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New specially tailored birding trip started yesterday: 8-15. March, day 1 and 2

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New birdwatching trip started yesterday when a friend arrived from the Netherlands. His specific interest in 8 particular bird species brought him in Bulgaria. He is after Black Vulture, Saker Falcon, Capercaillie, Rock Partridge, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Owl, White-backed Woodpecker and Three-toed Woodpecker. Not the easiest species to get. Especially at this time of year for species like the Capercaillie. I shall try to do my best. I already checked a few of the sites so from here on it would be pure luck.

My guest arrived in the early afternoon and we darted immediately to the first place where I observed the Rock partridge two days ago (described in my previous post). Unfortunately the bad weather didn’t made our attempt successful. The rain, snow and wind would put every bird away. Well things like this happen. I had another place in mind and if doesn’t work out we can certainly come back here again.

That’s exactly what we did. We traveled to that second place but the snow was just too much. Definitely too deep for a Partridge so we had to come back to the first place. We woke up early in the morning to be able to be the spot in a reasonable time but … no. Too much snow. Nevertheless, the morning was beautiful. Lovely sunshine made the birds active. Song Thrush and Wood Lark songs were echoing in the small mountainous valleys. Bramblings and Hawfinches were some of our morning highlights. We stopped at a spot for White-backed Woodpecker but no luck.

After this early morning outing we traveled back to the Rock Partridge place from the previous day. The beginning of the track was marked by the call of Sombre tit. One of my favourite birds welcomes us so this might be a good sign. We approached the area slowly with no talking whatsoever. And we did it right. The warming sunshine has made a bird to come out and stay quiet in the roots of a tree right in front of us. This time we did it. We saw it. Yes it took off once it saw us but in flight we could see the typical features of the Rock Partridge. It wasn’t the best view but it was definitely a Rock Partridge. We stayed in the area for a little while but the bird didn’t call or appear.

Well this could be the first tick for the trip. “-1” my guest said. Still a long way to go though. With this in mind we headed to the nearest town for lunch. Out next target bird is White-backed Woodpecker. There are several sites along the road we hope to see it. The weather is pretty miserable again. Snow and wind don’t really help. If I was a woodpecker I definitely wouldn’t come out of my tree.

Nevertheless, we stopped at several spots. After that we walked along a short path in a beautiful beech forest which is the preferred habitat type by the White-backed Woodpecker. This time there was some response to our waiting. A lovely Middle-spotted Woodpecker came over. So apparently he doesn’t mind the weather. It was already 5 p.m. so we had to go. We had another 100 km to go so we headed south.

Our next targets for tomorrow would be again the White-backed Woodpecker, Dalmatian Pelican and the illusive Saker Falcon. See if we are lucky.

The start for tomorrow is at 6 a.m.

Stay tuned…

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