A birding tour established especially to those, who do not have much time, but who would like to see as much as possible!
Although quite intensive with a lot of traveling, we still have enough time to enjoy some of the most representative birding areas in Bulgaria. The trip starts with a visit to the Eastern Rodopi Mountains where more than 20 species of breeding birds of prey (Black, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard etc.) as well as huge variety of small passerines (Black-eared Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Masked Shrike, Sombre Tit, Cirl Bunting etc.) are most expected. Further on a special attention will be given to the wetlands by the Black Sea Coast and along the Danube River (Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibises, Purple, Night and Squacco Herons, Ferruginous Ducks etc.). However this tour remains a good choice as regards time-value-long species list!
Day 1. Arrival
After arrival at Sofia Airport we have a transfer to Plovdiv, where we stay overnight.
Day 2. Plovdiv – Madzharovo
In the morning a short stroll along Maritsa River will provide us with the first specialties for the journey (Levant Sparrowhawk, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-backed Shrikes, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Golden Oriole, Spanish Sparrows, Black-headed Bunting etc.). Around noon we head to the realm of the birds of prey in Eastern Europe – the Eastern Rodopi Mountains and the town of Madzharovo. Later in the afternoon we will have some time to enjoy the terrific view of the valley of Arda River from the above (Black Stork, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Scops Owl, Rock and Blue Rock Thrush, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Cirl and Rock Buntings, Red-rumped Swallows, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches etc.). We spend the next two nights in Madzharovo.
Day 3. Mazdharovo
It will be an active birding day. In the morning we make a trip to the spectacular Studen Kladenets Dam and explore its vicinity. A visit to the “vultures’ restaurant” is arranged, combined by the delight of watching feeding vultures (Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultures, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards, Short-toed and Imperial Eagles, Roller, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Sombre Tit, Cirl and Rock Buntings etc.). In the afternoon we continue further to Krumovitsa River where we will continue watching and hearing passerines advertising their appearance in the undulating countryside (Stone Curlew, Olive-tree and Olivaceous Warblers, Red-backed, Woodchat and Masked Shrikes etc.).
Day 4. Madzharovo - Bourgas
After breakfast we go for a turn at the foothills of the rocky cliffs by Madzharovo, observing again nesting vultures and huge variety of passerines (including also Middle Spotted Woodpeckers and Short-toed Treecreepers). After that we set off through Sakar Mountains (Lesser Spotted, Booted and Imperial Eagles, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Olivaceous and Orphean Warblers, Black-headed Bunting etc.) to the town of Sliven, where a feeding place of Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Spotted and Imperial Eagles will be visited. Here are also some of the largest colonies in Bulgaria of the European Souslik. Later in the afternoon we reach the Black Sea Coast and the town of Bourgas, where we stay overnight.
Day 5. Bourgas – Atanasovsko lake – Kaliakra Cape
The most interesting among the wetlands by Bourgas will be visited in the morning – the hyperhaline Atanasovsko Lake. The area is well known for its regular sightings of Slender-billed Curlew (White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorant, Night, Squacco and Purple Herons, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Yellow-legged Gull, Mediterranean Gulls, Little Terns, Whiskered Terns, Slender-billed and Collared Pratincoles, Avocet, Black-winged Stilts, Great Snipe, Curlew Sandpipers, Penduline Tit, Savi’s and Cetti’s Warblers, Black-headed Bunting etc.). Around noon we continue northwards to Cape Kaliakra where the biggest and most valuable steppe habitats are still presented in Bulgaria (European Shag (Mediterranean race), Stone Curlew, Alpine Swift, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Olive-tree Warbler, Pied Wheatear, Tawny Pipit, Rose-coloured Starling, Black-headed Bunting etc.). We overnight in the town of Balchik.
Day 6. Balchik – Shabla - Silistra
After breakfast we head to the easternmost part of Bulgaria – the area of Shabla (Levant Sparrowhawk, Ruddy Shelduck, Little Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-headed Bunting, Rose-coloured Starlings etc.). Then we continue to Dourankoulak Lake – wetland of international importance for the wintering population of the Red-breasted Goose (Red-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Red-footed Falcon, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Kentish Plover, Lesser Grey Shrike, Calandra Lark, Tawny Pipit, Paddyfield Warbler etc.). In the afternoon we pass through the region of Ludogorie, reaching the town of Silistra, where we stay overnight.
Day 7. Srebarna Lake - Sofia
Srebarna Lake is probably the most famous wetland in Bulgaria. We spend few hours there in order to enjoy its inhabitants (Red-necked Grebe, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Squacco, Night and Purple Herons, Little and Great Egret, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, White-tailed Eagle, Black Kite, Levant Sparrowhawk, Ferruginous Duck, Pochard, Whiskered Tern, Ortolan Bunting, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike etc.). Quite long transfer is expecting us to the city of Sofia. On the way back we make few more short stops on some hot spots for birding. We overnight in Sofia.
Day 8. Departure
According to the time of your flight we could go sightseeing Sofia. After that you will be transferred to the airport for departure.
Included in the price: ►overnight in standart hotels (days 4 & 5) and guesthouses (rest days) with en-suite facilities; day 7 - depending on availability only accommodation with shared facilities may be available. Bed and breakfast only. Ordering lunchpacks is also possible. ►English speaking professional birdwatching guide ►all transport Included in the price: ► transfers to/from Sofia or Plovdiv airport; ► entrance fees for Poda lagoon and Cape Kaliakra ►VAT and all local taxes. OBS! The price of the tour for 3-4 people is 640 EUR per person; for 4 or more - 550 Euro/person!
Not included: ►maps (could be requested in advance when booking the tour), ►tips, ►alcohol drinks, ►other entrance fees and meals (lunchpacks/lunches)
Other expenses: single accommodation – 120 EUR
How to get there? please check: Wizz Air - http://wizzair.com/; Easy Jet - http://www.easyjet.com/; Germanwings - http://www.germanwings.com/; Penguin Travel – http://www.flybulgarien.dk/; Norwegian Air Shuttle - http://www.norwegian.no/, Airberlin - http://www.airberlin.com; Ryan Air - http://www.ryanair.co
Recommended travel period of the year: May - June
Links to additional information:
http://birdwatchingbulgaria.com/ - Birdwatching and birding holidays in Bulgaria