Thursday, 19 January 2017

Bulgaria - Durankulak Lake - Day 1

The day began at ridiculous o clock with a drive to Luton Airport and the Whizz Air flight to Varna. On arrival at Varna Airport I picked up my hire car and set the Satnav to work in getting me to my destination Branta Birding Lodge at Durankulak Lake.

There had been a fair bit of snowfall in the Varna area and this would add considerable driving time to my drive with some parts of the main highway being cleared by snowploughs and other parts requiring full concentration to navigate successfully.

Along the way I saw several Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Magpie, Chaffinch and a Long-legged Buzzard which was hovering near the roadside. I hope to catch up with more of the later during my stay.

I got to Branta Birding lodge later than anticipated but without any problems and was greeted by Pavel’s wife who informed me that there was a flock of geese in the field opposite the lodge. 

I didn’t waste any time and very quickly I was feasting my eyes on distant but scope views of around 500 Red Breasted and small groups of White Fronted Geese. Slightly higher up the hill were a mix of Whooper and Bewick’s Swan.

In the garden to the lodge were small numbers of passerines Greenfinch, Great Tit and Chaffinch. A pair of Kestrel were hunting and using the shelter of the house to avoid the chilling Northerly winds.

Pavel informed me that a lot of the geese would have moved further South to Burgas where it was warmer and the geese could feed on unfrozen ground. A day trip to Burgas looks out of the question due to the condition of the roads. The good news was that this was likely to be the last of the snow and the next few days would be colder, clearer and the wind would drop increasing bird activity in the area.

I will therefore head to the beach for some sea watching as this is where most movement of birds will take place. Pavel photographed Goosander passing through there today they are considered a rarity in this area!

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