Urban Cattle Egret Lanzarote
Proving that there are excellent birds on Lanzarote on the first morning meant I could really enjoy the rest my short break, by looking for birds around our base of Costa Teguise. An initial walk along the promenade on the Sunday afternoon suggested there may be hope of photographing something. Wintering Whimbrel, Ringed and Grey Plover (below), Turnstone and Common Sandpiper along the rocky shore suggested that this may not be a completely birdless zone.
Towards the north end of the town I found my first moth of interest - a Hummingbird Hawkmoth enjoying the the sun but trying to avoid the wind. Several more Hummers were seen subsequently in the coming days. Star of this first walk though was an amazingly approachable Cattle Egret (below), right alongside the promenade. I was to find that was one of several Egrets which have given up on on cattle and decided there was a better living to be made from humans. Early in the morning the Egrets could be found wandering the streets picking up scraps from the evening before.
Day 2 again started early with a family visit to the stunning Timanfaya National Park, an amazing volcanic landscape, with not surprisingly with very few birds. Lots of feral pigeons/rock doves and a few more Ravens. Whilst other visitors enjoyed camel rides I photographed a couple of approachable Berthelot's Pipit (below) in the car park.These are among the smallest pipits and are found only on the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Savage Islands. At the the other end of the size scale there are apparently Egyptian vultures in the area, but unfortunately we didn't see any.
Another afternoon stroll followed, this time taking in the Barrancos las Cucharas, a near dry river bed in Costa Teguise to the north of where we stayed. More Cattle Egrets were located here along with a few butterflies and moths. I paid a couple of visits to this area and turned up African Grass Blue Greenish Black-tip (below), Small White butterflies and plentiful Spoladea recurvalis, a moth species which has made north to Northern Ireland on at least one occasion. I also located my first Chiff Chaff and Spectacled Warbler in this area. Whilst a little effort was required there certainly was nature to be found even in the tourist centres.
Stayed tuned for the third and final part of this trip report, in the mean time more of my images from Lanzarote can be found here - Lanzarote Wildlife