Thursday, 26 January 2012

January at Rogachevo

The second place I birded while back in Bulgaria was Rogachevo. This is a hilly, wooded area with vines and fields just below the main tree line.

It took me a while but eventually I homed in on a big flock of small birds in one of the fields below the main wooded area.

part of a flock of goldfinch

The flock consisted of about one hundred goldfinch. This is the largest number of goldfinch  I have ever seen. But I suppose the conditions were right:  mid winter, a field or two with plenty of seeds, higher levels had snow covered trees etc


They weren't difficult to track either. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that a smaller number of other birds were loosely associating with them including half a dozen or so yellowhammer. I had seen more of them earlier in the week in my village but they were even easier to approach at Rogachevo.


More closely associated with the goldfinch were their closer relatives the linnet, siskin and chaffinch. There were a few of each of these close by.  I normally only see chaffinch deep in the wood at Rogachevo but I suppose their winter habits are different.

One finch I did see in the upper woods was hawfinch. This is the best time of year to see them!

blue tit

In the same couple of fields as the goldfinch I had been hearing both great tit and blue tit. I finally saw one on the ground whereas I had been looking in the trees! Later I did see them there too.

hidden wren

The wren gave me the same run around they had given me in my own village - leaping from one small bush to another but each time giving themselves away with a sort of rattling, zitting sound. The one hidden above is the best shot I got.

lesser spotted woodpecker

Up in one of the trees, I saw a lesser spotted woodpecker, quite exposed and again unconcerned about my presence.


On the other hand, one bird which was very flighty was jay. Two minutes after taking this photo four camouflaged hunters came into the area. I beat a retreat but I found out later that its legal to shot magpie and jay all year round in Bulgaria. I now wonder if this jay survived five minutes after the photo was taken? There were shots.

hidden blackbird

Another bird that is also flighty in Bulgaria (but not for example in the UK) is the blackbird. They are really difficult to photograph.

I'm back in Saudi Arabia for the next blog and the next time I show you a black bird in a bush it will a black bush robin.

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