Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where Are You?

Hello everyone, and this is just a short post designed to let readers know where I am should they be concerned that Another Bird Blog is defunct. 

No it’s just taking a break from wet and windswept Lancashire by spending time on the lovely warm and sunny island of Fuerteventura, just 60 miles from the coast of Morocco. This picture of Fuerteventura was taken from outer space by NASA, and not by me from a Boeing 757. 

Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the oldest Canary Island, formed about 70 million years ago as a result of volcanic activity. The geographical position of Fuerteventura means that for many tens of thousands of years sand from the Sahara has been deposited on Fuerteventura's shores, resulting in 125 miles of some of the world's best beaches. I volunteered to check out a few beaches for waders. While you don’t see too many species from a static sunbed, I managed to clock up Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew. Lots of Sandwich Terns buzzing along the shoreline too. 

Ringed Plover
 
Fuerteventura

Since most of the island is semi-desert, many of the more notable bird species found here are semi-desert species such as the Houbara Bustard, Stone Curlew and Cream-coloured Courser. There is one endemic species, the Canary Island Chat, which is found in some of the gullies around the island. Hopefully I’ll see this Stonechat relative in the next few days. Egyptian Vultures can be seen in remote parts of the island while Kestrels and Southern Grey Shrikes are very common. 

Southern Grey Shrike

There seems to be plenty of Hoopoes about, sometimes in gangs of three and four, with a number of Trumpeter Finches and Lesser Short-toed Lark seen. 

Hoopoe

All of the mammals found on Fuerteventura were either introduced deliberately or accidentally with the exception of bats. Of note is the Barbary Ground Squirrel, something of a tourist attraction at many of the miradors around the island, where the squirrels eat out of tourists’ hands. 

Barbary Ground Squirrel

Other mammals found on the island include Barbary Hedgehogs, Rabbits, Mice and Shrews as well as feral populations of Donkeys and Goats. Look out for the goats damaging your hire car though as they attack their own refelection in a shiny, well-waxed door.

There are no snakes on the island but there are plenty of geckos and an endemic race of Atlantic Lizard. It is possible that some Turtles still breed here on some of the more remote beaches and several species of Turtles are seen regularly in the waters around the island. 

Fuerteventura

Back in a day or two, in the meantime keep logging in to see how Another Bird Blog survives the heat of the midday sun.

For all regular readers, please continue to post comments and I'll reply asap.  I've asked the house-sitter to just log in and publish comments without trying to update the blog in any other way, so fingers crossed nothing goes awry.  

14 comments:

Russell Jenkins said...

Looks fantastic, Phil! Hoopoe you have a great stay and get plenty of gorgeous pictures and interesting finds. So far so good.

Stuart Price said...

Looks nicer than the Fylde..........

Gary Jones said...

You lucky thing, just waiting for the forecast snow to arrive here!! Have a great time out there.

Rohrerbot said...

Very nice Phil!!! Love these birds. I'm still hoping to see the Hoopoe. This is on my list of islands to visit. I once worked on the Cape Verde Islands and the birds were fascinating.....enjoy your stay!

eileeninmd said...

Well, I was going to say I am here and you are there. But, Gee you are really far away. I hope you enjoy your trip and see lots of great birds. Lovely post, thanks for sharing!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

What an awesome trip! Hope you have a wonderful time. I saw my first shrike (loggerhead) just a few weeks ago. They are interesting birds for sure. Your shots of the Hoopoe and others are simply amazing.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Happy trails!
I love your birds.
We're taking a big trip, well, a daycation, We don't travel much since we're hoarding 4 cats!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Looks like a fantastic place, Phil. Looking forward to your post.

news said...

Hi Phil.I guessed that you had left our wintry weather behind you best of foreign birding All the best.JWB.

Fleetwood Bird Observatory said...

Just to let you know Phil it's snowing in the Fylde at the moment!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Fantástico lugar... Bonitas imágenes.. Un saludo desde España.

Wally Jones said...

Enjoy your time in the sun! How wonderful to visit new places and experience a different environment.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

It loos delightful Phil and oh so warm a place it must be as well. The Hoopoe is a really cool looking chap and to think that you may see them in groups, what fun! That beach and shoreline sure do look welcoming. Have a splendid time, and catch a few rays for me;')~

Jen said...

Looks like an amazing place to visit.

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