Friday, 3 June 2011

Highland meadows and stream in the Rhodopes

Today's walk was even longer than yesterday's. I calculate we walked about 17 kilometres. The walk was so long we joked that the next people we might see could be Greek border guards.

upland meadow on today's route

Once again we walked upwards out of Chepelare but this time the track followed a stream and there was as much meadow as forest. Unlike yesterday, the trees near the meadows were mostly broadleaf rather than pine. 

bullfinch en route today

This is my second day in Chepelare. Before we left the town, I saw my first species not seen yesterday. A single collared dove sat on a wire. Still haven't seen any house sparrow in the town by the way.

collared dove in Chepelare

On leaving the town we climbed slowly up a road leading to Izgrev. The road follows a stream most of the way. It's not surprising that we saw grey wagtail which loves running water.

grey wagtail on the track to Izgrev

Not to be outdone there were arguably more white wagtail. This bird is common in the town and seemingly along the lower stretches of today's walk.  

white wagtail on today's walk

In the pine forested areas once again chaffinch was common along with robin. In the broadleaf patches there were also bullfinch as well as chaffinch.

local chaffinch

There is a village well up the mountain side (at 1550 metres) set in truly beautiful meadows. It's the reason, I think why the EU is paying for the upgrade of the dirt track into a hard surfaced road which will make this wilderness more accessible.

The village resounds with the noise of blackbird, chaffinch, bullfinch, nightingale, yellowhammer, red backed shrike and several other birds. 

red rumped swallow en route

Sitting on the wires in the village were both barn swallow and red rumped swallow. The latter prefers upland locations (as I understand it) and it was the predominate swallow here.

grey headed woodpecker

To be honest this village provided the majority of the best sightings today including a grey headed woodpecker seen here rather than in deep forest. 

Several other birds I saw today I had seen yesterday but I am including their pictures because they are better ones than yesterday!

mistle thrush on a pile of mature!

Yesterday I saw mistle thrush at two locations but both birds were flighty. Today's mistle thrush was almost reluctant to fly off even as I approached itcloser and closer. It was situated on a big pile of farmland mature!  I suspect this pile provides rich pickings for the bird.

black redstart

Black redstart proved common again both in the town of Chepelare and in the upland village. Indeed it seems equally at home in built up and rural areas here.

female yellowhammer

Finally in the interest of gender equality above is a picture of a female yellowhammer seen today.  A male was shown yesterday. It is obviously quite a common bird in these parts.

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