I’ve finally arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, while I frankly ought to be looking for apartments, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get out birding on my first morning. This weekend is also the Big Sit so it was even harder to pass up the temptation of being the first ever participant in the event in Bosnia.
At 7, I left my hostel in Baščaršija (Sarajevo’s old town) and eventually got a taxi west. After running every red light on the way there (this is Bosnia after all) the cab dropped me in the small suburb of Doglodi, and from there I walked down the road to the area of farm fields around the confluence of the Bosna and Miljacka Rivers that is known as Gornje Telelovo Polje.
Common ravens were the first birds to welcome me as I entered the site with at least 10 hanging around. I then started to pick up on very large numbers of white wagtails foraging in the fields and flying overhead. This would be a near constant throughout the morning.
I eventually reached the spot I planned on doing the Big Sit from and settled down to bird. Grey herons flew overhead and Eurasian tree sparrow chirped from the bushes but the real highlight was when a large flock of rock pigeons and Eurasian jackdaws flushed up from one of the fields, and what was with them? Two ruff! A lifer for me and a bird I had chased and dipped on before in the ABA Area. A flyover flock of common snipe was a nice addition as well.
However, I was so excited to be out and birding in Europe that I couldn’t stay still for long and, after tallying 23 species for the Big Sit, set out to explore the rest of the Polje with what remained of the morning. Across the bridge over the Bosna, a large flock of European serin with a couple chiffchaff greeted me. Across the road from them, a flock of Eurasian siskin foraged in some conifers and a common sandpiper flushed from the river bank.
At the confluence of the rivers itself, a group of mallards was searched and found to contain a number of Eurasian green-winged teal and a female pintail. Three green sandpipers (another lifer) were foraging in the shallows as well.
Some patience and a bit of pishing brought a small group of warblers into view, including willow and two sedge (the latter is still flagged as rare on eBird is Bosnia despite not being so… one of the frustrating things about birding in a severely underbirded country).
By this point however, the morning was wearing off and so I started to walk back towards the city, although not without getting a third lifer, whinchat, and snagging a flyover great egret, my first in Bosnia.
I finished with 43 species, overall not a bad first morning of birding!
eBird Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39614218