5th to 8th December 2014 - Fuerteventura

Time for a bit of December sun, so we headed off to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for a long weekend.  We arrived around midday and headed off around Caleta de Fuste to do a small spot of birding for the afternoon.   We were staying in Caleta de Fuste, so headed to some of the local spots. Unfortunately, we hadn't considered the roads and the hire car policy - our hire car wasn't allowed to be taken off made roads which quickly scuppered most of our ideas. With a plan to take the car back for an upgrade to a 4x4 the next morning, we parked up and set off on a walk around the salt plains.

Southern Grey Shrike 
Barbary Ground Squirrel
Our first bird was a great one, only the second I'd ever seen, a Southern Grey Shrike, the first being a couple of months earlier in Norfolk. As I had commented then, I commented again on what a bulky bird it was. As with the Norfolk bird, it was very confiding and we had a great time watching it. Whilst watching the Shrike, we noticed a few small fluffy things watching us with interest and went over to meet them. They were very cheeky Barbary Ground-squirrels, and with my love for all things fluffy, I instantly fell in love with them.

Houbara Bustard
Cream-coloured Courser
Southern Grey Shrike
As we walked on, a bird briefly confused us but turned out to be a pale Common Buzzard - most of the Buzzard we saw on this trip were similarly pale. Down at the sea we added a few Yellow-legged Gull and 4 Turnstone to the list.  We headed back to the car and drove around the corner to see if we could find our first of the targets for the island, but unfortunately there was no sign of any birds at all, let alone Black-bellied Sandgrouse.  However, we did nearly run over our first and only Hoopoe of the trip.

Fuerteventura Chat
Fuertventura Chat
Spectacled Warbler
I stupidly stopped writing this part way through and now I've come back to it, my brain is rather addled and I can't remember the precise details!  Whoops.  Basically, Fuerteventura was a great trip, but we found it quite hard going with the birding - great birds but a lot of effort to see anything.  For specific sites etc, get in touch and I can definitely help out. We caught up with all the target birds, Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Egyptian Vulture and Trumpeter Finch.  We also met three lovely British birders who were there for the week, who kindly pointed us in the right direction for the sandgrouse and the chat.

Stuart feeding cute fluffy things