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Birdwatching in Bulgaria: my local patch

Posted Saturday 23rd March 2013 at 17:57 by dancho_hristov
Updated Saturday 23rd March 2013 at 19:43 by dancho_hristov
Birdwatching and photography in my local patch is what I do pretty often. After a hard week I decided to spend a few more hours in the bed on the Saturday morning and then go out :) Well, I walk up at about 9 am and off I went to my local patch about 20 km W of Sofia. A lovely oak woodland with open patches of grassland and scrub. It is still early for the meadow birds so I decided to focus on the woodland.

Initially it was pretty quiet. Nothing was calling. In a couple of minutes I have apparently approached the territory of this lovely Wood Nuthatch. It was nicely displaying. Gorgeous bird.

Nuthatch photography by Iordan Hristov

My initial idea was to find some more Sombre Tit so I continued walking around to explore the area and hopefully see some more birds. There are some old orchards nearby that I have been willing to explore for a long time. Just as I expected a pair of Sombre Tit turned up soon after I arrived on the spot. It was full with birds. Not just the local Starlings and Hawfinches were there but also a group of 6 Robins. This high number raises the question of their migration. I did a quick Google Scholar and it produced a few quite interesting papers discussing the birds survival (Adriaensen, F & Dhondt A.) and their means of orientation (Sandberg et al.) and drivers for migration with a focus on rain and wind (Schaub, al):

Other migrants were also present. On a small patch with scrub there were a few Black Redstarts, my first for the year Willow Warbler and a lovely Firecrest. Rather untypical which is the first for my local patch which is now over 80 species with some of the highlights being Golden Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzards, Scops Owl, Syrian Woodpecker, Ortolan Bunting, Wryneck, Thrush Nightingale and many others.

Just as I was thinking about this untypical Firecrest, I remembered a pretty old observation of a Ring Ouzel which I observed in the woods here many years ago. In that very moment the call of a Ring Ouzel totally thrilled me. :) Well what can I say. Lovely bird. My first for the year and another observation for my local patch.

I carried on walking in the area but it was already 3 p.m. and just like in summer birds just disapeared. Well it was time for lunch or whatever you call it in the middle of the afternoon :)
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