Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Birding on a Bike!! - Lanzarote

The weather has been changeable on Lanzarote and very windy. The island does not have a natural supply of water so when there is rain it is like gold falling from the sky and every opportunity to collect it is taken by the local people.

This is my fourth visit to Club La Santa (CLS) with Lou and Layla and the object of the visit is to indulge in the array of sports and fitness training that this offered by this sports facility. There is also the opportunity to take a bike ride and do some birding on the Teguise Plains near Soo (10mins ride from CLS).

This afternoon was cloudy therefore it was bike ride time. Lou and Layla on their hired go faster racing bikes and myself on a mountain bike (good for traversing the plains). The road to Soo is a slog uphill but the wind was behind us which helped. Las chicas! left me in Soo and I went off road in search of some Lanzarote specials.

I had another note to self moment within a couple of minutes down the track as I flushed a Hoopoe who displayed its crest before flying off.... Camera and bins were in my ruc-sack on my back!! Dooh!
(Berthelot's Pipit)
Berthelot’s Pipits were everywhere on the sandy and rock covered plains. They will even do a lap of the running track with you at CLS if you ask nicely! The picture was taken by our apartment. A Kestrel was seen flying towards a volcano and a noisy group of Linnet and Spanish Sparrow were seen near a farm building.
(Southern Grey Shrike)
I could hear a shrike calling and started to check the pylons but found the bird a Southern Grey Shrike (closely related to but smaller and darker than the Great Grey Shrike) sitting on a low bush.
(Houbara Bustard)
I cycled down the sandy path away from the building and crossed the road into the plains. I saw a pair of Houbara Bustard in a mixed area of small bushes and sandy scrub. This incidentally was where I saw them a couple of visits back.

I scanned the plains but could not see any Cream-coloured Courser on this occasion. The dark cloud was moving in and the rain was beginning to fall so I donned my fluorescent yellow jacket (Not bird friendly attire!!) and turned tail to head for CLS. The torrential rain stopped within a few minutes and I continued slowly back to base. A pair of Raven was the next species added to my very short list.
(Cattle Egret)
Whilst having a look at the Linnet, two Cattle Egret made an appearance flying onto a rocky area near some buildings. They looked out of place in this almost barren landscape!
I returned to the area I had seen the Hoopoe and jammed into two Stone-curlew, which is another resident species in this area. One bird played hide and seek freezing behind a wall whilst keeping its large eye on me until I had passed by.
(Bet he can't see me!!)
Dusk was on its way and I had to get the bike back by 1745hrs so I made my way back down the hill with a gale blowing straight into my face. That advantage was lost but it made The Green Team bike staff chuckle as I arrived back completely wrecked (having trained earlier in the day!)

Not a bad couple of hours birding and there are salt pans at Janubio which is a short car journey away (Hire cars are reasonably priced at e30 for a day). Viernes hay una tormenta grande!!” which may be a good time to visit as it will be indoor playtime for some part of the day at least!!

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