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CANARY ISLANDS

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					    CANARY ISLANDS
    Sunday 31st Aug – Sunday 7th September
    A short distance off the coast of North Africa, and belonging to Spain, the Canary Islands are Europe’s
    own little version of the Galapagos. Volcanic in origin we will be visiting three islands that not only offer
    spectacular scenery with habitats ranging from stark semi-desert to lush green laurel forest and craggy
    coasts, they also hold all the endemics species, plus good numbers of endemic sub-species and a
    selection of sought-after seabirds.
    Tenerife: is home to the highest mountain peak in Spain, Teide at 3,700 m. We will look for many of the
    distinctive races of birds that occur here as well as the two endemic pigeons, Bolle`s Pigeon and Laurel
    Pigeon.
    Fuerteventura: the most arid of the three islands with rolling plains, sand dunes and desert habitats, is
    unique for the Canary Island Chat, and other interesting species that include Houbara Bustard, Black-
    bellied Sandgrouse, Barbary Partridge, Cream-Coloured Courser, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Spectacled
    Warbler, Southern Grey Shrike and Trumpeter Finch.
    La Gomera: a small island where the original laurel forest remains well conserved is also superb for the
    ferry trip which may find us seabirds such as Bulwer’s Petrel, Little Shearwater and often dolphins and
    Pilot Whales.
                                                      This is an ideal birding tour for anyone who has visited
                                                      the majority of other European destinations and is
                                                      searching for something ‘a little different’, and is only a
                                                      couple of hours flying time from the UK. If you want to
                                                      top up your list with a group of endemics and some
                                                      highly-prized seabirds, then this is the holiday for you!




                                                    Canary Islands Chat


Our Tour Itinerary
    Day 1 We will fly from London Gatwick to Tenerife, the largest of the seven islands, and then transfer
    to our excellent hotel in the south of the island. Depending on our arrival time we should be able to
    familiarise ourselves with some of the commoner species such as Yellow-legged Gull, Canary Islands
    Chiffchaff, Berthelot's Pipit and Plain Swift.

    Days 2 - 7     Our stay here comprises a total of five nights on Tenerife and two nights on
    Fuerteventura. Our itinerary will remain flexible to tenable us to take advantage of the prevailing weather
    conditions and will also allow for any last minute alterations to local flight and ferry schedules.

    Tenerife:
    We will be based on Tenerife for the first three nights, allowing us ample time to fully explore the array
    of habitats that are found on the island. Our first excursion may well be into the extensive Canary Pine
    forests below volcanic Mount Teide, which at 3,718m is Spain’s highest peak! In this unique forest,
    whose closest relative is found in the Himalayas, we can find one of the most well known of all the

                                        Birdseekers – Canary Islands 2008                                        1
endemics to be found here, the exquisite Blue Chaffinch. In fact this species can be surprisingly common
at certain picnic spots, and we can also find Canary Islands Kinglet, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Tenerife
Blue Tit, genuine wild Canaries, and the endemic race of Great Spotted Woodpecker. There are also local
races of Rock Dove, Common Buzzard, Robin, Blackcap and Chaffinch as well. As we emerge above the
forests into the high mountain zone at around 1,980m, we will find ourselves amidst the spectacular
scenery of Las Canadas National Park where the rock formations and lava flows are truly spectacular and
species such as Plain Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit and Canary can be found, as well as Canary Lizard, Mouflon
or Wild Sheep and a vast array of endemic plants.
Another excursion to the verdant Laurel forests on the northern slopes of Tenerife is needed to see the
elusive Laurel and Bolle’s Pigeons. This region is reminiscent of a tropical cloud forest due to the thick
mist that is often hangs over these hillsides, and will be a total contrast to other habitats we shall visit. We
will take a morning’s pelagic trip from La Palya de los Gigantes where Short-finned Pilot Whale or
Common Dolphin are our targets, and there are also good chances of Osprey and Cory’s Shearwater.
Meanwhile the Anaga Peninsula is home to Barbary Falcon, European Serin, Canary Islands Chiffchaff
and the endemic sub-species of Common Chaffinch and European Robin, and another site holds Rock
Sparrow and the endemic race of Southern Grey Shrike.

