My 300 plus journey back from Madzarova yesterday was a much more simple affair but not without its dramas, but in comparison, incident free. This time I returned in a more northerly route avoiding crossing as many mountains but there were a few hairpins to navigate but was pretty much on main roads. I actually went through some quite large towns and cities which included Haskova, and Plovdiv, the latter being a pretty City that is in the running for a future European City of Culture apparently. At every large town, the main problem was finding signs for the next leg, for some reason direction signs are usually none existent. However, the strategy of stopping at a likely looking petrol station seemed to work well. Up and over the last mountain near to the town of Razlog, I neared Bansko. It was extremely interesting to see real peasant workers working their fields, turning the hay with pitch forks and loading it on to a small horse or donkey cart. I suppose making it big for some people is upgrading from a donkey to a horse!
Still in the Eastern Rhodopes I did take a few wrong turns and at one point I was in a high meadow area, very picturesque and full of small birds. I didnt want to linger too long in case I got lost later in the day and ran out of daylight again but from the car I saw Corn Bunting, Whinchat, Wheatear and a few Shrike species including this Red backed Shrike with prey, that I managed to photograph through the car window.
Red Backed Shrike female.
Of all the birds seen, for everyone I saw a Jay, a real common bird in Bulgaria it seems. Back in Simon's appartment, I spent some time in the evening having a look at the photos from the hide and liked the ones of the Kestrels that I photographed at the hide.
The female Kestrel.