Birdwatching/holiday report, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura

This is a a review of our family holiday at Caleta Paraiso apartments, Fuerteventura. Caleta Paraiso is situated in Costa Antigua just a few minutes taxi ride, outside Caleta de fuste. Our family party consisted of my wife, my twelve year old son, three year old, grandson and myself. We had found an apartment on the website and had decided to try a self catering holiday this year. We had, in the past, holidayed all inclusive but wanted to try a holiday where we were not regimented to be back for meals at certain times of the day.

As a birdwatcher myself, I was looking forward to a spot of not too serious birding whilst away. We had never been to Fuerteventura before, so I was hoping to see the island specialities, a Cream coloured courser, Trumpeter finch and Fuerteventuran chat etc. As this was a family holiday as opposed to a strictly birding holiday, I would grab moments out when I could.

The holiday started on Weds 17th Aug 2005. The day turned into a bit of a nightmare. Our flight was supposed to take off at 7-45 a.m. We boarded the plane on time only to be told of a mechanical problem. We disembarked and had to endure a ten and three quarter hour delay until a replacement aircraft was available. We finally touched down in Fuerteventura at around 22-15 p.m.and were met, with our apartment keys, by the website owners Trevor and Sue. Knowing that we had suffered a very long delay, they had kindly made up the bed settee ready for us to dump our bags and get straight to bed!!! We awoke next morning to the sound of rumbling. I thought it was more holidaymakers wheeling their cases along the path outside. I drew back the curtain to see heavy rain and a thunderstorm !! Seemed like our previous days bad luck was carrying on. Anyway by ten o'clock the rain had cleared and brilliant sunshine was the order of the fact for the duration of our stay!!!

In daylight we surveyed our surroundings. The apartment consisted of a living room with bedsettee, wicker settee, kitchenette, microwave, fridge, t.v. and dvd player. Off the living room was the bathroom with small bath, shower and w.c. The bedroom had twin beds, ample wardrobe space and safe deposit box. This apartment is an upstairs one and had a patio/balcony area with a nice sea view. The complex itself was very quiet. It has two swimming pools and an Irish bar called Kavanaghs. The nightly entertainment from this was never very loud so a good nights sleep was guaranteed. As I had forgotten to take my drivers licence, I was unable to hire a car. (something I would recommend as Costa Antigua is a 30 minute walk from the livelier Caleta). We found the taxi service brilliant, approx 3 euros will get you into Caleta and you never wait more than a minute or two for a taxi to arrive. The resorts of Costa Antigua and Caleta de Fuste are linked by a paved promenade. This runs along the rocky sea coast where waves break against the shoreline. This is a stunning walk with plenty of concrete benches along the way. Here lovely sea breezes cool you as you walk in hot sunshine, (beware, slap plenty of suncream on as the breeze makes the suns heat feel deceptively cooler). Right,.... on with the birding !! At the best of times, Fuerteventura will not give you a long list of birds. The birds you are likely to see though, are good 'ticks'

As I have said this was a family holiday, so my plan was to get out early and back again before the rest of the party were ready for the beach. To my surprise it didn't get daylight until around 7-30 a.m, so getting up at daft o'clock was out of the equation.!! Anyway, most mornings I managed a quick 3/4 hour pre breakfast stroll accompanied by my son Tom. On our first 'reccy' we opted to go down to the coast. Walking out of the complex we startled two Hoopoes which had been sitting on the perimeter fence.... a good start, thinks I. At the shoreline Yellow legged gulls were plentiful, with immature gulls seeming to be in the majority. The tide was low so there were lots of rockpools. I scanned these and found 6 Turnstones and a Little ringed plover. The surrounding landscape was rocky and barren. I could hear a small bird calling constantly. This turned out to be a Berthalots pipit, (the first of many). Spanish sparrows were abundant and also seemingly everywhere are Collared doves. After about an hour we returned having seen little else. That night, after a walk into Caleta I noticed a number of birds out to sea. These were Cory's shearwaters. I watched as they glided effortlessly over the waves.....another good spot.

On Sunday 21st we caught the bus into Puerto del Rosario. Walking through the town I spotted a bird fly from a rooftop and perch on a roadside rock. This was a southern race Great grey shrike. These are stunning little birds and I was always happy to see them. The bus ride home produced little else other than Feral pigeons. That was until we turned onto the road which leads up to Costa Antigua. This is a tree lined avenue. Here a Grey heron was hunting for lizards. Up to now my bird list was growing painfully slowly.

The middle part of our holiday was spent with friends who were staying at the nearby Broncemar hotel. We did the daily walk along the coast to meet up with the family, all the time I had my eyes peeled for birds. I saw very little else but for the Turnstones, little ringed plover , yellow legged gulls and pipits. On Tuesday 23th we were walking to Caleta when Tom exclaimed, "look at that !!". I looked down towards the sea to see a Hoopoe flying along the coast. A Yellow legged gull swooped down and started to dive bomb it. The Hoopoe did some spectacular tumbling to avoid the gull. I was quite surprised at this behaviour as you would'nt have thought these two bird species would have been in competition with each other.

Wednesday 24th provided me with two more for my list. A pre breakfast walk produced a Little Egret fishing the shoreline. Nearby a Whimbrel waded in the rockpools. This lone bird ( presumably the same one) was seen most days , then on. Friday 26th, and another walk to see our friends in Caleta. Nearing the Broncemar hotel, we crossed a small grass covered traffic island linked by zebra crossings. On this, to my surprise, seven Hoopoes were feeding on the ground. People passed within feet of them but they did'nt seem to mind much. I had only ever seen two hoopoes together, maximum, so seven was a real treat.!!

