Saturday, 30 June 2012

More home birding

I have had a few urgent jobs to do during my relatively short break back in my adopted village in Bulgaria. The hard winters always mean repairs need over-seeing when I am back during my vacations. I also like to invest in home improvements and need to oversee these too. And there is seeing friends to do as well.

However, despite these pressures on my time, I have managed to sneak in some local birding watching in between things. Albeit all this birding has been done very close to my house. 

barn swallow - fledged from the nest but still being fed

While my last blog was mostly about walking up and down my local valley (see photo below) this one concentrates on birds seen even closer, within the village itself. All have been seen within 125 metres of my house and within 25 metres of someone's house.

A very fruitful place birdingwise is the woodland which straddles the stream which splits the village in two. I have a habit of walking off the road 10 metres into wood and simply waiting, watching and listening. I don't know what the locals think of this mad Englishman hiding in the trees but I think they know me well enough by now. 

It was near here that I saw my first turtle dove of the year. I failed to see one in Saudi Arabia or in England this year but my village is a stronghold of this bird. To be truthful I heard it along time before I saw it. It has a distinctive purring sound like a cat and the noise carried a long way!

Once I was well hidden in the woods, I noticed three very young barn swallow perched. I was surprised to see adult birds returning time and time again to feed them. I haven't seen this behaviour before, outside the nest.

my local valley goes right down to the sea 

There are plenty of finches in the trees. I can easily see greenfinch. When I visited the valley last week I also saw linnet


In fact when I first saw the bird below (within the village) my first reaction was that it was young linnet. It was only when I got back and noticed the yellow strip on the wing that I realised it must actually be a young goldfinch. You live and learn.

young goldfinch

While in my hiding place I saw lots of golden oriole flitting between the trees and also a greater spotted woodpecker. My village has both syrian woodpecker and greater spotted woodpecker. I have commented before that this shows how open the village is because while syrian woodpecker like being close to human habitation, greater spotted woodpecker are much less keen. 

black headed bunting

I decided to look harder for black headed bunting (mentioned in the last blog) which I had been hearing all week alongside the sound of corn bunting.  All I had to do was follow the sound. Indeed there was a male in a tree just round the corner from my house.


I don't normally photograph common starling but this one insisted I did by making several appearances on the wire right in front of my garden.


With nightingale I have the opposite problem. I really want to photograph them.  They are as common in my Bulgarian village as blackbird is in an English garden.  However they shun the camera. This poor photo was the best I could do this time round.  

Before I leave this blog I mustn't forget to mention the owls of the village. Once again little owl can be regularly seen especially next to chimneys. I just  haven't had my camera with me when I have seen them. And one or more scops owl  tries its best to keep me awake all night.

Next week I'm travelling a long, long way east. Hopefully I'll be able to report on what I see. It should be interesting.


  1. You'll be lucky to see TD in the Midlands - i have'nt seen or heard one this Summer and failed last Summer altho saw plenty in Spain and Maroc...

    Laurie -

  2. It seems patchy what's happening to them. They were common in Libya but seem to have disappeared in central Arabia for example.