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Sunday, July 04, 2010

An armchair tick...

I have already described the compulsiviness with which birdwatchers compile lists of bird species they have seen in a year. Lists may relate to their county, country, garden, or even on their route to work. The acquistion of a new species for a list is known as a "tick": hence, "year tick", "garden tick", "holiday tick" and so on. The most important tick of all is the "life tick" (also known as a lifer) which gets added to one's "life list" when seen anywhere for the very first time.

I had to wait until retirement before I added Imperial Eagle to my life list. It was the Spanish sub-species (i.e. "race" or "form") which I saw in Extremedura in April 2009.

Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti, Extremedura, Spain, April 2009

My next Imperial Eagle was the "Eastern" sub-species which I saw in Burgenland near the Austria/Hungary border earlier this year. Very exciting, of course, and a new tick for my Austria list. However, being only a "sub-species" I could not claim it as a "life tick".

I have only recently discovered that taxonomists have since got to work with their DNA analyses and have proclaimed that the Spanish sub-species and the Eastern sub-species are sufficiently genetically and ecologically distinct as to be regarded as quite separate species, rather than mere sub-species.

An Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, flies overhead at the March-Auen, Austria, 2010

Hooray! That's good! As I sit in the comfort of my arm chair as I type this, I can add Eastern Imperial Eagle as another "tick" to my life list without doing any extra work!

This is known as an "armchair tick"!


Blogger Lana Gramlich said...

*LOL* Congrats on the sighting!

10:43 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Great tick mate- BTW Remember I need to get my Wedge tailed Eagle Groomed/restored. I recall that you might know someone who can give me advice

12:09 am  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

I immediately thought of Lana as I was reading your post and lo and behold she has the first comment.

4:18 pm  
Blogger SabiSunshine said...

wow lovely Maalie.

4:53 pm  
Blogger donsands said...

Love to see photos of eagles.

Eagles are the most splendid bird in Creation. I had the sighting of a Bald Eagle not to long ago, as it flew straight at my work truck, with a squirrel in his talons, I suppose taking it to his nest.

Have a nice weekend.

8:54 pm  

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