I left Rohzen in the southern Bulgarian hills at around 07:30 on 17th April for the short journey to the Kulata crossing, as usual there were long queues of lorries but cars sailed straight through. No checks on the Bulgarian side and when I told the Greek customs official I was heading for Kerkini I got the strong impression that he would have liked to have gone with me as he waved me through.
It was only about a 45 mins drive to Kerkini from the border so it was still reasonably early when I arrived. My first stop was Mandraki Harbour, which has been my home for the last four days.
The first bird to greet me on my arrival was the Great Reed Warbler, with several birds singing in the Phragmites beds, next to where I parked. In the mornings they climb the reed stems to sing so give fantastic views whereas later in the day, although they are still vocal they tend to sing lower down.
|Great Reed Warbler|
|Pygmy Cormorant - up close they look like they have eye make-up on, little white lines above the eye|
The combination of pelicans and cormorants creates one of the great spectacles of the lake the mass feeding frenzy.
|Cormorants and pelicans - feeding|
|Bee-eater - living up to its name!|
|Wood Sandpipers - with single Dunlin at the front|
|Lesser Spotted Eagle - adult, quite long p7 but definately had pale iris so not Spotted|
|Montagu's Harrier - adult female|
|Masked Shrike - female|
|Masked Shrike - male|
So plenty of birds seen, but plenty still to arrive. I haven't seen any 'marsh' terns, the only buntings has been Corn and Cirl and few warblers and flycatchers, only one Spotted Flycatcher a few Whitethroats and odd Eastern Olivaceous (Steve had one Olive-tree). So I'm hoping to see some new arrivals during my next week at Kerkini.
|Sunset - Mandraki Harbour|