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Birdwatching trip in Bulgaria 2023: day 3 of 10

Day 3: May 26th

Route: Krumovgrad – Potochnitsa – Madzharovo

“This was the best day so far”, said one of the participants at the dinner table! Read on to see why!

We started with our usual pre-breakfast walk around the hotel in Krumovgrad. We walked to the river but mist had covered the tree tops and we could not see further than 100 m. Nevertheless we noted a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, many Crag Martins, several Golden Orioles and was about it. A Kingfisher was probably the highlight of this walk.

After breakfast we headed to my favorite valley in Bulgaria just a few km away from Krumovgrad. We stopped shortly after we entered the valet and started ticking Roller, Black-headed Bunting, Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove, Lesser Grey and Woodchat Shrike, to name but a few. Further down the road we kept on adding new birds: Sombre Tit, Black Stork, Olivaceous Warbler, our first Griffon Vultures, Booted Eagle and so on. Yet another stop down the road produced a fantastic selection of warblers: Barred Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous and Olive-tree Warbler. All three shrikes: Lesser Grey, Woodchat and Red-backed were always around us. The highlight of this stretch of the road must be the Chukar which performed really well. We saw several individuals sitting and calling out loud. Just as we were to leave a female Levant Sparrowhawk turned up. What a bird that is!

Chukar, image: Iordan Hristov

Chukar habitat, image: Iordan Hristov

We drove back to the city to take some lunch and eat it at a nice roadside picnic area. After lunch we drove to a vulture feeding site where we saw our first Egyptian Vultures. We saw at least 5 individuals some of which were young birds from previous years. We also added our first Peregrine Falcone, Short-toed Eagle and Hobby. It was a great selection of raptors.

Egyptian Vulture, image: Iordan Hristov

It was already after 3 pm and we had some driving to do. We continued our journey towards Madzharovo where the other highlights of the trip were waiting for us. We stopped at a roadside layby and started noting the calling birds: Rock Bunting was the first. It took me some time until I managed to get everybody on the bird but it finally worked out. Then an Ortolan Bunting called from the top of a cliff, A pair of Blue rock Thrushes were carrying food to their chicks. Then I just said let’s go have a look at a Rock Nuthatch. Everybody thought I was joking. I just sat the scope and it was. A Rock Nuthatch setting up its nest. Well, there is nothing accidental! I knew this nest from previous visits.

record shot of Ortolan Bunting

It was getting late and we headed to the town to look for Scops Owl. Unfortunately we couldn’t see one but added Hawfinch which was feeding chicks. We spend a couple of hours resting by the hotel’s swimming pool and enjoying the last sun rays for the day.

Dinner was absolutely superb. We had pork stew and a Turkish dessert called kunefe. After this splendid meal we did the checklist was over 80 species. Before I had even finished the checklist, someone shouted out Scops owl calling and everybody left the dining table.

We did a brief walk in the town for Scops Owl. There were several birds calling but we saw briefly two of them silhouetted against the sky. Well, this must be the best day so far with lots of emotions and many new birds. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring! Stay tuned!

Here are a few more images from today:

the valley of our morning walk. Image: Iordan Hristov

Chukar partridge, image: Iordan Hristov

Chukar partridge, image: Iordan Hristov

Black Stork

Olive-tree Warbler

Black-headed Bunting

Golden Oriole

Griffon Vulture

Sombre Tit


2 thoughts on “Birdwatching trip in Bulgaria 2023: day 3 of 10”

  1. My favorite place. Waited for the Chukar for many years and never found it. So you see, without a good guide you will never succeed and it will remain half done.

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