Saturday, 3 September 2011

Late August at home

For once bird watching took a back seat most of the time in late August. I had many domestic jobs to do which I won't bore you with. I did manage one or two walks around my local area though.

Of course late August is the height of the autumn passage and its a shame i haven't really seen it in depth. Just like in Libya (but in September and early October there as it is further south) , spotted flycatcher are everywhere.

They breed locally but the local birds tend to be inside woods. However the passage birds seem to use almost any cover they can find. Much more exposed trees and bushes have had them over the last couple of weeks. 

spotted flycatcher in tree near Rogachevo

Another bird which has been here in extremely large numbers is red-backed shrike. Unlike with spotted flycatcher, I can't tell which are local birds and which are from further north on passage. Both sets inhabit every bit of shrub available.

red-backed shrike near Rogachevo

The main passage of eagles takes place along the Bulgarian Black sea coast between about 20 August and 25 August.  The booted eagle below was earlier than that. I saw this one a few days before from my garden.

booted eagle seen from my garden

Very large numbers of bee-eater have passing through since about August 23rd and are still passing through. The local bee-eaters tend to keep to the bottom part of the Klimentvo-Albena valley near General Kantardjievo so I am pretty confident all the ones I see in my village are passage.

passage bee-eater in Klimentovo

Similarly I think I can pick out passage golden oriole. There have been plenty passing through my village in recent days though the numbers are thinning out now. Like the spotted flycatcher they tend to rest more in the open than the local birds. The one below was on a small bush next to one of my village roads about 7 days ago. it was not alone either.

resting golden oriole in Klimentovo

The recently ploughed fields have been thick with yellow wagtail. Pretty much all have been passage birds. Although I have checked in the last few days the local fledegg sub subspecies have been in their usual haunts.

The one below seen in a field is from one of the more northerly sub species judging by its supercilium. Feldegg's don't have one at al! I think its probably flava found in central Europe and the most common sub species. 

passage yellow wagtail near Klimentovo

At a local water trough a family of  feldegg didn't look in any hurry to leave when I saw them last week. We have had a very hot end to the summer which will probably delay many local birds from leaving. 

local feldegg yellow wagtail

The local corn bunting have formed themselves a mobile flock just like the ones I used to see wintering in Libya. I'm not sure about their behaviour in winter. Certainly there are corn bunting in my area in winter but whether the local ones go south and are replaced by wintering northern birds I don't know.

part of a large flock of corn bunting near Klimentovo

What I can tell you is that the black headed bunting left for India by the third week of August. They really don't stay very long do they?

large mixed flock, mostly house martin 

As I write this today the village's house martin, barn swallow and red rumped swallow are still around. They are madly eating. Last year they left around Sept 5th so they won't be here much longer. Today's cooler weather (after a prolonged hot spell) might just trigger a move. I always find their movement south a bit depressing. To me a swallow really does make a summer.

Not all birds leave of course and plenty of Russian birds like fieldfare will come to stay here for the winter. Among the many species that will stay are the collared dove.

collared dove on the edge of my village

When I look out of the house just before dusk they has recently been more than a 50% chance that I will see a little owl on the roof of a deserted house further down my road. I have seen little owl in another part of the village but it wasn't until the beginning of August that this one popped up so close to me and it has stayed. I wont be surprised if he follows the same routine all through the year.
little owl in my street!

Now that my  domestic issues are sorted I look forward to more birding! 

bee-eater, red backed shrike and turtle dove sharing the same wire

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