26 September 2008
An unusual flying encounter
It was my first week for this season, and I was really happy to be back on board of the Tethys research vessel ‘Pelagos’. Thinking that a second year team member should work very carefully, I was trying to do my best in every task, starting from the sighting shifts. So during the winter I studied bird identification, too, since we also collect information on their presence during the navigation.
Herring gull, shearwater - ok, these are easy. Cormorant, puffin - too rare, I’ll never be so lucky. Audouin's gull, tern… ok I’ve got it!
I was feeling pretty confident about the species names, and during my shifts I was eager to report any flying fledged... Encounter: two adults herring gulls... Encounter: three shearwaters...
The principal investigator for the week was teasing me, but I was playing the ornithologist with conviction, so I persisted. Encounter: one tern...
Then, while I was on my sighting shift again, something strange appeared flying through my field of vision. Small, orange head, black and white dotted wings… Hoopoe! I suddenly screamed.
However, that one wasn't quite within its typical habitat. Upupa epops is a typical bird of cultivated grounds... what was it doing so far from the coast?
Photo by Vezon Thierry / photo.net