South Tenerife

We spent a good deal of time at sites in the south as these were closest to our base in Los Cristianos. The sites visited were:

The Embalse de Ciguana, Gold del Sur, Amarilla Golf, Las Galletas, El Medano, Guaza Mountain, La Mareta Brackish Pool, Ten Bel and The Barranco del Infierno. On three occasions we attempted a sea watching excursion by ferry or on a whale watching trip. We also tried to access a couple of sites without success. These were Guargacho Reservoirs and el Fraile and Punta de la Rasca.

Embalse de Ciguana

As mentioned in trip reports from earlier years the dam was in bad repair and there was no water in the reservoir. This is still the case and it is probably not worthwhile walking up to the reservoir unless it contains water earlier in the year. However, I thought it worth a mention as we had excellent views of Barbary Partridge whilst walking towards the reservoir.
The site is easy to find following the instructions in the site guides but there is a lot of building work going on in the area and it may not survive for much longer.

Golf del Sur

Golf del Sur Golf del Sur was also easy to find following the site guides. It is situated next to the village of el Guincho and it is possible to drive around the outside of the golf course round the one way system through el Guincho.
We visited the site on two occasions. The first time we drove around the village and parked at the lower end of the golf course near a restaurant. We made our entry onto the course from the access road to the restaurant and car park via the golf buggy entrances. Walking down hill we found some trees in the centre of the course close to two ponds, one with a small waterfall.
Here we found Collared Dove, Barbary Dove, Whimbrel, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Berthelot's Pipit, Canary Island Chiffchaff, Canary Blue butterfly and some Scarlet Darter dragonflies around the pools.
On our second visit we parked in the club house car park as suggested in some reports and walked onto the golf course. We were immediately confronted by a scotsman who worked on the course and were asked to leave with the excuse that the course was not insured for walkers being hit by stray golf balls. Although he was extremely polite, there was not actually anyone playing golf at the time as maintenance and watering were being carried out, so the likelihood of being hit by a golf ball was to say the least pretty unlikely.

Golf del Sur Although he was extremely polite, there was not actually anyone playing golf at the time as maintenance and watering were being carried out, so the likelihood of being hit by a golf ball was to say the least pretty unlikely. However, we dutifully left and drove back up the road and parked at the information centre for the course. From here we walked down the side of the course looking over the fence onto it. We managed to see Berthelot's Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Hoopoe and Moorhen and Coot on the small lake at the top end of the golf course. There were also four Fulvous Whistling Ducks and a Bar Headed Goose around the lake but I don't think these were of wild origin.
My suggestion for birding around Golf del Sur would be to gain access wherever possible and plead ignorance if caught out. The only other alternative is to walk or drive round the road looking through the fence.

Amarilla Golf

This course is close to Golf del Sur and the two actually back onto each other. Directions in the site guides are sufficient to find the course. The access road is through an industrial area. Watch out for the small signpost directing you away from the industrial area towards the gold course. Once on this road there is a small reservoir just before a sharp left hand bend in the road. Unfortunately there is more building work close to the reservoir and around the golf course.
On our two visits to Amarilla Golf we were not questioned by staff or forcibly removed from the course and there is a tarmac track for the golf buggies that circumnavigates the course. On both of our visits we walked around this track. Parking is possible in the club house car park or if full adjacent on the access road to the new building site called Green Italy or some such name.
Birds seen on or around the course were large numbers of confiding Berthelot's Pipits, Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Spectacled Warbler (3) in scrub at the top end of the course and Hoopoe (8 on the first visit and 13 on the second on the green closest to the club house.
Tenerife Lizards were also numerous around the edge of the course.

Male Tenerife Lizard

There were several Spanish Sparrows drinking at the reservoir and Common Sandpiper and Greenshank were also present.

El Medano and Las Galletas

La Mareta Brackish Lagoon We briefly visited these two towns looking mainly over the sea. At El Medano we saw Yellow Legged Gull and Whimbrel along the shore and at Las Galletas in the harbour/beach area we saw many Yellow Legged Gulls, one juvenile Caspian Gull and a Lesser Black Backed Gull.

Just outside Las Galletas is a nature reserve parking area and a track to a brackish lagoon behind the beach. On this pool were several Sanderling, Ringed Plover and Dunlin along with the nudists in the dunes.
On the walk back we passed an extremely exhausted Whimbrel sitting panting on the sand.


Ten Bel

We drove through Ten Bel following the site guides to get there. The wood? which is a few large trees is in the centre of the town in a delapidated square. I would only visit Ten Bel if migration is good or you are desperate to see Monk Parakeet. The only birds we saw here were a single male Blackcap and a noisy group of Monk Parakeets.

Barranco del Infierno

What a refreshing change! The Barranco is accessed by driving up through the winding streets of Adeje to the top of the old village. It is possible to park on the steep road and walk to the access track.
At the access track there is a kiosk where it is necessary to book in to gain access to the path up the barranco. It is the only completely protected area on the island. Twenty people per half hour are allowed up the track with a maximum of 200 per day. Several rangers walk the track and book you in at the kiosk. It may be necessary to book a couple of days in advance if it is busy. It is a popular walk as there is a trickle of water at the end of the track known locally as a watefall.

