our early start we had the picnic area to ourselves. Soon located several Great Spotted Woodpeckers, the males were drumming and chasing each other, giving great views of this Tenerife sub-species. Eventually located some Blue Chaffinches feeding on Canary Island Pine cones high in the trees. Found a little drinking pool below a tree near a small building by the turning circle at the far end of the track. Here we got excellent views of Blue Chaffinches and Canaries coming down to drink. Other birds included African Blue Tits, Canary Island Chiffchaffs, three Rock Doves and a couple of Ravens.
It was a glorious clear day so we headed towards Mt Teide to view the volcano and the spectacular lava flows. Being such a nice day it soon got very busy so we headed back south. A lot of the pine forest just beyond Las Lajas had been destroyed by a huge fire. Back south a brief stop at the pool at Las Chafiris revealed four adult Spoonbills and a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. When we got back to the apartment I walked down to the shore to check the sea. Very quiet, but I did have a Whimbrel out on the rocks.
25th November. A late start today and decided to revist the El Fraille area. As I walked towards the reservoir got good views of a Barbary Falcon. Scoped the reservoir and being early morning the light was much better. Could see a Great Cormorant, a Shoveler and two Gadwall on the water, with four Greenshank, five Common Ringed Plover and a Dunlin as well as the Little Egrets on the shore. With the gulls was a first winter Mediterranean Gull.
We then walked down the edge of the banana plantation to the shore and followed the coastal track out to the Punta de la Rasca lighthouse, flushing a Turnstone from the rocks. Started to seawatch and had 8 Cory’s Shearwaters fly by in just over an hour. It had got quite cloudy and soon started raining. We returned to the car at El Fraille getting soaked in the process.
26th November. Our final day. After packing and checking out we returned briefly to Embalse de Salema. Birds much as yesterday with the addition of an Osprey. Rechecked the Guargacho pools, where a group of six Teal were new. Had a final walk round the Amarillo golfcourse where found five Greenfinch in the scrub and five Common Starlings by the stables. It was then time to return the hire car, having done 715km and get our return flight home.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip, which was fairly relaxing. Costa de Silencio is a nice quiet resort. We saw 57 different species and got good views of all the local endemics. The weather was warm and sunny most of the time, though the cloud did tend to build up most afternoons, especially when we were in the north.