After more than 20 years, chance brought me back to Lanzarote. This island is dry and barren, actually the opposite of what usually appeals to me. But I find it fascinating in a special way. That’s why I was delighted to be travelling to this part of Spain, which geographically could belong more to Africa. Of course, the works of local artist and architect César Manrique were on my island bucket list. I was already very enthusiastic about them back then. His architecture, his natural based solutions and his foresight with regard to the development of tourism on the island were a novelty at that time. However, I would like to move on from this topic today and dedicate myself to something special.

A friend offered me and my family her holiday home. It is located a few kilometres south of the airport, on the east coast, about halfway between the northern and southern tips of this Canary Island. It was unusually hot for autumn. The Sahara wind, which was responsible for a mystical, beige sky, brought us temperatures like in midsummer – and sand everywhere. It was a little more pleasant in the patio, the beautifully planted courtyard of the holiday home. We were greeted by birdsongs, which resounded loudly from the only palm tree on the property. I immediately noticed the strong, penetrating sound. These birds sounded different to our sparrows, magpies or similar winged friends. It reminded me more of parrots that had flown over my head in Costa Rica. Wild parrots on Lanzarote? I immediately dismissed this idea because it seemed unrealistic to me.

Unfortunately, the large, green palm leaves obscured the source of the chirping. In the meantime, however, I was standing with my camera at the ready. You never know! In a fraction of a second, they suddenly flew away: two beautiful green birds. Were they really a pair of parrots? I was annoyed that I was too slow and had probably missed a golden opportunity.

Google finally enlightened me: There are green parrots in Africa, which belong to the family of Old World parrots and are called African collared parakeets (Psittacula krameri krameri). So they are! Unbelievable, I would never have expected to see wildlife here. I wondered whether I would have the pleasure of seeing them again.

Less than 100 metres from our house is a promenade that stretches from the airport to the city of Arrecife. One morning I was walking along it because the temperatures were always very pleasant in the morning. Suddenly I heard the familiar sounds of birds. This time I saw two pairs of parrots. They flew within a radius of about 200 metres to the palm trees on the promenade, on to the power lines, back to the gutters of the houses. They were incredibly fast and always changing places, until they flew inland. To make matters worse, my camera was in the house and I was only equipped with my mobile phone. A mobile phone is sometimes an alternative to photography, no question, as good as the quality and features are now. However, this situation was far too much for my iPhone. Another missed opportunity. Nevertheless I enjoyed watching them.

The end of my holiday was approaching. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of seeing the parrots up close again. Sometimes I heard them very far away. Then suddenly fate was kind to me. On the last day on Lanzarote I sat in our patio with a book and enjoyed the now milder temperatures. The intense heat and the sand were over. When suddenly the familiar sounds approached. Less than 5 metres away from me was the palm tree on which a pair of parrots were perched. Quickly into the house, camera out of the camera rucksack, change lens – I need a tele here -, check if it’s loaded, bingo, and out again. My two friends were still sitting in the palm tree, eating its fruit with relish. They were mostly clearly visible. How beautiful they were! It’s always a great feeling when I get to see beautiful animals in the wild. I was able to observe them for a long time and at length. I felt a deep sense of gratitude, because I would never have thought that I would have this opportunity again.

So if you ever find yourself in Lanzarote: Look out for the African collared parakeets! It’s something very special to meet them there.