Fuerteventura:
We will take a flight to the outlying island of Fuerteventura for a two night stay. This is one of the closest
islands to the African mainland and has a harsh, desert-like terrain which is home to several dry country
specialists including Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone-Curlew, Cream-coloured Courser, Spectacled
Warbler, and Lesser Short-toed Lark. The endemic and locally distributed Canary Islands Chat frequents
the vegetated gorges (barrancos), and has a habit of perching on top of prominent bushes and this should
assist our search of the sparsely vegetated terrain. This is probably the best place in the world to find the
sought-after and globally endangered Houbara Bustard which inhabits the plains and rolling hillsides.
This is yet another endemic race and fortunately there is still a healthy population here, in what is
probably this species’ major stronghold. It is important not to disturb these birds, and it is best to view
from the vehicle or by waiting at a suitable vantage point. As we walk across these semi-desert areas, we
should find the delightful little Trumpeter Finch, usually in noisy little groups and the shy Barbary
Partridge. We may also visit the reservoir at Los Molinos to look for waterbirds that in the past has
included Marbled Teal, Ruddy Shelduck, Black-crowned Night-heron, Black-winged Stilt, and both
Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers. Our exploration of the island could also produce Egyptian Vulture,
Pallid Swift, Common Raven, Sardinian Warbler, Corn Bunting and Spanish Sparrow, as well as Barbary
Ground Squirrel.

La Gomera:
One exciting day’s excursion from the southern port of Los Cristianos to the tranquil island of La Gomera
will give us an excellent opportunity of seeing some of the special seabirds that inhabit the coastal waters
at this time of the year. Cory’s Shearwater is usually the most numerous pelagic species present, but at
this time of the year we will need to be observant as there are usually a few Little Shearwaters present,
whilst occasionally a Bulwer’s Petrel or even a White-faced or Madeiran Storm-petrel can be found.
Cetacean highlights could include some bow-riding Bottlenose Dolphins or a pod of Short-finned Pilot
Whales. But there is more to La Gomera than just a boat ride and we shall explore the island, including
the Garajonay National Park, where the ancient and extensive Laurel forest is the largest in the whole
Macaronesian region. The steep sided misty valleys hold the endemic Bolle's and Laurel Pigeons, as well
as the Canary Islands race of Common Buzzard. The famous viewpoint at Mirador de El Rejo is a good
vantage point to survey the surrounding, and hopefully we can locate a few pigeons flying over the
canopy. Returning to Tenerife on the ferry in the afternoon will give us further opportunities to find some
more pelagic seabirds.

Day 8: In the morning we will visit Punta de Rasca for our last look at Cory’s Shearwaters, Common
Terns or maybe something scarcer such as Audouin’s Gull. And we can enjoy some final views of


                                     Birdseekers – Canary Islands 2008                                         2
  Eurasian Hoopoe, Berthelot's Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, and the local race of Lesser Short-toed Lark. Later
  in the day we will transfer to the airport for our return flight home to London.
  Leaders: Josele Saiz and Birdseekers leader TBA.


TOUR PRICE                £1250.00 per person
  Single supplement: £145.00            Deposit: £150.00
  Maximum group size: 14 Excluding leaders
  Included in cost: Return flight from London Gatwick to Tenerife, internal flights, all meals,
  accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, transport in air-conditioned coach throughout the tour, boat/ferry
  journeys, all reserve entrance fees, and services of the leaders.
  Not included: Insurance, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature, and optional tips for the local guides.


                          BIRDSEEKERS – Holidays for Birdwatchers
                                  4a Plymouth Rd, Plympton
                               Plymouth, Devon, U.K, PL7 4JR
                                    Tel/Fax: 01752 342001
                                e-mail: info@birdseekers.co.uk
                             Website: http://www.birdseekers.co.uk




                                      Birdseekers – Canary Islands 2008                                      3
                                      Natural Selection
                                          Specialty Wildlife Holidays

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 IMPORTANT: If you answered no above, I will require a copy of the alternative policy you intend to
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                                                  (Wish List! )
 Please fill-in if there are any particular species of bird or other form of wildlife that you would like to see
   on this tour. We cannot guarantee anything, but it helps to let us know if you have any target species.

  Birds:                                                         Other Wildlife: / Sites etc:
 1                                                              1
 2                                                              2
 3                                                              3
 4                                                              4
 5                                                              5

Other countries you would like to visit?………………………………………………………………………

Other interests, Butterflies, Mammals, Flowers, Whales, Photography see www.natural-selection.info/
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

                               Please return this form with enclosed cheque to:
        BIRDSEEKERS, 4a Plymouth Road, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, PL7 4JR
               Tel: 01752 342001      e-mail: info@birdseekers.com
                            www.birdseekers.co.uk
                    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
       Bookings are welcome right up to the last minute, please ring for details of any vacancies.
                                 Steve Bird trading as BIRDSEEKERS

				
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