We have just come back from a trip to the Canary Island some of the time on La Palma island and some of the time in Tenerife staying with some friends. These friends have a large patio attached to their flat on the second floor and have several large bushes of local varieties (including a 10 foot high Strelitza which we gave them last time we visited and which has grown very well indeed…) and the local wild Canaries (yes they really do come from there!) have nested in their bushes. We spent the morning and early evening watching them in the nest as the parents came and went and the little ones spread their wings and balanced on the edge of the nest. Which it turned out was a bad idea as one over-balanced, tried to fly and couldn’t and thus fell onto the patio and broke its neck :(.
Wild canaries are more speckled than their caged brothers and also more green.
On a better note we also have a nest (or more but one we have a camera in so we are sure of) of blue tits in our next box.
This is proving endlessly entertaining as we see the parents feeding the hungry little ones. When we left there were just 3 eggs in the nest – and mother came and laid one a day and then flew off… clearly though she had been busy whilst we were away as 6 or 7 have hatched and we think there are 2 or 3 more eggs still in the nest underneath the mass. She has endless difficulty getting them safely under her body for brooding as there are so many of them, and what will happen as they grow and the other eggs hatch, I just don’t know.
Here are some pictures of the little ugly ones… so embryonic and the little tufts on their heads are so cute! I will keep you all informed of their progress and photos will appear as we get good ones. We actually managed to catch one hatching as it is a live video stream which we then capture on camera as the pictures pass… a bit tricky hence the poor quality but!
Back to the Canary Islands.
We landed on Tenerife which was 20 degrees in the evening and went to the Hotel Reveron in Los Cristianos. This hotel has a 6 storey stained glass atrium!
Our ferry across to La Palma was not until the next morning so we had the following day in Los Cristianos wandering around and walking to Playa de las Americas. All the beaches except for one (maybe imported?) have black volcanic sand with some rocks and rock pools. Behind the beaches are sand dunes which in many places are a Reserve with many unusual plants.
Books disagree but there are between 500 and 1000 endemic plants to the Canary Islands some being just small variations on others but still. I am trying to track down the names of these wild plants as I post them as they were so wonderful to see such variety and lushness in places and desert scrub and mountain terrains in others. Of course the landscape is very varied due to the volcanic eruptions and slides but the islands are all peaks on a large volcanic sub-bed which almost links them in places (see Lanzarote and Fuerteventura on the map below) but also provides for shallow water good for fishing. There is a new island gradually forming too. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6GHox-KeF4 for more details.
It might be worth mentioning as in this blog (http://modernsurvivalblog.com/volcano/300-foot-tsunami-and-east-coast-destruction/) that if there was a big blow out in the Canaries there is potential for a major disaster including a Tsunami larger than any previous that would inundate New York! Do remember that this is still a very active volcanic area…. El Hierro was acive in March 2013 (http://www.volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=383020&bgvn=1&rnum=region18&snum=canary&wvol=hierro)
Next morning we took the ferry at 7am across to La Palma via La Gomera. We didn’t land on this island but are told it is worth a day’s trip