June 18, 2015, Alcossebre, Spain — Apparently I’m famous in Turkey: The reporters I talked to a couple days ago were from the country’s international Anadolu Agency, and their story ran in Turkish newspapers and on TV today. Emin and I checked in for separate early flights out of Adana this morning, and Emin told me that when he passed security the guy saw his binoculars, asked if he was a birder, then asked if he knew “that American doing the big year.” It’s all Turkish to me, but the news clip can be seen here and the story is here.
I landed in Barcelona, Spain, just after lunch, and met a wonderful birder named Gorka Gorospe. We’ll spend the next four days in northern Spain, from Barcelona to Bilbao, cleaning up a few last European birds before I drop into Africa for the next two months. Straight from the airport Gorka and I stopped at the adjacent Llobregat Delta and picked up half a dozen new birds just under the flight path of incoming jets: Zitting Cisticola, Spotless Starling, Cory’s Shearwater, Common Pochard, Purple Swamphen, and a bunch of Audouin’s Gulls.
We were joined by two well-known and gregarious Catalan birders, Farran Lopez (a biologist at Llobregat) and Ricard Gutierrez (the director of Catalonia’s protected park system), who had things well staked out. Ricard has done a lot of work in particular with Audouin’s Gulls, and told us how this gull was once quite endangered but, in an unexpected twist, seems to have learned to scavenge like other gulls and is now relatively common. If only all endangered species were so adaptable…
Gorka and I bid adieu to Farran and Ricard and headed south along Spain’s Mediterranean Coast, where we are staying tonight with Gorka’s mother in a small coastal village called Alcossebre. Tapas for dinner tonight!
New birds today: 7
Year list: 3017