Monday 15 July 2013

Lake Shabla and steppe

On Thursday, Andrew Bailey and I had a fuller day's birding than earlier in the week. We headed straight out to Lake Shabla and then took a leisurely journey back along the coastal steppe.

The birds on the lake themselves were quite interesting to me although our main viewing emphasis was on the birds on the fringes. 

a flock of common shelduck

At the closest end to the land was a group of black winged stilt. However much further away at the seaward end were two species which more interesting to me for different reasons. The first was common shelduck. It was good to see them again. This is one of the species I have yet to see in Saudi Arabia although its apparently not uncommon in a couple of the larger wetlands in winter.

mute swan

The other species was mute swan. Lake Shabla is one of the most southernly breeding places in the world for this bird.

common tern

The terns all appeared to be common tern.

collared pratincole

As I stated earlier we actaully spent more time viewing the fringes of the lake. Unfortunately we didn't definitely see a paddyfield warbler. However several marsh warbler were observed along with at least two sightings of great reed warbler.

It was real bonus to get several and prolonged good views of a collared pratincole which flew around us a few times while we were standing on a rickerty viewing platform.

a second picture of a collared pratincole

Reed bunting and yellow wagtail were also easily seen at the edges of the lake.

reed bunting

Goldfinch was the only finch seen there.


In the fields near-by were both black headed gull and yellow legged gull. Both red backed shrike and lesser grey shrike were also obseverd. The latter in a family unit of foutr birds. A single great cormorant flew across the bay on the near-by coast.

lesser grey shrike

On the way back, we took time out to eat lucnh and miss the highest heat of the day. 

The narrow strip of coastal steppe provided some expected birds such as black headed bunting.

black headed bunting

Calandra lark is only common here and no where else in Bulgaria. More surprising was the observation of four woodlark altough we were close at that point to a small woodland encroaching on the steppe. Tawny pipit was also regularly seen but hoped for stone curlew alluded us. 


Almost the last bird we saw a European roller, a colourful end to a day's birding.

European roller

My next blog will almost certainly be chronicling some of my birding on a trip I am making to south east Asia. Its not an area I know much about so the learning curve will be steep.


  1. I can not describe how I feel when I see birds that passed through my country in the spring or winter and is now ruled in the summer homes, wonderful

  2. Mansur, I know what you mean. I bet many of these birds in BG migrate through Arabia