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New four day birdwatching trip commences today, day 1 – 23.07.2015

Sofia – Pazardzik – Trigrad

I just started a new birdwatching trip with a small group of 3 Canadians coming over to Bulgaria for a few local birds. The trip is four days long and includes both Western and Eastern Rhodope mountains.

We meant to meet early-ish in the lobby of hotel where mu guests were accommodated. However it wasn’t before8.30 when we were ready to leave and it took us another hour to leave the city. Thus we managed to arrive at our first birding location at about 11am. Regardless of the late start it was steaming with birds. Once we got off from the car we had our first Honey Buzzard which showed really well. It turned out to be a first for my guests so it was a pretty good start.

We carried on along the path enjoying big flock of House Martins in their hundreds. Soon we started ticking birds off. A young Peregrine Falcon came over to show itself rather well and then a Hoopoe sat perched for us for some time. A Golden Oriole was only heard from the forest nearby. Crested larks were everywhere and other then them we added Isabelline Wheatear, and all four species of shrikes in the country including Woodchat, Lesser-grey, Red-backed and Masked. “This is Shrike country” said one of my guests. We scanned for Stone curlew and Greater short-toed Lark but dipped on these two. We spent a good few hours and the area and had enough Sun. Time to go.

It was already lunch time so we decided to stop in a nice shady and cool village park. While picnicking we enjoyed a White Stork nest with three chicks inside. After lunch we drove for a few minutes and stopped by an orchard to enjoy a big group of Bee-eaters, more Shrikes, Syrian Woodpecker and a Rufous tailed Rock Thrush. The highlight for the day! What a bird that was.

So far my guests had quite a few new birds and this Rock Thrush really topped it up. This was our last birding stop for the day and we drove straight towards our hotel for an early dinner and nice cold drink.

From our dining table we had Ravens, Crag Martins and a Black Stork. I love this place. Time to retire for another productive day tomorrow.

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