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WEATHER:  overcast all day, some light rain, warm in the afternoon. Top temp 18C

After last night’s thunderstorms it was relatively calm this morning so we ventured out before breakfast, there was a nip in the air but it was dry and calm.

I can’t write too much about our sightings today because quite frankly there wasn’t many new birds for the list, but plenty of ‘already seen’ birds. We started at the ‘woodpecker’ site near the village of Veronia, today we took a different track and spent all of our pre-breakfast time walking along it.

We did see a Syrian Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker very well, we heard Grey headed and lesser Spotted. Only Dancho and Graham saw the Middle Spotted Woodpecker, it flew off before the rest of us caught up with them.

After breakfast we spent more time walking the tracks between the river and Vironia but never found the Grey-headed Woodpecker, once again we heard it call a few times in the distance. We had plenty of other sightings which kept us happy including a pair of Hobbys, Levant Sparrowhawk, Honey Buzzards, Red-backed Shrikes and Golden Orioles.

a Long-lipped Serapias Orchid

We ate lunch at the picnic site near the eastern embankment, it was raining for most of the walk but only very light rain fell. We found our first Penduline Tit, it was Mike who got onto it first and called it out.

Penduline Tit taken by Rosemary Aitken

We saw another Syrian Woodpecker we enjoyed views of many species out on the marsh and the shores of the lake. The light was much better than during our previous visit, no heat-haze, so we could identify distant species more easily, there must have been about 20-30 species out there.

walking the Vironia tracks - when Lorna has had enough she turns around and walks back to the bus

Another new species for our list was the White-winged Tern, we saw about half-a-dozen of them in the distant with a good many more Black Terns. We also saw Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Mediterranean Gulls, a few waders fed much closer to us, we saw summer plumage Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints with singles of Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper.

 a nice Spoonbill reflection shot by Mike Taylor

more Spoonbills with a Grey Heron

After a stop for coffee in Vironia at the old train station we walked along the banks of the Struma River for our last hour. It wasn’t too productive and late in the afternoon in the rain isn’t a great time to go birding. We added White Wagtail to our list, seen on a shingle bank with both Great & Pygmy Cormorants, Grey Herons, Little Egrets and Little Ringed Plovers.

Out in the grassy scrubland we found Red-backed Shrikes, crested Larks, Corn and Black-headed Buntings, we could hear Olivaceous Warblers singing and lots of Sparrows flew around both House & Spanish varieties.

We called it a day around 5pm and returned to our hotel to get ready for dinner.