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Sunday 19th February - Saturday 25th February 2006

Mark Beaman

Bulgaria in winter is, needless to say, not a big list trip, but we still managed 104 species in total in just a few days in the field. Of course we were not there for numbers of species, but with one major target in mind, the rare and much-prized Red-breasted Goose. As well as some great encounters with this beautiful bird, including 2500 in a single concentration, we also enjoyed such highlights as good numbers of Pygmy Cormorants, both Great White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Great Bittern, the beautiful Smew, Long-legged and Rough-legged Buzzards, Mediterranean Gull, a calling Eurasian Eagle-Owl at dusk, Syrian and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, the hulking Calandra Lark, Great Grey Shrike, lots of Hawfinches and some fine Spotted Nutcrackers amongst the snows of Mount Vitosha.