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 species of vultures, eagles, falcons and hawks 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.Sardinian and Subalpine 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. 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 or to higher altitude, which will ensure a pleasant meeting with many mountains specialties (Pallid Swift, Black Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Crag Martin, Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, Common Crossbill, Ring Ouzel, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Corncrake, Dipper and Nutcracker).
Day 2. Sofia - Trigrad
Today we are heading to Trigrad. We will have a few en-route stops along Maritza River (Levant Sparrowhawk, Little and Great Bitterns, Cetti’s, Icterine, Olivaceous Warblers, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Masked and other shrikes, Golden Oriole, Spanish Sparrows, Black-headed Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin) and hilly countryside (Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Saker Falcon, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Eleonora Falcon Stone Curlew, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Great Spotted Cucoo, Sardinian Warbler, Black-headed and Rock Buntings). In the afternoon we head forcontinue to the village of Trigrad in the Western Rhodopei sMountains, where we stay overnigh
Day 3. Trigrad
The next morning we explore the mountain for Long-eared and Pygmy Owl, Black, Green and Grey-headed Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting, Bulfinch, Goldcrest, Crested, Marsh and Long-tailed Tit, Corncrake, etc.). Foraging Peregrine Falcons or Hobbies disturb the tranquillity in the area with their energetic flight. And more importantly, Trigrad Gorge is one of the most popular European sites for watching the Wallcreepers.
Day 4. Trigrad - 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, Blue Rock and Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting, Orphean and Subalpine Warbler, Woodchat and Masked Shrike, Rosefinch,s etc.). We spend two nights in Madzharovo, accompanied by the songs of Scops Owls.
Day 5. Madzharovo -– Arda River and 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 (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 Nuthatch,Chukar,es 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 Wild Farm lodging near Madzharovo.
Day 6. Madzharovo - Bourgas
In the morning we depart from the Eastern Rhodopes 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 Kestrel,,Lesser Spotted, Short-toed 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 Topolovgrad we will see colonies of the attractive little Suslik – the hunting subject of the Eastern Imperial Eagle. The fields nearby are also a regular feeding place for Montagu’s Harriers, Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Spotted and Golden Eagle. We spend two nights in the town of Bourgas. Approaching the city, we check the area around the levee of the enormous Mandra lake (White-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Levant Sparrowhawk, Cattle and Great White Egret, Squaco herron, Citrine Wagtail, Great White and Dalmation Pelican, Barred and Sardinian Warbler, Savi’s and Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticolla)
Day 7. The Mirrors of Burgas
The tangible contrast from the mountain habitats in the previous days, compared to visiting the wetlands by the town of Burgas (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, Caspian Gulls, Little Terns, Collared Pratincole, Lapwings , Greenshank, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Marsh, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Little and Temminck’s Stint).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 Stone Curlews, Citrine Wagtail,Greater Flamingo, Greater Spotted Eagle,s etc.
Day 8. Burgas - Durankulak
After breakfast we head to the most Northern Black Sea cCoast of Bulgaria with a few stops of great interest. The first will be the hyperhaline Pomoriisko Lake (Shelducks, Avocets, Sandwich and Little Terns, Yellow-legged and Med Gulls, Kentish Plovers, Slender-billed Gulls, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Whimbrel, Curlew, Turnstone, etc.). Further on we will stop at the Dyulino Pass (Bonelli’s Warbler, Semi-collared and Spotted,Syrian, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Golden Orioles. Visits to Cape Kaliakra and Bolata Bay are planned for the afternoon (Mediterranean race of European Shag, Mediterranean Shearwater, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebe, Stone-curlew, Alpine and Pallid Swift, Rose-coloured Starling, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Pied Wheatear, Barred and Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Bunting, Spotted Cucoo, and the recently observed rarity Rufus-tailed Scrub Robin.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 at the edge of the Durankulak Lake.
Day 9. Durankulak and Shabla wetlands
A short trip in the morning and a walk along the Durankulak beach will be rewarding with White-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Paddyfield Warbler, Rosefinch, Purple Herron, Bearded Reeding, Penduline Tit, Great Snipe, Little and Mediterranean Gull, Black-necked Grebe, Sanderling, Caspian Tern and all marsh terns. Then, after the marsh of Durankulak, we head to the wetlands by the town of Shabla (Levant Sparrowhawk, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Little Crake, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike (Red-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Stone-curlew, Whiskered Tern, Paddyfield Warbler, Calandra Lark, Citrine Wagtail etc.). In the evening we go back to the hotel in Durankulak.
Day 10. Durankulak - Srebarna lake
During our trip through the Dobroudzha fields we stop at the Suha Reka area (Booted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Ruddy Shelduck, Tawny Pipit, Hoopoe, Roller, Night Herron, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Stonechat, Whinchat, Rudy Shelduck, Black Stork) and continue to reach the Srebarna Lake in the afternoon. 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, River, Grasshopper and Savi’s Warbler, Bluethroat 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 in the village of Srebarna.
Day 11. Srebarna - Sofia
En route we will undertake a few hours walk along the neat little lake of Malak Preslavetz (White-tailed and Booted Eagle, Little and Great Bittern, Water Rail, woodpeckers, marsh terns) and then the canyons of Rousenski Lom (Black Stork, Long-legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Roller, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Middle Spotted, Syrian, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sombre Tit, Black-headed Buntings etc.).
Day 12. Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.