South Fuerteventura

The only area visited in the south of Fuerteventura was the plains near Costa Calma (also known as Las Canadas):

Plains at Costa Calma First Site The main aim of this trip was to catch up with Cream Coloured Courser on our last day on Fuerteventura. The other bird of interest, which Helen had never seen before was Black Bellied Sandgrouse plus the not so abundant Lesser Short Toed Lark that I had seen at La Oliva and Helen had missed. On reaching Las Canadas at day break we followed instructions found in a trip report on the internet that said turn right at the second roundabout in Las Canadas, just after a petrol station and follow the road until it narrows by La Palmeral supermarket. Follow the road uphill until it bends sharply right and you will see a rough sandy track onto the plains. The trip report said to follow the track until it becomes to rough to drive then walk. We managed to get our Toyota Yaris along all of the tracks we found in this area as long as we stayed on the main tracks.

Cream Coloured Courser After about half a mile Helen shouted out stop I'm not sure if it's a bird it's not moving. I looked over and saw a beautiful Cream Coloured Courser standing very close to the car. It's partner was not far away. These birds ran about feeding and then one began to snooze while the other kept guard. They were great to watch and video.
Just as we were about to leave and move on, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye as a Houbara Bustard sped across the plain, past the car then round in front of it. More great views.
We eventually continued along this track finally catching up with a small flock of eight Lesser Short Toed Larks,ten Southern Grey Shrikes and a lone Kestrel sat on top of a dessert plant by the track. The track eventually rose up on top of a small mound giving great views over the plains and a group of twelve Cream Coloured Coursers were seen running around feeding on the plains. The only other birds seen in this area were a few Yellow Legged Gulls and Ravens flying over.
Next we tried the clifftop car park at La Pared for drinking Sandgrouse that are said to come to the gullies on the car park when they contain water. As there was no water there were obviously no Sandgrouse. We aborted the idea and headed back to Las Canadas for a different area of the plains.
Plains at Costa Calma Second Site This spot we tried was given in the same trip report. It read travelling south along the FV2 turn right at the first roundabout in Las Canadas followed by further instructions. The road layout has now changed due to the building of more apartment blocks. Therefore after turning right at the first roundabout you need to go right and uphill at the next roundabout then left at the next through the apartment blocks. There may have been another roundabout after this one with a right turn but if you go through the buildings heading uphill you will eventually reach a sandy track onto the plains which runs past a farm building and through a broken fence. It is possible to drive through the gap in the fence and alongside a barranco for several hundred yards before the track becomes too steep for a Toyota Yaris at any rate. A 4x4 would have made it easily. Just past the farm building the Silhouette of a Stone Curlew could be seen on the horizon not far away. Not much else was evident until after we had parked the car and walked.
We walked up the hill and alongside the barranco then wandered off on a track to the right as several people were walking on the track straight ahead. I just scanned the plains either side of the track amongst the scrubby vegetation. I was lucky, after several seconds of searching I picked up a group of four Black Bellied Sandgrouse. They were some distance away and I couldn't get Helen on to them. After they vanished behind a bush and didn't appear from behind it we walked directly to the bush. Looking behind the bush we saw, yes you guessed absolutely nothing. Luckily the birds were feeding not far away out in the open. They must have done a commando style belly crawl to get out from behind the bush to where they were without me seeing them, as I never took my eyes off it. Reminds me a bit of Dupont's Lark in Spain but thats another story.
We continued up the track where we got excellent views of a pair of Stone Curlews on the ground and in flight as they kept their distance from us eventually flying off over the plains.
We reached the top of the hill seeing nothing further so returned to the car and headed back off the plains and back towards our Apartment.

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