Sunday, December 3, 2023

Late autumn ringing at Veshtitsa, NW Bulgaria

 This autumn I finally decided to dedicate some time to ringing winter thrushes( or at least attempts to do so) because my ringing results regarding winter thrushes are pretty much pathetic. The main problem for me is that I live and work in Sofia, but my ringing place is near my home town - 200km away from the capital. Until now I was usually taking 1 week off at the beginning of September to be able to ring during the peak of migration. It's all good when I'm focusing on most migrating species, but obviously not even close to optimal for ringing Fieldfares and Redwings.

Until now I had ringed 3 Fieldfares at the place (and no Redwing) so I was not hoping for much. My main idea was to use five nets and start playing sound 2 hours before dawn. I also decided that when the sun comes out I will change the sound to my finch mix to try and catch some Bramblings(I'm really in love with them but until this year I've had only 2 of them ringed at my place). I was ringing mostly in the early mornings because on most days I had to be home for work at 09:30.

After six days of ringing, I managed to achieve results that surpassed my initial expectations:

Results from the thrush mix:

Redwing(Turdus iliacus): 10

*ringed for the first time at my ringing site

Fieldfare(Turdus pilaris): 4

Blackbird(Turdus merula): 12

Song thrush(Turdus philomelos): 7

Results from the finch mix:

Chaffinch(Fringilla coelebs): 17

Brambling(Fringilla montifringilla): 11

Greenfinch(Chloris chloris): 30

Siskin(Carduelis spinus): 1

*also ringed for the first time at my ringing site

Monday, October 30, 2023

Visitor from Lithuania

 This autumn I got my first control recapture with a foreign ring! It was a second-year male Blackcap(Sylvia atricapilla).

The bird was ringed on 17.04.2023 at Stirniai, Trakų r., Lithuania, and recaptured by me on 23.09.2023. It had covered a distance of 1240km with the main direction of migration - 189° [S]

It's very hard for me to describe the pure joy and excitement that I've experienced!

The bird was released in good condition and hopefully, it managed to reach its wintering location.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Checking 23 nestboxes - results for 2023

 This year, I've decided to share the findings in my nestboxes with everyone by making short videos. I hope you'll enjoy the results and if you do, please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

2022 Totals

 It is once again time to share my personal ringing results for the previous year. As always, I'm quite late with this post, but I still think it's a good idea to share those stats, highlights, and personal observations with you all.

I will make a separate post about my nest monitoring results and observations of 2022, but my personal favorite was the clutch of Corn buntings(Emberiza calandra) that survived an intense hailstorm and still successfully fledged. I also managed to make a short film of a Red-backed shrike(Lanius collurio) pair feeding their young with different types of food. If you want to see this video please check it out on my Youtube channel.

For me, the highlights for 2023 were mainly the 8 Otus scops that I managed to ring, my first Caprimulgus europaeus, my first Turdus pilaris, the Ficedula species(which were also a first for me), the 11 Phylloscopus sibilatrix and the 43 Anthus trivialis.

In general, I had average ringing from the nesting season and fewer ringing days which resulted in fewer ringed birds compared to the previous year(for 2021 - total ringed: 691), but at the same time, I managed to ring 5 more species in 2022 compared to 2021(when I ringed birds out of 33 species).


