Saturday, 21 January 2017

Bulgaria - Shabla to Cape Kaliakra - Day 3

The best of today’s birds were seen later on in the day along the road 901 to Cape Kaliakra. This road is picked up off the E87 at Shabla and passes through four villages before you reach the Cape. The area is steppe for as far as the eye can see. The Cape itself has a high coastline with cliffs which has historic relevance as a fort which overlooks the sea and the land.

My bird of the day Calandra Lark was seen on the roadside on the way back from the Cape and had me patiently positioned to get the best pictures of the group that was feeding. I have found the Bulgarian people friendly and somewhat curious as to what I am doing during my stay. I guess a guy in green carrying binoculars and no gun at this time of year is odd and a curious man stopped his car in front of mine as I looked at the Larks ahead! The Larks flew off as he spoke to me (thinking I was a hunter?!). I don’t have the first idea what he said but I showed him my Collins guide and he toddled off back to his car and drove off. I had to chuckle because he was oblivious to what I was looking at and I had already taken some shots (pictures!!) of the birds. The hunting season lasts for a month finishing at the end of January and is worth bearing in mind if you book a birding trip to Bulgaria!

Shore Lark would also feature on the interesting species list for the day and four birds were noted earlier on in the day as I was travelling to the Cape along the same road. White-fronted Goose was a regular feature overhead flying in strict formation.

There were a lot of Common Buzzard and Hen Harrier showing today. The warm thermals had created ideal hunting conditions for them. Kestrels were also frequently seen around the pylons.

I had spent the morning at Krapets on the beach looking at gulls and waterfowl. There were a small group of Red-breasted Merganser that dropped in within scope distance. Along the dunes I got very close to Siskin that were so busy feeding they totally ignored the car as it approached.

I finished the day at Shabla lakes and along the beach where I spoke to a couple of local ornithologists who directed me to a group of Knot which had a Dunlin in tow. Wigeon were seen in flight with Mallard. The sea was like a queue for a bus with Black-headed and Common Gull, Pochard, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe all waiting for the nearby lakes to thaw! 

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