Birds and wildlife photography along the Danube river

Rollers and Bee-eaters

Saturday 26th May - Saturday 2nd June 2018

This bird and wildlife photography tour is focused on two of the most colorful European birds - the Roller and the Bee-eater. The tour dates coincide with the period when the birds will be forming the pairs,  so we expect a lot of activities - courtship, mating, food transfer, nest preparation etc. Our tour is designed for keen photographers who want to spend more time with their subject and get the maximum of it, rather than chasing bigger numbers of species.
Vetren is a small village based in north-east Bulgaria,2 km from the Danube river. We will stay in a small guesthouse run by our colleagues. The hotel is close to our main sites for photography - vertical loess wall, which is an excellent nesting area for both species. We will need around 20 minutes of walking or few with car to reach the spot. There are two wooden hides, prepared by us and suitable both for morning and evening sessions.
The whole area is also good for species as Hoopoe, Little Owl, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-headed and Corn buntings, Kingfisher and many more. There are also many pairs of Golden orioles in the area and if suitable nest is found we will take advantage of it. Golden Jackal is numerous too and if interested in that mammal we will spent time with it, using hides again. Next to Vetren is Srebarna lake nature reserve - a UNESCO heritage site and wetland with huge number of wetland birds, which give us good opportunities for Penduline Tit, Little Bitterns, Squacco Heron, White and Grey Heron, Little Egret, terns, grebes, ducks and many more.
Near Vetren is Maluk Preslavets Lake - protected area called "The Kingdom of water lilies". Here, there is a colony of Whiskered terns and if the conditions are favorable we have the option to photograph them collecting nesting material.
Further west is Kalimok wetland - protected area with unique biodiversity, providing natural marsh, riparian and other wetland habitats. This beautiful, picturesque place could be very productive for photographers, depends on the water level. If possible, we will be using floating hide. Among the most interesting bird species are Ferruginous duck, Black-crowned night heron, Great bittern, Red-necked grebe, Spoonbill, marsh terns etc...


Day 1    Arrival at Henri Coanda airport - Romania,  followed by two and half hours transfer that bring us to village of Vetren (including crossing the Danube River on a ferry). For the entire holiday we will be based in just one guest house so no time will be wasted for packing and transfers. Depends on the arrival time we can make a short walk before dinner to get familiar with the area. At the dinner table we can discus over the plan for next days and talk about the various opportunities we have.

Day 2 We will start with our main target species - bee-eaters and rollers, best light for photography is between 06:00 and 10:00 in the morning and between 17:00- 20:00 in afternoon, so we can turn back to hotel for lunch and have a short siesta before afternoon session.

Day 3 Second day in bee-eaters and rollers area - same plan (of course we are flexible and can change it if we need to).

Day 4 A day trip to Malak Preslavetc Lake - 45 minutes transfer with car for some wetland birds - mainly Whiskered Terns!  Here we will have a picnic lunch, followed by another afternoon session.

Day 5 After breakfast we will have morning session at Srebarna Lake  - a perfect place for wetland birds. It is your choice and we can choose camouflage hides or walking for some hand shots, because the area is a good spot for Bitterns, Squacco Herons, egrets, swans, Ferruginous Duck, Pigmy cormorants, grebes, Penduline tits, Great Reed Warbler and more!  We will back to hotel for lunch and rest and go outdoor for afternoon session again at Srebarna Lake.

Days 6 and 7 These two days we will catch up with species we might have missed, including passerines like Red-backed Shire, Lesser Grey Shrike, Corn Bunting, we have chances for Hoopoe, Syrian and Great spotted woodpeckers and more.

Day 8   Breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Departure.

Photo Equipment:

Best combination for  roller and bee-eaters are 300 or 400mm lenses on full frame cameras, birds perching 11-12 meters from hides and with 500mm or more we can "cut off" easily wings of landing birds. At the wetlands any lens from 300 to 800mm is good.

Best cameras:
Full frame cameras with fast "frame per second" rate are the best for this trip

1.4x , 1.7x, 2x teleconverters are very useful

At least one extra battery

Memory Cards:
Extra memory cards
You will need Tripods
Back up lens and camera
Lens Raincoat if you have

What to bring with you:
Spring is always unpredictable; usually we expect warm and sunny weather, but is good to have with you:
Waterproof shoes
Waterproof jacket
Warm clothes
Repellents - very necessary
Sun hats
Sun protection cream



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