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Birdwatching and photography trip around Bulgaria and Greece: 24.05-2.06, day 2

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The day at Villa Fauna started at 5,30. We were to go to a place good for a Rock Partridge. Symphony of bird calls and slight mist dominated the morning. Our guests couldn’t believe the abundance of Nightingales, Cuckoos, Golden Orioles and Blackbirds. Their calls were coming from everywhere.
We headed towards the Rock Partridge place but we couldn’t hold it stopping every now and then. Right in front of the house there was a Woodchat Shrike, Cirl Buntings were everywhere. One turned up in the house yard. Along the way we stopped several times for Sombre Tit, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, etc.

birdwatching and photography in Bulgaria
Our morning walk

Soon we were at our target place but wind came out and thick fog took over so not really the best time for a Rock Partridge. We missed it but just for now. We have another place in mind. On the way back to the house we ticked Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Once we were in there, two Sombre Tits and one Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler were waiting for us in the house yard.

We had a splendid breakfast on the terrace enjoying the view and the Griffon Vultures sitting on the pylons about 500m away from us. What a place!

birdwatching and photography in Bulgaria
the group
We had to pack and go to our next destination. We took a scenic route to take us to a valley where we wanted to see our next target species. Along the way a one year old Red Fox crossed the road and showed itself nicely. The other highlight was a male Rufous tailed Rock Thrush which was displaying to announce its territory in a quarry. Further along we ticked a Barred and Subalpine Warbler. The latter sat for quite some time until everyone came out of the van and approached it to enjoy the good views. Unfortunately it didn’t allow good images.
A track along the valley provided us with good views and some documentary shots of our first Olivaceous Warbler – a wanted bird by everyone in the group. Further along we had a pair of Golden Eagle. A group of Great Cormorants were calmly flying when suddenly they starting descending. Apparently they have seen the Goldies. Didn’t see any catch though.
The heat started to build up and we decided to go further south along our route. We had a few more stops before traveling to our hotel and it was already lunch time.
The target birds for our next destinations were Orphean Warbler and Rock Nuthatch. After spending half an hour at the spot, we gave up on these two. In the mean time we had a very pale Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Crag Martins, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting and Short-toed Eagle. Well it seems that this was a well worthy stop.

birdwatching in Bulgaria
juv. Penduline Tit, copyright Iordan Hristov
Our next place was for another try of the Rock Nuthatch. This time we got it. A bird was coming in and out of a nest situated pretty high on a cliff. Two Short-toed Eagles, two Rollers, a Lesser-grey Shrike, Black-headed Bunting and a family of Penduline Tit were the other highlights of the stop. A Great Reed Warbler was loudly calling but never came out.

It was 5,30 and we had to go. In an hour and a half we were already in our hotel enjoying our drinks. Not too bad for a first day birding is it. Tomorrow will be a day for waterfowl: Pelicans, Egrets and Herons. Breakfast is at 6,30. The service at the hotel is great. This is what I call a birding hotel.

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