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Bird ID training course 2024: day 2


The second day of our training course was absolutely brilliant! It started very well, was very quiet in the afternoon and finished high.

Pre-breakfast walk

We started with a pre-breakfast walk around our hotel. We met at 6.30 to walk around the village and see the local birds. Our first one on the list was a Sombre tit! Wow, not bad, is it? That was a bird that many of the group members wanted to see. We kept on walking adding new birds. Bullfinch, Pallid Swift, Lesser Whitethroat, and some of us saw a Black Woodpecker.

We had a splendid breakfast with local donuts and after that we loaded the van and headed to our main target bird for the day and probably the trip: the Wallcreeper. The drive along the narrow road was very pictures and half an hour later we were positioned to scan the cliffs for the wanted bird. We kept looking at the cliffs but the bird was not showing. Then, we changed the location and within a few minutes I managed to spot the bird! Horray! Two Wallcreepers were performing beautifully! I saw the smile on everybody’s face! It was a top bird for everybody. We watched the birds collecting food, flying up and down the wall face and then they disappeared. About 10 minutes later, we saw them again and this time, they came out of a small cave on the rock and the male passed food to the female! What a sighting! Wow, that was really something! Mind you, it was a kind of relief for me after all the stories of people who really wanted to see the bird. Well, the pressure is off and we can carry on birding now 😉

We started our journey east towards the Eastern Rhodopes but had another stop in mind high up in the mountains. Our target birds were those from the conifer forest: Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Nutcracker, Crossbill and others.

The mountains

We drove for about an hour to reach the area. Immediately after we stopped i heard a Ring Ouzel but it took us some to locate it. It was not visible from the road so we took a path into the forest. After a quick look around we managed to spot two males singing from the top of the trees. Excellent! It was another bird that the group wanted to see.

A Firecrest performed beautifully for us as it sang from nearby trees. We had to keep an eye on the sky and not be focused only on the trees. This strategy proved rather successful as we managed to see an immature Golden Eagle hunting above the hills! Another wowza!

Firecrest, image: Iordan Hristov

Then we heard a Tree PIpit, when approaching it we added Water Pipit as well. What a place! Here, we added Mistle Thrush and Whinchat. What a beautiful stop. I didn’t feel how we had spent more than an hour in the area. People were hungry so we had to go into town.

We grabbed a quick sandwich and a coffee from a local garage and carried on our way East.

After lunch

The afternoon was fairly quiet as travelling took most of our time. It wasn’t before we entered Eastern Rhodopes when we actually started seeing birds. Short-toed Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard were the first to see.

A stop along the road proved very successful and again we spent more than an hour. We did some raptor watching overlooking a vast valley so we had to practice our id skills from a great distance. We spotted a pale morph Booted Eagle, another Short-toed Eagle and several Common Buzzards. Right above our hads we had a beautiful male Woodchat Shrike and a Golden Oriole flew over. From the scrub we heard a Cirl Bunting.

We arrived to our hotel and after checking in, we went out immediately to the local park to look for Scops Owl. However, the only bird we saw was a Lesser spotted Woodpecker. That would do! Thank you very much!

preening Lesser spotted Woodpecker, image: Iordan Hristov

We tried for the Scops Owl again after dinner and we saw at least two birds and many were calling! Thus we finished our second day of the bird id training course in Bulgaria. Time for bed!

2 thoughts on “Bird ID training course 2024: day 2”

  1. Yes, Iordan I remember our trip to the Wallcreper a few years ago now that I read this. I can well imagine that the group had an aha experience.

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