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Eastern Rhodope mountains – Madzarovo

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This weekend we wanted to visit some friends and do some birding in the Eastern Rhodope mountains in a small town called Madzarovo. We started from Sofia late on Friday afternoon but arrived just on time in a small village just outside Plovdiv. We were supposed to meet dear friends and their children. This tripi wasn’t meant to be a birdwatching trip but a leisurely travel. Perhaps that is why i realised I had forgotten my bins. Can’t believe it.

The dinner at our friends’ place was lovely in a small house in the countryside. On the next morning we started our way to the Eastern Rhodope mountains. Beautiful weather in a gorgeous location. Volcanic rocks in a crater of a ceased volcano. 
Birding was generally rather quiet because of the late season but there was still a good diversity of birds. I just realised we managed to log nearly 50 bird species without even having a binocular. A Little Owl welcomed us at the beginning of the town. Without making much efforts we ticked the first Griffon Vultures resident here. We got a drink each and went to a place to enjoy looking at a young Griffon Vulture which was making its first efforts to take off from the nest for a first time. A Black Stork flight over the forest and Middle spotted Woodpecker call echoed in it while we were putting up our tents. Hawfinches, Golden Orioles and Red-backed Shrikes were all over the place. A Black-eared Wheatear and a Rock Nuthatch were dashing around the cliffts. A Booted Eagle circled low over some meadows and Golden Orioles were actively calling here and there. Young Hoopoes were also actively flying like trying to make their wings work. A nice evening light conditions with a cool beer made the experience even greater. 
The evening walk in the city park was not less exciting. Scops and Little Owl were actively calling. Young Little Owls were making some funny calls similar to the call of the Barn Owl. It was quite an experience.
Yes, it was quiet. Imagine what the spring is like.

beer time made us switch from watching Griffons to watching the Moon and the first bats

Bird checklist:

1. Grey Heron
2. White Stork
3. Black Stork
4. Griffon Vulture
5. Egyptian Vulture
6. Short toed Eagle
7. Booted Eagle – pale
8. Common Buzzard
9. Sparrowhawk
10. Common Kestrel
11. Wood Pigeon
12. Collared Dove
13. Turtle Dove
14. Little Owl
15. Scops Owl
16. Common Swift
17. Alpine Swift
18. Hoopoe
19. Bee-eater
20. European Roller
21. Green Woodpecker
22. Middle spotted Woodpecker
23. Barn Swallow
24. Red-rumped Swallow
25. House Martin
26. Crag Martin
27. White Wagtail
28. Yellow Wagtail
29. Robin
30. Black-eared Wheatear
31. Blackbird
32. Long-tailed Tit
33. Rock Nuthatch
34. Short-toed Treecreeper
35. Red-backed Shrike
36. Jay
37. Hooded Crow
38. Raven
39. Golden Oriole
40. House Sparrow
41. Spanish Sparrow
42. Goldfinch
43. Greenfinch
44. Chiffchaf
45. Hawfinch
46. Cirl Bunting

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