Twelve days holiday exploring the prime birds' habitats in Bulgaria and allows you to see over 200 bird species including the South-east European specialties
Bulgaria in Spring
Sunday 7th - Thursday 18th May 2017
The second half of our tour will be spend into the mountains of south Bulgaria where the late breeders have already arrived. Our tour will end up at Vitosha Mountain, and your departure flight will be from Sofia airport. We are going to see more than 200 species, including some of the rarest European and Bulgarian specialties - Olive-tree and Paddyfield warblers, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Isabelline and Pied wheatears, Wallcreeper, Black-headed Bunting, Long-legged Buzzard and the Levant Sparrowhawk. There will be plenty of opportunities to see butterflies, plants and magnificent scenery.
Day 1 Arrival at Varna airport and transfer to Shabla lake. Next three nights we will accom-modate in hotel next to the lake, an excellent lo-cation to explore the area next two days. If time permits birding around.
Day 2 Today we will explore both Durankulak and Shabla lakes at our leisure. Here we can see Paddyfield, Savi's, Great Reed, Marsh, Reed, Cetti's and other warblers, Caspian, marsh and Little terns, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Ferruginous Duck, Squacco Heron, Lesser Grey Shrike, Bearded Reedling, waders, Garganey and many more. Forests around the lakes will provide Lesser Spotted and Syrian woodpeckers, Spotted and Red-breasted flycatchers, Haw-finch and Golden Oriole.
Day 3 We devote the day to the area around cape Kaliakra - the last remaining steppe habitat in Bulgaria. It is a place for Pied Wheatear, Roller, Short-toed and Calandra larks, Black-headed Bunting, Stone Curlew, Long-legged Buzzard and Shag. Here we can enjoy the last migrating Red-footed falcons, flying just around us. Despite a bit early in the season Rose-coloured starlings are also possible. At the end we will visit the nearby river valley where we have good chance for Eagle owls family. Back to Shabla for our last overnight here.
Day 4 After breakfast we head south. We will have several stops on the way mainly in forest habitat where we can see several species of woodpeckers as well as Semi-collared Flycatcher, Wood and Boneli's warblers, Booted and Lesser Spotted eagles, Short-toed Treecreeper, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch and many more. Overnight just outside of Burgas for the next four nights.
Days 5 and 6 Both days we will explore the Burgas wetlands - Ramsar and IBA sites. Here we can observe Terek, Broad-billed, Wood, Marsh and Curlew sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope, Little and Temminck's stints, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Dalmatian and White pelicans, Gull-billed, Black, White-winged and Whiskered terns, Mediterranean and Slender-billed gulls; Ruddy Shelduck, Little Bittern, Penduline Tit and Bearded Reedling, Oliva-ceous Warbler, Black Stork and many more.
Day 7 We drive south to Strandja Mountain looking for woodpeckers - White-backed, Grey-headed, Middle and Lesser Spotted, as well as other woodland birds - treecreepers, Cirl Bunting, Hawfinch. Nightjar is also very possible. On our way we will visit coastal wetland for more waders, herons, terns, gulls, Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Garganey, Little Grebe and many others.
Day 8 Today we have long transfer to Eastern Rhodopi mountain. We will have one main stop on the way - the site is optimal for Olive-tree Warbler, Masked Shrike, Cirl Bunting, Calandra and Short-toed larks. Lesser Spotted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Black Stork are also here. Late in the evening we arrive in our hotel near the town of Krumovgrad, where we stay the next two nights.
Day 9 We will explore the nearby Krumovitsa river valley and here we will enjoy Rock Nuthatch, Orphean, Sardinian and Olive-tree warblers, Nightingale, Black Stork, Levant Sparrowhawk, Black-eared Wheatear (both western and eastern races), Wryneck, Roller, Rock and Blue Rock thrushes, Chukar and many others. Great Spotted Cuckoo is also possible. Late in the evening, after dinner we look for the tiny Scops Owl in the poplar trees around our hotel.
Day 10 After a breakfast we head west and after about four hours transfer we reach Trigrad gorge - a magnificent area, the best place for watching the Wallcreeper. We will have several stops on the way and once in the gorge we will look for the Wallcreeper. Late afternoon walk can provide Rock Bunting, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Bulfinch , Serin and Black Redstart . Overnight in family hotel in the village of Trigrad.
Day 11 We will spend the morning looking for the Wallcreepers in the gorge and other birds will be Alpine Swift, Grey Wagtail, Crag Martin, Dipper, Rock Bunting, Black Redstart, Honey Buzzard and Peregrine. Afterwards we drive north and reach hilly area next to the Rhodopi Mountain where we can see Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Stone Curlew, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Bee-eaters and many others. Late in the afternoon we drive to Vitosha mountain, right next to Sofia city, where we accommodate in a hotel situated on the mountain slopes.
Day 12 In the morning we will look around for Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit, Pallid Swift and other birds and latter on we drive to Sofia Airport for your back flight. Departure.
Cuckoo is very obvious in Bulgaria. Photo by Dobromir Domuschiev.
... as well is the Nutcracker. Photo by Dennis Binda.
Paddyfield Warbler, one of the Bulgarian highlights. Photo by Emil Enchev.
Wryneck is a common bird in some parts of Bulgaria. Photo by Mike Walker.
Citrine Wagtail by Dobromir Domuschiev