Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Fuerteventura Canary Islands.

Embalse De los Molinos, Barranco de los Molinos and out into the stone deserts.

Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis).
We started the day with a good breakfast and a spot of birding around the hotel where we got good views of a small flock of Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) in the garden, I had brief look at a Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) as it landed on the roof for a couple of seconds, as usual there were loads of Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a single Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) which flew over calling.
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Once we were all out at the van we set off to the south/west heading for the Embalse de los Molinos, on the way Mike L had brief views of 2 Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) as they flew over the stoney fields just before we mad a stop for a couple of Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which were sat on a roadside electric pylon.
At the spot for the Vultures.
Continuing on we left the tarmac (again) and drove down towards the Embalse following the Barranco below in a deep gorge, just before we reached the dam wall we picked up one of the target species, a pair of Canary Island Chats (Tarabilla Canaria / Saxicola dacotiae), which were moving between a roadside fence and the rocks opposite and down in the Barranco and on the hillside opposite there were 2 Ruddy Shelducks (Tarro Canelo / Tadorna ferruginea), a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and a couple of Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Canary Island Chat (Tarabilla Canaria / Saxicola dacotiae) female.
We move up to the parking spot nearby and then viewed the Embalse from the path out across the dam, from this nice raised observation point we boosted the list with 9+ Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), 28+ Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), 40+ Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), lots more Ruddy Shelducks, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Berthelots Pipit (Bisbita Caminero / Anthus berthelotii) and right at the far end singles of both Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which was possibly the bird I had seen coming in off the sea yesterday and a Great Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) which at the time we did not realize was quite so rare as it was.
On the track to the Embalse.
We next had a walk along the track down the side of the lake, the track is well above the water allowed us to get good views. On the way there and back we built the trip and day list with a female looking Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), 2x Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), 1x Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and several good sightings of Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) with one flock numbering 38.
Ruddy Shelduck (Tarro Canelo / Tadorna ferruginea).
Whilst we were walking around the area we also had Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Vagrant Emperor (Emperatriz emigrante / Anax ephippiger) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Ruddy Shelducks (Tarro Canelo / Tadorna ferruginea).
Our next stop was down on the coast were the Barranco de los Molinos runs in to the sea, once we were parked we checked out the fresh water stream which runs there. We found masses of Sahara Bluetail (Ischnura saharensis), a couple of Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), 10+ Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) and Red-veined Darter. Birds included Raven, Berthalots Pipit and a mix of Muscavy Ducks type birds.
Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
We moved back north and out on to Tindaya plains where we're spent a couple of hours driving the tracks looking for the target Cream-coloured Courser (corredor Sahariano / Cursorius cursor) and Houbara Bustard (Avutarda Hubara / Chlamydotis undulata).
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
Not long after entering the site Mike L found the first pair of Coursers which were quite close to the track at first before moving away slowly.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
We reached the crossroads seeing Barbary Ground Squirrel (Atlantoxerus getulus) on the way and turned right where we quickly found our second pair of Coursers before continuing along this track for several km adding Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Berthalots Pipit, Common Kestrel,  Common Buzzard, Raven and out on the flats on the far side of the large Barranco we had another 3 Cream-coloured Coursers but we could not find any Houbara Bustards so we drove back to the crossroads at a quicker pace so that we would have time to search the road down to the sea.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
We drove down the track stopping regularly but as hard as we tried we failed to turn rocks into birds but we did not give up and made our way back along the track still stopping and scanning on the way until eventually I found a stuning Houbara which was feeding in amongst some bushes off to our left.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
We all got views of it from inside the van before quietly sneaking around to the back and getting the scopes out of the back. For the next 20 minutes we watched this superb bird feeding before it moved off out into the rocky plains.
Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteño / Lanius excubitor koenigi).
Cream-coloured Courser (corredor Sahariano / Cursorius cursor).
Berthelots Pipit (Bisbita Caminero / Anthus berthelotii).
Very happily we left this bird and headed back to the hotel getting a nice tolerant Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteño / Lanius excubitor koenigi) which sat nicely for our cameras.

Judy testing the Lava for comfort.
Berthelots Pipit (Bisbita Caminero / Anthus berthelotii).
Sahara Bluetail (Ischnura saharensis).
Sahara Bluetail (Ischnura saharensis).
Sahara Bluetail (Ischnura saharensis).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
One of several restorded water pump wind mills.
Cream-coloured Courser (corredor Sahariano / Cursorius cursor).
Cream-coloured Courser (corredor Sahariano / Cursorius cursor).
Houbara Bustard (Avutarda Hubara / Chlamydotis undulata).
Houbara Bustard (Avutarda Hubara / Chlamydotis undulata).
Houbara Bustard (Avutarda Hubara / Chlamydotis undulata).
Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteño / Lanius excubitor koenigi).

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