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Birdwatching in Bulgaria: tailored trip 8-15 March, day 4

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Today we decided to wake up a bit later than usual. The heavy snow suggested that we might not be able to reach some of the sites tomorrow so there was no point to get up early. Nevertheless we still walk up at 6,30 to get ready for an early breakfast and departure.

As we woke up we realised the snow has covered everything. It was only about 10 cm but was rather nice to see this much snow. Finally. This winter there was very little snow and we wanted it. In this case it wasn’t going to help us with our mission to find the birds but it was still nice.

After some nice sandwiches and coffee we were back on the road. The day was devoted to the Pygmy Owl and Three-toed Woodpecker. Soon we realised that the sites for the latter wouldn’t be accessible. Although the road was cleaned up (superficially) there was a vehicle or two that were struggling to climb up a hill. We decided to stop along the road and check different locations for Pygmy Owl. The only response were all species of Tit typical for this area including the most abundant Coal Tit, Crested Tit and Willow Tit. Occasionally we got Great-spotted Woodpecker, Crossbills, Jays and Common Treecreepers.

bird photography
Coal Tit by Iordan Hristov

In addition to our road transect which substituted my prime sites we walked along some tracks. On the first one we had no luck although there were signs of Pygmy Owl presence judging by the activity of passerines. On the second one the small birds were even louder and more abundant. We have several bits of excitement along here. Unusual call of Great-spotted Woodpecker attracted our attention thinking of something else. Even more exciting was the flight of a huge clumsy bird in the forest that took off from a tree. We like thinking that it was a Capercaillie but we never saw it. It would have been really great.

It was already 3 p.m. and were thinking of going back to the car almost admitting the Pygmy Owl has defeated us. Just as we packed our stuff, we heard the magical call!!! PYGMY OWLLLLLL! We couldn’t believe it. After a whole day of walking in vain we finally got a response. In a minute the bird was around. It sat high on a tree looking at us. After gaining some confidence it even approached us a bit but still pretty far for a decent photo. Nevertheless I managed to do this documentary one which would a great memory of this fantastic day.

bird photography
Pygmy Owl by Iordan Hristov

In the next half an our we were really excited. We returned happy to the car and started towards our next hotel.

The start for tomorrow will be pretty early. The subject of our trip tomorrow is the Capercaillie so we should be up at 3,30. Oh my… my friend thought I was joking when I told him. Well I was not…

Start up tomorrow at 3.30 a.m.

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