Canary Islands

Fuerteventura in Autumn

A 7-day, single-centre, small group birdwatching tour to Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands

Our autumn birdwatching tour to the Canary Islands visits the island of Fuerteventura. Lying 200 kilometres to the east of Tenerife, and closest to mainland Africa, Fuerteventura is home to its own unique endemic bird, the Canary Islands Stonechat, and is nowadays probably the best place in the world to see the endangered Houbara Bustard. Three more Macaronesian endemics - Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit and Atlantic Canary - are to be found on the island, which is also a great place to see specialities such as Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, African Blue Tit and Trumpeter Finch. An autumn visit adds a chance of possible migrants, too.

Tour Dates & Prices

Tue 13th October 2020

Mon 19th October 2020

  • Spaces

5 Spaces Available

Mon 1st November 2021

Sun 7th November 2021

  • Spaces

Tour Cost: 7 Days from £1795 inc return flights from London Gatwick

Deposit: £300Single Supp: £275Land Only: £1645Group Size: 7Leaders:  Brian Small

What's Included?

  • Limosa Tour Leader
  • Return flights - London Gatwick-Fuerteventura, nonstop with Easyjet
  • 6 nights accommodation on Fuerteventura
  • All main meals - and drinking water provided
  • Minibus transport
  • All excursions, entry fees, tour-based tips and taxes
  • Map & Limosa Checklist of birds

Cost Excludes

Insurance, drinks, airport /in-flight meals and snacks & other items of a personal nature

View or Download Tour Info Pack

Notes

The Land Only cost is the price you will pay if you choose to arrange your own flights

Tour Cost: 7 Days from £1795* inc return flights from London Gatwick

Deposit: £300Single Supp: £275*Land Only: £1645*Group Size: 7Leaders: TBA

* 2020 tour costs shown. Please note costs for our 2021 tour TBA (available summer 2020)

What's Included?

  • Limosa Tour Leader
  • Return flights - London Gatwick-Fuerteventura, nonstop with Easyjet
  • 6 nights accommodation on Fuerteventura
  • All main meals - and drinking water provided
  • Minibus transport
  • All excursions, entry fees, tour-based tips and taxes
  • Map & Limosa Checklist of birds

Cost Excludes

Insurance, drinks, airport /in-flight meals and snacks & other items of a personal nature

View or Download Tour Info Pack

Notes

The Land Only cost is the price you will pay if you choose to arrange your own flights

Tour Highlights

  • Autumn birding on Fuerteventura, the easternmost of the Canary Islands
  • Endemics include the unique Canary Islands Stonechat, Plain Swift and Berthelot’s Pipit
  • Probably the best place in the world to see the endangered Houbara Bustard
  • Cream-coloured Courser, African Blue Tit and Desert Grey Shrike among other specialities
  • Chances to stumble upon Afro-European migrants and even the odd trans-Atlantic vagrant
  • African Tiger, Greenish Black-tip and Green-striped White among possible butterflies
  • Single-centre, small group tour - maximum of 7 participants
  • Expertly led by Limosa guide Brian Small, making his fourth visit to the island

Outline Itinerary

  • Fly London Gatwick-Fuerteventura. Transfer to our hotel for the week. Night Fuerteventura

  • Easy birding on Fuerteventura. Five further nights Fuerteventura

  • Fly Fuerteventura-London Gatwick

Overview
Itinerary
Trip Info
Trip Reports
cream-coloured courser fuerte brian small tabbed.jpg
Cream-coloured Courser is another of the stars of the dry, rocky plains on Fuerteventura © Brian Small, Limosa

This one-week birdwatching tour to the Canary Islands features a six-night stay on the island of Fuerteventura, one of the two easternmost islands of this fascinating Atlantic archipelago - and the most interesting for birds. Lying just 60 miles off the Moroccan coast, islands in the eastern part of the Canaries group are more strongly influenced by the proximity of North Africa and its hot, dry climate, and so present a very different flora and fauna to that which is found on the wetter and more westerly islands in the group, such as Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

On Fuerteventura, the rocky slopes of once mighty volcanoes have been sculpted by the wind into an endless variety of surreal shapes, and peculiar, cactus-like Euphorbias and giant Lobelias can be found. This arid, semi-desert landscape is home to the unique Canary Islands Stonechat, an attractive endemic species that is found only on the island of Fuerteventura and nowhere else. Fuerteventura is also a vital stronghold of the endangered Houbara Bustard; indeed, it is nowadays probably the best place in the world to see this fast disappearing species. As we search for these two scarce and very special birds, we should come across a range of other desert dwelling specialists, such as Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Trumpeter Finch.

Being an island, the overall range of species is relatively low (we can expect to see in the region of 50-65 species during the week), but this is more than made up for in quality. Three further Macaronesian endemics - Plain Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit and small numbers of Atlantic Canary - also find a home on Fuerteventura, while the likes of Barbary Partridge, Egyptian Vulture, Laughing Dove, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Desert Grey Shrike, Spectacled Warbler and African Blue Tit are among an array of other possible treats in store. Cory's Shearwaters are regularly present offshore and waders we should see include Black-winged Stilt and Kentish Plover. Several pairs of Barbary Falcon now breed on the island and we might be lucky to find them.

Another appealing aspect of any autumn birdwatching tour to the Canary Islands is the chance of encountering windblown migrants from Africa or even a trans-Atlantic vagrant or two from North America. October is a good month to search for these. We will visit the two small wetlands on the island, where we can expect to find Ruddy Shelduck (a relatively recent arrival to Fuerteventura, that’s now well established on the island), and where 'waifs and strays' have included Marbled Duck and Ring-necked Duck. Our autumn 2019 tour was lucky to enjoy superb views of a Dwarf Bittern, a vagrant here from its home in sub-Saharan Africa!

