Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A long walk and armchair birding

There were only a couple of routes away from my village which I haven't birded. After today there is one less- the off road and most direct direct route to Oreshak. Today I gave it a try. It's mostly wheat and arable fields but it edges the Batova forest.

As well as exploring a new route out of village, I had a second objective today. Following my successful video of a short toed eagle last time out, I wanted to try out videoing more birds. It's a bit of a youthful excitement and I'm sure this phase will pass but at the moment I'm enjoying a new challenge! 

The walk out along the off road track was not especially eventful - plenty of skylark, black headed bunting (see how blaise I am about this bird now) and yellow wagtail. I was amazed how forward the wagtails were. They even followed me from the air. Has anyone else ever noticed this habit? Its like they are very nosey.  

With the exception of the wagtail behaviour, the edge of the forest was more exciting. Plenty of red backed shrike and lesser grey shrike and obviously the ubiquitous corn bunting , and sounds of nightingale, golden oriole and blackbird from within the forest. Then eventually there was a chance to use my camera as a video recorder again. Hurrah! I walked straight through an area thronging with a warbler which I mistook as  whitethroat but which birding friends have told me is a barred warbler. I assume they were a family with newly fledged birds because as far as I know they are not great flockers.

barred warbler between Klimentovo and Oreshak

The video is below. I couldn't place the harsh rattle noise they were making. I had assumed the noise they are making was a whitethroat's alarm call . They refused to fly away from a cluster of three trees. They stood their ground. I am assuming its because the fledglings won't fly any further at the moment. However I could have read this completely wrong.

barred warbler near Klimentovo

Someone has got to come up with a better way of describing birds sounds. Collins describes the whitethroat's call as a nasal vaihd, vaihd, vaihd and the alarm as a drawn out, hoarse chaihr. Now I know why neither seemed to fit the call I heard because my birds are barred warbler. The yellow eye which is diagnostic for barred warbler is really obvious I don't know how I missed it.

cute skylark fledgling seen last week locally

My background bird noises this time of year are skylark and corn bunting. These noises are everywhere. To be honest the fun begins when you here something, anything different. Nevertheless just for reference especially if you live in a place where there aren't one million skylark in near-by fields, I recorded a skylark today.

singing and flying skylark today

More excitement on the way back. The goshawk which has been terrorising (and depleting) the local magpie population flew over low, at speed, and in front of me like a stealth bomber from Batova forest. It's mission was almost certainly to deplete the magpie population even more. I don't fancy the chances of one of the three magpie I saw out there (and I'm sure the goshawk saw) before they went to cover. I stood waiting for a scream and a return flight but whatever route the goshawk took it didn't come back passed me. Shame.

The other slightly unusual moment was the loud noise from within the wheat field at the side of the track. Following my recent trip up the Rhodopes, I now know the sound as a corncrake but there wasn't a snow ball's chance in hell of seeing it.

Sometimes you have to work really hard to see birds but other times you don't even have to try,  they just appear. These times are baffling.

with friends at launch of a new bar at Osenovo

Last week I attended the opening of a new bar in Osenovo with friends (good luck to Bill and Celia with the bar by the way). I was sitting in the chair marked with a white circle and officially off birding duty but still with camera for social pictures.  

I wasn't even on the look out for birds, but with absolutely no effort and not moving from my seat I saw plenty of bee-eater almost posing for me. 

Bee-eater at Osenovo

Taking a photo of a great tit from my seat was the least likely happening. There aren't in the open that often.

great tit at Osenovo

The other birds were much more likely I suppose. A corn bunting - they are everywhere and a starling which breeds in big numbers near-by

corn bunting photographed from my seat

starling photographed from my seat

The truth is that Osenovo is a very good birding area and this its way of telling me. I've made a mental note to go back there again soon.

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