As we write walking routes for Tenerife, as well as other Canary Islands and parts of Europe, we spend a lot of time yomping around the countryside and wandering along coastal trails. As a result we regularly ‘bump into’ birds that we wouldn’t normally see hanging around the house (see Bird Watching on Tenerife Part 1 – Domestic Visitors).
Usually there’s an element of surprise on the parts of both parties when this happens, so whilst I’m scrabbling for my camera, the bird in question is either taking off like the Roadrunner into the undergrowth or breaking the sound barrier to fly off to people-free pastures new.
These are some of the birds we see whilst exploring the wilder corners of Tenerife.
We hear and see buzzards in the Tenerife hills in the north and north west all the time, circling lazily high in the sky and too far away to get a decent shot. The aloofness of these big birds of prey somehow adds to the thrill of spotting them.
Egrets regularly fly over our house, moving from one reservoir in the banana plantations to another. But we only really get close to this elegant, snow white beauty when walking beside rocky coastlines.
Another bird that hangs around the shore, reservoirs and gardens. Puerto de la Cruz is a good place to see heron.
Coot and Moorhen
I’m lumping these two together because I’ve never been good at telling coot and moorhen apart. Any visit to the Erjos or Tejina pools usually results in spotting one or both of them.
The blue chaffinch isn’t a bird we see regularly when walking. Apart from spotting them at the Arenas Negras picnic zone, the best, and most comfortable, place we’ve seen them is at the log cabin restaurant at La Caldera in La Orotava.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
We’ve only ever seen the great spotted woodpecker in one area on Tenerife, around Vilaflor. And there was no missing them as there were loads in the trees and hopping around the forest floor very early in the morning.
Spotting Barbary partridge always makes us smile… as we don’t usually spot them, they give themselves away – making a noisy fuss about it in the process. A bird that if it stayed quiet, we’d hardly ever see one. As it is, most walks around the likes of Teno involve a frantic flapping of wings and indignant squawking at some point.
Cory’s shearwater are common, but as they love in caves in cliffs, our best spots have been whilst on the sea looking for other Tenerife wildlife – i.e. whales and dolphins.
A flash of yellow breast and a twitchy long tail gives away the location of the grey wagtail, although it doesn’t try too hard to keep hidden. We see wagtails all over the northern part of the island. There are often some on the road through the bananas near to where we live and reservoirs are usually good for spotting them. I don’t have a picture of one as they have proven too twitchy so far.
Apart from that lot, we often see a variety of finches, chaffinch being the main type (I’ve not yet managed to take a decent photo of one) and the rock pool crew – plovers, curlews – as well as various gulls and doves/pigeon.
The list of birds to look out for on Tenerife is quite an extensive one. It’s not something that registered until I started thinking about the birdlife we regularly see.
I wish I still had the Observer bird books I owned as a spotty youth.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+