понеделник, 10 февруари 2014 г.

Dalmatian and White Pelican photography

This weekend wasn't just as expected. For one of the days I wanted to do some work at home and for the other day I wanted to visit a site for a Rock Partridge and White-backed Woodpecker not far from Sofia. These are two species that a friend from the Netherlands wants to see and I wanted to make sure we increase our chances of seeing the birds. I did the whole preparation for the trip and then a colleague called with a rather tempting suggestion. Pelican photography! Huge temptation. I decided the trip will have some really practical positive sides because I do not go often there and wanted to learn some new sites and accumulate more information about the area. Anyway I wanted to go to this site with my friend too. I decided to take the opportunity and go for this photography trip.

The day started at 4 a.m. About 5 hours later we were at the site. The weather was pretty miserable with some mist but at least it wasn't cold. Rather quiet as a start. Then some Mute Swans swam past followed by quite a few Gadwall, then Pygmy Cormorants, Great Cormorant, Wigeon, Little Grebe, Great Heron and Great White Egret. A gorgeous male Red-crested Pochard has passed by my colleagues but too far for a good photo. Most of the birds were pretty distant for a picture. We stayed birdwatching for a bit and off we went to a spot where we knew was good for Dalmatian Pelicans.

bird photography
Mute Swan and Gadwall © Iordan Hristov
A large silhouette projected its shade on the track. We quickly jumped off the car from either side. It was a Great-spotted Eagle! Rather obligingly it circled overhead a couple of times to show its glory. It filled up our frames nicely.
birdwatching in Bulgaria
Great spotted Eagle © Iordan Hristov 2014
bird of prey photography in Bulgaria
Great spotted Eagle © Iordan Hristov 2014
bird photography in Bulgaria
Great spotted Eagle © Iordan Hristov 2014

Further on  a dozen Bewick Swans was calmly feeding in the shallow water of the lake. Then we spotted a White-tailed Eagle and a flock of several hundred Great White fronted Geese. On the other side of the road above the fields a young Peregrine was streaming towards a group of Mallards. It tried a surprise but it was too obvious. Did not seem quite skillful. Mallards survived this time. A couple of Kestrels and loads of Collared Doves made our way to the Pelican site rather pleasant and we managed to relax after the bits of exciting birding.

Then...there they are. Dalmatian Pelicans in fully adult and breeding plumage. What a bird. Couple of them were waiting by the local fishermen to give them some fish. I don't know about the fishermen buy we shall certainly give them.

We quickly got a basket of fish and started feeding the Pelicans. The birds were not afraid afraid. The bravest were coming up to about 1 m from our cameras. We had to use wide-angle lenses. The light was just right. Lovely soft light was nicely lighting the birds to give this highly desired shine in the eye.

birdwatching in Bulgaria
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria by Iordan Hristov
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov

bird photography in Bulgaria
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography and birdwatching tours in Bulgaria
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography
Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
With the Dalmatians there was one different bird. A White Pelican. Actually it was pink :) strange name for this bird. The White (Pink) Pelican looked so unreal. It was soook pink. I have never seen such a bird this close. The Dalmatians didn't like him very much and he often stayed hungry somewhere behind the crested Dalmatians.

bird photography in Bulgaria
White Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography tours in Bulgaria
White Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov
bird photography
White and Dalmatian Pelican photography © Iordan Hristov

We gave all our fish and the light wasn't good for photography any more so we decided to go.

Well this was a lovely weekend. Although I couldn't make most of the Saturday and had to start early on Sunday I hope the images will make it worth it.

Here is a checklist of all the birds we saw for the day in a systematic order without really putting much effort. have in mind this was meant to be a photography trip:

1. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
2. Great crested Grebe
3. White Pelican
4. Dalmatian Pelican
5. Cormorant
6. Pygmy Cormorant
7. Great White Egret
8. Grey Heron
9. Black Stork
10. Flamingo
11. Mute Swan
12. Whooper Swan
13. Bewick's Swan
14. White-fronted Goose
15. Greylag Goose
16. Shelduck
17. Mallard
18. Gadwall
19. Wigeon
20. Teal
21. Pochard
22. Red-crested Pochard
23. White-tailed Eagle
24. Great-spotted Eagle
25. Hen Harrier
26. Common Buzzard
27. Sparrowhawk
28. Common Kestrel
29. Peregrine
30. Coot
31. Lapwing
32. Green Sandpiper
33. Common Snipe
34. Black-headed Gull
35. Yellow-legged Gull
36. Feral Pigeon
37. Collared Dove
38. Little Owl
39. Kingfisher
40. Green Woodpecker
41. Grey-headed Woodpecker
42. Skylark
43. Crested Lark
44. White Wagtail
45. Grey Wagtail
46. Robin
47. Blackbird
48. Cetti's Warbler
49. Great Tit
50. Blue Tit
51. Nuthatch
52. Magpie
53. Jay
54. Hooded Crow
55. Common Starling
56. House Sparrow
57. Tree Sparrow
58. Chaffinch
59. Goldfinch
60. Corn Bunting