If you want to visit some of the most representative and valuable habitats in Bulgaria, holding the biggest part of its avian richness, this is the right moment and tour!
Passing through the kingdom of the birds of prey in Europe - the Eastern Rodopi Mountains, where more than 20 species of vultures, eagles, falcons, hawks, buzzards and others are presented during the breeding season, this part of the rou te is also especially recommended to those, who would like to enjoy the fabulous variety of passerines species from the southern complex (like Blue Rock Thrush, Masked Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, Orphean Warbler etc.). The remarkable diversity of raptors and passerines, combined with different water-connected species (as Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Ferruginous Ducks, egrets, herons, terns etc.) is also irrevocable part of the visits of other unique places both along the Black Sea Coast and the Danube River. This itinerary provides the extreme possibility to observe the birdwatcher’s dream – the Slender-billed Curlew! The complete trip around Bulgaria in spring promises longer than usual species list, exceeding 200 species! Do not miss the chance and see for yourself!
Day 1. Arrival
After arrival at Sofia Airport we have a transfer to a hotel in Vitosha Mountains, where we will stay overnight. Short time for accommodation and rest before walking around the hotel area, which will ensure a pleasant meeting with many mountains specialties (Pallid Swift, Black Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Crag Martin, Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, Common Crossbill and Nutcracker).
Day 2. Sofia - Trigrad
The first half of the day is dedicated to exploring the mountain and its inhabitants. Additional interesting species are expected to appear when trekking through the alpine zone (Ring Ouzel, Horned Lark, Rock Thrush, Goldcrest and Firecrest etc.). In the afternoon we head for the village of Trigrad in the Western Rodopi Mountains, where we stay overnight. Trigrad Gorge is one of the most popular European sites for watching Wallcreepers.
Day 3. Trigrad
Swift, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting etc.). Foraging Peregrine Falcons or Hobbies disturb the tranquillity in the area with their energetic flight.
Day 4. Madzharovo
After having breakfast, we start our journey to the Bulgarian realm of birds of prey – the Eastern Rhodopes. Exciting observations of the broken ground around the town of Madzharovo and above the valley of Arda River will add to our species list many birds of prey and passerines (Black Storks, Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultures, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards, Lesser Spotted, Booted, Eastern Imperial and Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Blue Rock and Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting, Orphean and Subalpine Warblers etc.). We spend two nights in Madzharovo, accompanied by the songs of Scops Owls.
Day 5. Madzharovo - Studen Kladenets Dam
It will be an active birding day. In the morning we make a trip to the spectacular area of Studen Kladenets dam and explore the vicinity of the village of Potochnitsa. There we will have short strolls to a few watchpoints and to the “vultures restaurant” (Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultures, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards, Short-toed Eagle, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Cirl and Rock Buntings, Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Red-rumped Swallows, Blue Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches etc.). In the afternoon we make a short trip along the Krumovitsa River where we will continue watching and hearing passerines advertising their appearance in the undulating countryside (Stone-curlew, Olivaceous and Olive-tree Warblers, Masked, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes etc.). Around evening we turn back to the hotel in Madzharovo.
Day 6. Madzharovo - Bourgas
In the morning we depart from the Eastern Rodopi Mountains for a diverting journey to the town of Bourgas on the Black Sea Coast. Our trip will pass through interesting habitats in Sakar Mountains (Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, Eastern Imperial and Booted Eagles, Olive-tree and Olivaceous Warblers, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Red-rumped Swallow, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers, Cirl and Black-headed Buntings etc.). By the town of Sliven we will see colonies of the attractive little Suslik. The fields nearby are also a regular feeding place for Montagu’s Harriers, Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles. We spend two nights in the town of Bourgas.
