Buljarica Bora

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Balkan Wildlife

Buljarica is a large wetland, predominantly reed bed, on the coast just east of Petrovac. On the late afternoon of March 7th there was bright sunlight coupled with a fierce, ice cold wind that came in gusts and ripped the water off the surface of the sea. This was the Bora or Bura at work; cold air rushing down the mountains. Apparently in some unlucky coastal areas in Croatia and Slovenia these occasional winter winds reach hurricane force at times.

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Buljarica from the mountain road.

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The Bora at work on the sea.

Remarkably, the place was awash with birds: at least 50 song thrushes, a dozen stonechats, a few blackbirds, 30 starling and 10 skylarks next to the short stretch of crumbling road along the top of the stony beach. The thrushes and stonechats fed in the lee of the thick scrub on a patch of recently burnt ground. The only place to view all this was the car and something, perhaps the blinding wind, made the birds very confiding. The light was wonderful but the background was often more litter than natural habitat. I watched a blackbird peer with cocked head then dive and dig into a pile of dead grasses after something but he never came up a winner; a greenfinch patiently devoured a huge seed or stone with great skill; and finally a wheatear, always an early migrant, turned up for a minute, posed and was away on the wind.

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Stonechats – male on the left, female on the right.

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Song thrush and blackbird.

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Female greenfinch and male wheatear.

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