A week of winter birds photography focused on Golden eagles, Goshawk and passerines in Bulgaria.

Golden eagles and winter birds photography

Sunday 12th - Saturday 18th February 2017

Bulgaria boasts a healthy population of Golden eagles and more than 160 pairs inhabit its mountains. Our tour gives you the opportunity to take photos of these impressive raptors. From a distance of 25 to 35 meters you can photograph their natural behavior - feeding, preening and even mating without disturbing them. In the winter, when the food is scarce, the eagles visit willingly the bates in front of our hides. The great advantages of Bulgaria when it comes to Golden Eagle photography are the various options for background, as well as light and perches. Here you will not photograph the eagles only in snow, but on small rocks, on the ground, on junipers bushes, on mountain hay meadow or on a wooden branch properly situated by us. The light in Bulgaria, even in the winter, can be excellent for photography and in fact gives you opportunity to be creative even with a difficult subject as the Golden Eagle. There are also opportunities for flight shots of the eagles when they land and take off from the bait. We have been running this tour successfully for over seven years and so far we have build up a number of hides giving various options for photography and avoiding obstacles as bad weather, no access due to a deep snow, recent disturbance etc. All of the hides are different in terms of setting, access, distance to the birds, perches, background etc. Every pair of Golden eagles visiting the baits is also more or less different - some birds prefer to feed in the morning, others in the afternoon; some are feeding individually, some pairs usually come together.
The same is true for the other species visiting the baits - one hide has a Goshawk visits daily, another one has a constant flock of 30 + Ravens, third one has a Common Buzzard pair and few Jays etc. We have also established few bird feeders around the hides and these are constantly visited by Hawfinch, Sombre Tit; Grey-headed, Syrian, Great Spotted, Middle Spotted, Green and even a Lesser Spotted woodpeckers; Willow Tit, Brambling, Yellowhammer, Bulfinch, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Jay and many more commoner species.
The itinerary provided below is provisional in terms of sites and species that can be photographed, beside the Golden eagle of course which is the main target. If you are interested in that tour, please let us know what your preferences are as well as the period convenient for you, and we will be happy to suggest you what we think is the best option. That tour is possible from late November till the middle of February.

ITINERARY

Day 1
Arriving at Sofia airport. Transfer to the village of Koprivshtitsa, about two hours of driving east. Here we will accommodate in a  small and cozy hotel.

Days 2 to 6  Five full days of Golden eagles photography. Early wake up, we have to leave the hotel before 06.00 am. We have up to 50 minutes driving and 5 to 10 minutes walking to the hide, where we need to be not later than 07.00 pm. Other species visiting the baits at the feeding site can be Goshawk, Common Buzzard and Raven. With some luck we can also have Long-legged and Rough-legged buzzards.

Day 7 Morning session at the small birds feeders time permitting, followed by transfer to the airport for your return flight.

Additional information: You can leave the hide only after 18.00 o'clock in the evening. It is possible also to leave the hide when there are unfavorable weather conditions: thick fog, heavy rain fall etc. when it is sure that the eagles will not see you leaving the hide. In case you think you have made a good photos during the first days, or you just want to have a day off, other program is possible which is subject to discussions. In any case there are enough options for bird photography.

Clothes: Warm clothes and boots, hat, gloves etc are necessary. We will also provide you with some small heaters. It can be as low as minus 10 outside, but in the hide the temperature is much more pleasant. However, during the last years winters in Bulgaria are getting milder and it is often well above the zero.

Physical conditions: You need to be in good physical conditions in order to stay all the day in the hide.

Equipment: At least 300mm lens plus converter. Stable tripod is essential.

Extension: The Golden eagle photo tour can be combined with a short extension trip for Dalmatian pelicans photography. Depends on the winter, there are several sites where we can do this in Bulgaria. Alternatively, the best site for that species is Lake Kerkini in Greece, just next to the Bulgarian border. Here we can also photograph Greater Flamingo, Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Egret etc. Best period is end of January and February when the pelican's bills lower mandible turn into a bright red color. Within two to three days you can get excellent photos of the pelicans in breeding plumage - feeding, resting, flying etc. Please contact us if you are interested in that option.

TOUR MAP



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Golden eagles photography

Golden eagles photography

Golden eagles photo tour gallery.