Birds and wildlife photography along the Danube river

Rollers and Bee-eaters

Saturday 16th - Saturday 23rd May 2020

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.
Belene is small town based on Danube river in central part of Bulgarian part of the river. Close to the town is situated biggest island in Bulgarian part of the river. We will accommodate in small hotel on the shore of Danube river with beautiful view from your balcony and tasty food. The hotel is on 15 minutes driving from our wooden photography hide. Hide is situated to vertical loess wall, where Bee-eaters and Rollers breeding.
The whole area is also good for species as Little Owl, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe, Pheasant, Syrian Woodpecker, Corn Bunting, Spanish Sparrow, White Stork,Crested Lark, Kingfisher, Penduline Tit, Golden Jackal and Souslik (ground squirrel). In this period of the year many agricultural areas around are flooded and many birds use these flooded areas for breeding and feeding. We can use camouflage tents on water edge to take photos of Whiskered Terns, Black-winged Stilts, Common Lapwings, Garganeys, Mallards, Little Bittern, herons and egrets and many more.

Overall, beside the main targets, we shall have plenty of opportunities for memorable photos and moments.


ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrival at Sofia airport,  followed by 3 hours transfer that bring us to town of Belene. Accommodation in the hotel. 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.

Days 2 to 7  Next six full days of photography in the area. Our main targets are Rollers and Bee-eaters. We will use our hide and mobile hides for birds in flight. All hours during the day are good for photography of this species. Of course, best light conditions are between 06:00 and 10:00 in the morning and between 17:00- 20:00 in afternoon. We will spend more time in the wooden hide, then chances for perfect shot rise up. In the region there are a few small colonies of Bee-eaters, and we will try with mobile hides for different background and recourse.
It is possible to organized a short trip on Belene island. Access is limited because on the island there is a prison and we can be there from 8 to 16 o`clock. On the island there are a lot of marshes. Birds and animals are undisturbed and very close to the water edge. In marshes we can see Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebes, Feruginous Duck, Garganey, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Pygmy Cormorant, Common Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Greylag Geese, Little Bittern, Great Reed and Reed Warblers, Penduline Tit, Common and Whiskered Terns, Dalmatian Pelicans and many more. Except the birds we can find пїЅ Tree Frog, dragonflies, butterflies and flowers.
Close to Belene is пїЅKaikushaпїЅ Nature reserve пїЅ there is a high birdwatching tower, which is comfortable for photography of the birds in flight пїЅ Marsh Harrier, terns, Common Cuckoo, Little Bittern and more. In this area is interesting for dragonflies and butterflies.
There is a small colony of Ground Squirrels in the region. These small animals are not so shy and really easy for photography. We can compose really beautiful shots while eat flowers, clean the fur, etc. Golden Jackal is quite common species in the region. There is possibility for good shots in the day.
During the all days we have options to take shots of species as Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Corn and Black-headed Bunting and more.

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

Photo Equipment:

Lenses: Best combination for roller and beeeaters are 300, 400, 500 mm lenses on full frame or crop cameras. At the wetlands any lens from 300 to 800mm is good.

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

Batteries:
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
Flashlight

TOUR MAP

Photo and video gallery

Rollers and Bee-eaters

Rollers and Bee-eaters

Rollers and Bee-eaters tour gallery