We were lucky and only waited for about 20 minutes before being granted access. There is a cost of 3 euros and it is possible to buy a small guide book on the area if you so wish.
Whilst waiting to head up the trail I managed to video a female Red Veined Dropwing Dragonfly in the waiting area. We saw males further up the track, which are an extremely attractive dragonfly.
The walk is not too arduous but the track is quite rocky and rough and access will not be allowed unless you are wearing appropriate footwear. After the picnic point you are not allowed to eat in the area and stopping is forbidden due to frequent rock falls. The expected time of walking to the waterfall and back is quoted as 3 to 4 hours. However, with all our stopping and starting for photo and video opportunities we took just over 6 hours. Even though the weather was hot in Adeje it was cloudy higher up the track, pleasantly cooling things down.
Not only is it a pleasant walk, which is a rarity on Tenerife but the wildlife was interesting. We saw Bath White butterfly and Red Veined Dropwing, Epaulet Skimmer and Emperor dragonflies.

Male Epaulet SkimmerMale Red Veined Dropwing

As you near the top the birding improves in the barranco as there is a small stream and a small wooded area. On thway up we heard several Barbary Partridges calling from the opposite hillside, although we didn't strain to find these as we had already had good views of this species. Spanish Sparrow, Kestrel and Linnet were also present lower down the track as was Barbary Falcon. We had close views of a single bird flying low over our heads plus views of a pair, one of which landed on the hillside. Apparently the birds have bred in the barranco. Higher up the track sightings of Canary Island Chiffchaff were frequent along with African Blue Tit and Grey Wagtail. Just before reaching the narrow part of the gorge we heard and saw several Blackcaps and Sardinian Warblers.
The waterfall at the top was a little disapointing but the stream contains Pool Frog and Stripeless Tree Frog. We only managed to see a couple of tadpoles.

To book a visit to the Barranco del Infierno the phone number is (+34) 922 782 885.
It is possible to gain entrance to the trail between 8.30 am and 2.30 pm and the path remains open until 5.30 pm. Further information can be obtained at www.barrancodelinfierno.es.
The english pages on this website are currently under construction at the time of writing this report. The spanish pages are available.

Sea Watching

Monarch Butterfly We had three attempts at sea watching. The first was on the Garajonay Express ferry which cost 31 euros. I should have known from the name of the ferry that it wouldn't be the best boat in the world to sea watch from. It wasn't. It was a fast cat with salty smeared windows. However, on the way over to La Gomera we managed to see good numbers of Cory's Shearwater and a Bottle Nosed Dolphin. We did nothing but sit around and watch the multitude of fish in the harbour at San Sebastian de la Gomera, oh and watch a womens beach volley ball competition. These were the only birds to look at honest. Well aprat from Canary Island Chiffchaff, YellowLegged Gull and Collared Dove plus a Monarch butterfly.

On the ferry journey back at 18-30 I noticed that the porthole windows in the doors of the ferry were not covered in salt spray so we bagged a spot of standing room beside one of the windows. Although the field of view was not great at least the birds could be viewed using binoculars.
I managed to count around 60 Cory's Shearwater, 20 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Manx Shearwater and 2 Macronesian Shearwater on the return trip.

Fred Olsen Naviera Armas & Garajonay Ferries

The second sea watching attempt was on the Naviera Armas ferry which is a great big ferry with plenty of room on deck. The problem with this ferry is that the last boat back to Tenerife leaves La Gomera at 17-00 which is not really late enough to catch the shearwaters coming back towards the land.
The numbers of Cory's Shearwaters were good with at least 100 on the return trip. On the way out we managed decent views of a juvenile Pomarine Skua. A lone Little Egret was spotted over the sea on leaving the port of Loas Cristianos. The only other high lights of the trip were 30 Short Finned Pilot Whales, 5 Tropical Flying Fish and 5 Rough Toothed Dolphins out to sea.

Lady Shelley Catamaran Our third and final attempt at sea watching was during a whale watching trip on the Lady Shelley catamaran. The trip was pleasant enough with a stop for swimming and plenty of Short Finned Pilot Whales close in to the boat including one tail slapping whale.
The birding was not brilliant though. The only noteworthy birds were the large numbers of Cory's Shearwaters in rafts of up to 200 on the sea with individual birds flying close in alongside the boat.
From my experience, the Garajonay ferry is too fast with poor visibility, the Naviera Armas ferry is not out at sea late enough in the evening and the whale watching trips do not venture out far enough or long enough. My suggestion would be to try and hire one of the sport fishing boats and see how far these will go out later in the evening.

Short Finned Pilot Whale

Guargacho Dams, el Fraile and Punta de la Rasca

I have only mentioned these sites tp prevent anyone from wasting there time in visiting them. All three of Guargacho dams appeared to be dried up with one now in the middle of a building site and the others surrounded by walled and bagged banana plantations. These plantations are becoming the scurge of the island.
It is due to these that there is now no access whatsoever to el Fraile and Punta de la Rasca. Despite extensive efforts to find a way to these sites including driving all round el Fraile and its associated tip, attempting to find the hole in the fence near the banana plantations mentioned in one trip report and driving down every road in the area we could not find a way in. The whole area appears to have been fenced off by the plantation owners and there are now high metal gates and strong fences preventing access.
If there is a way in we could not find it.

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