The disappointing thing, though, was that I did'nt have a camera with me, as the battery was on charge.... damn !!! Anyway, all was not lost , as we passed the same spot on Saturday (camera in hand) to find five Hoopoes there. Whilst admiring the hoopoes two black birds flew overhead. They were Brown necked ravens. They are slightly smaller than our ravens and have a brown tinge to their nape feathers. A first for me. The Cory's shearwaters appeared most nights along with a local Kestrel. Surprisingly I only saw 4 lone Swifts... but did'nt see any Hirundines. From our balcony, I saw a Willow wabler but didn't see any other warblers the whole time we were there.

On sunday 28th I had the chance of a short car journey, inland. This I jumped at as I had lessened my chances of seeing more birds through the lack of a car. We set off southwards then headed inland in a circlar tour which lasted about 1 3/4 hours. Great grey shrikes popped up all along the route, as did Berthalots pipits. Driving through the flatter plains I got my second 'lifer'. A very smart Cream coloured courser ( a bird I'd really wanted to see ). This bird had been a standing joke with my son Tom, who thought I was talking about a '' beige coloured vauxhall corsa'' !!! Stopping off at convenient pull-ins we scanned the barren landscape. Around Casilas de Morales we spied two large birds of prey fly up, then settle down on a wall and bush respectively. These turned out to be Buzzards in a fairly pale phase plumage.They were quite a distance away from us. We watctched them as they soared on ' v wings' then perched again. High up, a third Buzzard sailed over a nearby ridge. It came under attack from a Barbary falcon ( my third 'lifer' ). The pair did aerial battle until the buzzard faded to a distant speck. Next a head popped up over a banking. This was a Barbary partridge, it took to flight followed by 20 plus others....... Another decent find. Overhead a solitary Brown necked raven flew by and a Kestrel was seen hovering. An obliging Hoopoe landed in front of us before we headed back through Antigua to our apartment. The Courser being my personal favourite of the outing.

Monday29th brought a change to our plans. We had intended to do our last trip to the beach on Monday, leaving Tuesday morning free to do a mornings gift shopping at the Atlantico shopping centre ( Caleta ). I had found out that my football team, Preston north end, were to play live on sky t.v. So we switched our days plans to accommodate watching the 'lilywhites'. It was now off to the Atlantico centre that we trotted along the coastal path. As luck would have it I stumbled upon a small flock of birds that I had given up all hopes of seeing. Very near the Atlantico centre, on the sands, a flock of twelve Trumpeter finches... magic !!! This preceded watching a rare 4-0 win for Preston.... what a day.

Tuesday, our last full day, gave me my last two birds. The walk to the beach produced two Common terns diving for fish just offshore. ( spectacular ) Finally, not the most exciting find, a Lesser Black Backed gull. seeing as this was the only type of gull seen, other than Yellow legged, I was happy to tick it.... they all count !!! The coastal path is home to the thriving Barbary ground squirrel, or chipmunk, as they are known locally. These endearing little creatures will take peanuts from your hand. ( a delight for children ) Another fascinating creature that shared the grounds to our complex was a spider, that lived next to our apartment. This, I found out, was a Wasp spider. I watched it every day as it made a silk wrapped food parcel out of its prey. (not everyone's cup of tea, I know !!) In summary, I was happy with the birds that i saw, considering I was limited by the lack of a car. As for Caleta, we had a thoroughly enjoyable holiday.

The self catering aspect was pleasurable, bolstered by some very good eating places at reasonable costs. Our apartment, 65 Caleta Paraiso, was more than adequate for our self catering needs and was very clean and comfortable. Costa Antigua was very quiet ( even though there is considerable development taking place ) and the livelier Caleta de fuste is only a stones throw away. For those of you that want the quieter holiday, I would strongly recommend Caleta Paraiso. Here you get the best of both worlds, peace at the apartment ... and livelier atmosphere just a short distance away. The beach at Caleta de Fuste is lovely. It is very safe for children and was never crowded. Anyway, I hope you find this review of some use. I will certainly return to SUNNYFUERTEVENTURA.

All the best Andrew Bradley.

Bird list for Caleta and surrounding area 17th - 31st August.

1. Spanish Sparrow.

2. Collared Dove.

3. Feral pigeon.

4. Yellow legged gull.

5. Turnstone.

6. Little ringed Plover.

7. Berthalots Pipit.

8. Kestrel.

9. Cory's Shearwater. ( lifer )

10. Swift.

11. Great grey Shrike.

12. Hoopoe.

13. Little Egret.


15. Willow Warbler.

16. Brown necked Raven. ( lifer )

17. Cream coloured Courser. ( lifer )

18. Common Buzzard.

19.Barbary Partridge.

20. Grey Heron.

21. Barbary Falcon. ( lifer )

22. Trumpeter Finch.

23. Common Tern.

24. Lesser black backed gull.

Total . 24 Lifers .4 .

© " 2004-2019"

Andrew's Photographs

Birthalots Pipit
Birthalots Pipit

Collared Dove
Collared Dove

Hoopoe, Fuerteventura

Another Hoopoe, Fuerteventura
Another Hoopoe

Great grey shrike, Fuerteventura
Great grey shrike

Another Great grey shrike, Fuerteventura
Another Great grey shrike

Chipmunk, Fuerteventura

Wasp spider with food parcel, Fuerteventura
Wasp spider with silk wrapped food parcel

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