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Winter birdwatching: geese

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Bewick's and Whooper Swans

The day started at 7.30 with a pre-breakfast walk around the hotel. It was fairly quiet bird wise but there was a nice blue sky and Sun. We still managed to see some birds. Jeremy and Nick managed to see a Merlin and some Hawfinches and all of the group members added a Lesser spotted Woodpecker to the day list and the first Bramblings for the trip.

After some bacon, eggs and a cup of English breakfast tea we were on our way to the south. Our main targets were Spotted Eagle, Pallas’s Gull and Red breasted Geese. Well they aren’t easy birds.

Our first stop was at a small bay where gulls gather to roost. We scanned them for a while but saw only Yellow legged and some Black necked Grebes. It was pretty windy and we decided to go further south. The forecast for the day was for a wind 8-9 m/s strong. So it was.

Our place at the south was at the end of a quiet mountainous road reaching a bay on the sea. En route we saw our first Sombre Tit which was actively feeding. Further down the track we had a group of birds which kept our attention for a while. The highlights were a Firecrest and a Short toed Tree creeper. A dozen or more Blackbirds were feeding on the berries of a bush by the track and all the action was there. We also had a Marsh Tit and some Hawfinches. In the bay we had our first Red breasted Mergansers and two female Goldeneyes. On the way back we had another good bird: a male Cirl Bunting.

After a brief picnic we headed to a small marsh on the side of the road which was expected to be in the area of a Spotted Eagle. Unfortunately we missed it but we had a Water Pipit, Black throated Diver and a Steppe Buzzard.

Bewick's and Whooper Swans

Bewick’s and Whooper Swans

On our way back to Bourgas we stopped again to try for the Pallas’s Gull. Instead we had a Med Gull. Not quite the same but still a new addition. Once we were in Bourgas we headed towards some fields where we expected to find some Geese. After some maneuvering we were at the right place. Hundreds and hundreds were landing by the time we were going. At certain point we counted 2000+ geese. We didn’t see any different species amongst them. Right next to the Geese there was a flock of 200+  Whooper Swans. Amongst them we managed to find a Bewick’s. Superb birds.

It was already rather late and we decided to go back. En route we had superb views of a male Hen Harrier. Further away was another male bird and then two female making a total of 4 Hen Harriers in the same field. That would make a nice end of the day.

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