|PO Box 9021,
Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
A Focus On Nature Tour
For Birds and Other Nature
On the islands of
La Gomera, and Tenerife
Where the habitats are diverse,
and the birding interesting, to say the least!
July 1-6, 2016
tours FON/SP-1 & 2 in Spain
Tour to be led by Armas Hill.
Birds of the Canary Islands
Birds during previous FONT tours in Spain (including the Canary Islands)
A List & Photo Gallery of European Birds, in 2 Parts:
Part #1: Grouse to Puffin Part #2: Sandgrouse to Buntings
Mammals & Marine-Life of the Canary Islands Butterflies of the Canary Islands
Amphibians & Reptiles of the Canary Islands Interesting Plants of the Canary Islands
Tour Registration Form
The Yellow-legged Gull is very common in the Canary Islands.
(photo by Howard Eskin)
Fri, Jul 1:
The flight from Madrid to Lanzarote, arriving on the first of the Canary Islands, to be visited.
For those coming from tour FON/SP-2, the flight will be from Barcelona to Lanzarote.
After our first birding on Lanzarote, a truly fascinating place. Only about 80 miles offshore from Morocco, it's a volcanic island. Its blackened earth alternates with vineyards and plantings of melons and figs. The plowing of the limited arable land has been done with the aid of Dromedaries, one-humped camels that have been the island's typical beast of burden.
Flat-roofed all-white houses, in scattered small villages, stand out in stark contrast to the dark terrain of the land. Along the coast, the hulls of fishing boats are also white.
As to the volcanoes, there are 36 of them, within a triangle of 5 square miles. Not far from the "Mountain of Fire", there's a coastal lagoon and salt pans. At the north end of the island there are high cliffs. Some wonderful birds and plants occur at the places. Some of the rare plants are endemic, being found nowhere else in the world. Mammals that we've seen previously on Lanzarote, in addition to the introduced Dromedary, include the Canarian Shrew and Algerian Hedgehog.
Birds that we've seen on the island have included: Eleonora's Falcon and Bulwer's Petrel at the cliffs, Houbara Bustard in an area of dunes, and Barbary Partridges by the greens of an out-of-place golf course!
This would be the first of 2 nights for us on Lanzarote.
Sat, Jul 2:
This day, we'll do an early-morning ferry crossing to the nearby Canarian island of Fuerteventura. There's a bird on that island that occurs nowhere else in the world: the Canary Islands Bush Chat. That, and other birds, will be objectives, with the other birds including the Cream-colored Courser, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Egyptian Vulture, Ruddy Shelduck, and Trumpeter Finch.
Late in the day, we'll cross on the ferry again back to Lanzarote. During the crossings, seabirds should be seen, including a large number of Cory's Shearwaters. Overnight again on Lanzarote.
Sun, Jul 3:
After some more birding, in the morning, on Lanzarote, we'll take a short flight to Tenerife, a Canarian island that will be completely different than the first two island we've visited.
To begin with, Tenerife is green. There are forests of various kinds, including those of laurel and pine. And there's a very high mountain, actually the highest in Spain (as the Canary Islands are part of Spain). the peak reaches about 12,000 feet above sea level, and the sea is not far from it.
On Tenerife, there are a number of species and subspecies of birds that are endemic to the Canary Islands. Including the bird known as the "Canary". That wild ancestor of the cage-birds is now called the Atlantic Canary.
Also on Tenerife, among the endemic bird species, there's the Blue Chaffinch, and the Canary Islands Chiffchaff. In the pines, there's also the Canary Islands Goldcrest, and also an endemic subspecies of the African Blue Tit.
On the ground, there are numerous wildflowers and other plants of interest.
A tree, very much of interest, will be the laurel, an arboreal relic of another age. A reason for our interest is that we'll be visiting the laurel forest, for 2 endemic species of pigeon: one, the Laurel Pigeon, the other, the Bolle's Pigeon. Both of those bird species are relicts from pre-historic times. The first of 3 overnights on Tenerife.
Petrel between islands in the Canaries.
Mon Jul 4:
A full-day of birding, including "pelagic trips" by ferry, to and from the island of La Gomera. During each of the two 1½ hour ferry crossings, there will be the opportunity to view the seabirds of the Canarian waters, including Bulwer's Petrel and Macaronesian (formerly part of the Little) Shearwater.
Pilot Whales and dolphins also occur. Later in the day, there will be more landbirding, and botanizing, for those who wish, on Tenerife, where again we'll spend the night.
Tue, Jul 5:
More birding and exploring on Tenerife, for birds we may not have seen yet, or those we may want to see again. One bird we'll certainly aim to see the Barbary Falcon at a high cliff by the sea. That raptor can be incredible to watch as it either swoops or otherwise flies as so very quickly as it often does. Our last overnight on Tenerife.
The Eleonora's Falcon
is one of 2 species of falcons
that we've seen during FONT tours
in the Canary Islands.
The other is the Barbary Falcon.
Both are spectacular birds.
This photo is of a young Eleonora's.
Wed, Jul 6:
Flight from Tenerife to Madrid, connecting with flights departing from Spain. Arrival back in North America the same day.
Price, in US dollars, based on double occupancy:
Single supplement: $295
All overnight accommodations and land transportation within the Canary Islands. Most meals (breakfasts and lunches).
Price does not include:
Drinks and other items of a personal nature.
Flights to/from, or within, Spain & the Canary Islands.
A deposit of $500 will assure a place on the tour.
Some general information about islands to be visited:
During our tour in the Canaries, 4 of the 7 main islands of the archipelago will be visited: those known as Tenerife, Gomera, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote. Each island is very different from the others.
On each island, in addition to the birdlife, there are other aspects of nature that are quite interesting.
At sea level, the island of Tenerife has a rocky shoreline. But it also has a peak way above the sea: El Teide, at 12,160 feet, not only the highest in the Canary Islands, but the highest in Spain. At El Fraile, on the northern cliffs, there is one of the richest botanical assemblages to be found - 300 species of flowering plants in just a few hectares.
Gomera Island can only be approached by sea - by ferry. There's a steady stream of clouds over the island's peaks, often keeping them from view. Beneath the moisture-laden clouds, there is some of Spain's most luxuriant vegetation.
In contrast, the dry island
of Fuerteventura is the closest of the Canaries to
Africa. On the island, the dunes and the Jandia Peninsula are
very interesting botanically, with a number of rare and endemic
species of plants. Of particular interest is the blue-flowered
viper's bugloss. and there's a succulent spurge species,
resembling a red-flowered spiny cactus.
The island of Lanzarote is also dry. Just north of Fuerteventura, Lanzarote is perhaps the most exotic of the Canary Islands. Much (although not all) of it is a "desert" of black volcanic ash. Parts of it are treeless - like a lunar landscape.
The more than 30 volcanoes add color to the scene: one of them is yellow, another is red while the ground is black or a burnt sienna. The shadows of the deepest craters are an intense purple. The craters themselves glow with iridescent light and glittering hues of pastels, ochres, and blues created by particles of iron. Those 30-plus volcanic cones, just described, are in a limited area of only 5 square miles.
Also of interest on Lanzarote are rare & endemic plants, and caves inhabited by a creature (a crab) found nowhere else in the world, and yes, some interesting birds of the desert and seaside cliffs.