Day 3, May 15th
Krumovgrad – Madzharovo
Today was a non-travelling day. We spent the morning in a picturesque valley near Krumovgrad which is one of the best sites in the country. It is the “warblers’ valley”. Entering it we heard a singing Barred Warbler and immediately jumped out of the van. For the time we spent waiting for it to sit out in the open we found a nest of Rollers and saw many Golden Orioles and heard lots of Nightingales and Cuckoos. The warbler wasn’t very cooperative so continued along for another stop just 500m along the road.
A Green woodpecker was sitting right by the van and a distant Chukar Partridge was calling. Black Stork and Kingfisher were patrolling the river and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers were singing everywhere. Half an hour later we ticked one of the main target birds for everyone in the group: Levant Sparrowhawk. Initially, the bird showed distantly but in a while it came rather close for our delight. What a bird! At the same an Olive-tree warbler was singing just a few metres away from us. “Wow, where should I look first.” Eastern Orphean Warbler was also nearby and Sardinian Warblers were calling here and there. We spent some time waiting for a Marsh Warbler to show up but it did not come out of the dense bush. Further along the valley we had two pairs of Hobby, a dozen of Griffon Vultures, at least 3 pairs of Rollers and lots of Golden Orioles, Black-headed Buntings and Red-backed Shrikes. We managed to see a pair of Lesser Grey Shrikes and a few Black-eared Wheatears.
“What a site this is! We say this for every spot”, say all our guests.
We didn’t want to leave but I had more wonderful sites in my pocket so we gave it a go. We had a relaxed lunch to skip the hot hour of the day and pressed on to Madzharovo. En route we had a pale Booted Eagle which was right by the road. Once we arrived in the crater, we spent a good hour or so at one single spot which was well worth it. We logged Western Rock Nutatch, Sombre Tit, Peregrin Falcon, a pair of Golden Eagle gliding on the air currents, Subalpine Warbler, Ortolan Bunting, Chukar and Rock Bunting. We heard Eastern Bonnelli’s Warbler but couldn’t see it. We got pretty much all the target birds for the air at fantastic light. And again, “What a fantastic site this was”. We moved into another spot just for the Bonnelli’s Warbler and didn’t take us long to locate one just as we entered the place. I heard one from the van so just pulled out and spent a few minutes before we were actually able to see it. Success again!
It was the end of the day and we went to our lodge for the night. A beautiful guest house on the edge of the crater with fantastic organic food! And the birds… when offloading the luggage, an adult Egyptian Vulture flew over. “This is our pet bird”, said our host with a smile.
We enjoyed fantastic home-made dinner while Scops and Little Owls were calling just outside our house. Superb day!