Friday 29 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Thirteen

Another great day in Bulgaria. After doing the moths at 6am we started the birding day at Cape Kaliakra Ebird list HERE, highlights included migrating Woodlarks, hundreds of migrating Spanish Sparrows, a flock of migrating Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Black Kites and good numbers of Red-throated Pipits. 

In the afternoon we stayed around Kamen Bryag and relocated Arjun's Caspian Stonechat, Ebird list HERE

Live Trip Report HERE

First-winter male Caspian Stonechat - cracking bird. 
Juvenile Hobby 
Male Red-breasted Flycatcher
Migrating Spanish Sparrows 

Thursday 28 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Twelve

Arjun and I spent yesterday evening and today at Durankulak with Pavel. Highlights included 2 White-tailed Eagles chasing an Osprey, thousands of Med Gulls, Little Gull flocks, a Ruddy Shelduck and we did some ringing in Pavel's garden (The Branta Birding Lodge Ringing site) . 

Live Trip Report HERE

Juvenile/first-winter Red-backed Shrike 
Mainly Med Gulls
Red-throated Pipit 
Male Spanish Sparrow 
Female Spanish Sparrow 
First-winter male Redstart 
Garden Warbler
Willow Warbler 
Cardinal in Pavel's Garden 
Pavel, Arjun and I ringing (above and below) 

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Bulgaria Days Ten and Eleven

There's a strong north east wind been blowing for the last two days in Kamen Bryag which seems to have put the kybosh on migration. Seems to be good numbers of Little and Black-headed Gulls moving along the coast but otherwise it seems very quiet.

We had a Caspian Whip Snake freshly dead on the road near by and a few days ago we had two Spur-thighed Tortoises behind the plot. Arjun had a probable Grass Snake on the plot too and there's been some young lizards around which are either Eastern Green or Balkan Green Lizard. Also been a couple of Green Toads in the evening. 

The moth trap was also much quieter last night. 

Just one or two new trip species Live Trip Report HERE

Med and Little Gulls and Whiskered and Sandwich Tern hunkering down at Shabla Tusla 
Black-headed Gulls migrating in the winds
Northern Wheatear trying to not get blown away 
A Mistle Thrush on the plot was the bird of the day and a new species for the local hotspot 
View over the wind swept coastline 

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Nine

Another great day birding around Burgas with Roger. We started the day off at the Uzungeren Lake Ebird list HERE and then went to the Akanasovsko Migration Watch Point HERE before lunch, then checked out Burgas lake viewpoints before back to the migration watch point before heading back to Varna to overnight. An evening on the town with Roger before he goes back to the UK and then this morning I headed back to Kamen Bryag to meet up again with Arjun. Highlights included Red-necked Phalarope, Gull-billed Tern, flocks of autumn Whiskered Terns and Red-foots, Honeys, Montagu's and Pallids migrating. 

Apparently the best wind for vis-mig round here is anything with a westerly component and particularly around rainfall and storms. It's been dry clear and persistently easterly for the two weeks we have been here so what we are seeing is Bulgaria during a quiet time. Would love to come back during a busy time as it's pretty epic here even during less than ideal conditions.

Meanwhile back at home there has been the biggest yank arrival in history (50 birds of 15 american species in Britain and Ireland) which we have been following with great interest (Connecticut Warbler on Corvo yesterday). We couldn't be any further from the action but that's birding- can't be everywhere at the same time. Arjun found a Caspian Stonechat in Kamen Bryag while we were in Burgas so got gripped off there too- lol! 

Live Trip Report HERE. Now on 169 species for the trip. Scarcities (according to Ebird) found between us include Ring Ouzels in Dobrich, Little Tern and Short-eared Owl at Pomorie and Arjun's Caspian Stonechat. We also had some epic counts of 12,000+ wagtails going to roost at Pomorie. 

First-winter Gull-billed Tern (above and below) 

Penduline Tit (above and below) 

Red-footed Falcons migrating at height- most of the birds were migrating very high over today and at best there was a drip/ trickle of migration. Seems like I jammed into a big day back in 2015 which I didn't quite appreciate the full significance of at the time  HERE as we didn't see any such scenes this time round 
Great White Pelicans on the move
Montagu's/Pallid Harrier going over
Another one of the cracking Gull-billed Tern 

Sunday 24 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Eight

A great day around Atanasovsko Lake, Roger and I dropped Dylan off at the train station at around 7am and then headed to the wader hide watch point before heading over to the migration watch point. Then lunch, a bit more vis-migging, then some more waders before doing dusk back at the watch point. Highlights included over 5000 White Pelican coming in at dusk from the watch point, thousands of Barn Swallows,  migrating Black Kites, Short-toed Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Common Buzzards, Red-footed Falcons and Lesser Spotted Eagles and Temminck's Stints, Little Gulls and Dalmation Pelicans.

Live Trip Report HERE

Juv/first-winter Little Gull (above and below) 

Adult Little Gull and Slender-billed Gulls 
Short-toed Eagles
Dalmation Pelicans 
White Pelicans coming in towards dusk 

Saturday 23 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Seven

We started the day off at Kamen Bryag doing the moths and finishing off the conservation work on the plot and after lunch we headed down to Burgas for the next couple of days. Our first stop was a Pomorie Lake (Ebird list HERE). Arjun has stayed at Kamen Bryag working so it will be good to compare the migration at both sites. 

Live Trip Report HERE 

Spoonbills (above) and Grey Herons (below) migrating 

Caspian Tern
Greater Flamingos 
Tree Pipit on the plot 

Friday 22 September 2023

Bulgaria Day Six

Today was a work day but still managed to add a few species to the trip list here including Pallid Swift over Kavarna, Barred Warbler alongside the road and a Calandra Lark over the village.

Highlight of the day was getting the plot pond dug out with the help of a local excavator and contractor. We also managed to do the hay cut on the meadow and need to do a few hours work tomorrow to strim the vineyard. 

Still a few Red-breasted Flycatchers around but certainly not as many as when we first arrived
Roe Deers at dusk
A couple of distinctive moths (above and below) that will have to wait until I get back to identify (although Obsidentify suggests Epilecta linogrisea  for the one above and the bottom one looks like a Ruddy Carpet). Also had 8 Convolvulus Hawkmoth feeding on the nicotiana along the road to Tango this evening

The moth trap before the hay cut
After the hay cut 
The pond ! Can't wait to get this finished. We've had delays from the local water company in getting water to the site so will need to finish this off next year