Wednesday 30 September 2015

Euro Trip, Day 12, The Balkan Ecology Project, Shipka 2

 Spent the morning helping out with the Veg boxes from the Ecological/Biological Farm ( more here: WILDLIFE FARMING and MORE HERE )
 View from Shipka over Valley of the Roses
 In the afternoon went fishing with Dylan- here with a Pumpkin Fish
 Marsh Harrier (above) and Red-backed Shrikes were around the Lake
Roma people

Back home tomorrow. 


Taking a drive over our new land

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Euro Trip, Day 11, Balkan Ecology Project, Shipka


Back to Shipka today to my Brother's family home, the Balkan Ecology Project (more HERE). Was planning on doing some birding in the local area but strange local weather conditions are currently generating very strong winds from the mountains. We spent the day doing a bit of work round the farm.

Monday 28 September 2015


Available now. The print run is limited, so any interest should be expressed now to guarantee a copy. You can order by emailing with your name, email and postal address. The price is £10 UK/€15 continental Europe, including p&p.
More from Dominic here: Birding Etc

Euro Trip, Day 10, Burgas, Bulgaria 2

 First-winter male Bluethroat

 White Pelicans and Lapwings
 Juvenile White Pelican
 Dalmation Pelican
Dalmation Pelicans

We started the day off with Costa at the Burgas ringing station and got to see a stunning male Bluethroat in the hand. We also had a look on the salt pans- lots of waterbirds. 
There were a few soaring birds moving over but the rain came in after lunch so we headed off back to Shipka (interior of the Balkan range). Hoping to see if there is any migration going on through the 
Shipka pass.

Dylan trying out his presenting skills

Sunday 27 September 2015

Euro Trip, Day Nine, Burgas, Bulgaria

 We started off the day looking for migrating raptors in the mountains. Unfortunately un-forecasted mist, low cloud and fog meant that there was poor thermal activity and visibility resulting in us seeing no soaring birds. There were 100s of Skylarks and White Wagtails, Yellow Wagtails,  the odd Red-throated Pipit, Tree Pipits, Woodlarks and lots of Crested Larks. As the conditions were poor we decided to move south to Burgas.
 On the way we had this Little Owl (Presumably Cucumiau)
 Attempting to check in to the hotel was thwarted by going ons overhead. The weather conditions had improved and obviously things started to move- big time.
 Black Storks- over 2000 flew south in a 2-3 hours
 White Pelicans- 4000+ went south
 Lesser Spotted Eagles, we estimated 4500 of these
 Black Storks, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Marsh Harrier (6 today and 1 ring-tail)
 Short-toed Eagles- about 40 of these. The birds were very high- (see video below) but zooming in, and a bit of work on photoshop elements on the 7D shots provide identification pics
 A tiny dot in the sky reveals itself as a female Red-footed Falcon- about 120 of these
 There's enough detail here to show a male Lesser Kestrel (note protruding central tail feathers and pale underwing). A handful of these.
 Common Buzzard-1500 going south
 Booted Eagle- only this one
 Honey Buzzard- about 80 of these
 Short-toed Eagles (higher) and Honey Buzzard
 Red-throated Pipit
 We moved to the salt pan view point

Dylan's video

Todays totals: 
Lesser Spotted eagles 4500 Short toed eagles 40 Booted Eagle 1 l.f. Common Buzzards - 1500 Honey Buzzards 80 Red-footed falcons 120 Common Kestrels  1+ Lesser Kestrel, 10 Hobby 2 Sparrowhawks 50 Marsh harriers 2000 Black Storks 1800 White Pelicans 4000 White storks 3

Also 4 Greater Flamingo, 3 Spoonbill, 5+ Slender-billed Gull, 2000+ Barn Swallow, 1000+ Med Gull, 1 Little Gull, 700+ White Wagtail and 5 Red-throated Pipit

Thanks to Dimiter and Marina for a great day. 

Saturday 26 September 2015

Euro Trip Day 8: Shabla Region

Bee-eaters on the road from our hotel to the Cape. A Roller was nearer the Cape. Also Red-throated Pipit, White and Yellow Wagtails, a single Lapwing and Red-backed Shrikes.
 Hobby. The Cape Kaliakra wind farm was a very controversial installation- literally right in the middle of a bird migration super highway (The Via Pontica). Not so much moving today, we had just a few Sparrowhawks, 2-3 Marsh Harrier, 3 Honey Buzzard, 1 Short-toed Eagle and a couple of Common Buzzard.
Never seen so many Mediterranean Gulls- literally thousands- 2000-3000, that gathered to roost on the sea. This flock were hawking insects over the fields. Also never seen so many White Wagtails (below)- 100s of them in the area.
 Dylan looking for aquatic life. Plenty of waterbirds on the lake including Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Shelduck, 1 Spotted Crake, 5 Little Gull, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 4 Snipe, 1 Little Stint, 10 Dunlin, 1 LRP and Great Egrets,
Small Copper- literally everywhere on the Steppe area. Also Woodlark there.
Dylan reckons this is maybe a Sand Lizard (It's a Grass Lizard but I was wrong about the frogs- they were Tree Frogs calling from the reeds)

Friday 25 September 2015

Euro Trip Day 7: Shabla Region

 We started the day at Cape Kaliakra.

 Most impressive was a movement of Eurasian Sparrowhawks- we had 30+ in two hours heading south
 Also moving south was this Juvenile Honey Buzzard, 1 Hobby, 1 juvenile Pallid Harrier and a couple of Marsh Harrier
 This Turtle Dove (left) was amongst the local Collared Doves
 Juvenile Red-backed Shrike. There were several of these at all the sites we visited today. Also at the Cape were 10+ Red-breasted Flycatcher, 5+ Willow Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 300+ Swallow moving south first thing, a couple of Redstart and 1 Spotted Flycatcher
 Wall Lizard

 Hummingbird Hawkmoth
 Dimiter met us at about 10 and then we moved north to Ezero Tuzla and then Lake Durankulak.
 Several Little Gulls were on the lakes and sea. We also had Caspian, Sandwich and Common Tern and Yellow-legged, Caspian (and 'Black Sea' Gulls), Mediterranean and Black-headed Gull. Waders present were 20+ Ruff, 4 Little Stint, 8 Dunlin, 8 Sanderling, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plover and 1 Snipe. Shags, Cormorants, Pygmy Cormorant and Great Crested Grebes were on the sea. Also Bittern, Purple Heron, Great and Little Egrets and about 40 Grey Herons.
 There were migrants all over the place. 100s of White Wagtails, Yellow Wagtails, more RB Flickers, Redstart, Spotted Fly, Blackcap, Willow Warblers, Swallow, Sand Martin. We also had a fly over Osprey and a few Marsh Harriers. Also 100+ Spanish Sparrows.
Our final venue for the day was  the fields around Tyulenovo which were crawling with birds.
 5+ Whinchat, 4 Wheatear, 2 Stonechat, 200+ White Wagtail, 50+ Yellow Wagtail, 25+ Red-backed Shrike, 300+ Corn Bunting, 200+ Starling, 15+ Calandra Lark, 6 Jay and Syrian Woodpecker in the village
Just as light was failing as our full 12 hours in the field came to end, two juvenile Montagu's Harriers came down into the fields near our hotel
View from our Hotel (The Dolphin) in Tyulenovo, over the Black Sea