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Friday, 22 January 2010

Midwinter Break!

Sardinian Warbler
Southern Grey Shrike

Sardinian Warbler

Berthelots Pipit

. African Bluetit.
It`s been a while since my last post now, so refreshed from ten glorious days in Tenerife with my familly, I thought I`d better compose a short rundown of how it went.Again I managed to slip my camera and binoculars into my hand luggage as an afterthought.
On leaving Liverpool at - 5 degree celcius we were greeted by 75 degree fahrenheit and a glorious clear blue sky at Tenerife south airport,only 4 hrs away, but my what a contrast.This is our usual destination at this time of year and after a mad Christmas and New Yr its always worth the effort and expense!
Britain was gripped in arctic conditions and we were in no hurry to get back.The apartments my wife had booked were first class and it didn`t take us long to adjust and get in to the swing of things.I`m not one for lying around the pool for any length of time so remembering I`d brought my camera and binocs I told my wife and daughter I`d be disappearing for a few hours to see `what was about`!They should know me better by now.Just behind the apartments was a big mountain with a lot of small thorny type bushes and cactus type plants here and there.I wound my way through the scrub to find a small pipit type bird which turned out to be `Berthelots`.These are very common on the Canaries and I came across numerous on my travels.Not so numerous were the Blue tits I encountered,these were very few and far between.They had a jet black crown on their head which was the only major difference to our native birds in the UK.
In between familly days out to Siam and Lorro Park, the two main tourist attractions on the island, I managed a few more sorties up the mountains and valleys in the hope of seeing some of the endemic species of the island,mainly Blue Chaffinch.Tenerife kinglet and Laurel Pidgeon.In fact all these species eluded me and the main birds I did see were Kestrel ,Collared and Stock Doves and a few Greater Spotted Woodpeckers around the picnic areas at Mt Teide.
As I drove back down to the coast,I took some of the back roads to see what I could find around the banana plantations,almost immediately I spotted a Grey Shrike perched up on some overhead wires it was a lovely bird to see against the blue sky and a few pictures were duly taken.I headed further along the road and parked the car up on some wasteland.I could hear a scratchy type of birdsong in the scrub and on closer inspection it turned out to be a pair of Sardinian Warblers busy catching flies.These let me approach quite close to them ,which is always a bonus when you`ve got the camera with you.
Tenerife no doubt has numerous varieties of birds, but like anything else its knowing where to look for them.Part of birding in new places for me, is the "Not knowing"! whats about,It always gives me a thrill when I do chance upon something new,I suspect that thats the attraction of it all,and together with the photography,it makes it all so very much,the more enjoyable!