We were up and away at the crack of dawn on our first full day in Bulgaria. We wanted to make the most of any sightings and stops. We hadn't gone far when we discovered what would have been the obvious spot for the previous evening, however, the rising sun made it a non starter for morning photography.
We made do with some views with the binoculars and added the only Avocets we saw during our trip along with a wider selection of waders.
Travelling with the aid of my out of date sat-nav and a small scale map meant it wasn't long before we took the wrong road, however it had it's benefits despite the numerous pot holes in the road ! Very scenic it took us inland and over the hills instead of the coastal route.
We stopped for a distant Buzzard which I am pretty confident is a Long-legged one.
before re-joining the main route north and tackling the traffic through Varna which appears to be another place dominated by roadworks everywhere.
Next on the list to stop at was Cape Kaliakra where the headland attracts the birds taking the second largest migration route in Europe, the Via Pontica.
Looking down to the sea some 600 feet below you could make out the occasional Bottlenose Dolphin.
Birds in the flower filled heathland were numerous including Calandra Lark but photos were not quite so easy.
The star of that particular spot though are probably the resident breeding Pied Wheatear which proved to be far more obliging.
Still, with the midday sun being a bit intense for photography we decided to move on and explore a nearby beach.
A few birds, mainly House Martins, were catching food over the small pool, Great Reed Warlers were to be heard in the reed bed but the water itself was teeming with tadpoles which would grow up in to these attractive frogs.
Once more heading to our final destination, Branta Birding Lodge at Durankulak it wasn't too long before we were checking in our baggage with our host, Tatyana. That completed we immediately set out to explore the immediate vicinity. Driving slowly down a nearby lane leading to the beach we were delighted with some of the birds to be seen in the hedgerows.
Whinchat, elusive here in the UK was a most welcome spot.
The delicate Spotted Flycatcher was quite numerous in numbers.
as were the Great Reed Warblers around Durankulak lake.
Black-headed Bunting were very vocal where ever we saw them which was also quite frequently.
What really surprised us though were the 25-30 Squacco Heron that were both on the road and in the adjoining field of Sunflower seedlings.
Things were certainly looking positive but as evening approached we returned to Branta for our first evening meal and the hospitality of our co host and owner Pavel.
Over a few beers we discussed what possibilities there were for the coming week.