Bertholet’s Pipit on Gran Canaria
Clear skies, winding roads, sea spray; what’s not to like? We’re driving on the GC-200 through Parque Natural Tamadaba on Gran Canaria. It’s a road which is regularly in lists of the greatest roads on Earth. It looks astonishing, although you can see far less of it when you’re driving around all those cliff-top hairpin bends.
Having said how beautiful it is, if they tried to build it now it would be such a feat of environmental vandalism. We stop to admire the view and see tall, spiky cactus-like Euphorbias. These are Euphorbia canariensis and live on the narrow coastal belt. It’s the plant symbol of Gran Canaria.
There’s a Pipit calling near the car. It’s just like all the other pipits I’ve seen; brown, speckled, lean, active.
I do I quick search and come back with Berthelot’s Pipit, the endemic species of Gran Canaria. Anthus bertholotii. It’s a relative of the Tawny Pipit, which I’ve never seen. My book says: “Prefers semi-desert stony plains with scattered Euphorbia bushes at low and mid-altitude.” That sounds about right.
Their colonisation of the Canary Islands is quite recent in evolutionary terms: just 2.5 million years ago.
It’s so beautiful I’d love to get some better photographs of it. Maybe in the next couple of days I will.
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