11 Jul 2010

Day 3. Catch that pigeon.

Thursday morning and we changed our plan to go to La Gomera deciding instead we might as well 'do' the Tenerife sites for Bolles & Laurel Pigeon as well as Blue Chaffinch. Anoher amazing decision as you'll see later. My alarm failed to go off as the phone battery died completely and for some reason none of the sockets in our hotel room worked. The first I knew was when Al rang me to check if me and Kenny M were OK! A hurried shower and an even quicker breakfast and we were in reception arguing with the very nice lady who tried to charge us an extornioate € 25.00 for a breakfast that consisted of two coffee's, two hard boiled eggs and  tiny Danish pastry. Eventually we found the paperwork to show breakfast was included in the price and we set off down the hill to the Hertz car rental office to pick up our wheels. We'd booked a Renault Espace but instead ended up with  much larger Renault traffic. At least there was plenty of room. After the usual argy bargy over insurances we were off only for eagle eyed Eddie to notice that although the documents showed there was half a tank of diesel the gauge showed a quarter. Hmm. Back in the office the rep admitted the mistake and rectifed the paper work. Yeah right.

Heading out of Santa Cruz we decided to head towards a well known pigeon site at Chanajiga near La Orotava before heading across the volcanic centre of Tenerife stopping at sites for Blue Chaffinch and Other specialities. I'd seen both species of Pigeon at Monte del Agua on a prvious visit but knew the road had been closed off as Mark Turner had been last year. Chanajiga is mentioned in Clark & Collins as one of the best sites on Tenerife. As we approached the wole area was covered in low cloud and didn't look promising but as we climbed higher we broke through into brilliant sunshine. The directions in our guide book were spot on and we found the site easily. Almost immediately Kenny D picked up a Laurel Pigeon but the rest of us couldn't get on to it. The car park area was very productive with our first Tenerife Blue Tits, Goldcrests, Great-spotted Woodpecker and the beautiful tintillon Chaffinch. We found two Blue Tits nests in the walls alongside the track.

Wandering along the track we stopped at various viewpoints and scanned the laurel forset for the elusive Pigeons. I flushed a Laurel Pigeon from alongside the track but once again no one else saw it. Eventually we had reasonable views of 5 Bolles Pigeons but as both Kenny's & Al needed both we were a bit disappointed. After 4 hours we gave up and went back to the Bar Casa Tomas for lunch and a drink before heading further inland into the lunar landscape of the Teide caldera. We spotted a Blue Chaffinch from the car before heading towards the well known site at Los Lajos picnic site where we had brilliant views of this monsterous billed finch.

Our next stop was Villafor where I'd seen Rock Sparrow two years ago. Unfortunately we were unsuccesful this time but did add more Turtle Doves and a Corn Bunting to  the trip list and had good views of the canariensis race of Kestrel.

Dropping into Playa  de las Americas we found the Hotel Volcano where I'd stayed last year and had a well earned shower before setting out to find somewhere to eat and drink.

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