Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
An irregular winter visitor to the Canaries, with records from all islands (Field guide to the Birds of Macaronesia, García-del-Rey, E., Lynx 2011), a single Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) was discovered in an irrigation pond in Las Martelas on Nov 22; the following day, when the photos were taken, there were 4 birds at the same location. I had not seen the species on the island since Nov 2008, and this is the first time it features in lapalmabirds.
Two of a group of four Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
The Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) has appeared several times in this blog, and is a regular winter visitor to all the Canary Islands. The group of 4 well-camouflaged birds shown above was discovered in a partly empty pond in Las Martelas on Nov 22.
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
In recent years, as many as 12 White Wagtails (Motacilla alba) have been recorded in Las Martelas, and smaller groups at the saltpans in Fuencaliente. At the time of writing, there are about 5 birds at the first location, where the above photo was taken. The bird is perched on the edge of a dry irrigation tank, with an out-of-focus Kleinia nerifolia bush in the background.
16 of a flock of 21 Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Every autumn, flocks of Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) turn up at the irrigation ponds in Las Martelas: on one occasion I counted about 30 in one pond alone. At present, there are approximately 26 birds in the area, which can occasionally be seen in flight, as above.
This evening (Nov23), a Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) was chasing a flock. On Nov 12, a Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides) actually seized one of the ducks in mid-air, about 10 metres above my head, and carried it to the ground about 50 metres from where I was standing. I managed to get the two shots below, before the hawk noted my presence and abandoned its prey. Surprisingly, the Teal seems to have survived the experience.
Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides) holding down a captured Teal.
Left: the Falcon abandons its prey and flies off with blood-stained talons; right: the Teal spreading its wings