Tuesday, 19 March 2013

No partridge but some good birds

Rock Partridge habitat

The day started bright and sunny and we set off for the hills in the National Park again.  On the way up a very confiding male Rock Bunting allowed me to take pictures from the vehicle.  We all gathered up and started our search for the Rock Partridge.  Despite much effort we failed again despite birds being seen here last Friday. 

A superb male Rock Bunting
We did see much more.  First a male Ring Ouzel perched on a distant tree and a Black Woodpecker called from the forest beneath us.  Soon we were looking up as 2 male Goshawks passed overhead.  We later picked out a female Goshawk harassing Wood Pigeons.  A Raven and Peregrine also appeared overhead before we started to see a migration of Black Storks.  We counted 56 in four groups as they searched for thermals to get them over the mountains.

Some of the Black Storks passing over us on their way north

Eventually cloud moved in and rain threatened and we had to leave the mountain. We drove back through our base village of Koprivshtitsa where we noted a White Stork on a nest and headed for the wonderful beech woods at Bogdan Forest.  This superb woodland sits at 1600 metres towering above the landscape.  We saw flocks of Yellowhammers and Skylarks on the way and eventually climbed up to the woods.

Bogdan Forest
As we left the four wheel drive we immediately discovered a flock of about 50 Bramblings and then an impressive flock of 200 Hawfinches.  This was to be the last of the birds.  Heavy rain set in and apart from Willow Tits, Nuthatches and Long-tailed Tits we found nothing else.  This was a possible site for Ural Owl but the weather soon had us scurrying down for supper.

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