|Great White Pelican|
|Flight of Great White Pelicans|
At the salt pans back in Burgas there were lots of waders but all a little distant. Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints made up the bulk of the migrants with Terns and Avocets abundant. A couple of Slender-billed Gulls were here too.
Then it was a little further north for lunch whilst enjoying reed-bed birds such as Penduline Tits though access to the main reed beds was not possible and it was very warm!
The afternoon was spent a the reservoir near Poroy where we enjoyed around 25 Whiskered Terns feeding along with Ruddy Sheduck, Wood Sandpipers, Black-winged Stilts, White-tailed Eagle and al three ‘regular’ woodpeckers in the nearby woodland.
We headed north on Thursday through the eastern Balkan Mountains with stops at several places en-route to Varna where we picked up Eastern Bonellli’s Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Barred Warbler, Wood Warbler, four Woodpeckers plus Wryneck as well as Hoopoes and Bee-eaters galore. The Flycatchers were around a nest-box scheme where around 40/200 boxes were occupied. We had excellent prolonged views of males singing (some trying to find a mate, others defending the territory they had).
|Eastern Bonelli's Warbler|
|Semi-collared Flycatcher in habitat|
After Ice-creams in Varna we headed for Cape Kaliakra to get some more special birds. The place was alive with Pied Wheatears and birds on the sea included the Mediterranean subspecies of Shag, around 700 Yelkouan Shearwaters, a few Black-necked Grebes and Black-throated Divers and an Arctic Skua chasing terns for good measure. We also got Alpine Swifts here.
Our hotel for the night was just south of Lake Durankulak and so early the following morning we headed to the area passing innumerable Red-backed Shrikes on the way. There had been a thunderstorm overnight and suspected that this was a ‘fall’ of migrants. As we arrived, a White-tailed Eagle arose from its roost. The reed bed was alive with bird song - the loud grating song of Great Reed Warblers filled the air and soon the cacophony was joined by a reeling Savi’s Warbler. Ferruginous Ducks were in the pools and Lesser Grey Shrikes in the surrounding vegetation. The omnipresent Orioles gave us some splendid view before Mark found a pair of Paddyfield Warblers which we enjoyed. Montague’s and Marsh Harriers quartered the reedbeds.
|Great Reed Warbler|
Finally, we finished off at a couple of Bee-eater colonies as a relaxing conclusion to our four days in Bulgaria before having our final dinner together and then getting dropped off at the airport.
All-in-all, a splendid trip with 166 species recorded and 12 new for myself. I’d heartily recommend Neophron Tours and Bulgaria as a destination for some great wildlife. And I’ve not even mentioned the flowers and Butterflies we saw!!!