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Spring Optimal Birding Tour

Spring Optimal Birding Tour
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 Passing through the kingdom of the birds of prey in Europe - the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, where many species of vultures, eagles, falcons and hawks are presented during the breeding season, this part of the route is also especially recommended to those, who would like to enjoy the fabulous variety of passerines species from the southern complex (like Blue Rock Thrush, Masked Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warbler etc.). The remarkable diversity of raptors and passerines, combined with different water-connected species (as Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Ferruginous Ducks, egrets, herons, terns etc.) is also irrevocable part of the visits of other unique places both along the Black Sea coast and the Danube River. The complete trip around Bulgaria in spring promises longer than usual species list, exceeding 200 species! Do not miss the chance and see for yourself


Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival

After arrival at Sofia Airport we have a transfer to a hotel in Vitosha Mountain, where we will stay overnight. Short time for accommodation and rest before walking around the hotel area or to higher altitude, which will ensure a pleasant meeting with many mountain specialties (Pallid Swift, Black Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Crag Martin, Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, Common Crossbill, Ring Ouzel, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Corncrake, Dipper and Nutcracker).

Day 2. Sofia - Madzharovo

The first half of the day is dedicated to en-route stops along Maritza River (Levant Sparrowhawk, Little and Great Bittern, Cetti’s, Icterine, Olivaceous Warbler, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Masked and other shrikes, Golden Oriole, Wryneck, Green Woodpecker, Spanish Sparrows, Black-headed Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin) and hilly countryside (Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Saker Falcon, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Eleonora Falcon Stone Curlew, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Great Spotted Cucoo, Sardinian Warbler, Black-headed and Rock Bunting). In the afternoon we continue to the Eastern Rhodopes, where we stay two night at the Wild Farm.

Day 3. Madzharovo – Arda River and Studen Kladenets Dam

It will be an active birding day. In the morning we make a trip to the spectacular area of Studen Kladenets dam and explore the vicinity of the village of Potochnitsa. There we will have short strolls to a few watchpoints (Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultur, Long-legged and Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warbler, Cirl and Rock Bunting, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch, Chukar, etc.). In the afternoon we make a short trip along the Krumovitsa River where we will continue watching and hearing passerines advertising their appearance in the undulating countryside (Stone-curlew, Olivaceous and Olive-tree Warbler, Masked, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrike etc.). Around evening we turn back to the Wild Farm lodging near Madzharovo.

Day 4. Rhodope Mountain – Strandzha Mountain

In the morning we depart from the Eastern Rhodopes for a diverting journey to the Strandzha Mountain not far from the Black Sea coast. Our trip will pass through interesting habitats in Sakar Mountain (Lesser Kestrel,,Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, and Booted Eagles, Olive-tree and Olivaceous Warbler, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers Red-rumped Swallow, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Cirl and Black-headed Bunting etc.). By the town of Topolovgrad we will see colonies of the attractive little Suslik – the hunting subject of the Eastern Imperial Eagle. The fields nearby are also a regular feeding place for Montagu’s Harriers, Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Spotted and Golden Eagle. We cross the Strandzha Mountain (Black Stork, Short-toed, Golden and Booted Eagle, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted and White-backed Woodpecker, Woodlark, Olive-tree Warbler, Ortolan Bunting, Semi-collared Flycatcher) and spend one night at the picturesque area of Kovach.
 

Day 5. Strandzha - Burgas

Early morning in the surrounded area provides some birding delight (Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagles, Olive-tree and Barred Warbler, Green Woodpecker, Nightjar, Long-eared, Tawny and Barn Owl, Golden Oriole, Crested and Long-tailed Tit, Masked and Woodchat Shrike, Rosefinch, Woodlark, Corncrake). Next we take a short journey to Burgas along the river of Ropotamo and the adjacent Black Sea beaches (Pallid Harier, Greater Spotted and White-tailed Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Mediterranean Shearwater, Spotted and Little Crake, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Semi collared Flycatcher, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard). Approaching the city, we check the area around the levee of the enormous Mandra lake (White-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Levant Sparrowhawk, Cattle and Great White Egret, Squaco herron, Citrine Wagtail, Great White and Dalmation Pelican, Barred and Sardinian Warbler, Savi’s and Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticolla). We stay in Burgas for two nights.

