3 Aug 2009

Back to work and the one that got away.

I've just returned from a fantastic week in Tenerife. Not much birding done but still managed to see a good selection of species including stunning views of Cory's Shearwater and Storm Petrel from the high speed Rib taking us to the various dive sites........................... hence the lack of birding! Unfortunately a high speed rib and DSLR camera's don't mix so the camera was left back in the hotel room. A trip to view cetaceans was planned and I was looking forward to getting shots of the Cory's but a stiff breeze meant it was cancelled. Wimps! They've obviously never experienced pelagics off the S African Cape.

Imagine finding one of these little beauties under your bird table. Stranger things have happened!
A flock of about 20 Spannish Sparrows inhabited the hotel complex and came to dust bathe in the flower beds late afternoon. Also present were the ubiquitous Collared Doves and I can't make my mind up if these are African or European. Anyone got any thoughts?

I managed to pass my advanced diving course whilst away. The last dive was at a place called Elpetito where a number of Green Turtles reside and interact with the divers. We even had turtles nibbling our fingers! With my advanced diving qualification I can now get to Hilbre when the next rarity shows up even when the tides in.

Arriving back in the UK was a bit of a shock after enduring + 34 C temperatures all week. A walk around the local area with Molly Sunday afternoon produced a single singing Willow Warbler in Stanney Woods, indicating return passage has begun and good numbers of Tree Sparrows with 100+ House Sparrows at Leigh Hall Farm. A single Yellowhammer sang nearby. Butterflies were very much in evidence with a fresh batch of Painted Ladies seemingly just hatched. A short visit to Frodsham No. 6 tank was a bit early for the high tide wader roost but a single juvenile Black-necked Grebe was some consolation. Also present was this lonely looking duck - the one that got away.

Meanwhile a very bored looking Molly watched proceedings from a lying down position in the long grass.


PeteK said...

Hi Phil,the status and ID of "Collared Doves" on Tenerife is a bit of a thorny one.The birds resembling African Collared Dove there are descendants of once captive birds known as Barbary Doves (how pure these birds were/are is a matter of conjecture.)However since the westward spread of Eurasian Collared Dove the gene pool on the Canaries has been altered,with hybridisation noted frequently.The smaller size and paler underwing of African can be almost impossible to discern, as I found out in Eilat when looking for an African Collared Dove amongst many hundreds of its European congeners.Having said this most birders who follow the Netfugl WP list have ticked the birds on Tenerife as African.The other option of course would be to travel to the southern Egyptian Red Sea least you would see Lappet-faced Vulture and maybe Goliath Heron too!!

Phil Woollen. said...

Cheers Pete. They did seem a bit big for African Collared Dove but many of the plumage characterisitcs looked spot on. There were some birds that looked distinctly 'Eurasian', whilst others looked 'African'.