I have some very, very exciting news to share, but that will have to wait till Tuesday, unfortunately.
My adventures at the Llobregat Delta continue. One of the things that fascinated me about the area was the sheer density of waterfowl – specifically, ducks and geese. Of course, I’ve been witness to the hundreds of shorebirds at a time at Sungei Buloh, and long-legged waders are hardly new to me – but ducks? Not so much. In fact, I do believe I haven’t seen a single wild duck in Singapore. (When you consider the fact only one duck species is resident, and that too is extremely rare, this feat becomes decidedly less reputation-ruining.)
This was one of the four or five species we saw that day. I haven’t got the faintest clue what it is, or even where to start in identification – and to be honest, that’s the most exciting part.
Barcelona’s Llobregat Delta proved to be a fruitful trip for me. However, birds I could identify were in a minority – which, thankfully, included this Purple Swamphen. I can now profess myself to be intimately familiar with this species, after having documented them in the Sandpit Swamphens, based on observations of them in Bangalore this summer.
Looking back on this European individual with a summer’s worth of observations under my belt, these pictures become doubly fascinating. Not only was I afforded a very good glimpse of its exceptionally long toes – which aid in gripping hard-to-balance reeds – but also its foraging behavior, as it brings a nice tender shoot to its mouth. Both of these are characteristics I didn’t see in India, perhaps due to the different habitat – that was deep water with a mat of water plants over it, whereas Llobregat is shallow water.
I think it’s safe to say even after hours and hours of observation, I’ve only scratched the surface of these undoubtedly fascinating birds.
The delight with which I pounced on my camera and lens after having restricted use of both for two days (because Barcelona isn’t exactly known for a place where you can leave stuff lying around and expect to see it there a minute later) was almost Gollum-esque in its intensity. Despite the fact we were in an airport parking lot, it was Spain and there were birds. (All of which were probably common as mynahs. But still. They were all fantastically, fantastically new and wonderful and beautiful and argh European species I can’t even handle *dissolves into puddle of awe*)
One of those birds was this cute fluffed up thing. I venture sparrow as to its identity; it seems overly large though and so I hesitate at venturing further. Europe is a whole new continent for me.