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Bird ID training course: day 7

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semi-collared flycatcher

Transfer day

Today we transfer to the Northern Black Sea coast for our last few days of the bird id training course. Since everybody was tired, I decided to skip the pre-breakfast walk and have some more time to pack before the fairly long journey. To be honest, it did not feel that long.

We drove for just over an hour before we stopped in a roadside woodland where I was hoping us to see Semi-collared Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. As we entered the forest I noticed major forestry activity which has totally destroyed the forest. It was really upsetting. We entered a bit deeper into the forest and pulled out to listen to the bird calls. I heard a Spotted Flycatcher and decided to walk for a while and look for our target birds.

We walked for about 10 minutes when I heard a Semi-collared Flycatcher making a contact call. It stopped right in front of us only about 20 metres away right in the open. When I looked around to see if everybody could see the bird, I noticed that half of the group was not there. Oh my… They had stopped for an orchid which they showed me later on. It was a Red Helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra). Well, they had missed the Flycatcher. Anyway, I was planning to spend the afternoon in a superb forest suitable for woodpeckers and flycatchers so there was no issue there at all.

I got a notification on my phone for coming storms in the afternoon, we made a quick plan to drive to the area and have a late dinner during the rain. The first part worked all right but as we got to the prime forest, the rain started and we decided to have a long lunch in a restaurant. It worked perfectly! We had beautiful sunshine when we left the restaurant.

The prime forest

The place that I wanted us to visit was a fantastic riverine flooded forest. Very damp and of course, full of mosquitos. Well, that is why the birds are here 😊

Shortly after we entered the forest I heard a singing Semi-collared Flycatcher! Great stuff! Everybody managed to see the bird quite well.

semi-collared flycatcher
Semi-collared flycatcher, image: Iordan Hristov

We looked for several woodpeckers including a White-backed which has been reported recently but got only a Great spotted. We spent just over an hour and decided to head to our next stop where I was hoping to see an Eagle Owl.

It was pretty much straight forward. We drove to the site which I know for years. Scanned a little bit and there it was. A superb Eagle Owl was sitting at the bottom of a tree and looking around. How much better can this be? We heard several hoopoes and Bee-eaters and after we enjoyed the Eagle Owl we headed to our hotel. It was already 5.30 and we had about half an hour to reach the hotel.

Along the way we pulled out for a brief view of a Little Owl and saw many Marsh Harriers and Lesser Grey Shrikes. Well, it is going to be a couple of great birding days.

Stay tuned to read about them. Some good birds are coming up!

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