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Last-minute places on Western Canaries tour!

Teresa Farino
12/02/2013 12:02:56

Following a cancellation due to ill health, we have two 'eleventh-hour' places available for our wildlife holiday in Tenerife and La Gomera, from 5 - 12 March 2013.

Posted in: Flora, Butterflies and Moths, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Other Invertebrates, Reptiles, Birds, Endangered Wildlife and Habitats | Canary Islands | Spanish Islands

Here is the itinerary. Hope it appeals!

Canary Foxglove - Isoplexis canariensis © Teresa FarinoCanary Foxglove
Isoplexis canariensis
© Teresa Farino
Tues 5 March
Arrive at Tenerife South airport by 3pm at the latest. Transfer from the airport to the Hotel Rural El Patio, near Garachico, stopping at a coastal ‘badlands’ habitat en route. We shall arrive at the hotel in plenty of time to settle in and explore the surrounding estate before dinner.

Weds 6 March
Most of the day will be spent exploring the Teno headland and coastal cliffs, where plants of note include fabulous clumps of Euphorbia canariensis plus Euphorbia balsamifera, Parolinia intermedia, Astydamia latifolia, Ceropegia dichotoma, Plocama pendula, Vieraea laevigata and Scilla haemorrhoidalis. Tenerife Lizards and Tenerife Geckos abound here, and the inaccessible cliffs behind the coastal platform are a known locality for the endangered Tenerife Speckled Lizard. Plenty of Berthelot’s Pipits, and we might also spot Rock Sparrow, Barbary Partridge and Barbary Falcon.

Thurs 7 March
We shall spend most of the day exploring the northern reaches of one of the island's biogeographical 'hot spots' - a barranco linking the coastal badlands wqith the laurisilva - where we hope to encounter Stripeless Tree Frogs, Tenerife Skinks, Geckoes and Lizards, Canary Brimstone, Canary Red Admiral, and the endangered Canary Islands Large White, as well as – with luck – the endemic Macaronesian darter. The flora of this narrow gorge is quite exceptional, including many Canary endemic species, some of the most eye-catching of which Tenerife Gecko - Tarentola delalandii © Teresa FarinoTenerife Gecko
Tarentola delalandii
© Teresa Farino
are Hypericum canariense, H. glandulosum, Marcetella moquinii, Lavatera acerifolia, Monanthes laxiflora, Aichryson laxum, Aeonium tabulaeforme, Jasminum odoratissimum, Sideritis cretica, Canarina canariensis, Sonchus acaulis, S. congestus, Dracunculus canariensis, etc., etc… Possibility of one or other of the laurel pigeons here too.

Friday 8 March
We shall take the road that winds up towards El Teide via Chío, where the lava fields harbour a wealth of interesting ferns and succulents: Notholaena marantae ssp. subcordata, Cosentinia vellea, Cheilanthes pulchella, Aeonium arboreum ssp. holochrysum, A. urbicum, etc., with Sand Crocus, Ranunculus cortusifolius and Bryonia verrucosa in more humid areas.

The Canary Pine forests further up harbour Lotus campylocladus, Scrophularia glabrata and Pterocephalus lasiospermus, as well as Blue Chaffinches, the teneriffae race of African Blue Tits and the Tenerife endemic subspecies of Great Spotted Woodpecker (canariensis). Unfortunately there will be little in the way of animal or plant life in the Cañadas de Teide National Park (at 2300m+) in early March, but the sheer splendour of this ‘lunar’ landscape, dominated by snow-capped Teide, is simply not to be missed.

We will return to Garachico via La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz, stopping at the botanical garden there if time permits. Here the luxuriant plant life is home to plenty of birds – Atlantic Canary, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Rose-ringed Parakeet, etc. – as well as several species of butterflies and dragonflies.

Canary Red Admiral - Vanessa vulcania © Teresa FarinoCanary Red Admiral
Vanessa vulcania
© Teresa Farino
Sat 9 March
After a leisurely breakfast we’ll head south over the Puerto de Erjos, where our first stop will be at the Degollada de Cherfe, for the stunning, red-flowered Euphorbia atropurpurea, plus Chamaecytisus proliferus, Echium aculeatum, Carlina salicifolia, etc. Further south we shall visit the rock-pools near Alcalá, and then head down to the coastal badlands near Las Galletas, where we should encounter Euphorbia lamarckii, often covered with Barbary Spurge Hawkmoth larvae, Echium triste, Lavandula canariensis, Campylanthus salsoloides and Asparagus arborescens.

There should also be time for a brief stop at the Embalse de Guargacho for Ceropegia fusca, Rumex vesicarius and Echium bonnetii, plus the eye-catching spiders Argiope trifasciata and Cyrtophora citricola. We shall then be catching the Naviera Armas ferry to La Gomera at 19.00, arrriving in San Sebastian de La Gomera at 20.00; we'll head straight to the Apartamentos Los Telares in Hermigua, arriving just in time for the evening meal.

Sun 10 March
Epaulet Skimmer - Orthetrum chrysostigma © Teresa FarinoEpaulet Skimmer
Orthetrum chrysostigma
© Teresa Farino
First thing in the morning we shall head up to the Garajonay National Park information centre and botanical garden at Juego de Bolas, where Boettger’s Lizards and the Gomera endemic skink Chalcides coerulopunctatus scuttle amongst the plants. Lunch will be taken at the El Bailadero viewpoint, overlooking the spectacular Roque de Agando, where a number of interesting plants and butterflies can be found: Juniperus cedrus, Greenovia diplocycla, Erica platycodon, Echium acanthocarpum, etc. Gomera Brimstones are often seen here, and we might also spot one or other of the endemic laurel-forest pigeons from our perch.

After lunch we shall visit the Roque de Agando itself, where notable flora includes Dicheranthus plocamoides, Crambe gomerae, Cistus chinamadensis ssp. gomerae, Aeonium rubrolineatum, Teline stenopetala, Euphorbia lambii and Sideritis cretica ssp. spicata. The rest of the afternoon shall be spent around Vallehermoso, where coastal habitats offer Juniperus turbinata ssp. canariensis, Euphorbia aphylla, Echium aculeatum and Reichardia ligulata, plus the possibility of dragonflies such as Broad Scarlet, Epaulet Skimmer and Red-veined Darter by the small stream on the beach.

Ceropegia dichotoma © Teresa FarinoCeropegia dichotoma© Teresa FarinoMon 11 March
A day in the superb laurel forests around El Cedro, in the heart of the Garajonay National Park. During our various strolls we should encounter massive ferns such as Diplazium caudatum, Woodwardia radicans and Pteris incompleta, as well as Gesnouinia arborea, Aichryson pachycaulon, Greenovia spp., Hypericum grandifolium, Ixanthus viscosus, Cedronella canariensis and Pericallis appendiculata, plus butterflies such as Gomera Brimstone, Canary Red Admiral and Canary Blue. Both the endemic laurel pigeons can be seen here, as can the unique Canary races of African Blue Tit (teneriffae), Chaffinch (canariensis) and Sparrowhawk (granti).

Tues 12 March
A crack-of-dawn start, as we must be in San Sebastian by 06.00 in order to catch the 07.00 Naviera Armas ferry back to Los Cristianos, in Tenerife (arrives 08.00). We shall then head straight off to the airport so as to arrive in plenty of time for any flights departing after 11am.

The full pre-departure information can be obtained by contacting Teresa. But hurry! Time is running out!

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