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…

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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

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Written by Dragan
Dragan Simic is obsessively passionate about two things – birding and travelling in search of birds, and that has taken him from his native Balkans to the far shores of Europe and the Mediterranean, southern Africa, India and Central America. His 10,000 Birds blog posts were Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards. Birder by passion and environmental scientist by education, he is an ecotourism consultant, a field researcher and a bird blogger who always thinks that birding must be better behind that next bend in the road, and that the best bird ever is – the next lifer. He tweets as @albicilla66