Day 6. The Mirrors of Burgas

The tangible contrast from the mountain habitats in the previous days, compared to visiting the wetlands by the town of Burgas (Atanasovsko, Mandra and Poda lakes) offers a delight of a whole new complex of species. In these important nesting places typical breeders are Great Cormorant, Night, Squacco and Purple Heron, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibise, White-tailed Eagle, Caspian Gull, Little Tern, Collared Pratincole, Lapwing, Greenshank, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Marsh, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Little and Temminck’s Stint). Migrating or resting Pygmy Cormorants, White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Whiskered Terns, Slender billed and Mediterranean Gulls are very likely to be registered. It is possible to enjoy also rarities like Stone Curlew, Citrine Wagtail, Greater Flamingo, Greater Spotted Eagle, etc.

Day 7. Burgas - Durankulak

After breakfast we head to the most Northern Black Sea coast of Bulgaria with a few stops of great interest. The first will be the hyperhaline Pomoriisko Lake (Shelduck, Avocet, Sandwich and Little Tern, Yellow-legged and Med Gull, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Whiskered and White-winged Terns, Whimbrel, Curlew, Turnstone, etc.). Further on we will stop at the Dyulino Pass (Bonelli’s Warbler, Semi-collared and Spotted Flycatcher, Syrian, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Golden Orioles). Visits to Cape Kaliakra and Bolata Bay are planned for the afternoon (Mediterranean race of European Shag, Mediterranean Shearwater, Slavonian and Black-necked Grebe, Stone-curlew, Alpine and Pallid Swift, Rose-coloured Starling, Calandra and Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Pied Wheatear, Barred and Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Bunting, Spotted Cucoo, Wryneck and the recently observed rarity Rufus-tailed Scrub Robin). These species are all present there both by the rocky cliffs and in the unique steppe habitats on the plateau area. We spend the next two nights at the edge of the Durankulak Lake.

Day 8. Durankulak and Shabla wetlands

A short trip in the morning and a walk along the Durankulak beach will be rewarding with White-tailed Eagle, Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Paddyfield Warbler, Rosefinch, Purple Herron, Bearded Reeding, Penduline Tit, Great Snipe, Little and Mediterranean Gull, Black necked Grebe, Sanderling, Caspian Tern and all marsh terns. Then, after the marsh of Durankulak, we head to the wetlands by the town of Shabla (Levant Sparrowhawk, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Little Crake, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Stone-curlew, Whiskered Tern, Paddyfield Warbler, Calandra Lark, Citrine Wagtail etc.). In the evening we go back to the hotel in Durankulak.

Day 9. Durankulak - Srebarna lake

During our trip through the Dobroudzha fields we stop at the Suha Reka area (Booted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Ruddy Shelduck, Tawny Pipit, Hoopoe, Roller, Night Herron, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Stonechat, Whinchat, Rudy Shelduck, Black Stork) and continue to reach the Srebarna Lake in the afternoon. The wetland is the earthly paradise for birds, being also the most prominent reserve in Bulgaria. Situated along the Danube River it is of international importance due to its breeding inhabitants (Red-necked Grebe, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Squacco, Night and Purple Heron, Little and Great Egret, Glossy Ibise, Spoonbill, Ferruginous Duck, Pochard, Whiskered Tern, River, Grasshopper and Savi’s Warbler, Bluethroat and many more). Foraging White-tailed Eagles, Black Kites and Levant Sparrowhawks are the perfect addition to this community, complemented also by Ortolan Buntings, Penduline Tits, Golden Orioles and Red-backed Shrikes. We spend the night in the village of Srebarna.

Day 10. Srebarna - Sofia

En route we will undertake a few hours walk along the neat little lake of Malak Preslavetz (White-tailed and Booted Eagle, Little and Great Bittern, Water Rail, woodpeckers, marsh terns) and then the canyons of Rousenski Lom (Black Stork, Long-legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Roller, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Middle Spotted, Syrian, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sombre Tit, Black-headed Buntings etc.).

Day 11. Departure

Transfer to the airport for departure but possibly before that a new check of the Vitosha Mountain, this time the early morning stroll giving better prospects. 


Price Includes:
overnights in standart hotels with en-suite facilities and breakfast included
transfer to/from Sofia Airport
English-speaking birdwatching guide
luggage and private transfers as mentioned above
entrance fees for Poda lagoon
Pomorie Lake and Cape Kaliakra
VAT and all local taxes.

Not Included:
flights
maps (could be requested in advance when booking the tour)
tips
alcohol drinks
lunches/lunchpacks
other entrance fees and other personal expenses.

Additional Services:
Supplement for 2-3 travelers: 220 EUR


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Spring Optimal Birding Tour (Rated 4.9 / 5 Based on 37 Reviews.)
Group Size
Min 4 persons
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