“How many senses are needed to obtain a sense of species?”
– Anthony McGeehan, Siberian Chiffchaffs – In from the cold. Birding World 289.
The Montseny mountains were beautiful, but their effect in me has not held out more than 5 days. After all the week working in front of the computer, I still missed the fall. Fortunately, I had to ring all the weekend at Ebro Delta, maybe the best place within a 3h radius to enjoy diversity and migration.
The weather forecast predicted rain, always exciting when you are ringing, so I expected something good. However, as soon as I reached the Canal Vell Biological Station, the guy who had been ringing the previous days alerted me about the coot shooting planned in the lagoon for the day after. Bad news.
Andrea S. & Andrea G. (aka The Andreas) would came with me but Andrea S. arrived late at night, so we had to pick her up at the train station. Thanks to that, we were able to see thousands of crabs recklessly crossing the road, but specially a stunning short-eared owl ripping a mouse.
The day after, the Biological Station seemed the fucking Vietnam, with more than 200 guys armed to the teeth and shooting coots on the quiet. In the middle of that mess, we caught a few birds, most of them chiffchaffs. Among them, a nice Siberian-like with the whole set of features, including the call. All-dark bill and legs, no yellow in the upper-parts, complete white/cream eye-ring, warm cheeks, green primary edges, short wing… Interesting to see, but I would had been happier with an obvious and well-defined yellow-browed warbler.
Yesterday it was another hard day in the field, with scattered-showers all day long and a few birds in the mist-nets. The lagoon was almost empty of birds. After the hunt, some of them had gone and some of them were dead. Incredibly, today lots of coots had already come back, together with teals and wigeons. The sun appeared again and the birds started to fall into the nets. My time at Ebro Delta expired at 12AM, but I have had time enough to catch another Siberian-like with a wing length even shorter. It didn’t stop calling when I was aging it; it’s worth to underline that fact since most of putative “whatever” I had catch like to go away quietly. In opposite of the previous bird, that one had not the bill completely black. The rest of the characters matched well. Nice days, but more to come…