While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Monday, 25 August 2008

what are weaverbirds doing in europe, anyway?

one afternoon in Spain, I was wandering back to the car after some lovely sunset birding and digiscoping and I met a young dutch birder.

"seen anything interesting?" he asked.
"well, some curlew sandpipers at the next hide; dunlin, spotted redshank..."
"mmm, nice. have you seen the weaver over here yet?" he asks, fingering his map.
"yes, its a bird from Africa that is in a few places in Spain. and there are a few here" pokes map again.
"weaver?" I'm starting to sound like an idiot.
Fumbling for some semblance of coherence, I add: "so where exactly?"
"here" pokes map again. he seems to like to poke that map.

The next morning I headed out when the sun was still only just getting to Kuwait (maybe it wasnt all that early) in expectation of this great find. A weaver! In Europe. I had no idea. I am new to Europe and am relying on my German/Austrian field guides to the birds of Europe (in hindsight, maybe not the greatest of resources for Spain). Anyhow I was super excited about the prospect of seeing a weaver again.

the digiscoping setup was readied, binoculars within easy reach, and ears wiiiiide open.

it was a beautiful sunrise
the day got warmer
I took some photos of a Dabchick/Little Grebe. And a whole family of swans.

the day got warmer still
I tried to take photos of martins and swifts
a sparrow flew by.

still no weavers
the day got hot
a yellowlegged gull flew by
still no friggin weavers
was the map-poking dutch guy on psychadelics?

eventually I threw in the towel. as an afterthought I decided to check on a nearby hide (in the same wetland system) to see if I could get a little closer to the European Marsh Harrier that was hanging around. Nice hide. some coots.

chep chep chep chep chep chep

hey, I know that call. what is that....
Its a bishop!
A friggin bishop!!!

Thats not a weaver, its a yellow-crowned bishop!

To my delight I managed to get some half-decent photos. here is my favourite:

That day, I also had a great experience with a short-toed eagle (snake-eagle) hanging out above me for a couple of minutes.

Happy birding
Dale Forbes

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