Vultures, Pelicans, Masked and other
Shrikes, Wallcreeper, Ural Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Rock Thrushes, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow, Ortolan, Rock and Black-headed Buntings, Semi-collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Sombre Tit, Olive-tree, Paddyfield, Barred, Subalpine, Orphean and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Nutcracker and many other south-eastern highlights. (over 210 species expected)
12 birding days
late June/early July
* Promotional statement:
We offer a 5 percent discount to anyone who books a place (and sends deposit) by 31 December.
This outstanding birdwatching tour offers opportunities to visit most of the top birding locations in Bulgaria and to see almost all south-eastern specialities, among them the Paddyfield, Olive-tree, Olivaceous, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian, Sub-alpine and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Masked, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag and Sand Martins, three species of Swift including Pallid one, Rose-coloured Starling and other unusual passerines like Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow, Sombre Tit, Isabelline, Pied, Finsch's and Black-eared Wheatears (pale and black-throated forms), Rufous-tailed and Blue Rock Thrushes, Yellowhammer, Ortolan, Corn, Reed, Black-headed, Cirl and Rock Buntings. Woodpeckers are well represented too, with Wryneck, White-backed, Syrian, Grey-headed, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted ones being some of the most interesting. There is a good chance of seeing or hearing Scops, Eagle and Ural Owls, Capercaillie, Chukar and Rock Partridge.
South Bulgaria Mountains: The impressive canyons of the Eastern Rhodope Mountains are on the top of Europe's list of locations for birds of prey, where in spring more than 20 raptor species can be seen, among them: Griffon, Egyptian and Black Vultures, Golden, Lesser-Spotted, Short-toed, Booted and Eastern Imperial Eagles (Bonelli's also has been seen), Levant Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Hobby, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards. In addition, huge numbers of south-eastern specialities will broaden the birdlife priorities list. As an extra sight birdwatchers will see the cliff-nesting population of Black Storks as well as the delightful Wallcreeper in a picturesque mountain gorge and, with a good luck, Great Spotted Cuckoo or even Saker Falcon may be spotted. The mountain streams hold Dipper and Grey Wagtail.
Black Sea Our tour also includes an excursion to the Kamchia River to explore its famous riverine forest where Semi-collared Flycatcher, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Black Woodpecker and Short-toed Treecreeper are breeding species. Coastal Strandja and Sakar Mountains, Black Sea coast and the region of Coastal Dobrudja are some of the key locations to be visited. The steppes of Kaliakra are the favourite habitat for the Red-footed Falcons, Hoopoe, Roller, Pied, Isabelline and Finsch's Wheatears, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Black-headed Bunting and, especially in the evening, Stone Curlew, Scops Owl and Nightjar, whilst Long-legged Buzzard and Alpine Swift breed on the cliffs. Two rare mammals also occur there, the Marbled Polecat and Romanian Hamster and a botanical speciality of the site is the Broad-leaved Peony. From Cape Kaliakra Shag (Black Sea subspecies desmarestii), both sub-species of Yellow-legged Gull (Pontic and Steppe ones) and gatherings of East Mediterranean Shearwaters (yelkouan race) should be spotted. Kaliakra is also an archaeological monument, the site of ancient dwellings and fortresses revealing more than 2500 years of human habitation. Lakes Shabla and Durankulak in the north, and Burgas and Atanasovsko in the south are major wetlands to be visited where Penduline and Bearded Tits are among small passerines of interest. Birdlife includes particularly good representations of Gulls, Terns and Waders such as Curlew, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Dunlin, Little and Teminck's Stints, Grey, Little, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed, Mediterranean, Yellow-legged and Little Gulls, Gull-billed, Caspian, Sandwich, Little, Common and Whiskered Terns. On fields surrounding the wetlands we should see the Balkan sub-species of the Yellow Wagtail, the beautiful black-headed feldegg race, quite numerous everywhere. The riparian forest of Ropotamo will broaden the habitat theme where Little Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Kingfisher and Common Sandpiper are resident birds. Montagu's Harrier and White-tailed Eagle are among raptors we hope to see and an evening visit to a gorge presents chance of an Eagle Owl.
On our trip we will catch views of the famous passage of migratory birds along the Via Pontica flyway such as White Pelicans, Black Storks and Raptors. Waders feature Red-necked Phalarope, Marsh, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers. Arctic Skua also may be spotted in the sea where we should see three species of dolphins as they play just of the sea shore.
Danube floodplain: We shall also travel up to the Srebarna Biosphere Reserve by the Danube River, for close views of breeding Dalmatian Pelicans, Red-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorants, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Great and Little Egrets, Squacco, Purple and other species of herons. Ruddy Shelduck, Greylag Goose, Red-crested Pochard and Ferruginous Duck are among notable breeding waterfowl.
Balkan Mountain Range: We shall finally explore the highland Boatin and Tsaritchina Biosphere reserves in the Central Balkan National Park. We visit locations where Ural, Tengmalm's and Pygmy Owls may be seen and heard calling. White-backed, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers, Red-breasted and Pied Flycatchers, Woodlark, Tree Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warbler, Crested, Willow, Marsh, Blue and Coal Tits, Treecreeper, Gold and Firecrest, Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Common Crossbill and Nutcracker are some of the forest birds to be seen. We achieve our trip in reaching the alpine Balkan meadows where highlights such as Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Whinchat and Shore Lark are well represented.
* It has never been easier to reach the Bulgarian Black Sea as British Airways now flies direct to VARNA (just south of Albena). Another option could be to take a charter flight offered by Balkan Holidays from May to September. It is also possible to fly to Burgas or Bucharest. For this we take an extra charge of EUR 150 to cover the tour leader's travel expenses.