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Midwinter waterfowl census in Bulgaria

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Here I start my notes for one of the 45 teams of birders that will be out on the field the following 3 days from 11 to 13 of January. I am responsible for a team in Northern central Bulgaria.

Day 1
Sofia – Pravets – Lovetch – Pleven – waterbodies in the area.

The day started with snow, changed into rain and then fog. Good for birds though. My first stop was at Pravets reservoir. There were over 150 mallards and a single wigeon. Fairly poor. My next stop though was at Sopot reservoir. Here the birds were many more. Amongst the highlights are a Goossander, and a few Goldeneyes. There were quite a few mallards, a single Cormorant, and one Great creasted Grebe. The weather was quite miserable with rain and mist.

рибарници при яз. Сопот

Pleven was my next stop. I met with the people from the regional inspectorate of environment and water and off we went birding  🙂

We went  to several wetlands around Pleven and called it a day. It was fairly  quiet. A few mallards, common buzzards and great grey shrike. It was quite foggy and the visibility was not great. Quite a few of the wetlands were frozen and quiet.

р. Вит при Студенец

блата Плама

Day 2
Pleven – Gorni Dybnik -Telish – Danube river (Baikal – Somovit)
The day started at 6.30. We did not expect any geese at the wetlands so we didn’t start quite early.
It was fairly quiet for birds. There were a few distant ones so once we counted these at the watchpoint started going around the first reservoir. We went along all the watchpoints when we arrived at the SW part. It was full with hunters. They seemed quite desperate to shoot at duck and geese. There were more hunters than birds. There were at least 10 vehicles.

We went passed them and luckily managed to reach a bay of the reservoir where hunters had still not arrived. All the birds were there. The remoteness of the area and difficulty for access ensured safe areas for the birds. The highlights included over 20 Goldeneye, Smew 3, Black throated Diver 2, Mute Swan 30, and many Cormorants, Ducks, Coot, Kestrel, Hen Harrier and many others.

р. Дунав

залез над р. Дунав при Сомовит

Day 3
Pleven – Devetaki – Letnica – Obnova – Pleven
This day was devoted to the rivers in Pleven district. We started off from Osam river

Деветашка пещера

старо корито р. Осъм
chopped tree in a heronry

р. Осъм

“Германски мост”
тръстики в ЗМ Биволаре

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