Day 4: May 27th
Route: Madzharovo – Burgas
Today has got to be the raptors’ day! We saw a great selection of raptors including some of our main targets! Read on to see which were the birds!
Before breakfast we drove to the bottom of the caldera where the town of Madzharovo was established. I wanted us to catch up with some warblers that we couldn’t see on the previous day: Eastern Orphean Warbler and Subalpine Warbler.
Well, it was fairly quiet and we struggled finding them. Nevetheless we managed to find a family of grown up chicks of Orphean Warblers which remained hidden in the middle of some thick bushes. Towards the end of the walk, we enjoyed the lovely song of their parents.
The Subalpine Warbler never turned up but managed to see more Griffon Vultures, Woodchat Shrikes, Syrian Woodpecker and a pair of Lesser spotted Woodpeckers.
After a wonderful breakfast we started our journey to the Black sea coast. The next planned stop was in about an hour but I can never do that because as you know I travel with open window and hear birds all the time. This time I was distracted by Eastern Bonnelli’s Warbler and a Middle spotted Woodpecker. I did stop, but unfortunately, I couldn’t pull out and show the birds to everybody as the road didn’t allow it. There were barriers either side of the road.
Further down the road I stopped for a Lesser spotted Eagle which was sitting on a tree and was patient enough to let everybody from the group look at it through the scope. We took some wonderful pictures.
A few kilometers later I stepped on the brakes again. This time was for a very long-winged falcon: Eleonora’s! What a bird that is! The stop produced Booted Eagle, Crested Lark, Black headed Bunting and our first Yellow wagtails. The landscape had already changed and we started noting birds from the open type of habitats.
Here we are at the scheduled stop where our main target bird was Masked Shrike. 1..2..3, here it is! Just as stepped out on the path we managed to see a female bird and within minutes the male joined it. We also heard Olive-tree Warbler and a distant Ortolan Bunting! Well, I love it when it works like this.
Continued our journey to yet another sudden stop. This time it was for a Little Owl, and then a Long-legged Buzzard was spotted in the distance. Scanning the sky I managed to get everybody on the Lord of the Sky: The Eastern Imperial Eagle! Another smashing adult bird.
At the reintroduction centre for Lesser Kestrels we saw about half a dozen of the small falcon and had another view of the Imperial Eagle. Everything was going very smoothly so we had time to do a small diversion from the road and go look for a Great spotted Cuckoo. This bird is such a fantom. People go look for it several times and never see it. Yet, a local guy sees it every day. Pure luck. We stayed in the area for couple of hours but didn’t manage to see it. Regardless of that, we managed to see Calandra Lark, Tawny Pipit, Short-toed Lark, our first Northern Wheatear and a great selection of birds of prey: adult Imperial Eagle, Lesser spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, two Long-legged Buzzards and a Kestrel. Not a bad stop is it!
At another stop for the mysterious cuckoo we saw many Lesser Grey Shrikes, Little Owl, Roller and several Turtle Doves.
It was getting late in the afternoon and we had to go for a two hour journey to Burgas. A stop for fuel and ice cream produced our first Black Kite. The drive was smooth and we arrived at the hotel at 19.00 ready for a well-deserved rest.