Guide Brian Small has a penchant for the Canary Islands - especially the island of Fuerteventura, with its enticing resident birds and potential for turning up something unexpected on migration. Our October 2020 tour will be his fourth visit to the island.

african blue tit fuerte brian small tabbed.jpg
The smart African Blue Tit (race degener) on Fuerteventura is a separate species, quite distinct from European birds © Brian Small, Limosa

Day 1
FLY TO FUERTEVENTURA
Our autumn birdwatching tour to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands begins with a scheduled Easyjet flight from London Gatwick direct to the island. Transfer to our comfortable hotel for the week. Night Fuerteventura

Days 2 - 6
FUERTEVENTURA
Measuring approximately 60 miles long by 18 miles wide, Fuerteventura lies at the eastern end of this Atlantic archipelago and is second largest of the Canary Islands (after Tenerife). Its position just 60 miles off the coast of North Africa also makes Fuerteventura one of the two closest of the Canary Islands to the African mainland. Indeed its arid, desert-like landscape reflects that of southern Morocco and birding highlights similarly include a range of dry country specialists such as Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Spectacled Warbler that can sometimes be tricky to find elsewhere. Egyptian Vultures still soar over the island's hills and plains, although numbers are low nowadays and they can be hard to find.

The two 'star birds' on Fuerteventura are the Canary Islands Stonechat - a perky Macaronesian endemic that’s found only on Fuerteventura and nowhere else in the world - and the furtive Houbara Bustard. The former has a penchant for the island’s vegetated barrancos (arid gorges), while the latter is a bird of the island’s semi-desert hillsides and plains. As the population of Houbara Bustards elsewhere in the world continues to dwindle due to persistent hunting, Fuerteventura is now probably the best place to catch up with this gravely endangered bird.

Plain Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit and the scarce Atlantic Canary are three further Macaronesian endemics we shall be looking out for during our stay on the island.

As we search for them, we should come across the engaging Trumpeter Finch and more wary Barbary Partridge, two semi-desert specialists which are more numerous and generally easier to find here than elsewhere in the Canary Islands. Lesser Short-toed Larks are also numerous on Fuerteventura and other notable species we should encounter during our travels around the island include Stone-curlew, Kentish Plover, Laughing Dove, Desert Grey Shrike and African Blue Tit. We'll scan offshore for Cory's Shearwater and watch the coastal cliffs and skies for Barbary Falcon. Barbary Ground Squirrels scurry amongst the rocks at our feet, although they are not in fact native to the Canaries having been introduced to the islands from Morocco.

Unsurprisingly, wetland areas are few and far between in this arid landscape so the island's reservoirs act as a magnet to migrant birds. Ruddy Shelduck and Black-winged Stilt are resident on the island and, in October, a variety of passage waders are also possible around the shore. Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Greenshank, Whimbrel, Dunlin and Little Stint could all be about.

Windblown wetland birds of all shapes and sizes also have a habit of turning up here on migration and more unusual sightings in recent years have included Bittern, Squacco Heron, Marbled Duck, Allen’s Gallinule - and even Dwarf Bittern, which performed superbly and at close range for participants on our autumn 2019 tour! October is also a good time to check for vagrants from ‘across the pond’ and North American waterfowl such as Blue-winged Teal and Ring-necked Duck are not infrequently recorded on the island. Five further nights on Fuerteventura

Day 7
FUERTEVENTURA, FLY LONDON
Depending on airline schedules, we may have time to enjoy some final birding on the island today before returning to the airport and catching our flight back to London Gatwick, where our birdwatching tour to Fuerteventura concludes.

berthelot's pipit fuerte brian small tabbed.jpg
Endemic to the Canary Islands and Madeira, Berthelot's Pipit is closely related to Tawny Pipit © Brian Small, Limosa

WHAT TO EXPECT
Our tours to the Canary Islands are not ‘run-of-the-mill’ package holidays, bought off the peg. We use scheduled not charter flights and our tour price includes the cost of flights, all accommodation and main meals, plus all birding excursions, transportation and expert services of the Limosa guide.

The climate in the Canary Islands is pleasant and near perfect all year round. Lying closest to Africa, the more easterly island of Fuerteventura is drier and averages a little warmer than Tenerife in the west.

Expect temperatures in the range of 18-21C (65-70F), with highs of 24C (75F) and up to 9 hours of sunshine per day. Rainfall is low year-round on Fuerteventura: October and November average just two or three wet days and monthly totals of just 8mm and 13 mm respectively.

BIRDS
50-65 species

BUTTERFLIES
Fuerteventura has a small but fascinating list of butterflies. We may be out of season for some, but those we should see include the tiny African Grass Blue, African Tiger and Monarch.

ACCOMMODATION
Six nights at a good and comfortable hotel on Fuerteventura. All rooms are en suite.

MEALS
All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with dinner at the hotel on Day 1 and concluding with breakfast there on Day 7.

Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the hotel; lunches will usually be picnics although we sometimes enjoy a sit down meal at a local venta.

WALKING
Easy. Short walks.

Comfy walking shoes or lightweight boots with good grip recommended. Training shoes may suffice at times but note that the volcanic rock can be hard and rough underfoot at times, so we advise you bring shoes with sturdy, corrugated soles.

FLIGHTS
Return scheduled flights from London Gatwick to Fuerteventura, nonstop with Easyjet. Flying time is approx. 4 hrs 30 mins.

GROUND TRANSPORT
By minibus.

fuerteventura chat 1 fuerte 081119.jpg
Endemic to the island of Fuerteventura, the perky Canary Islands Chat is one of the key target species and thankfully widespread © Brian Small, Limosa

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