17th-27th June 2007

Cape Kaliakra

Entrance gateway to the ruined medieval fortress

Among the ruins of the old fortress, several pairs of Pied Wheatears were nesting. The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria is on the extreme western limit of their range, and Cape Kaliakra is undoubtably the best place in Europe to see this species. Due to the throngs of tourists visiting the ruins, the Pied Wheatears are habituated to the presence of people here, and are thus approachable and easily photographed.



Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanke)

One male, every few seconds, would rapidly flick his wings open for a fraction of a second. Because of the speed of the movement, anticipating the moment of it opening its wings was a bit tricky to say the least, and was a question of relying on the fast frame rate of the 1D mkII (8.5 frames per second) and a lot of luck. I took about 300 photos of this bird in the space of 20 minutes and only 3 of them caught it with its wings open! Unfortunately, the bird was a little bit too close (not something I complain about very often!) and the tips of its wings got chopped off in the best photo (below). He didn't seem particularly agitated, but, in retrospect, I suspect we may have been close to its nest and it was performing some form of distraction display.

male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanke)

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)

Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

Overhead were flocks of Alpine Swifts...

Alpine Swift (Apus melba)

A couple of kilometres up the coast from Cape Kaliarka, the coastal grasslands are a good place for photographing the abundant Calandra Larks...

juvenile Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)

Adult Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)


General Toshevo Bulgaria map Tazha