Day 7. Bourgas - Atansovsko lake
The tangible contrast from the mountain habitats in the previous days, compared to visiting the wetlands by the town of Bourgas (Atanasovsko, Mandra and Poda lakes) offers a delight of a whole new complex of species. In these important nesting places typical breeders are Great Cormorants, Night, Squacco and Purple Herons, Little Egrets, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibises, White-tailed Eagles, Yellow-legged Gulls, Little Terns, Collared Pratincoles and many wader species. Migrating or resting Pygmy Cormorants, White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Whiskered Terns, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gulls are very likely to be registered. It is possible to enjoy also rarities like Slender-billed Curlews, Citrine Wagtails etc.
Day 8. Bourgas - Balchik
After breakfast we set off northwards to the Northern Black Sea Coast with a few stops of great interest. The first will be the hyperhaline Pomoriisko Lake (Shelducks, Avocets, Sandwich and Little Terns, Yellow-legged Gulls, Kentish Plovers, Slender-billed Gulls, Whiskered and White-winged Terns etc.). Further on we will stop at Goritsa forest. The biggest attraction of the site is the Semi-collared Flycatcher. The species list there will include also Syrian, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Golden Orioles, Spotted Flycatchers etc. Visits to Cape Kaliakra and Bolata Bay are planned for the afternoon (Mediterranean race of European Shag, Mediterranean Shearwater, Stone-curlew, Alpine Swift, Rose-coloured Starling, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Pied Wheatear, Barred and Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Bunting etc.). These species are all present there both by the rocky cliffs and in the unique steppe habitats on the plateau area. We spend the next two nights in the town of Balchik.
Day 9. Balchik - Kamen Brjag
A short trip in the morning around the village of Kamen Briag and among the ancient tombs in the archeological reserve Yailite will be enough to enjoy once again the same birds, but in quite different habitats. Then we head to the wetlands by the town of Shabla (Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike etc.) and further to Dourankoulak Lake (Red-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Stone-curlew, Whiskered Tern, Paddyfield Warbler, Calandra Lark etc.). In the evening we go back to the hotel in Balchik.
Day 10. Balchik - Srebarna lake - Rousse
After a trip through the Dobroudzha fields we reach Srebarna Lake around noon. The wetland is the earthly paradise for birds, being also the most prominent reserve in Bulgaria. Situated along the Danube River it is of international importance due to its breeding inhabitants (Red-necked Grebes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Little Bittern, Squacco, Night and Purple Herons, Little and Great Egrets, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills, Ferruginous Ducks, Pochards, Whiskered Terns and many more). Foraging White-tailed Eagles, Black Kites and Levant Sparrowhawks are the perfect addition to this community, complemented also by Ortolan Buntings, Penduline Tits, Golden Orioles and Red-backed Shrikes. We spend the night by the town of Rouse.
Day 11. Rousse - Sofia
Early in the morning we will undertake a few hours walk along the canyons of Rousenski Lom (Black Stork, Long-legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Roller, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Middle Spotted, Syrian and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sombre Tit, Black-headed Buntings etc.). On the way to Sofia we will visit a heronry with Grey, Night and Squacco Herons breeding along with Little Egrets.
Day 12. Transfer to the airport for departure.
Price includes: ► overnights in 3-star hotels (days 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 11) and guesthouses (days 2,3,4 & 5) with en-suite facilities and in a guesthouse with shared facilities (day 10) on BB (breakfast included). Ordering lunchpacks is also possible for the daily excursions although stops for lunches in small restaurants will be carried out whenever possible.►pick up/drop off at Sofia or Plovdiv airport ►English-speaking guide ►luggage and private transfers throughout the tour ►entrance fees for Poda lagoon and Cape Kaliakra, VAT and all local taxes. OBS! The price of the tour for 2-3 people is 1130 EUR per person; for 3-4 is 840 EUR per person and for 4 or more - 695 Euro/person!
Not included: ►flights, maps (could be requested in advance when booking the tour) ►tips ►alcohol drinks, ►other entrance fees ►lunches/lunchpacks and other personal expenses
Other expences: Single room supplement (obligatory for individuals staying in sgl room): 120 EUR
We recomend trip in the period: May - June
Links to additional information:
http://birdwatchingbulgaria.com/ Birdwatching and birding holidays in Bulgaria