Tuesday 2 September 2014

Late summer at home

I have been in Oman in my new job for a couple of days now and I have already have blogs lined up on Omani birding. However I first need to wrap up the bits and pieces of birding I did in Bulgaria in the last week in August before I left.

Those bits and pieces were observations around my village while going about other business, a morning's walk near the forested area in Rogachevo and a final walk into the valley below my village on my last day.

spotted flycatcher

Starting with the observations in the village: it was good to see a spotted flycatcher on a wire one day. Passage birds must have been mixed in with the summer breeders here and my guess is this one was on passage.

barn swallow

One of the main birding "events"in the village in late August is the gathering of large numbers of local barn swallow and house martin on wires in early morning and early evening ahead of the collective decision to move off on migration. The numbers are so many they bend the wires.

house martin

The two house martin nests on my house both had a second brood this year and the young ones had only just fledged the nest as I was leaving. They will be making a long journey almost straight away.

juvenile blackbird

Other fairly random observations as I walked around included a juvenile blackbird actually in the open. This birds are timid in Bulgaria. Red back shrike are very common in summer in my part of Bulgaria and, in contrast to the blackbird, can be seen very readily.

Most golden oriole left in mid August but I did see one in the last week.

juvenile red backed shrike

The morning of Sunday August 24th was the only time in late August I had time for a proper birding session and I chose to bird on the edge of the forest at Rogachevo.


The woods were alive with the sound of great tit (seen) and woodpeckers (unseen) but I concentrated on the birds along my woodland path.


One of the best moments was when I spied a muddy pool some twenty five metres ahead. It was attracting a variety of birds including a nightingale and two male blackcap as well as blackbird and house sparrow.

two male blackcap

I suspect I would have seen more if I had stayed longer but as is often the case there was a flurry of activity involving several species followed by absolutely nothing. I suspect another flurry would have occurred if I had had the time.

male red backed shrike

Elsewhere on the route were several of the ubiquitous red backed shrike.

long legged buzzard

The only bird of prey seen all session was a lone long legged buzzard.

European bee-eaters

Like in my village the skies were full of barn swallow and house martin though Rogachevo also has red-rumped swallow.

Waves of European bee-eater were passing through all morning.

closer view of a European bee-eater

In the village of Rogachevo at the end of my walk, goldfinch was the final bird added to the day list.


My third spot of birding was a short walk into the valley next to my village. I could see that the stream was swollen this year and had changed course. All was as a result of the increased rainfall this year. Probably as a result of the increased water there was a higher density of yellow wagtail than I have seen in previous years.

a family of yellow wagtail (feldegg)

I had to check carefully that there were no grey wagtail among them.

single yellow wagtail

Finally this valley throngs with the sound of corn bunting in all but the coldest weather.
corn bunting

I am now in Oman and back in to Middle eastern birding. My next blog reports on what I saw walking round the block by my hotel during a short stay in Muscat. This was before going on to Salalah where I am now working.


  1. Very excited to see what your posts on Oman! Its such a beautiful country!

  2. Rob - what's the link for the new Omani birding blog? I've had a stab at searching but to no avail.....

    Laurie -

  3. Laurie and Caitlin,
    Thanks for your good wishes. I will be posting about Oman using this same blog. Rob

  4. Cheers - that makes sense, looking forward to it and stay 'safe' in your new locale.....

    Laurie -