Gran Canaria 2016

Saturday 1st - Saturday 8th October 2016
Hoopoe - Maspalomas
A week in the hot sunshine of Gran Canaria at the start of October produced some good birds despite this island not getting much representation in the available range of published bird guides. This isn't surprising since it doesn't hold any populations of the endemic Canary pigeon species which can be found on Tenerife and La Gomera, and Blue Chaffich is much easier to find on Tenerife; next to impossible on Gran Canaria.  Based in Maspalomas at the southern tip of the island, my birding was incidental, or confined to the occasional short solo exploration on foot, in between simply being on holiday. A brackish lagoon, La Charca, stretches behind the beach at Maspalomas, cut off the sea by the beach, and with the dunes along one side. La Charca was always interesting to visit and turned up some good birds.

The highlights included (no particular order):
Canary Island Chiffchaff - common and vocal virtually everywhere
Sardinian Warbler - also fairly common and also vocal
Tenerife (African) Blue Tit - common - seen in various locations including Maspalomas and Las Palmas
Plain swift - good numbers seen especially around La Charca and the dunes area
Spoonbill - one juvenile at La Charca on 2nd
Greenshank, Sanderling, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Little Egret - several of each seen regularly at La Charca - Sanderlings also seen on the beach
Dunlin - one seen at La Charca on each visit
Whimbrel - one present at La Charca and seen on the beach several times during the week
Atlantic (Common) Canary - around Maspalomas and at Puerto Mogan
Berthelot's Pipit - four at Puerto Mogan
Hoopoe - 2-3 Maspalomas
Turtle Dove - juvenile in Maspalomas feeding on grassed area with Collared Doves
Common Waxbills - small flocks at Palmitos Park and Maspalomas
Black-winged Stilt - one at La Charca on 7th
Spectacled Warbler - pair in scrubby area at at Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Spotted Flycatcher - one at Palmitos Park on 6th
Pied Flycatcher - one at Palmitos Park on 6th
Kestrel (ssp. canariensis) - pair near La Charca present throughout the week
Greenshank, La Charca
Male Spectacled Warbler, Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Female Spectacled Warbler, Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Juvenile Little Ringed Plover, La Charca
Black-winged Stilt, La Charca
Dunlin, La Charca
Juvenile Turtle Dove, Maspalomas
Common Waxbill, Palmitos Park
Spotted Flycatcher, Palmitos Park
Atlantic Canary, Puerto Mogan
Berthelot's Pipit, Puerto Mogan
Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Puerto Mogan
Tenerife Blue Tit, Las Palmas
Sanderling, La Charca
Whimbrel, La Charca
Juvenile Spoonbill, La Charca
La Charca, Maspalomas
Palmitos Park
Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Other species seen:
Yellow-legged Gull
Black-headed Gull
Spanish Sparrow
Blackbird (ssp. cabrarae)
Grey Heron
Monk Parakeet - this introduced, and noisy, species was usually making its presence known around Maspalomas
Monk Parakeet, Maspalomas
Spanish Sparrow, Palmitos Park
Painted Lady
African Grass Blue
Long-tailed Blue
Small White
Canary Large White
Long-tailed Blue, Maspalomas
African Grass Blue, Puerto Mogan
Painted Lady, Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Epaulet Skimmer
Red-veined Darter
Scarlet Darter (Broad Scarlet)
Red-veined Darter, Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Scarlet Darter, Barranco del Negro, Maspalomas
Epaulet Skimmer, Palmitos Park

Gran Canaria Giant Lizard
Gran Canaria Skink 
Gran Canria Skink, Palmitos Park
Gran Canaria Giant Lizard, Maspalomas
An interesting crustacean:
Sally Lightfoot Crab, Puerto Mogan

And an interesting plant: Canary Sea Lavender - re-introduced at La Charca

And a cool fish: Ornate Wrasse - in the harbour at Puerto Mogan


Gunnar Eriksson said…
Nice photos! We are going to spend 14 days at Maspalomas, arriving 25th of jan.
You inspired me!
Paul said…
Thanks Gunnar, have a great time!
Cynthia B said…
I'm going to this area at the end of February. Can you recommend a field guide?
Paul said…
Hi Cynthia, I am not aware of any field guides that specifically cover Gran Canaria in terms of a site guide, and I basically had to find my own birds and other wildlife. Helm's "Birds of the Atlantic Islands" is useful if you haven't visited the Canaries before or if you just need to check what is to be found on the island, and check ID features.
Hello Paul,
My name is Kilian, I'm from Gran Canaria, I liked reading this post.
In the Charca de Maspalomas there is a lot of fauna and it is also a place of passage for migratory birds. From Canary Excursions Tours we have an excursion to the south of the island where we take our clients to the Maspalomas pond and explain their formation and the species that inhabit it. If you ever have the opportunity, go to a Gran Canaria excusion and you will be welcome.

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