Close-up of the dramatic gash in the reservoir's sloping bank
Regular readers of this blog may recall a previous entry designed to provide visiting birders with information on the Laguna de Barlovento (see Feb 2012 post below). As described back in February this year, after a catastrophic breaching of its banks, an artificial wetland was rapidly developing in the bottom of this large reservoir, where a shallow pool of freshwater had been trapped and was providing habitat for small numbers of water birds, including Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Coot (Fulica atra), Shoveler (Anas clypeata) and Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca). Birding-wise, things were looking decidedly promising for this autumn...
However, as can be appreciated in the present series of images, reconstruction work is now underway, and the reservoir is completely empty! According to an official sign, the repair project is scheduled to finish on September 24 2012. Judging by the state of progress, this appears to be a rather optimistic estimate.
The Laguna itself is obviously useless for birding at the moment, but there's always the adjacent parkland with its confiding endemic La Palma Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs palmae). As is the case at several other popular picnic sites and outdoor restaurants where they congregate (Los Tilos, El Pilar, Pared Vieja etc.), some of these cute little birds can be surprisingly tame, and will perch on litter bins, tables...and even on the humans feeding them.
The endemic La Palma Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs palmae)
Another shot of the same species, also taken at the Laguna de Barlovento picnic area this morning.
At the saltpans on the southern tip of the island (Fuencaliente), more building work is in progress. A restaurant is under construction, and expected to need another year to complete. Surprisingly, the noise and constant transit of heavy lorries around the complex do not seem to disturb the migratory waders currently present at the site: small numbers of Sanderling (Calidris alba), Dunlin (Calidris alpina), and a Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula). Try weekends or outside working hours (8am-6pm) if you appreciate quietness.
The freshwater ponds in the area known as Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane) - several of which are completely dry due to lack of rain - have produced one Redshank (Tringa totanus) and one Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), in addition to the usual small numbers of Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). The regular wintering Coots (Fulica atra) have not arrived yet.
The seawater pools near the airport have yielded pretty much the same species: one Redshank, a Dunlin, 2 or 3 Ringed Plover, and an occasional Common Sandpiper.... All in all, it has been a disappointing month so far.