Posts Tagged ‘Canary Islands

14
Mar
13

Island Races

When a species is isolated and population numbers reduced evolution takes a hand. It sculptures the appearance and sound of a species and gradually changes it to be different form the original.

Here in the Canaries our familiar birds all take on a different guise. They are familiar, but different.

The Chaffinch has altered colours, the Chiffchaff has a song more like a Cetti’s and the Blue Tit has lost wingbars but gained a blueness about it that would make any self-respecting brit tit green with envy. The Goldcrest has a thinner less strident song and an unfamiliar face pattern. The Robin is less of a redbreast and more of a red-throat and has gained grey flanks and it has to be said a more melodic song. Even the Great spotted Woodpeckers pale underparts have been sullied into a greyer plumage. All sub species; species in the making.

Blue Tit (teneriffae).

Blue Tit race teneriffae

Chaffinch (tintillon).

Chaffinch race tintillon

Chiffchaff (canariensis).

Chiffchaff race canariensis

Great Spotted Woodpecker (canariensis).

Great spotted Woodpecker race canariensis

Robin (superbus).

Robin race superbus

Tenerife Goldcrest

Tenerife Goldcrest or is it a race of Firecrest … authorities disagree as to its status.

12
Mar
13

Cetacean City

Off Tenerife the upwelling of deep currents create the ideal habitat for cetaceans. We went to sea on a couple of occasions during our stay last month. A fantastic find of three Cuvier’s Beaked Whales was perhaps the best but most fleeting sighting. The Bottlenose Dolphins and Common Dolphins were all doing what dolphins do and performing well. Perhaps the most special occasion we had however was the time we shared with a pod of eight inquisitive short finned Pilot Whales. They were endearing creatures that were trying hard to step into our world. Something that will be hard to forget.

Short finned Pilot Whales

 

10
Mar
13

Endemic

There’s a rather robust finch that lives on the Canaries. The Blue Chaffinch occurs nowhere else in the world and is restricted to the Canary Pine forests that cloak the steep slopes of the dormant volcanoe of Mount Tadie.Every now and then as we stood among the pines a large cone would crash to the ground with an alarming thud. Adapted to it’s habitat we saw how the Chaffinch used it’s stout bills to remove the seed from the fallen cones as elequently as a Spanish waiter uncorking a bottle.

Blue Chaffinch




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