Saturday, 30 April 2011

A wet day on the way to General Kandardjievo

It's been a miserably wet and cool April in my part of Bulgaria. That's not just the view of a man who is used to Libyan heat. Statistics show it is the coldest for a decade.

Nevertheless, I went on one of my favourite walks on Wednesday afternoon. The road between my village of Klimentovo and the next one of General Kandardjievo is straight, quiet and tree lined. There are ploughed, planted and unploughed fields either side of the road and a pleasant wood just before Kandardjievo. Its also on a plateau at 350 metres. The habitats usually generates a variety of birds.

When I do this walk its usually to my friends' house in Kandardjievo and with any luck I get a lift back. This was the case on Wednesday.

part of the road to Kandardjievo

In the summer you are guaranteed to see golden oriole flitting around. This year there are no leaves yet and very little cover for such a shy bird!  

The rain died down a bit on Wednesday afternoon though it was still spitting during my walk.

The corn bunting weren't put off and were everywhere.  Starling and jay were in the trees on the edge of my village. Many birds were probably skulking because of the wet. However in the fields either side of the road there were very large numbers of active skylark.

a wet looking skylark

The field below may look deserted but every minute or so a skylark or two would soar into the air, singing their hearts out presumably to attract females.

local damp field

On two occasions I was watching one species and by the time I took out my camera another species was accidentally around which got snapped instead.!  I was following two blue tit with my binoculars. As I took out the camera they flew off but on the same tree was a pied flycatcher.

pied flycatcher

This was very lucky since this is a passage bird. The closely related semi-collared flycatcher is a summer breeder in this area but pied flycatcher only breed in countries further north. 

another view of pied flycatcher

I got three shots of the bird and can see its collar is too short for a semi-collared flycatcher and it had two white dots above the bill not one.


This chiffchaff was the second accidental bird to be photographed. This time I was following a northern wheatear sitting on a stone near a bush. By the time my camera was out, it had flown over the bush but I snapped the other bird on the bush out of instinct without even seeing what it was before hand. I am quite pleased because warblers are more difficult to photograph than wheatears.

whinchat en route

My final shot is of a whinchat. It wouldn't look me in the face however its a good picture to show you how spotted-looking their lower back can be. The supercillium differentiates it from a stonechat anyway but even without seeing that characteristic its "spottiness" is a dead give away.

Three other notable birds also seen en route but poorly photographed were hoopoe, common buzzard, magpie and cuckoo.

Next time I review this walk I challenge myself to bring you back photos of golden oriole.

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