Sylvia atricapilla - 197

Parus major - 82

Anthus trivialis - 43

Cyanistes caeruleus - 38

Turdus merula - 22

Lanius collurio - 21

Phylloscopus trochilus - 20

Sylvia curruca - 19

Sylvia borin - 17

Sylvia communis - 13

Phylloscopus sibilatrix - 11

Parus lugubris - 10

Turdus philomelos - 10

Erithacus rubecula - 10

Muscicapa striata - 9

Otus scops - 8

Emberiza calandra - 5

Merops apiaster - 4

Emberiza citrinella - 4

Phylloscopus collybita - 4

Luscinia megarhynchos - 3

Sitta europaea - 3

Turdus pilaris - 2

Regulus ignicapilla - 2

Coccothraustes coccothraustes - 2

Aegithalos caudatus - 2

Phoenicurus phoenicurus - 2

Ficedula albicollis - 2

Streptopelia turtur - 2

Hippolais icterina - 1

Sylvia nisoria - 1

Dendrocopos major- 1

Ficedula hypoleuca - 1

Dendrocopos medius - 1

Regulus regulus - 1

Acrocephalus scirpaceus - 1

Garullus glandarius - 1

Caprimulgus europaeus - 1

Total : 577

Species: 38

Here are some of the photo highlights from 2022:

Turdus pilaris

Sylvia nisoria

Ficedula hypoleuca

Otus scops

Caprimulgus europaeus

Emberiza calandra nest

Streptopelia turtur hatchling

One of the 20+ Lanius collurio nests that I found

Merops apiaster

Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) pair feeding five chicks video

This summer I've spent some time monitoring Red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) nest because this is one of my favorite activities during the nesting season. Shrikes are extremely interesting birds and I wanted to try and get some footage of a shrike nest with hatchlings.

So I chose a nest with a suitable branch for the camera. To be honest, I was very skeptical and didn't expect any results from this experiment, but the result was much more than I expected. The camera was filming for two hours and for that time the parents brought more than 15 pieces of food - spiders, cicadas, grasshoppers, flies, and even two very long lizard tails.

I really hope that you'll find this video interesting and useful.
Does any of you have experience with nest monitoring ?

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Bird ringing camp 2022

I just got back from my one week at the Durankulak bird ringing camp and I wanted to share some observations with you.

Probably you don't know, but in the last four years, this ringing camp has become the biggest bird ringing activity in Bulgaria both in terms of total ringed birds and total different species ringed.

For two and a half months from August to the end of October, we have continuous ringing activities at the Durankulak lake which is located in the NE part of Bulgaria near the Black sea coast and the border with Romania. For more detailed information about the camp, check our Facebook page.

Every year, I'm responsible for one shift(one week) of the ringing activities at the camp. So this year I got a really late shift (from 15.10 to 22.10) which resulted in fewer birds because for most species that we target, the migration was almost over. The weather was dry, but a few of the nights were very cold(below 0). But the main problem for our ringing camp this season was a young fox that got used to checking our nets for trapped birds. It wasn't scared of humans and it managed to damage a few of our nets which forced us to either stay very close to the nets all the time or just close our forest nets in order to avoid birds being killed by the fox. We tried to catch it with a live catching trap, but without success.

Nevertheless, during my week at the camp, we've ringed two (in one day) Pallas's Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopus proregulus) and many other birds.

I can't share any data from the camp, but I'll make sure to post links to the official articles when they are ready.

If you have any questions about the camp. please let me know in the comments below.

Here are some of the highlights from my 7 days at the ringing camp:

Pallas's Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus)

Pallas's Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus)

Pallas's Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus)

Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

the sunset over the lake

Bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus)

Male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

Moustached warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon) 

Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)

Red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva)

Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

Friday, April 29, 2022

Spring ringing 23-24.04.2022

 In the last few years, I'm trying to limit my spring ringing attempts since spring migration at my usual site is very scarce.

This year, during our Easter holidays we had a very visible wave of flycatchers and I couldn't resist putting up the nest and trying to ring some of them. The highlights for sure are the two Collared and one Pied flycatchers, which are my first ringed birds from those species. Nice addition was my third Barred warbler.

Total: 19

Collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) - 2

Pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) - 1

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopus major) - 1

Whitetroat (Sylvia communis) - 5

Blackcap(Sylvia atricapilla) - 2

Great tit (Parus major) -  2

Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria) - 1

Blackbird (Turdus merula) - 3

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) - 1

Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) - 1

Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria)

Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria)

Collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)

Collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)

(Dendrocopus major)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Whitetroat (Sylvia communis)

Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

(Ficedula hypoleuca)