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Birdwatching trip in Bulgaria 2023: day 9 of 10

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Isabelline Wheatear

Day 9: June 1st

Route: Tuylenovo – Kaliakra cape

After the exciting day yesterday, today it feels very quiet. We started with the usual pre-breakfast walk but didn’t add any new birds.

Today was the day of the steppe. We drove towards Cape Kaliakra where we spend the whole day. Just as we left the village we saw several Red-footed Falcons hunting. There were many Calandra Larks and Black-headed Bunting.

We arrived in Bolata Valley which is a superb area for migrants. The temperature was rising but the energy level of the group was quite low. We had kept scanning the sea but there were very few birds. We noted a few Black-winged Stilts and Little Egrets above the sea but couldn’t find Yelkouan Shearwaters. Pied Wheatears were still around. The calls of the Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, and Bee-eaters were echoing in the walls of the valley.

Mediterranean Shag

Mediterranean Shag, image: Iordan Hristov

The walk along the valley helped us add a few good birds. Little Bittern flew over, and so did a Purple Heron. In the sky, we had Calandra Larks, Hobby, and a Short-toed Eagle. Icterine Warbler was singing actively at the bottom of the valley. It was a new bird for the trip.

Lunchtime was approaching and we headed to the nearby town to buy supplies and get some coffee. Just outside the town is a lovely steppe area which we visited for our target bird: Isabelline Wheatear. There were several pairs that were singing, displaying, and feeding chicks. Greater Short-toed Larks were all over the place. We spent a few moments for ourselves and everybody took a different direction doing what he/she wanted. There were many photographers in the group so everybody wanted to take better pictures of the Isabelline Wheatears. It was great not to be rushing down the roads and just absorb the atmosphere with all the bird songs and aromas from the steppe.

Tawny Pipit, image: Iordan Hristov

Isabelline Wheatear, image: Iordan Hristov

Our last stop for the day was at Cape Kaliakra. One of the best places to see Pied Wheatears. Just as we arrived we saw our first ones. Both Pied and Nothern Wheatears were feeding chicks and actively flying around. Halfway to the top of the cape, we found a Black-eared Wheatear which made it to all four Wheatears seen in an hour. How nice is that?

The sea was still empty. Other than the usual Sandwich Terns and Shags we couldn’t find anything different. The last new bird for the day was a Siskin which flew over and called. Well, it was time to go home. We finished early which was appreciated by everybody.

Pied Wheatear, image: Iordan Hristov

Black-eared Wheatear, image: Iordan Hristov

At the dinner table, we did the log which resulted in 77 birds for the day with over 200 species for the trip. The bird of the trip was the Wallcreeper for some participants and Egyptian Vulture for others. For me, it has got to be the Booted Warbler! Stay tuned to see what our last day will bring.

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