01 April 2013

We need to talk about Frank

"... they can be extremely difficult to see." Daff Cosney 2011
More-or-less how I imagined I'd see Double-spurred Francolin,... 

... or, if luck was on my side, maybe like this.

March 20th, Sidi Yahya, Morocco

After an increasingly frustrating wait, a Double-spurred Francolin calls from deep in the scrub; as anticipated, a bastard game bird being a bastard to see. Will it climb a 'display tree'? Will it respond to MP3?

Before we can find out, enter random Moroccan: [Oh-so-accurately translated from the French] "I'm the forest guardian, blah, blah, blah,... You want to see the birds? I'll show you the birds, blah, blah, blah,..." In he jumps, off we go.

A couple of mis-fires later (e.g. "Nope, they're Barbary Partridge.") and we're driving slowly along a track a little off-piste, albeit still in ungated, seemingly openly accessible country, and Bob's-your-mother's-brother, a francolin is spotted in the distance [pap, pap, pap, pap,...]. We ease forward a little to enjoy said francolin at pretty close range [pap, pap, pap, pap,...]. We roll up a bit more, Moroccan now steering as I hang out the window, finger on the shutter, foot on the accelerator and [pap, pap, pap, pap,...] before we know it Frank (like I said we're pretty close now, definitely on first name terms) is directly alongside the car [PAP, PAP, PAP, PAP].

OK, so it's stuck between us and a chain-link fence, and it did appear a little flustered, but slowly we're all starting to suspect this bird may, just possibly, have had previous experience of humankind. At this point, the comedy (or tragedy[?]) of stalking a chicken as it attempts to find it's way back into it's cage from the confines of a combi-piloted Renault Kangoo set in; delirium, or hysteria, or maybe some form of full blown emotional incontinence overcomes three of the assembled (Moroccan included), tears roll down cheeks. Like I say, I think laughter was the cause but I can't speak for the other two.
"Apparently large numbers are released for hunting purposes every year and I have no idea whether some populations are truly 'wild'..." Anonymous WP Lister 2013
Well, if we don't know which, if any, populations are 100% wild, there would appear to be severe doubts hanging over this one, the site for Double-spurred Francolin seems to be a turkey shoot.

If you have ticked Double-spurred Francolin at Sidi Yahya anytime in the last few years,...

... I can't help but think you may need to take a moment, lie down in a darkened room and look inwardly.

Or,... just tick it,... based, on the soundly reasoned, incontrovertible argument that every other fupper does.

5 comments:

Jaffa said...

Those photos have brought it all back to me and I am struggling to contain myself with a second bout of delerium - Frank No, no, no.....

Darryl said...

Just realised, I forgot to mention the kissing!

Lee Dingain said...

Oi!! We agreed NEVER to mention the kissing!!!

Darryl said...

But that was the best bit!

sambbryo said...

Reminds me of the excitement of seeing Northern Screamer in the Cienaga Grande, Colombia with Carl. I opened my eyes from a doze and there was a Northern Screamer less than 50m from the boat. Properly mega until it took off and flew straight back to its owners' garden.