is an ideal place for a family holiday during the winter months,
temperatures are such that the beaches can be enjoyed for
the winter. For the birder it is quality rather than quantity - one is
unlikely to make it much over 50 species unless serious efforts are
made to bird. However, a visit during a migration season may swell the
number of species seen considerably. Hiring a car for at least a day or
two is recommended to get around to all the sites with ease, try www.rhinocarhire.com
The island offers
a number of interesting species and sub-species
including Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser, Lesser Short-toed
Lark and Trumpter Finch. Barbary Falcon occur, although can be rather
hard to find at times.
ideal base from which to explore the rest of the
island. It is the closest resort to the Salinas de Janubio and most of
the target species on Lanzarote can be seen within walking distance of
the resort. As Lanzarote is not a big island it does not take long to
drive to other localities should one wish to do so.
Lanzarote is a volcanic island and is known for its unique Malvasia vineyards. If you have bottles of Malmsey wine in your wine cellar or on your wine racks there is a good chance it came from Lanzarote.
book is one of the latest to be published for the islands of Lanzorote
This is the guide
I have taken with me on each of my visits thus far:
The following books are
very useful, "Birds of the Atlantic
gives a good idea of the status of bird species on each of the Atlantic
Islands, including Lanzarote.
Pipit, November 2007
Bustard, March 2012
Finch, November 2007
Curlew, November 2007
of the Lanzarote specialities - Cream-coloured Courser
flock of waders pictured above consists mainly of Sanderling but there
is also a Ringed Plover and a Curlew Sandpiper (leading bird) with
them. November 2007
Salinas de Janubio
Some 10 km or so north of Playa Blanca are the salt pans of Salinas de
Janubio. These are in full use (2012) and both the salt pans and the
lagoon can provide some of the best birding in Lanzarote - at least for
the number of species present.
Black-winged Stilts have been common on every visit I have made with
upwards of 30 present in November 2007. Other regular waders include
Ruddy Turnstone, Greenshank, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover,
Kentish Plover and a variety of others. Bear in mind most of my visits
been during late autumn and winter - there may well be more variety
Flocks of larks, Yellow-legged gulls, small numbers of Black-headed
Gull and most of the usual species can be seen here too. Barbary Falcon
pop in from time to time but are not regular in my experience.
Rarer species I have seen here include Black-necked Grebe, Avocet and
Slender-billed Gull. In recent years this locality has become a regular
site for Ruddy Shelduck - which have even bred here. A pair was present
Access is straightforward with a car park on the north end of the back
lava beach. As I normally approach this area using a mountain bike from
Playa Blanca I head down a dirt track to the south of the lagoon.
Greenshank, Salina de Jaubio, Lanzarote, November 2007
Stilts, Salinas de Janubio, Lanzarote, November 2007
Sandpiper, Salina de Jaubio, Lanzarote, November 2007
Turnstone, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, November 2007
Knot feeding on the shores of the Janubio lagoon, November 2007
the seaward side of the lagoon is this black lava beach.
Swimming is not recommended here.
of Playa Blanca There is an area
immediately north of Playa Blanca and east of the main
road to Yaiza which remains reasonably productive - although this area
too is under imminent threat of destruction. Although the guide states
that Stone Curlew are regular here I have yet to connect with them at
this locality. Cream-coloured Courser do occur here from time to time
but do not seem to be regular. Houbara Bustards may still be
in the area
with at least four present in November 2007 (none in 2012).
usual Berthelot's Pipit, Lesser Short-toed
Lark and Trumpeter finch are also easy to find here. During my first
vist in 1997 the Canary Island race of Common Buzzard was also present
but I have not seen this species on Lanzarote since.
and Peregrine) may also be seen here from time
to time. North
and West of Playa
Blanca The development to
west of Playa Blanca extends almost all the way
to Punta Pechuega, a good spot for seawatching, especially in the early
mornings when huge numbers of Cory's Shearwater can be seen - I have
had up to 500 at a time here. The area known as
Rubicon, on the north side of the mountain has
suffered from huge development which has pushed the Houbara Bustards,
previously regular here, further out. Remarkably, despite the
encroaching urban sprawl Houbaras can still be found north of the
landfill / quarry site - I managed to connect with the species here
during my most recent visit in November 2007 - but not in 2012.
