NO SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN? GO BIRDWATCHING INSTEAD…


                 NO SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN? GO BIRDWATCHING INSTEAD…    

AN ABACO / YEMEN BIRD POPULATION COMPARISON

All anglers have done it. Gone somewhere to fish on a hunch, a whim or a tentative recommendation, only to find no fish. What if you decided  to take a break from Abaco bonefishing on the strength of the film title Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, only to find that there is, in fact, no migratory salmonid species in the republic. Despite the film’s dreamily optimistic outcome, it’s a piscatorial impossibility. You should have read the book first, of course – or seen the film, if only for Emily Blunt. Ok, and Ewan McGregor, if you must. Yes yes, and the fabulously over-the-top foul-mouthed cameo that is Kristin Scott-Thomas.

Set aside your disappointment. The only sensible thing is to put the fishing tackle away and check out the other Yemeni wildlife, specifically the birds. But you haven’t come prepared for this. You have no bird guide. So what species might you find in the Yemen that would be familiar to a Bahamian, specifically a South Abaconian?

South Abaco has 126 of the 196 birds species found more widely on Abaco, according to Avibase. I wondered how many of these one might find in the Yemen. And the answer is 33 (or 26%)

When I started checking this, I thought there would be very few – maybe a dozen or so – ‘mutual’ birds. As I worked my way through the seabirds, shore birds, birds of prey etc, the total slowly rose. Then I came to a sudden halt. Apart from the near-ubiquitous, adaptable rock dove, starling and sparrow, there are NO small birds in common at all. The obvious reasons are distance, habitat and climate, of course, but nevertheless I found it a slightly surprising finding.

So the lesson is, don’t be tempted to go warbler-watching in the Yemen either… 

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