Friday 15 August 2014

Summer at home

I have been at my home north of Varna, Bulgaria on several occasions during the last month. While there, I haven't had much time for birding. However I have seen some good birds even from my own garden and have managed some light birding on a couple of walks to the neighbouring village.

One of the highlights, was from my door step when I saw 200 white stork fly over four days ago. This was one of several waves of white stork  last week seemingly heading south already.

some of 200 white stork over my house

The next evening, I was looking out at dusk from the front when I noticed a little owl on  a neighbour's house. I used to see them there in previous summers but last year I couldn't find them. It's good to know they have been seen again.

little owl from my house

The walks to the neighbouring village were quite interesting too. There are several fields of sun flower. If I look hard, I often find well camouflaged male black-headed bunting on the flower heads.

female black headed bunting

This time, I managed a duller female black headed bunting.

corn bunting

Corn bunting is more common and much more easily seen. Other very common local birds include skylark in the fields and golden oriole along the avenue of trees following the road.

European turtle dove

Around my village is a stronghold of the diminishing European turtle dove. In summer they are readily spotted on wires near-by but they are extremely skittish.

lesser grey shrike

Lesser grey shrike is the less common of two shrikes in the area. Red-backed shrike is around in greater numbers. 

young red backed shrike

These include both juvenile and adult birds.

male red backed shrike

Seen on my walks, spotted flycatcher was no surprise although they prefer more shaded areas than most of the route.

spotted flycatcher

Blackbird may be abundant in the area but it is quite difficult to see. It is shy around people here. 

young blackbird

House martin is extremely abundant especially near my house. The wires heave with them at dawn and dusk. Barn swallow are numerous too and, unlike house martin, frequently land on the avenues of trees between the villages. Here, at the moment, you can see young swallows on these trees still being fed by their parents.

young barn swallow waiting to be fed

I have observed only two birds of prey in the area over the month. One was a short toed eagle, seen last month, which is is a known summer breeder in the area. The other was more recent. It was a hobby seemingly flying with some of the barn swallow high in the sky.


There is much more other wildlife too including hare.

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