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BirdID trip in Bulgaria 2014: day 2, April 25th

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This was a rather exciting day. We started off with rain, Wallcreeper views, rain, travel, travel, travel and, 40 species of birds for an hour J Absolutely superb end of the day with a calling Scops Owl as I am writing this.

We started off in Teshel. A small village in Western Rhodope mountains where we spent the night in a cozy family run hotel. Before breakfast the keen participants on the trip went out for an hour and ticked Grey Wagtail, Serin, Black Redstart, Marsh Tit to name but a few. The rain quickly sent us back to the hotel for breakfast. After that we headed to the most famous place in Europe to see the lovely Wallcreeper. The weather was pretty miserable with rain so we didn’t really hope for much.

Upon arrival we heard the thrilling call of the Peregrine Falcon. A pair was sitting nicely on the top of a cliff announcing its territory. We sat for a bit and scan the cliffs for a while when someone shouted “I have got it”. The most wanted bird of the trip has turned up. It was about 100 m from us nicely moving up the cliffs. Its butterfly like flight showed its lovely red colour on the wings. What a view. Everyone in the group was really happy seeing this bird. After a couple of minutes we carried on to the next place where we were hoping to see Pallid Swifts, but it wasn’t the right time. It was pretty damp and insects were not flying so no reason for the Swifts to be out.

Soon we headed eastwards to our final destination for the day – Krumovgrad. We had a few kilometers to go. Shortly after departure we stopped again. It was pouring rain but when I opened the door a Ring Ouzel called so I thought this would be a good sign. I asked who the keenest people were and everyone went out under the rain. Well we managed to find a shelter pretty soon and birds were really active. Soon we started ticking them off.

Ring Ouzel was sitting nicely on the top of a Spruce tree. A few were calmly feeding on the floor as nothing was happing. Goldcrest, Whinchat and Black Redstart were also around. In a couple of minutes two superb Firecrests made everyone happy. It was new to most of the people so bits of excitement took over. Shortly after that we headed to our lunch place. I would think we exhausted quite a bit from the rainy weather.

We had lunch in a nice local restaurant where we tried a traditional dish called “patatnik”. It is basically of graded potatoes, fried in a pan like a pancake. The long way to the east was really slow. More rain, fog and slow winding roads. Just in the middle of nowhere I spotted ‘tern’ like bird. Hm rather strange looking bird. Pratincole! I shouted and everyone got off the van really quickly. A bird was flying about and some people even managed to get a few decent shots of it.  Well it was high time for some birding. In a while we stopped at a gas station and we ticked Pygmy Cormorant and Little Egret. It wasn’t long before we were in the paradise!

Chukar, Red-footed Falcon, Eastern Black eared Wheatear, Black Stork, Roller, Hobby, Lesser Grey Shrike to name but a few. It was really exciting. At certain point people had Red-footed falcon and a Roller in the picture at the very same time. Yeee, this is Bulgaria J I really loved it myself.

Black Stork, copyright Iordan Hristov
Black Stork, copyright Iordan Hristov

Red-footed Falcon, copyright Iordan Hristov
Red-footed Falcon, copyright Iordan Hristov

It was already after 7 p.m. so we had to go for dinner. Once in the restaurant, people started ordering drinks which was a pretty good sign that the day was a great success. Someone counted about 100 species for the trip from its start. Not too bad having in mind it’s been mostly travelling.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more bird ID news

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