The Canary Islands were born of volcanic fire just 20 million years ago, and are isolated from Africa by the vast waters of the Atlantic. Their relative youth means overall species numbers are low, but their remoteness and challenging habitats result in a mind-bogglingly high rate of endemism that make them a captivating paradise for all lovers of wildlife and evolution. Our trip explores the two largest and arguably most contrasting islands of the archipelago – Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
Our ferry between the islands will bring us into the midst of the interaction between sea and volcano. This is a vital part of life here, with Tenerife´s high peak coaxing the Atlantic winds to give up their moisture, and the islands´ shallow underwater shelves hosting bountiful marine life, which in turn supports colonies of Cory´s and Barolo´s Shearwaters and Bulwers Petrels.
After the barren Mars-like landscapes of Fuerteventura, the The Tenerife Blue Chaffinch, one of a handful of bird species endemic to the Canary Islands. luscious greens of Tenerife´s sub-tropical Laurel forests will pop all the more! Here more endemic species and subspecies await, such as Laurel and Bolle´s Pigeon, Atlantic Canary, Tenerife Kinglet, Canary Islands Chiffchaff and the 150-carat sapphire that is the Tenerife Blue Chaffinch! Ascending through the misty forests we´ll also scale the crater of the 12,200 ft Mount Teide, enjoying its weird and wonderful native plants and truly spectacular vistas. Thanks to Spanish influences, and Teide´s climatic effects, Tenerife produces the bulk of the Canary Islands wines, and is the only island with more than one much coveted Denominación de Origen. Many of Tenerife’s vineyards are on the fertile slopes of the volcano and use organically-farmed indigenous grapes – known for their “peppery fruitiness and mineral tones.”
The laid-back feel of these two islands - renowned for their year-round pleasing climate - makes the perfect setting to sit back, enjoy the locally produced wines and cheeses, and take the time to really appreciate the evolutionary origins of the resident wildlife. Furthermore, due to its isolated geography, the islands are also touted for having the ‘cleanest and clearest skies in Europe,’ offering up some of the finest stargazing in the entire world.
Join Aaron and explore the stunning volcanic scenery and fascinating endemic species of Spain´s farthest flung islands.
Some of the Birds We Hope to See
Houbara Bustard, Fuerteventura Stonechat, Berthelot´s Pipit, Trumpeter Finch, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Cream- coloured Courser, Barbary Partridge, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Egyptian Vulture, Common Buzzard, Laughing Dove, European Turtle Dove, Barbary Falcon, Plain Swift, Red-vented Bulbul, Tenerife Blue Chaffinch, Common Chaffinch (tintillon subspecies), Tenerife Kinglet, African Blue Tit (two subspecies), Canary Islands Chiffchaff, Atlantic Canary, Bulwer´s Petrel, Cory´s Shearwater, and more.