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International bird identification course starts today

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New international bird identification course starts today in Bulgaria for a third time with a focus on birds from Western Palearctic. A group of 8 students from Norway, UK and Bulgaria will travel around Bulgaria for 10 days trying to see the essence of the country’s birdlife. Trips in the past two years were rather successful. Participants managed to see over 225 bird species for these 10 days on the same itinerary.

Here is the final checklist of birds seen in 2014 and we hope to increase this number in 2015.

Here are some of the birds from the first couple of stops.

We stopped at an abandoned quarry about an hour and a half away from Sofia. Well I think it was worth it. We had our lunch there. En route we had our first Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike and Lesser-grey Shrike. At the site we had two superb male Black-eared Wheatears disputing with a Northern Wheatear. It wasn’t long before we had our third Wheatear. This time it was an Isabelline.

A pretty distant but rather diagnostic flight showed our first Short-toed Eagle. A group of Calandra Larks also showed fairly well. Then a group of Spanish Sparrows turned up. Well birds are piling up but it was time to move. Not too far though.

Only a few km away we had a brief stop or at least it was meant to be. Once we got out of the van a Wryneck called. Well that is what I was hoping for. Then a Woodchat Shrike turned up and then…the bird of the day…. Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush. A female bird was sitting on a roof top but flew away and only I managed to it. That wasn’t good enough. We moved across the road for a couple of bee-eaters that were actively calling. After looking at them for a while the Rock Thrush turned up again. This time it was the male. Soon we had both sexes in the scope. What a bird. That was it, it was time to move.

I would say, this was a pretty good start. See what will the following days bring.

Will keep you posted so stay tuned for some images and birding stories.

Here is the full checklist for the first half a day:

1. White Stork
2.Great Cormorant
3.Short-toed Eagle
4.Eurasian Marsh-Harrier
5.Common Buzzard
6.Long-legged Buzzard
7.Rock Pigeon
8.Common Wood-Pigeon
9.European Turtle-Dove
10.Eurasian Collared-Dove
11.Common Cuckoo
12.Common Swift
13.European Bee-eater
14.Eurasian Wryneck
15.Eurasian Kestrel
16.Lesser Gray Shrike
17.Woodchat Shrike
18.Black Redstart
19.Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush
20.Northern Wheatear
21.Black-eared Wheatear
22.Isabelline Wheatear
24.Black headed Yellow Wagtail
25.Gray Wagtail
26.Corn Bunting
27.Common Chaffinch
28.European Goldfinch
29.Eurasian Linnet
30.House Sparrow
31.Spanish Sparrow
32.Eurasian Tree Sparrow
33.Barn swallow
34.Red-rumped Swallow
35.Houses martin
36.Crag martin
40.House crow
41.Crested Lark
42.Calandra Lark

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