at Punta Pechiguera, November 2007
Gannet are a lot less common than Cory's Shearwater during seawatches
Blanca There is a
to the east of Playa Blanca. Access is via
a dirt track, the first part of which is pretty bumpy. One
must pay a small fee if arriving by car - bicycles go free. There are
some wonderful beaches such as Playa
Playa Papagayo and others in this area
be very busy with tourists (and even nudists - so watch where you point
Early in the
waders can be seen on the shores, species can
include Sanderling, Grey Plover, Whimbrel and so on. However, the main
reason I go there is the scrub just behind the shore where Spectacled
Warbler are reasonably common - Playa Mujera is probably the closest
place to Playa Blanca for this species. The scrub can attract other
migrants in season.
Other birds in the
include Trumpeter Finch (good numbers), Lesser
Short-toed Lark (numbers vary), Southern Grey Shrike and Kestrel.
There are some
archeaological remains in this area which are worth a
visit in their own right.
race of Common Kestrel, November 2007
Grey Shrike are common on Lanzarote.
site east of Playa Blanca
looking west towards Playa Blanca
the resort of
Playa Blanca There can be quite
of interest in the resort itself - in the
hotel gardens, along the shore, over the sea and overhead. The gardens
and plantations are the best place to see migrant passerines from
further north - species such as thrushes, warblers and Meadow Pipits
often join the resident Collared Doves and Spanish Sparrows in these
areas. Grey Wagtail have also been a regular feature here during my
Along the shores
the wader species can be very tame - Ruddy
Turnstones scamper among sunbathing tourists, Little Egrets and Grey
Herons are also regular. Yellow-legged Gulls and Sandwich Terns are
invariably present and Cory's Shearwater can be seen in season.
be seen overhead - the local race of Kestrel
is regular and I have also recorded both Barbary Falcon and Marsh
Harrier over the resort.
As soon as one
of the resort itself many of the speciality
species can still be seen, although with the current rate of expansion
it must be only a question of time before some of these disappear.
Yellow-legged Gull, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
30 October 2007
Dove, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, October 2007
such as this Yellow Wagtail are often attracted to hotel
gardens, November 2007
Spanish Sparrow, Lanzarote, November 2007
south west of
Teguise. A fantastic area
connect with most of the Lanzarote specialities and
a visit is compulsory for anyone interested in birding. All of the good
stuff can be seen here including Houbara Bustards, Cream-coloured
Courser, Stone Curlew and more. It is also a regular site for Cattle
Egrets, Hoopoe and more.
The area around
Soo is the
best for Stone Curlew in my experience. The guide book states that the
Houbaras prefer the area
to the south (the cultivated area north of the main round) and this has
proved true for me in the past. However, during my last visit the only
Houbaras I saw were at the sandier wasteland area further north - this
may have been due to repeated fly overs from a microlite aircraft.
Whether this microlite flying is a regular feature or not I can't say
but the light aircraft landed and took off repeatedly during the few
hours I was there - potentially a serious disturbance to the bustards.
of Lesser Short-toed Lark can be seen here -
their Sand Martin like calls filling the air.
information and books
Links to other websites covering Lanzarote can be found below:
signs can now be seen "everywhere", but how much effect they have I am
Egret flying through goat herd dust storm, November 2007
is plenty of other wildlife to be seen on Lanzarote including lizards
and all kinds of marine life - including good numbers of dolphins at
times. A sample of images is given below:
(2m in length?) off Punta Pechiguera, Lanzarote, November 2007
such as this are regular in Playa Blanca
Lizards are common on Lanzarote
feeding on the shore at Playa Blanca
Lanzarote, March 2012
with hedgehogs everywhere these are more often seen as roadkill than
alive, this one was photographed on the seafront at Playa
Mullet are just one of the many kinds of fish abundant along the shores