Saturday, 21 May 2011

The lakes at Osenovo

A couple of days ago I was tipped off by some friends that there were two lakes near Osenovo which is about 10 kilometres from my home. Some other friends told me the area in question is sometimes unkindly called "the swamp". Either way it sounded like good birding territory with a different habitat so I made my way there today.

The area is actually a valley fed by a small river/large stream which bulges out in two places to create lakes that become partially over-grown with reeds in the summer. Either side of the stream is tree cover and the ground is boggy in places. I found it a beautiful setting but maybe that's because  I was looking at it from an environmentalist's perspective.

I saw two syrian woodpecker, great tit, turtle dove, plenty of starling, house sparrow and nightingale in the tree cover. In the sunnier spots there were house sparrow, corn bunting, black headed bunting, red-backed shrike and bee-eater

However it was when I came to the second larger lake which is in the open that the bird watching became more challenging for me. 

great reed warbler near Osenovo

The challenge was over the identification of a bird. At the second lake were at least two acrocephalus warbler singing their hearts out. I ruled out reed warbler because the birds at the lake have a white supercilium going beyond the eye and the tail is rounded. These features are shown well in the top picture.

second picture of a great reed warbler

The second picture above shows the bird also has a pale eye. I really wanted the bird to be a paddyfield warbler which has all these features. It is known on the Bulgarian Black sea coast but only at a few sites a little further north. Sadly I now think the bird is a great reed warbler. It's beak is so thick and large. Also the primary projections are long unlike those of a paddyfield warbler (shown on photos not presented in this blog).  

terrain - boggy with mostly young reeds

As well as great reed warbler, there were at least two large birds present. Yet again there was a little bittern. That twice recently I have seen it in a small lake with lots of cover. I also saw a single white stork.

white stork near Osenovo

My friends tell me this is a very popular place during migration for hundreds of white stork to stop over. There are also heron and egret present when the reeds are not so thick but my friends are not birders so they can't recall whether they only see these during the passage. 

stream that feeds the lakes

Along one part of stream that feeds the lakes there were plenty of house martin collecting mud for their nests. Alongside these were at least two very busy white wagtail. They were catching insects but not eating them! I presume they were being collected to feed their young near-by.

white wagtail collecting insects

There was plenty of other wild life apart from the birds. By the side of the stream I came across two European pond terrapin.

European pond terrapin

There also a blue coloured damselfly which settled right in front of me so I felt honour bound to photograph it.  

blue coloured damselfly

Finally I want to write about two other birding incidents that happened today. Both were right next to my house. First I saw a northern wheatear on top of my next door neighbour's chimney. I have never seen a northern wheatear on a house before never mind on its tallest part.

northern wheatear next door

Last but not least, there was a group of house martin outside my front gate this morning collecting mud for their nests just like their cousins did next to the woodland stream at Osenovo.

house martin outside my front gate

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