North Tenerife

Sites visited in the North of Tenerife were:

Chanajiga, Punta de Teno, Teno Alto, Garachica Rock, Punts del Hidalgo, Los Rodeos (Tenerife North) Airport, Erjos Ponds,
Los Realejos Reservoir and La Tabona Reservoir.


Laurel forest at Chanajiga This was probably the most interesting site we visited in the north. The site was visited twice. On our first visit we arrived early in the morning having travelled up the TF1 motorway during darkness. We eventually found the site following the directions given in Clarke & Collins (C&C). Despite trip reports stating that the area is difficult to find, the directions are actually very good considering the site is accessed via very small roads passing through the village of Las Llanadas.
Possibly the easiest way to find the site is to come off the TF5 (autopiste norte) to Los Realejos on the TF333 , then head towards Cruz Santa along the TF324 until you find the smaller TF326. This is shown as the TF2115 in C&C. You are now on the detailed map shown in this site guide and from here the instructions are easy to follow.
On the inital visit the heavens opened and we did not proceed further than the forest car park until the rain abated at around
10 o clock. We drove down the track that goes past the childrens play area past a no admitance sign and stopped at the first clearing that allows views down the hillside over the Laurel Forest. Immediately pigeons flew into view, probably taking to flight as the rain had stopped. The first birds were a group of up to 8 Bolle's Pigeons.
We stopped at this lookout until we eventually picked up a group of White Tailed Laurel Pigeons which flew quite close giving pretty good flight views and an accurate identification.
We watched some of the pigeons head into the trees but even knowing where they had landed we could not find them in the scope. It appeared that the birds just disappeared into the depth of the forest.
Laurel forest at Chanajiga We continued down the road stopping at each clearing to check the forest. At each stop we caught views of pigeons in flight, mostly identified as Bolle's. Some of the birds even flew past us above the road.
Other bird seen along the track were Superbus race of Robin, Canary Island Chiffchaff, Plain Swift, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Buzzard, Blackbird, Blackcap and Tenerife Kinglet. The best views of the kinglets were obtained whilst parked alongside the childrens play area in the trees very close to the car. We stopped here as interestingly two pigeons flew up from the childrens play area. I did not manage to identify the birds but can only assume they were picking up grit from the area. It may be worth while checking this fact out. After satiating ourselves with the endemics of the Laurel Forest we headed back along the winding road towards Las Llanadas.
Before reaching the village we found a small stream which passed under the road. Birds here included our first African Blue Tits, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Canary and Chaffinch.
Our second visit to Chanajiga was a complete waste of time. We visited in the afternoon after a short walk around Erjos ponds. The mist began to roll in as we were making the ascent up the road and by the time we reached the parking area at the top it was impossible to see anything much.
We therefore decided to take the car along the track as before, in the hope of spotting some avifauna close to the track. Unfortunately the local forest rangers spotted us and informed us that it is not permitted to drive in the forest. I guess we were lucky on our first visit. Obviously the sign does mean no entry. Thus driving the track would only be possible if no rangers are in the area.

Punta de Teno

View from the Punta to Loas Gigantes To reach the punta de Teno head west along the TF5 to Icod de los Vinos carry on along the TF42 through Garachico and Los Silos to Benavista Norte. Just before entering the town go slightly left at the island onto the TF445 which takes you all the way to the point.
Sea watching may be possible at the point but we saw nothing at all during the middle of the day. We did however, see Berthelot's Pipit, Plain Swift, Canary and Kestrel. On the way back we stopped off at the scenic pull off. The pull off was closed as it appeared the rocks were falling away at the edge, so we parked just off the road close by on a dangerous bend.
On looking up over the cliffs we soon spotted a pair of Barbary Falcons play fighting over the road. These were the main reason for visiting this area.

Teno Alto

We followed the map inland from the north coast on the TF436 and turned off on the minor road to Teno Alto. The road is narrow and winding but the scenery is great.
The purpose of this visit was for Rock Sparrow which Helen has never seen before. She still hasn't. We saw a large flock of Canaries in a field at Teno Alto, a Barbary Partridge and Buzzard along the road plus other common birds but no Rock Sparrow.
We also tried Vilaflor and Masca village for these birds but did not connect with a single Rock Sparrow. Masca is worth a visit just for the views as it lies in the middle of Los Gigantes rock formations. Another dangerous road though.

Garachica Rock

Our last port of call on our first day up north was the town of Garachica. The town itself was very busy with a bikers convention in town. However, after parking up along the sea front road close to the large rock offshore, we found a bench and did a spot of sea watching along with a guy fishing off the rocks. There were plenty of Cory's Shearwaters out over the sea and eventually after an hour or so I picked up my first Macronesian (Little) Shearwater flying fairly close to the shore and behind the Garachica Rock. We saw a few more birds in small groups before leaving and heading back down south to Los Cristianos.

Loro Parque

Female Spanish Sparrow Loro Parque is situated in Puerto de la Cruz and is a good trip for a break in the birding. The park was initially set up for a worldwide collection of parrots and their allies. However, it is now apparently owned by Sea World and has Dolphins, Orcas and many other attractions. We spent a good 5 or 6 hours wandering round and watching the shows. The cost is around 31 euros to get in plus 2.5 euros to park.
Whilst there we saw Spanish Sparrow and Barbary Dove around the restaurants in the park.

Punta del Hidalgo

We headed for the Punta after Loro Parque following the directions in del Rey. However, rather than going along the track to the lighthouse we passed through the village to an obvious parking spot overlooking the sea.
Here we saw Yellow Legged Gull accompanied by a single Lesser Black Backed Gull. A Sardinian Warbler scalded us from the scrubby vegetation on the down hill slope towards the sea and amongst the numerous Plain Swifts passing overhead we managed to pick out a couple of Pallid Swifts.

Los Rodeos (Tenerife North Airport)

Canary Blue We again followed the directions given in del Rey finding the road that runs parallel to the runway. It wasn't possible to see over the fence towards the runway due to the traffic so we parked and checked out the scrub land and farmland on the other side of the road in the hope of finding Lesser Short Toed Lark. No luck with the larks and the road was extremely busy. We did see Kestrel and Sparrowhawk hunting over the farmland and several Canary Blue butterflies in the scrubby vegetation.

Erjos Ponds

These ponds are easily found following directions in either book and can be seen on the map. Strangely on the map thay are shown in blue indicating water. However, during our stay they were as dry as a bone. I'm not sure whether this is normally the case in September or whether this year was particularly dry or maybe even the ponds had been used to irrigate the close by fields. I would put my money on irrigation.

Erjos PondsErjos Ponds

We saw a number of butterflies around the ponds including Small White, Canary Blue and Long Tailed Blue.
Kestrel and Buzzard hunted over the ponds with hawking swifts including several Pallid Swifts. Other birds included the ever present Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Canary, Sardinian Warbler and Southern Grey Shrike. Due to the lack of water at Erjos ponds and too much water in the air over the Laurel Forests we decided to attempt to find a reservoir containing some water. we found two of these concrete sided lakes containing water.

Realejos Reservoir

From Los Realejos take the Zamora road and it passes the reservoir. Parking is easy and a short walk down a side road to a farm produced good views over the reservoir. Good views of not much however. The not much included five coot and a new bird for the holiday, six Grey Herons.

La Tabona Reservoir

Directions for this reservoir are easy to follow in del Rey and it is possible to drive all the way to the edge of the reservoir. Again there were not many birds but three Grey Herons and five Little Egrets were visible. I also noted an Indian Red Admiral caught in a spiders web in the trees close to the reservoir.

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