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Birdwatching in Bulgaria, tailored trip 8-15 March, recap

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In the period March 8-15 a friend and i did a tailored birdwatching trip in Bulgaria and Greece. You can see previous day to day posts but here I shall try to recap all the information with some figures.

My friend came over with the aim to see 8 target species: Dalmatian Pelican, Saker Falcon, Capercaillie, Three-toed Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Pygmy Owl, Rock Partridge and Black Vulture. From all these 8 species we managed to see half of them: Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Owl, Rock Partridge and Black Vulture.

We knew in advance that the chance for observing the Saker Falcon was really low and we were aware of it so we were hoping for pure luck. Because of the heavy snow that fell in the last week we couldn’t reach the sites for Three-toed Woodpecker. We did try but it was totally impossible. For the Capercaillie it was still early. We know its active lekking is after April 20th but still wanted to try. We visited two lekking sites but there was still no activity there. For the White-backed we were trying every day at several location but had no luck. The birds were not active yet. Moreover at some of  the sites it was snowing. Nevertheless we had fantastic views of the Pygmy Owl, the Dalmatian Pelicans and 7 Black Vultures. The Rock Partridge we only saw in flight.

Having in mind that our target were specific birds we still managed to do a pretty good list of birds counting a total of 126 bird species and 5 species of mammals for 7 day period (see the full checklist at the end of the material). Some of the highlights are the species I mentioned and Bewick’s Swan, several Great-spotted Eagles, Sardinian Warbler, Sombre Tit. During the trip the migration had started so we enjoyed over 50 Black Kites, over 100 Common Buzzards, several hundred White Stork, dozens of Black Storks, Eurasian Sparrowhawks, a dozen of Ferruginous Ducks and Garganeys.

In total we have driven 2002 km for this 7 day period. This is more than preliminary planned but it was important to visit all the possible sites to ensure success of the trip. And I think we did it.

Here are a few photos from the trip:

Black Stork © Iordan Hristov
Black Stork © Iordan Hristov
Black Vulture © Iordan Hristov
Black Vulture © Iordan Hristov
Black Vulture © Iordan Hristov
Black Vulture © Iordan Hristov
Coal Tit © Iordan Hristov
Coal Tit © Iordan Hristov
Golden Eagle © Iordan Hristov
Golden Eagle © Iordan Hristov
landscape photography
Ponor mountains, Bulgaria © Iordan Hristov
Black Kite by Iordan Hristov
Black Kite migration © Iordan Hristov

More photos are available on my day to day posts. See links below:
day 3: Greater-spotted Eagle photo
day 4: Pygmy Owl photo
day 5: Golden Eagle photos
day 7: Black Vulture photos

Checklist for the trip
Dates: March 8-15, 2014

1 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
2 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
3 Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus
4 Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
5 Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus
6 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
7 Great White Egret Egretta alba
8 Little Egret Egretta garzetta
9 Black Stork Ciconia nigra
10 White Stork Ciconia ciconia
11 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
12 Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
13 Mute Swan Cygnus olor
14 Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
15 Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii
16 White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
17 Greylag Goose Anser anser
18 Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
19 Wigeon Anas penelope
20 Gadwall Anas strepera
21 Teal Anas crecca
22 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
23 Pintail Anas acuta
24 Garganey Anas querquedula
25 Shoveler Anas clypeata
26 Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
27 Pochard Aythya ferina
28 Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
29 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
30 Black Vulture Aegypius monachus
31 Black Kite Milvus migrans
32 White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
33 Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
34 Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
35 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
36 Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
37 Buzzard Buteo buteo incl. buteo and vulpinus
38 Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
39 Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
40 Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
41 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
42 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
43 Peregrine Falco peregrinus
44 Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca
45 Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
46 Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
47 Coot Fulica atra
48 Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
49 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
50 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
51 Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
52 Yellow-legged Gull Larus  michahellis
53 Caspian Gull Larus  cachinnans
54 Feral Pigeon  Columba livia domestica
55 Stock Dove Columba oenas
56 Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
57 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
58 Little Owl Athene noctua
59 Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum
60 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
61 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor
62 Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius
63 Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus
64 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
65 Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius
66 Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
67 Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus
68 Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra
69 Crested Lark Galerida cristata
70 Woodlark Lullula arborea
71 Skylark Alauda arvensis
72 Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris
73 House Martin Delichon urbica
74 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
75 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
76 White Wagtail Motacilla alba
77 Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
78 Dipper Cinclus cinclus
79 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
80 Dunnock Prunella modularis
81 Robin Erithacus rubecula
82 Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
83 Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
84 Blackbird Turdus merula
85 Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
86 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
87 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
88 Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
89 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
90 Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
91 Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
92 Goldcrest Regulus regulus
93 Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
94 Marsh Tit Parus palustris
95 Sombre Tit Parus lugubris
96 Willow Tit Parus montanus
97 Coal Tit Parus ater
98 Great Tit Parus major
99 Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
100 Nuthatch Sitta europaea
101 Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
102 Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla
103 Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
104 Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
105 Rock Bunting Emberiza cia
106 Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
107 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
108 Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
109 Serin Serinus serinus
110 Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
111 Siskin Carduelis spinus
112 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
113 Linnet Carduelis cannabina
114 Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
115 Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
116 Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
117 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
118 Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
119 Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
120 Starling Sturnus vulgaris
121 Jay Garrulus glandarius
122 Magpie Pica pica
123 Jackdaw Corvus monedula
124 Rook Corvus frugilegus
125 Raven Corvus corax
126 Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Mammals seen:
1. Wild Hare Lepus europaeus
2. Balkan Chamois Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica
3. Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
4. Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus
5. Red Deer Cervus elaphus

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