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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A day out at Pelican Lake

The morning of the great day out started with disappointment. It was still dark, as is usual, when we rose. And the lovely thing was it had rained and the temperature had dropped so that we felt quite cool as we tried to coax the chickens and geese out. What we didn't realise is that it was misty....and as we set out it was foggy, thick enough for fog lights though it was daylight by now.

Oh dear, what to do. The picnic was packed, friends had taken the door and gate keys just in case the dogs and chickens needed attention if we had any car or traffic problems  We had been offered a guided tour of the best places to see birds. It would be a shame if we couldn't actually see anything. So once we had filled up with diesel we decided we would drive as far as Ruse and re-evaluate the situation.

The road is very good all the way with just a couple of roundabouts and a lot of it was very quiet. After about an hour the fog turned to mist and then cleared all together so I could look around and enjoy the scenery. As we approached the River Danube there seemed to be different terrain on either side of the road, with flat to the left and more undulating to the right, The crops had also changed a little. There was still a lot of sunflower and maize, but also fields of tobacco and pumpkin. All along the road there were makeshift stalls where smallholders were selling watermelons/ beans and onions. Such care taken with the displays.




We thought they were pumpkins, but I suppose they could have been melons. We were moving too fast....

Tobacco


The further we got the more horse drawn carts there were too, some good, some appalling. I try not to look too much, but I can't help it.

So we eventually reached the village of Srebarna on time at around 9.30 am where we were to meet Mike Black of Pelican Lake Guest House http://www.srebarnabirding.com/ who had kindly offered to show us around to save time as we were going to be away from home for too long as it was. After meeting his wife Jerry and downing a very welcome cup of coffee, off we went. I have to say I was a bit worried as I can't walk too far these days, especially on rough ground (OK in short bursts) but I took my walking stick and struggled on, we didn't come all this way for me to sit in the car! We made a slow way to the lake and it is beautiful. A pelican flew over us and Mike told us that may be as close as we would get to a pelican, most of which were on the other side of the lake.

There are new towers along the lake so people can see the lake better

Lots of pelicans and other birds

And plenty of seating, well used at weekends


I think it's for climbing, not leaning on!



One of many froglets taking advantage of puddles left by overnight rain


Well, I made it and was quite pleased with myself. The lake was beautiful. There were plenty of pelicans ...dots in the distance but Mike had brought his telescope along. There were so many other birds too. Mute swans, great crested grebe, herons of different species, ducks, glossy ibis, egrets, coots, greylag geese and gulls. There were woodpeckers and flycatchers, a nightingale telling us off, other birds flitting about.We even saw a white tailed sea eagle who put on a lovely display....just out of camera range, and some other unidentified birds of prey. The pelicans even did a couple of flying displays for us. Just so much to see between the lake and the short drive to the Danube.



There really is a green woodpecker behind here


Mute swans



Greylag geese, ducks and squacco heron



A flock of pelicans

Pygmy cormorant and coot

Squacco



coots
Ferruginous duck
Tried sending Dave and Mike away, but they just came back!
Boats on the Danube

Gulls on a raft
Siesta time

I felt I was holding everyone up but to be fair to Mike he was very patient and I can't thank him enough for taking the time to show us around. It was lovely to meet him and his lovely wife, who was too busy working to join us...and of course not fogetting Peggy, the elderly three legged terrier. I can think of a few people who would love a birding holiday based at their guest house.

So, after another quick coffee we left Mike to get on ith his jobs and set off for home on time. We ate on the journey rather than stopping and were home by 3.30 pm. Tired but happy to have such a lovely day. I hope one day we will be able to show Mike and Jerry our wildlife spots, though we can't run to pelicans, glossy ibis or white tailed eagles!

And the dogs? Well, we had to wake them up! They were probably quite happy to snooze the day away in peace.

3 comments:

  1. That was a lovely birding lake you visited and the guest house owners were so kind. You got some great photos and I am intrigued to see the horse and cart in one of your photos. I love horses.

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    1. Thank you for your comments Terra. There are many horse/donkey/mules in carts throughout Bulgaria still. Unfortunately many are in poor condition with appalling, crude shoes put on by their owners so lameness is a huge issue. Also foals do roadwork at the trot from birth, next to mum, which is not a good foundation for future soundness. I am also a horse lover who has owned horses for thirty years and worked with them for twenty. I find it hard.

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  2. I enjoyed seeing the photos of the village and the road on your drive through the countryside. A great day out and lots of birds!

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