An Embarrassment of Riches – 10,000 Birds


I’m embarrassed. Actually, I used to be already embarrassed two months in the past, when the pandemic and at-home duties had compelled me to jot down about the identical michoacano birds for a few years operating. (It’s a very good factor that I can entry some 300+ michoacano birds! However, nonetheless.)

So I used to be excited to lastly get to make a journey to Spain and the Center East that we had initially deliberate… for the ill-fated month of March, 2020. New locations, new birds! This time, we truly managed to take the journey we had deliberate. And I did handle to see a lot of new birds — 45 new species, to be particular. Certainly, now I might write a number of fascinating 10,000 Birds posts!

Nonetheless, the journey was a piece (ministry) journey, and a fairly exhausting one at that. Eleven particular person flights and two prepare journeys have been taken. Many Mexican staff have been visited and, apparently, inspired. I returned nearly unable to stroll, from hauling round more and more heavy suitcases. (Too many items have been bought, you see.) A Jordanian head chilly settled in, and became low-level bronchitis. It took me an additional week to get again to regular. “How was your trip, Paul and Angie?”

After all, I birded each second I may. And the birding was good! However I couldn’t even discover time to complete processing my pictures and figuring out the birds they confirmed. So writing for you fantastic of us fell by the wayside. A surplus of high quality birding experiences stored me from making my experiences, which is embarrassing. A humiliation of riches, because it have been.

Fortunately, and I can not overemphasize simply how glad we’re about this, we at the moment are house. And, doubly fortunately, I now have sufficient materials for a lot of future posts. My solely drawback is, the place to start out?

I’ll begin by telling you about encounters in Turkey with two particular fowl households. I actually ought to have encountered these households in Mexico, as they each happen right here. However no, I needed to journey to Turkey to fulfill them within the wild.

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula hosts a big inhabitants of American Flamingos. And I’ve, the truth is, visited Yucatán state. However, sadly, I neither birded again within the days of that go to, nor did I make it to the coasts that these implausible birds frequent.

Three years in the past, I noticed a single Higher Flamingo, my first wild flamingo, in southern Spain. My pictures have been poor, however unmistakeable. In spite of everything, what may you confuse with a flamingo? This go to to southern Spain, nonetheless, fell in the midst of raptor migration, so flamingos weren’t on my agenda.

Then, the individuals we have been visiting in Turkey took us to their favourite waterside stroll within the giant metropolis of Izmir. Izmir is Turkey’s third largest metropolis, and doesn’t have the looks of a spot by which one would discover a number of birds. However an indication marketed (in order that they informed me) flamingo excursions. May or not it’s?

A fast scan with my binoculars steered that no tour could be required. There, within the distance, have been some acceptable pink shapes. Even our hosts have been curious, so we walked towards an space of marshlands in that path. A handful of birds on a spit of land did transform flamingos, standing amongst many Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls, and European Shags, in addition to a trio of Nice Pelicans.

Extra strolling proved that these few authentic birds have been simply an appetizer. My finest guess was that we noticed one thing like a thousand flamingos that day. It seems that, if you wish to see a number of flamingos, you may simply go to a big Turkish city heart.

And a cute Black-headed Gull, winter plumage, for good measure. We don’t get gulls with pink toes in central Mexico.

The second household is certainly not one that you’d discover in an city heart. Dippers are birds that may be discovered alongside pristine mountain streams. I’ve needed to see one for years. I even know the place to search out the American Dipper in my normal space, as they’ve been reported a number of instances from close to Tzararácua Falls. However I’ve but to make the two-hour journey (every method) there to hunt them.

Our host in Turkey appeared fairly enthusiastic about serving to with my seek for new fowl species there. He determined to take me, on our final full day there, to a wooded park within the hills above their house. I discovered a single eBird report for the location, and what are you aware? The report included Eurasia’s very personal White-throated Dipper!

I had all the time anticipated to go to a really remoted website to see a Dipper. These fascinating birds, which might stroll and even fly underwater, require crystalline, generally frigid mountain waters. And but, there I used to be, seeing a number of White-throated Dippers in a park with an ever-increasing variety of guests.

There was one different fascinating factor in these streams. Turkey can get actually sizzling in the summertime. (It was even fairly sizzling in late September.) So the Turks got here up with a pure type of outside air-conditioning: Put your picnic tables IN the stream. Then get pleasure from your picnic together with your toes in chilly water. There have been at the very least two dozen of those tables.

I’m sorry to say, I didn’t truly see a Dipper truly on one of many partially submerged picnic tables. It was the day’s solely disappointment.


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