A 11-days tour, which will give you the chance to capture some of the most emblamatichnite raptors of Europe.

Eagles, Eagles, Eagles

Thursday 13th - Sunday 23rd February 2020

We have been photographing Golden Eagles for nearly 15 years now and have acquired considerable experience and the results, including some failures and difficulties, have often been fantastic and more than satisfying. At the time we started, we were aware of only one other hide located in Scandinavia, aimed at photographing Golden Eagles. Now, there are at least 50 hides in Europe with Golden Eagle as the primary target species. It is a great change and shows how desirable this eagle is as a subject for wildlife photography.
So, with all these locations now available why chose Bulgaria as a destination to photograph this magnificent bird? It`s simple we have many fabulous options for different light conditions and superb natural backdrops and perches to help you compose your photos. During the winter you will photograph the eagles not only in snow, but on small rocks, on the ground, on juniper bushes, on mountain hay meadows or on a wooden branch properly situated by us. The light in Bulgaria, even in winter, can be excellent for photography; it gives you opportunity to be creative even with a difficult subject as the Golden Eagle. There are many opportunities for flight shots, when they land and take off from its perch or the bait we put out. Though interestingly the days when photographers were most happy with their pictures, was when the bait is long gone. Our network of properly situated hides contributes to turning all these natural advantages into a great success.

At the same time, in Poland, there is a fellow photographer who is working hard on another majestic, although not so tricky difficult raptor to photograph as the White-tailed Eagle. Marcin Nawrocki is one of the most prominent wildlife photographers in Poland. Thanks to his experience, thoroughness and practicality he has built and developed some excellent operating hides, which for the last 5-6 years have set new standards and brought wildlife photography onto a higher level. His workshop for White-tailed Eagles proves to be one of the best in Europe.
We have therefore decided to unite our efforts and offer an exclusive tour, combining both countries and providing a rare opportunity to photograph these two most majestic eagles in Europe. We will start our tour in Poland with the White-tailed Eagles. Here, there can be dozens of eagles in front of the hide at any one time; you will have the opportunity to take virtually thousands of pictures during the three days session. The birds are not that suspicious and due to the big numbers that are attracted by the bait, they feel secure and will spend a great deal of time in front of you, feeding, fighting, posing etc. Then we will move to Bulgaria and to the domain of the Golden Eagle, a far more difficult prospect altogether! The eagles mostly come to the bait on their own, sometimes in pairs, occasionally we have been lucky with 3 and very rarely 4 eagles gracing the area in front of the hide. They spend less time in front of the hide than the White-tailed Eagle, on average 10 to 30 minutes, but there can be several visits per day. The best pictures are of those birds taken in flight when approaching the bait, moving between the perches and taking off again. At all the hides you will shoot directly, no glass is between you and the eagles. Early starts are must, we need to be in the hides before the first light, we will spend the whole day in the hide and leave when dark. We will also have the chance to photograph other species of birds and wildlife. Both leaders will be with you throughout the tour with you.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Poland, Warsaw airport. Transfer to the hotel will take no more than 2 hours. Check-in, dinner and then a short talk and instructions about White-tailed Eagles - how are they photographed, our behavior inside the hides and the little tricks and tips that will help us for better images. Hides are located in central Poland - perfect habitat for the wintering whitetailed eagles, as from late autumn they collect together in their dozens in this area. There are several hides we can use, which can take up to 4 photographers. Shooting is through ambrasure, photographers can observe the area and what is happening infront through a small window above the ambrasures. Visibility is very good and you can easily monitor incoming birds, which gives time for better reaction for action shots. Also there is an option for low-angle shooting in additional low embrasures in perfect perspective and separation of the bird from the background. Hides are comfortable and spacious, equipped with a heater and a chemical toilet.

Day 2 to 4 Very early start, quick breakfast (optional breakfast in the hide) and drive to the site (no more than 30 mins), off road drive, fast and quiet accommodation in hide. You will be divided into at least two different hides, as both will always have an experienced guide to help you if you have problems or questions during your stay inside. We will have packed lunches, hot drinks and water. Beside the eagles, other species we can photograph are Common Buzzard, Pheasant and Red Fox.

Day 5  Today we will fly to Bulgaria, there is a very convenient flight with LOT, midday and the flight itself takes less than 2 hours. Upon arrival we will drive to our base for the next few days in a small family hotel. Option for a session in the garden hide; Hawfinch, woodpeckers, Sombre Tit and few more. There are two hides for the eagles, also designed for up to 4 photographers. However, they are in different areas so we need to divide the group if there are more than 4 photographers. Both hides we use are about 1 and a half hours drive from Sofia - one to the north, the other one to the east. After dinner, we will discuss the way the Golden Eagle is to be photographed.

Day 6 to 10 Five full days of photographing the eagles. We spend the whole day in the hide. Our newest hide is very spacious and comfortable, with a proper toilet. Heaters are available and there is a small kitchen. Eagles are almost daily here and there is a chance for a Wolf, provided we keep very quiet. The other hide is a little more basic, but it has excellent options for flight shots with a beautiful background. As we have enough time and assuming both groups are successful in the first days photography, we will swap hides, so that everybody will have the option to use both hides and take different pictures. It is also possible to use the garden hides nearby and photograph passerines. Other species photographed from the eagle hides can be Raven, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Red Fox, Weasel and some thrushes etc.

Day 11 It is a time to pack up and a short transfer will take us to the airport for your flight back home, hopefully with some memorable photos. Departure.

Equipment:  Best lenses are in the range of 400-600mm, 300 mm is the minimum, to which it is desirable to have 1.4 x converters, 1.7x, 2x - is a great opportunity at certain times, so it`s good to have some of them (if your lens allows it). Tripods are a must, it is better to have at least one backup battery; memory cards - 2-3 at least 16 GB; external hard drives and laptops can be available if you need it. Chargers - all that you need for your electronic devices.

Clothes: Warm clothes - the weather can be very cold, you need warm clothes to feel comfortable, thermal underwear and socks if possible, at least one pair of mountain boot, etc.

Photo and video gallery