route: Plovdiv – Krichim – Devin – Yagodina
The rain last night did not let us go out Scops owling but this morning we were determined to go out earlier. I picked up my guests and off we went on our way to the Rhodope mountains. Our first stops were going to be in the lowlands right before we enter the narrow gorge leading up the mountain.
We pulled out at an orchard where our main target bird was the Wryneck but at the end, it got more exciting than that. We had a few Red-rumped Swallows, nicely perched Bee-eaters, Isabelling Wheatears, Common Buzzards, Lesser-grey Shrike and Black Headed Bunting. A short toed eagle flew over and than a large falcon got my attention. Wow, what could that be? When it turned around i immediately spotted the dark underwing, the very thin mustache and dark brown colour… Saker Falcon! Oh my…This is really something. I haven’t seen one for ages and here was one right over my head. It did a few circles and then immediately folded its wings and zoomed down. It must have got something in might. I lost it but it must have got some prey down in the nearby vines. What a spectacle that was!
After this exciting observation we carried along our route with a few stops to stretch our legs. When driving a heard a Rock Bunting calling from the rocks by the road and stopped to see it. It didn’t take us long to find it and enjoy it. After this we had some rain and drove to the hills around Devin to search for the Balkan chamois but in vain. Instead we had a Roe Deer grazing on the roadside meadows and singing Sombre Tit which came over to welcome us. A scan of the cliffs where I expected the Chamois to be produced a Red Fox which disappeared too fast for my guests to enjoy it.
Soon we carried along our road and reached the final parts of the route for the day. A roadside stream produced a well wanted Grey Wagtail in a variety of plumages and a family party of Dippers. The Dipper’s chicks did stay for quite long for us to enjoy.
Further along the road i heard a Firecrest and we suddenly stopped to find it. It didn’t take us long to see it and together with it we also saw a Goldcrest and a pair of Serins. Thus we called it a day and headed to our hotel for the night. En route we had a few Black Redstarts, Wrens and more Serins.