Creeping Suspicions


We’re out of the Llobregat and back up to the Pyrenees to return to a bird which had my heart jumping to my throat. Presenting: the Eurasian Treecreeper.

Treecreepers are proof of (the interestingly titled mallard being an exception to the rule) the usual (lack of) creativity peculiar to taxonomists. You can picture some European stroking his extensively beareded chin, staring at a bird clinging to bark, and wondering: hmm. It is on a tree, which it is creeping up. An apt name, therefore, would be –

You are capable, unlike most taxonomists, of imagining the rest.

The ‘Eurasian’ appendage to this creeper’s name is especially stunning in its mundanity, though admittedly descriptive and informative. The discovery is not especially surprising, knowing this name, that the bird is found from Great Britain to Japan, with a neat crescent moon of a Himalayan subspecies hugging India.

Back to the discovery: I’ve been wanting to see a treecreeper for sometime, having always had a soft spot for woodpeckers and having been delighted to discover than mini-size woodpeckers existed as well.

But it’s not just the size. Frankly, I could wax eloquent about the perfectly designed adapted curve of its beak as well, on its resourcefulness in utilizing introduced trees as nesting holes, on its habit of, in the cold, nestling twelve-together in a suitable crevic, just as well.

I didn’t realize how deep this admiration for treecreepers went till I actually saw this one. I’d looked for them unsuccessfully in the Himalayas, and to be frank I hadn’t even considered the possibility of a sighting halfway across the world. But when I spotted the tiny form alighting on the bark of a tree, hopping up the bark with careful wingflaps, my hands started shaking so much my first photographs were useless. (This image are from the next day, when I saw one again and I reacted in a slightly calmer manner.)

So yes. Treecreepers may be drab, and their name could be more interesting, but they have an undeniable charm about them, which even now I’m finding hard to escape.

2 thoughts on “Creeping Suspicions”

  1. An exquisite discovery GB, such a cutie – looks like a cross between a nutthatch and a grey prinia!.

    “Eurasian’ appendage to this creeper’s name is especially stunning in its mundanity, though admittedly descriptive and informative” = hahahaha, you have the funnies.

    Liked by 1 person

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