A walk around Erjos lakes with flowers and lots of butterflies

View from the ridge over the lakes to Mt Teide

View from the ridge over the lakes to Mt Teide

This walk was done last Wednesday, 24th June, on a warm sunny day with fluffy drifting clouds occasionally blocking views. It is a very varied walk through a variety of environments including laurel forest, pine forest and the lakeside area. Consequently we saw a range of different flowers, and butterflies, in the different areas.

Annual houseleek (Airchryson laxum) in the wall at the side of the sunken lane between Erjos and the lakes.

Annual houseleek (Airchryson laxum) in the wall at the side of the sunken lane between Erjos and the lakes

 

 

 

We parked in the centre of Erjos, behind the square and followed the signposts across the main road, down some steps beside the church, across a minor road, and straight on down the road opposite to the right angle bend in the road where a path drops down past a high wall and around an old water reservoir. We were now in the sunken lane which leads to the lakes, by which we would return, but we immediately turned right up another path, signposted to Las Portelas and Monte del Agua. This leads up towards some communications masts where we meet a track.

A Canary Blue butterfly, with wings closed, on a wild thyme plant, (Micromeria sp.)

A Canary Blue butterfly, with wings closed, on a wild thyme plant, (Micromeria sp.)

 

Instead of walking along the track, we took a path up from the corner, marked with a yellow and white cross. This can be overgrown with brambles, but was not bad this time, and our group helped to clear some of the stems encroaching on the path with secateurs, as we passed. The path climbs up to the top of a ridge which, after a little while, overlooks the Erjos lakes in the valley below. There are also fine views over the lakes to Mt Teide, and the volcanic landscape between.

A Brown Argus butterfly (Aricia agestis), one of many flying as we walked along the ridge

A Brown Argus butterfly (Aricia agestis cramera), one of many flying as we walked along the ridge

 

 

On the ridge we saw many Canary Blue butterflies (Cyclyrius webbianus) and Brown Argus (Aricia agestis cramera). The photos are not the best, as the subjects do not stay still long! And with other walkers I cannot linger too long! After walking along the ridge some way, with ups and downs we met a track coming up from the lakes, joined it for a few yards and then took a path right into the laurel forest. (Note this was not the first path on the right down into the forest – there is one just before you reach the track)

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), along the path in the laurel forest

Forest bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), along the path in the laurel forest

The path in the laurel forest is roughly level with only slight ups and downs. It goes through an area affected by the forest fire in 2007. The burnt laurels grow up from the base again, leaving the burnt trunks standing, but now they are rotting at the base they are falling, often across the path! So there are a few obstacles on the path, but nothing major as some cutting has been done. The fire allowed light to get through to the forest floor, and since then there have been a wealth of flowers through this part. Those in flower at this time of year included Balm of Gilead (Cedronella canariensis), Malfurada (Hypericum grandifolium), Reina del monte (‘Mountain queen’) (Ixanthus viscosus), Forest Bindweed (Convolvulus canariensis), Canary Islands Buttercup (Ranunculus cortusifolius), and Canary Islands Cranesbill (Geranium reuteri). The last two had nearly finished flowering. The butterflies seen in the laurel forest were the Canary speckled woods (Pararge xiphioides).

A section of the path through the laurel forest, complete with fallen trunk.

A section of the path through the laurel forest, complete with fallen trunk.

In the forest at the first path junction we went right, then shortly after we took a right fork down to the Fuente de los Loros, a lovely spot where a tap drips water out of a rocky outcrop. Because of the water, you can hear plentiful bird life in the vicinity. Returning to the fork, we continued on the other path, turning left shortly afterwards to join a track, turning right along it, and walking down to an open col, the Cumbre de Bolico, where the track turns sharply to the right. At this bend we took a signposted path, up to the left. The path continued up gently, with beautiful views to the right down towards the rugged landscape around Masca till we arrived at the col called the Degollada de la Mesa where we had our lunch.

A view towards Masca from the path between Cumbre de Bolico and Degollada de la Mesa

A view towards Masca from the path between Cumbre de Bolico and Degollada de la Mesa

 

 

 

After lunch we continued following the yellow and white waymarked path over the col, down towards Santiago del Teide, until we reached the end of a track, where we turned left. This track winds around Mt Gala, the mountain with the fire watchtower and communications masts, until it reaches the tarmaced access track to the tower and masts. Here we should have continued across the track following the yellow and white marked path down to the lakes, but instead we decided to walk down the track and turn down another path towards the lakes, which was, I believe, the Camino Real or Royal Road, from Santiago del Teide to Erjos. However a short distance before this path joins the tracks around the lakes, it is badly overgrown with brambles, so we had to do a long detour through the overgrown abandoned fields to find a way around the brambles.

A Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina) feeds from a Roof Houseleek (Aeonium urbicum var meridionale)

A Meadow Brown butterfly (Maniola jurtina) feeds from a Roof Houseleek (Aeonium urbicum var meridionale)

After that adventure we just had to walk along the track by the lakes, and rejoin the yellow and white route, through the delightful sunken lanes, back to the village of Erjos.  On the way we saw Bath White butterflies, Small white, Clouded yellow and Canary Red Admirals.

The walk was approximately 12 km and involved around 450m of climbing, mainly in small ups and downs. It took us nearly 5 hours, at a leisurely summer pace, enjoying the surroundings.

A Bath White butterfly (Pontia daplidice) feeding from a Milk Thistle flower (Silybum marianum)

A Bath White butterfly (Pontia daplidice) feeding from a Milk Thistle flower (Silybum marianum)

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About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on June 26, 2015, in Botanical interest, Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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