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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Birds and butterflies

The birdsong here in Bulgaria is intensifying now that the migrants have returned. Joining the usual garden birds here, grest tit, blue tit, tree sparrow, redstart and starling, the nightingale has been joined by the golden oriole's clear song, relentless cuckoo, hoopoe, chattering swallows and some others which we cannot identify. It all makes for a very loud, and to us Brits exotic and unfamiliar, din! Totally different to the thrush, blackbird, robin and others in the UK.

Also, up on the hill, Dave has managed to see some different birds, though they are mostly what he has tried to photograph before. We have also seen birds while out and about, notably the bee eaters, long awaited by bird enthusiasts. They have been flying over us in large flocks, singing all the way.
Yellow wagtail

Corn bunting

Green woodpecker

Hoopoe
White stork

Black stork, feared in some areas as a symbol of death
Cuckoo 

It might be out of focus, but a chance shot of a heron with a red footed falcon in the foreground is exciting

Dave also managed to get a few lovely shots of butterflies. I have mentioned before about the abundance of butterflies over here, but they can be difficult to get a good photo of, they are so busy. I have been using these photos on greetings cards as they are so pretty.







On the domestic bird front, the numbers have swelled again. We picked up Dave's goslings on Monday. There were only two as some had managed to get under the gate and had met an untimely end. They are mega cute. We decided it would be a good idea to try to get one more as there could be problems if we lost one leaving one all alone, so off to market we went (well, I sat in the car as usual) Dave said it was a very full market with chicks, grown chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and rabbits. He got his gosling..........and two others too. So we now have five! And a few more shumen chicks. We are now giving up with the chickens. Because of all the problems we have had with incubators and power cuts, we have had chicks in dribs and drabs, despite almost 100% fertility from Sevi, and the cost of keeping so many chicks in small pens under heat has made it a very expensive process. Luckily it looks as if we have a good proportion of hens, always easier to find homes for. We will let any hens which go broody have some eggs as they seem to do so well and leave it at that.
The first two goslings

Meeting the dogs, predictable Bonnie is neutral, Bella is besotted with all the youngsters


Three from the market


Our gaggle of geese. How on earth did we end up with five? Dave plans to use them to keep the grass down on the lane...when he has time to stay with them.
Cagney's chicks are developing well, learning about feeders....
....and greens

Ending on a sad note, the kittens born in the loft and looking so well cared for and healthy, have been killed, we believe by a marten. There were large tufts of adult cat fur in the chicken run as if the mother had put up a good fight, but Dave found two dead kittens (traumatic for hm) and one was missing. I am hoping the mother managed to get it away as there has been no cat hanging around, which I would expect as she would be looking for her kittens. Who knows, we never will. We had almost decided we would like to keep the ginger and white one too.

A few photos which didn't work, frustrating.
Golden oriole, unfortunately the sun was behind it. You don't often see them in the open, and they rarely pose for long, so this was very frustrating as it was there ages, singing.

First ever cuckoo picture, a couple of days before the one on the post

And a buzzard, which always fly off before you can get close!

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