Monday, 10 July 2017

Bulgaria, June 2017 Part 8 One last time.

One last time, one last search in the hope of coming up with something interesting. Strangely the last day of a holiday usually does do just that for me so hopefully the same would apply today.
There was only one choice of direction really, I'd tried walking up the river route a couple of days before to find it impassable unless you had a pair of wellies or were prepared to take tour boots off. Instead I had stuck to the high ground of the woods in the opposite direction. A shame but such is life, who knows what I might have discovered heading that way.
It was down to butterflies again!
Balkan Marbled White   Melanargia larissa
It being Sunday though the beaches were a lot busier, even the small cove where the little Ringed Plover was nesting had a few people on it and to my dismay there was a family very close to where the nest was. One person was actually doing some beach combing within a few metres of the nest prodding and probing the shingle with a big stick, probably looking for shells.
I decided to take action!
Heading down to the beach and over to the lady with the stick who, I discovered, didn't speak English so I tried to put the message across doing my best chicken laying an egg impression. She looked bemused and nodded agreement.
My message had failed to get through and if anything I was likely to be taken away to the funny farm if she decided to phone for help!
There was only one thing to do, find the nest and show her. Without the bird being there to show me it took sometime to find it but when I did I noticed there were now 3 eggs.

Little Ringed Plover   Charadrius dubius

That was good news, and hopefully now I could show the lady she would stay well clear and instruct everyone else to do so too.
Other than my good deed for the day and a few more butterflies there wasn't much to report. A check on the Black Stork tree revealed it had left it's roosting spot which was to be expected many hours after the first sighting.
I returned to the hotel and to Claire up on the roof terrace. She told me there was a Sparrow nesting in the gutter which had been landing with materials all morning.
I was delighted to find it was a Spanish Sparrow and not the usual House Sparrow.
Spanish Sparrow     Passer hispaniolensis
My attempts to capture Swallows in flight were pretty poor.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
even worse than my efforts with the House Martins
House Martin   Delichon urbicum
I gave up!
Retreating to the shade of our room it was a few hours later I ventured out for one last look.
I was delighted to find that both of the Little Ringed Plovers were back on the beach now everyone had gone home. I'd have loved to monitor their progress further but hopefully it has had a happy ending. 
The Black Sea was once again looking very inviting now the sea had settled down again.
Cormorant    Phalacrocorax carbo
but I headed inland to the Stork roost.
It wasn't there but I could make out the outline of a European Roller, my first of the trip.
European Roller   Coracias garrulus
In trying to get on the right side of it to take advantage of the light I discovered something better!
Hermann's Tortoise  Testudo hermanni
Another tortoise and this time out in the open too, crossing a wide track.
Hermann's Tortoise  Testudo hermanni
As you can see it has a tick attached too.
Hermann's Tortoise  Testudo hermanni
Full of the tortoise's blood it will soon drop off though.
Horrible things!
By now the Roller had flown but there was one last interesting sight to witness.
A Shrike impaling it's Grasshopper victim on a thorn.
Red-backed Shrike   Lanius collurio
not so much to store it in a larder but to help it eat it's victim with greater ease than holding it.
Red-backed Shrike   Lanius collurio
bit by bit it ate the lot!
So that was it. Another trip almost over. 
One last beer in our favourite beach bar while watching someone struggle to launch their kite.
Kite runner
It was easier photographing that than birds though, especially in the beautiful magic hour light.
So, a return to the hotel, a last dinner and then home first thing in the morning with a pick up at 8.40am. Perfect, it's awful hanging around all day when you are packed and ready for the off.
Another trip over!


  1. Very enjoyable read David,another for my wishlist...hopefully meet up tomorrow!

  2. Thanks Paul, looking very good for tomorrow now.