Monday, 2 May 2011

Up the hill at Rogachevo

Thirty or so ex-pats met at Elbarr, Rogachevo to watch the royal wedding on Friday. I was among them. Some watched from a long time before the ceremony to way after it finished. I took the liberty of going off bird watching in the area,  getting back just in time for the bride's arrival and the ceremony.

Elbarr is on a hill. I investigated up the hill where a large wooded area starts. This is the edge of Batova forest.  

Once again the weather was dull and so was not brilliant for camera work.

one of several singing robin in the forest

One of the most obvious birding features in the wooded were robin at regular intervals singing from the top or near the top of trees.

the walk up the hill at Rogachevo

In the clearings just before the forest starts there were plenty of corn bunting on bush tops. There were also at least two pairs of hoopoe.

hoopoe at Rogachevo

The most intriguing bird I saw was in a vineyard just before the forest. It was a stonechat. How to recognise the different sub species of stonechat has long exercised me. See my blog of Jan27th 2011 on the status of eastern stonechat in Libya.

stonechat in vineyard at Rogachevo

Like in Libya occasionally, once again I have photographed a stonechat that looks closer to the description and picture of an eastern stonechat (maurus and variegatus sub species included here) than a European stonechat.  The collar is both wide and long, there is plenty of white on the wing and the orange chest patch is relatively small. Have a look at collins guide 2nd edition page 293 for example!

Despite the experts telling me otherwise, I am convinced in my own mind that some eastern stonechat do winter as far west as Libya and now I think that some (possibly the Libyan ones!) migrate back to Siberia (or northern Caucasus in the case of variegatus) as far west as the western black sea coast. I am not going to let anyone fob me off this time!

greater spotted woodpecker

More expectedly, there were greater spotted woodpecker in the wood. This bird is very common near me in the more rural areas along with Syrian woodpecker closer to man. Below is a second picture which shows the bird's chinstraps better. The full chinstrap going all the way to the red spot is characteristic of greater spotted woodpecker and missing on a Syrian woodpecker.

Another notable bird in the forest was sparrowhawk which I failed to photograph. I still struggle with flight photos.

I must also mention, that around the edge of the forest particularly where there was undergrowth, I also saw more whitethroat and blackcap. Clearly they must be quite common near me as I keep seeing them.

Finally the last photo I took before returning to the bar and the royal wedding was a goldfinch on a wire outside. 

goldfinch (one of a pair) in Rogachevo village

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