Friday, 20 January 2017

Bulgaria - Durankulak and Beyond - Day 2

I awoke this morning and made it to the balcony to witness the morning chorus of geese flying in from the sea (as all the lakes are frozen!). Thousands of Red-breasted in a complete shambles of a flock and the perfect formation of White-fronted Geese piled over the lodge some landing on the fields near the front of the lodge. Amazing!

I set off for the camp site near Durankulak where I could set up my first sea watching stall. The wind had dropped but it was bitterly cold. I slowly made my way along the road looking through the flocks of passerines containing Brambling, Greenfinch, Tree and House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting and a Syrian Woodpecker that was shadowing one ground feeding flock!

There was still a trickle of geese coming inland amongst a steady flow of Yellow-legged, Caspian and the odd Common Gull thrown in the mix. Wildfowl were also moving with a small party of Red-crested Pochard, Mallard and Tufted duck who decided to occupy the sea for the morning.

There was Black-necked Grebe scattered along the coast with the survivors of the Coot flocks.

A pair of Marsh Harrier seemed to be completing a circuit of the reed-bed heading out to sea and returning at the very point that they started at.

Having spent a couple of hours watching the sea the sun was beginning to wake up making viewing and photography difficult so I moved back towards the E87 to head towards Krapets where the road has a single line of trees either side. This area was again good for flocks of passerines which had Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blackbird and a lone Mistle Thrush.

My next stop was to be in the Shabla area. I checked the Great Cormorants on the platform of which many were of the race sinensis. A couple of Skylark were making their way along the shore when they were ambushed by a Merlin who surprisingly missed its intended meal on its first attack.
There was one lake in this area that had small patches of clear water. The gulls and Marsh Harriers were tucking into more Coots that had perished in the harsh conditions. A female Pintail and a lone Pochard made up the duck numbers along with Greylag and Red-breasted Goose.

During the journey back to the lodge I saw Long legged, Rough legged and Common Buzzard most were observed hunting over the open fields. A Ringtail Hen Harrier was seen hunting near a cemetery but I could not re-locate it having turned the car around at the next available stop point along the road.

Another good day packed full of birds!

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