Friday 1 June 2012

Bulgaria - day 3

It really was this dark

Heavy rain, and I mean torrential, greeted us as we woke up in Kavarna. We were headed towards some marshland/reedbed habitat at Durankulak near the Romanian border to search for that most interesting of birds, Paddyfield Warbler. The futher north we went, the darker it got. The rain got heavier, if that was possible, and every now and again an impressive bolt of lightning crashed through the sky. Arriving on site there was little choice but to sit in the van and wait while sheet lightning played across the sky, and about 10cm of rain fell in twenty minutes. Gradually it appeared to ease, and so tentatively we clambered out.

There we are, clambering out. Tentatively.

Birds were singing everywhere, mainly Great Reed Warblers, but several Paddyfields were also fairly close in. The reedbed was fantastic - Little Bittern, Purple Heron, White-winged Black Terns, and gazillions of Warblers, as well as the noticeably thicker-billed race of Reed Bunting. We enjoyed the spectacle for about fifteen minutes, before the rain returned and sent us scurrying for shelter. This was repeated regularly for the next hour or so, with yet more lightning, rolling thunder, and stupidly heavy rain. You can never really pick weather during a holiday, and it's always a disappointment when precious time is wasted waiting for foul weather to ease. We didn't do too badly all in all, but it was rather unsettled for the whole of our stay.

News of a drenched Red-footed Falcon looking exceedling miserable on some wires a couple of miles down the road cheered us up, so so off we pootled to have a look. It was one of the wettest birds I have seen in a long time, you could tell it didn't want to be there and was hugely regretful of it's chosen migration route. It's a rare bird in Bulgaria, whereas it's a common one in neighbouring Hungary, and we didn't see more than four the entire trip. Naturally Mo wet himself when he saw it, but seeing as we were all fairly wet anyway, nobody other than me noticed.

We spent the rest of the morning on the beach at Shabla, watching migration happen. It was very much like being in Wanstead. Rollers flew by, as they do, and so did Orioles and Bee-eaters, and best of all we were treated to a Nightjar coming in-off, not something you see every day, even in Wanstead. The rain seemed to have passed now, and it became extremely hot and muggy. Time for another enormous salad lunch and a cold and extremely cheap beer, via a Tawny Pipit in the dunes, before heading towards some of the amazing steppe habitat we had passed on the way north. This time I bagged the front seat....and very happy that made me a little later on.

Viz-migging in Bulgaria

Snuffi does the Black Sea

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