I don’t know what those so-called meteorologists are doing: they all claim a moderately cold morning, but do not say a word about the fog! Yet, tree branches are covered in hoar frost and the fog is so thick one could cut it with a machete! Of course, I was going – birding, so the view of the fog (certainly not through the fog) has drawn several comments which I will not share here with you…
While the car is bumping along the dirt road, a Common Reed Bunting awaits me on a low branch… and then performs a real dance, twitching its tail sideways and following it in a series of quick steps! A way to beat the cold?
A Common Buzzard in the ground, another on the top of a bush… Buzzards were the most obvious birds, most of them coming from the more northerly countries to overwinter here and serve for target practice to a hoard of trigger-happy poachers. Against the European regulation, the Northern Goshawk is a huntable species in Serbia, which is used as an excuse to indiscriminately shoot all medium-sized raptors (especially buzzards) because they are all colloquially called “goshawks”.
A mug of coffee in a fog-enveloped willow grove with a two Great Spotted Woodpeckers busy chasing each other and then drumming the bark looking for breakfast, followed by an unusual tsrrrrrrrr – three Eurasian Nuthatches looking for food.
Mute Swans in their pond, several Great Egrets flying through the white dough, a dozen Eurasian Teals, seducing beauty of frost-covered willows – seducing from a warm cocoon of car, that is.
There is a bird in a low bush, a smallish raptor with slaty back and almost orange nape – an irresistible male Merlin, posing for quite a while. Here it is a strictly wintering species, and the first individual I have seen this winter.
Large birds flying through silver fog… buzzards? No, they are Common Ravens. It rains in a nearby grove – the temperature is shyly going up and the branches are defrosting. The sound is that of rain drops; not from the clouds, but from tree crowns.
A flock of about a hundred European Goldfinches, a dozen European Greenfinches and a few Eurasian Tree Sparrows among them… and that Merlin again! Now it lands on the ground and – observes me for a change.
Finishing the field trip, there is one Common Kestrel, all puffed up to block as much air as possible… And that fog.
I hate fog.
Photos copyright © Senka Puhalo & Dragan Simic
Those are some amazing roads you bird along. And don’t remind me of the two times I tried to see Red-breasted Geese last winter and failed due to fog / snow fog.
Yeah, it does tend to put the whammy on your birding day.
This winter I’ve tried to see the biggest flock of 20 or so Red-breasted Geese in Serbia for years – perhaps 20 or more years and no, there was no fog. The sky was bright blue, but my time was limited, already traveled a 100 km to reach the reserve, but had less than an hour for it, before I had to travel another 100 km to get to the workshop I was heading to. The sky was bright, I was there and you’re guessing – the birds weren’t there, most likely busy feeding on some field nearby… Still haven’t seen the RBG.