A week of excellent birding with many Eastern European specialties.

Via Pontica - Early Autumn Migration

Saturday 2nd - Saturday 9th September 2017

After we have been running our Via Pontica tour for more than ten years, it is a time for a change now to a holiday which will still provide you with a lot of good birds and spectacular views of the true migration, but it will be even more relaxing and near to a high quality holiday. For the entire holiday we will be staying in one hotel only, perfectly situated between the Black Sea, with a fine sandy beach right in front of it, while Pomorie Lake is just behind and both are a few minutes walking distance. The hotel itself is a luxury, five stars one and offers high quality spa services. Having the hotel as a base, we will explore the nearby Burgas wetlands at our leisure. These are four big lakes designated as Ramsar sites and IBAs. We will be also visiting woodlands, grasslands and scrubby habitats. All will be done at leisure and we will make sure we have spent enough time at each location. We will have early evenings and even siestas provided everybody is happy. In case the group is bigger we will have two vehicles which will give us great flexibility. This tour gives you the opportunity to see more than 140 bird species and to witness the spectacular autumn migration on the Black Sea coast. Along it is the second biggest migration route in Europe - Via Pontica. Every autumn more than 90 000 raptors, 30 000 pelicans, 240 000 storks as well as thousands of waders and passerines fly over this way to their wintering grounds. The Bulgarian Black Sea coast and especially its southern part is a "bottle-neck" for the migrating birds from all Eastern Europe, also Scandinavia and Russia. That's why it is likely to see more than 10 000 storks, 3 000 pelicans or 2 000 Lesser Spotted eagles just in a single day. The other difference between them is that the first period is more suitable for waders, terns and storks, while the second period is characterized with more intensive raptor and passerine migration. We will also see mammals - Golden Jackal and Otter, as well as good number of butterflies too.

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival at Burgas airport followed by short transfer to Pomorie and check-in at the hotel we will be staying for the entire holiday. Time permitting we will explore the lake next to the hotel for waders, terns, gulls, grebes etc.

Days 2 to 7 Six full days to explore the wetlands and some neighboring different habitats. The lakes have many excellent spots for very productive birding and we will be visiting each one more than once as during the migration things change quickly. Waders will be everywhere, including rarities as Terek, Broadbilled and Marsh sandpipers, but also Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Little and Temminck's stints, Spotted Redshank, both godwits, plovers, and virtually every European waders is possible to be seen including real rarities as Great Snipe for example. Other wetland birds will be Dalmatian and White pelicans in great numbers, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Gull-billed, Caspian, Black, White-winged and Whiskered terns; Caspian, Mediterranean and Slender-billed gulls; Ruddy Shelduck, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck, Little Bittern, Bittern, Purple Heron, all the crakes, Pigmy Cormorant etc. Almost all European raptors can be see seen here, in fact all, except the Spanish Imperial Eagle and the Gyr Falcon. At this time of the migration the most numerous will be the Honey and the Steppe buzzards but eastern specialties such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Pallid Harrier, Red-footed and Saker falcons can be seen along all the other raptors. In order to see them we will spend some time at certain raptor watching points. Large flocks of White and Black storks will be seen too. Passerines include Red-breasted and Semicollared flycatchers, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Sombre Tit, Penduline Tit and Bearded Reedling; Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Icterine Warbler and many more. Flocks of Bee-eaters, also Roller and Hoopoe as well as numerous Red-backed Shrikes, Redrumped Swallow as well as woodpeckers - Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Grey-headed, Black, Green, and Great Spotted woodpeckers, possibly Wryneck and we even stand a chance for the White-backed Woodpecker. We can also visit the nearby old towns of Nessebar (Unesco World Heritage Site) and Sozopol in the south.

Day 8 Birding in the morning, depending on your return flight. Departure.



TOUR MAP