An Embarrassment of Riches – 10,000 Birds

I’m embarrassed. In actual fact, I used to be already embarrassed two months in the past, when the pandemic and at-home duties had compelled me to write down about the identical michoacano birds for a few years operating. (It’s an excellent factor that I can entry some 300+ michoacano species! 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. Absolutely, now I’d write a lot of fascinating 10,000 Birds posts!

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

In fact, I birded each second I might. And the birding was good! However I couldn’t even discover time to complete processing my images and figuring out the birds they confirmed. So writing for you tremendous people fell by the wayside. A surplus of high quality birding experiences saved me from making my stories, which is embarrassing. A humiliation of riches, because it have been.

Fortunately, and I can’t overemphasize simply how joyful we’re about this, we are actually residence. And, doubly fortunately, I now have sufficient materials for a lot of future posts. My solely drawback is, the place to begin?

I’ll begin by telling you about encounters in Turkey with two particular hen 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, actually, 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 improbable birds frequent.

Three years in the past, I noticed a single Higher Flamingo, my first wild flamingo, in southern Spain. My images have been poor, however unmistakeable. In any case, what might you confuse with a flamingo? This 12 months’s go to to southern Spain, nonetheless, fell in the midst of raptor migration, so flamingos weren’t on my agenda.

Then, the folks 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 through which one would discover a lot of birds. However an indication marketed (so that they advised me) flamingo excursions. May or not it’s?

A fast scan with my binoculars urged that no tour can be required. There, within the distance, have been some applicable pink shapes. Even our hosts have been curious, so we walked towards an space of marshlands in that route. A handful of birds on a spit of land did change into 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 lot of flamingos, you possibly can 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 purple toes in central Mexico.

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

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

I had at all times 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 attention-grabbing factor in these streams. Turkey can get actually sizzling in the summertime. (It was even quite sizzling in late September.) So the Turks got here up with a pure type of out of doors air-conditioning: Put your picnic tables IN the stream. Then take pleasure in your picnic together with your toes in chilly water. There have been at the least two dozen of those tables.

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

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