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Birdwatching and photography trip around Bulgaria and Greece: 24.05-2.06, day 1

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Before my laundry has even dried out I am off again on the road, this time is with a group of three keen British photographers. I was hired to conduct this 10 day trip around Bulgaria and Greece. We shall be trying not only to see the birds but also photograph them.
I met Alan the first member of the group at 10.00 at his hotel, he had arrived couple of days earlier to enjoy the city and get used to the time difference to the UK. David and Jonathan I picked up from the airport and off we headed to the south of Sofia.
After a nice trout for lunch we headed to the mountains hoping for a Nutcracker, Crossbills, Golden Eagle, Bullfinch and Alpine Chough. On our way we got some rain which didn’t help the birds come out. At the time we arrived in our target area the rain was still drizzling. Not very optimistic. Anyway we took some of our gear and off we went for a walk. British people never give up because of rain. I think I can understand that. Otherwise they would stop to live 😉
During our walk we had a Robin, Wren, Song Thrush and that’s most of it really. The most exciting birds were three bullfinches and two Willow Tits that came over fairly close but not close enough for a photo. So nothing turned up of our target species but it was still a nice walk.
Soon we were gone from the mountains and descended down to the lowlands looking for a Corncrake. The birdlife here was much livelier. The saw our first for the trip Black-headed Bunting, Marsh Warbler, Lesser Grey Shrike and plenty of White Storks. Since we were already late for dinner we had to go.
We drove for an hour to arrive in a pretty remote village at the foot of Pirin mountains. A lovely family run guest house caters for birdwatchers and photographers. From the balcony of the house we ticked a Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike and Cirl Bunting. Our hosts have a strong conservation orientation and want to restore the natural relation between carnivores and their prey animals thus to reduce the conflict with farmers. The place is called Villa Fauna. See more about it here.
We had a fantastic meal and after a couple of drinks I sat in front of the fireplace to enjoy my time in this place.
It would be an early start tomorrow for a long and exciting day. Our main target birds for tomorrow would be Rock Partridge, Olive Tree Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Masked Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, Roller, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Subalpine Warbler and other exciting birds. See how lucky we would be.

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