Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Do swallows make a summer?

I'm trying to blog every two days or so. This is not as obsessive as when I was in Libya when it was everyday!  I like to think it is a realistic target. 

However so far, it has proved difficult to achieve a blog every other day simply because the weather and light have been the poorest in a generation this spring in Bulgaria.

On Sunday and Monday it was wet and the light was very poor. Luckily today has been sunny and I have finally got enough good photos to blog! 

barn swallow next to my house this morning

While I was waiting for a lift to go out into the countryside today, I saw the barn swallow (above) resting on a wire next to my pool. When the pool is open during the summer there is a constant stream of barn swallow skimming the water. Some of them have started skimming over the pool cover which contains a little water.

another shot of barn swallow next to pool

Many of the barn swallow which skim over my water live in a donkey's stable about 100 metres down the road from me.

donkey's stable which houses many barn swallow 

In the picture above you can see a door next to a wheelbarrow. This is where the donkey lives along with many barn swallow. I haven't been inside the stable but there is heavy traffic of barn swallow flying in and out all day. I wonder how many years they have nested there?

male eastern stonechat at Rogachevo very near the Black sea

Despite the bad weather I did venture out on Sunday and Monday.  I visited the site  (a vineyard) at near-by Rogachevo.  You may recall from previous blogs that I am fighting a one man battle to prove that the eastern stonechat possibly of the sub species variegatus not only passes through coastal eastern Bulgaria but also possibly breeds here. The bird I had previously seen a week ago and suggested was variegatus was still there. It is looking increasing like it is not a passage bird. It was also with a female this time. You can see I have very good pictures (even though the birds were very wet due to the weather). Judge for yourself whether they look like nominate stonechat or variegatus (see Collins second edition page 293).

female eastern stonechat at Rogachevo on the black sea coast

It was so wet that I saw a northern wheatear on a tree. This is quite unusual.

northern wheatear up a tree

I am afraid the poor weather and predominately northerly winds have proved too much for some birds. I saw this exhausted turtle dove with no sign of physical injury also near Rogachevo. It has been battling northerly winds for too long and I suspect it died soon after this photo was taken.

exhausted turtle dove

This is pretty depressing note to end on. I just hope the weather stays as good as it has been today and we can look forward a summer of good birding.

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