The day started with a Scops Owl. Just before breakfast we walked to the park in the town where we spotted the Owl. We went back to the hotel and quietly had breakfast. Then a proposal came to give it a try for Scops Owl in the local park. Some people looked a bit skeptical. It wasn’t long before my colleague Boris spotted the Owl. There it was. Sitting on a branch in a nice daylight view. It isn’t often to have that view. Pretty good start.
Then we headed to our place from last night. We still had to see the Rock Nuthatch. The morning was superb so we slowed down towards the place where we expected to see the Nuthatch. A gorgeous Chukar was proudly sitting on the top of an old building only a couple of meters away from the road and the van. What a view! Never been this close to a Chukar. Later on during the walk we saw at least five more birds. This was quite a place for them.
Rather than shouting out every minutes Stop, Stop, we decided to just walk along the road and enjoy the lovely landscape and birds around. Golden Oriole, Hobby, Rollers, Sombre Tit, Black-eared Wheatears were just a few of the birds we spotted along the road. A Black Stork nest was nicely hidden in the middle of the cliffs. Once we approached the Rock Nuthatch place someone shouted out. There it is! A proudly sitting birds was nicely positioned on the very top of a picturesque rock. It wasn’t a minute when a male Black-eared Wheatear landed next to it. Well this becomes some sort of a trademark of the trip to have two superb species in the frame. Soon we had to go. It was already about 10,30 but we had about 30 species or so. We headed to the North towards Madzarovo where the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of birds had a visitors Centre. We were aiming to lunch there so we had to go.
|Woodchat Shrike copyright Iordan Hristov
Along the way we stopped at two more places to log more Rollers, Bee-eaters, pale Booted Eagle and other nice birds. After lunch we went to the oak woodland just next to the centre for the Eastern Bonneli’s Warbler. It took us some time to find it but there it was. Logged. There was still a lot to go so we headed to the cliffs around. Along the way we wanted to see a Barred Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler and yes we did. They weren’t really obliging but we did see them. The walk further along produced some of the other highlights for the day: Egyptian Vulture, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, and Blue Rock Thrush.
Time flied past quickly and we really had to go if we wanted to go back to the hotel before it gets dark. On the way I just couldn’t stop myself. There were these large birds right above the cliff. The birds were pretty big, V-shaped wings with long tail. This must be Golden Eagle. Immediately the group was out of the van again. Although it was miles away, everyone agreed it was the Goldies. Well this has got to be the last bird for the day. We headed back to the hotel.
Our place for the night is situated in the middle of a small valley right at the foot of a cliff complex in the middle of nowhere. That’s what we like! After a nice meal with chicken stew we counted a total of 81 species for the day and about 120 for the trip so far. This was just day 3 so a lot more to come I hope 🙂