Route: Sofia – Krichim – Yagodina
Weather: hot, 24 degrees with some showers along the way
After delaying it for several years, the Bird ID training trip on Birds of Western Palearctic around Bulgaria is on and starting again. We have a total of 9 participants from Norway, Latvia, Poland and Bulgaria. Part of the group arrived on time and we started the trip as scheduled. Unfortunately, a part of the group had to start later because of delayed flights.
The first group started from Sofia in mid afternoon and we had about 3.5 hours to reach the hotel. This didn’t give us much time for stops but we tried to do what we could. Along the motorway we noted a Lapwing, many Common Buzzards, Kestrels and White Storks. Once we got off the motorway it was easier to spot some smaller birds like Crested Larks. We saw many White Stork nests with Spanish Sparrows breeding in the nests themselves. The group was rather keen and was calling every swallow and martin. I had to pull out when we saw our first Roller. It was a well wanted bird by all participants on the bus. It was a gorgeous bird sitting on a wire just by the road. How convenient was that?
Further down the road I stopped at a planned site where we started listing the expected birds. Two Black-headed Buntings sat nicely on the top of trees and singing out loud. In the distance was singning a Nightingale, and couple of Red-rumped Swallows and Tree Sparrows flew over. We also heard Crested Lark, and Quail. A flock of about 20 Rose-coloured Starling cheered up the group although there wasn’t much evident emotion. IT turned out that the Rose starling is not as exciting to the group as it was to the British birders that I travelled last week.
In the last stretch of the road before our hotel we noted several Dippers, a Grey Wagtail and several Crag Martins. We arrived at the hotel at 19.00 and ready for a lovely meal with delicious local trout.
Roller was voted for bird of the day. Out list counted a total of 48 species which I think is pretty good for a travelling day.