just over 2 weeks ago, we set off for the warm sand and glistening sea of Tenerife. The holiday was mainly to relax by the pool and drink cocktails, However i couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take my camera and snap some photographs of animals on the small Canary island.
Tenerife is a great place for wildlife, although we didn’t get chance to check out Teidi national park, there we’re plenty of opportunities right where we were staying. The first animal i managed to snap was photographed right from our very own apartment balcony, and was a very familiar face. It was the African blue tit.
Although very similar to the Eurasian blue tit, the African blue tit has slight variations to it’s markings, especially on its head. Structurally, they are thinner and more streamlined than our garden visitors in the UK, with a much less dense plumage due to warmer climates.
What i did notice about the Blue tits was baffling me. They kept flying up towards the top of a lamp post and essentially vanished out of site. So i watched, and watched, and watched…..until finally, i saw them disappear into the light! they were nesting in the light casing and i managed to get them hanging on just as they went in.
As i carried on watching from the table on the balcony, more and more birds started to appear with familiar faces popping up everywhere!
There was a Canary island Chiffchaff tweeting away in the shrubs below
A blackbird singing its soothing yet complex songs in the trees opposite
Even a Spanish sparrow which is closely related to the house sparrow. It’s markings differentiate to the house sparrow and almost looks like a hybrid with speckles of white, black and browns. It’s larger than the house sparrow and has a much broader beak, very similar to the shape of a Finch’s beak.
It was great to see such a diverse and healthy population of birds right in the heart of the town. This was most likely due to the vast amounts of tropical trees and shrubs which are found along all the pavements in Tenerife, even having there own water system in place to ensure plentiful nutrients even in warm, dry weather.
After taking pictures of birds form the apartment terrace, i really wanted to find some reptiles, and luckily enough, i did! As we walked into town, there was a small, rocky cliff face, only about 5 metres high on the side of the pavement. We suddenly heard scuffling right next to us so we stopped dead in our tracks and looked for what made the noise. We looked downwards and seen two lizards peeping from underneath a rock. I slowly got my camera out and managed to get a photograph of each one. They were a breeding pair of Gallotia galloti, AKA the Tenerife lizard.
After we found this breeding pair we sneaked up on them every time to watch them, but most of the time, they saw us first and darted back into their home.
The highlight of my holiday was going whale watching. I’d never done it before so i thought what better place to do it than now. We left the port in a catamaran, guaranteed to see at least a whale or dolphin. As we sailed out to see, there were various gulls and sea birds, which were much harder to photograph when you are rocking side to side on a boat!
Only 15 minutes into sailing and we came across out first sighting. It was a group of pilot whales. I was so excited i didn’t know whether to take pictures or just watch, but luckily enough, there were many of them and plenty of time to take pictures as well as take it all in.
They were incredible to watch with a resonating feeling of relaxation and bliss. They came really close to the boat so we could see just how amazing they were and at some points, you could see their eyes surface above the water to see what was going on. Some of them were also floating on the surface, almost lifelessly. This behaviour is called logging, which they do to rest.
Unlike us, Whales cannot fully sleep and completely rest their brain, so instead they float at the surface and switch off one side of their brain to rest it and visa versa. It is essentially sleeping with one eye open.
We also saw a mother with a calf which was swimming next to her. Unfortunately i couldn’t get a picture of them but it was a great way to end a perfect trip watching these gentle giants.
Until next time.