Spring birding tours in Bulgaria
14 days birding tour
Classic Spring Birding Tour (Migrants and South-eastern Specialities/Get more than 200 species in two weeks!)
8 May - 21 May 2016*
23 May - 06 June 2016*
*This tour can be divided into two shorter tours as well as changed by canceling some days depending on participants’ wishes. It is also possible to operate the tour on a different way depending on the airport of arrival and departure, i.e. to have Varna or Burgas as starting/finishing point. It is also possible to shift the dates of the tour with several days, if this is more convenient for our guests.
About the tour:
The richest and the most attractive bird areas in Bulgaria, including the Western and Eastern Rhodopes, Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan mountains; the Black Sea coast with amazing wetlands and steppes, the wetlands and forests along the Danube river, etc.
Incredible diversity of raptors, waders, passerines and other birds, including a great number of eastern and south-eastern European specialties. Among them: Cinereous, Griffon & Egyptian Vultures, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Levant Sparrow Hawk, Pygmy Cormorant, White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, White-backed Woodpecker (the SE European subspecies), Paddyfield Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Pied Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Wallcreeper, and many others from the Bulgarian bird highlights and species which in Europe can be seen mainly in its South-eastern part.
Bulgaria's beautiful scenery, rich wildlife and excellent food are additional highlights. The BSPB Wildlife Tours (former LivingNature/by BSPB Birdlife Bulgaria) offers you the benefits of its over twenty-five years' experience of organising birding and Nature lovers’ tours in Bulgaria, well-known bird guides and excellent value. The hotels are comfortable and perfectly situated for birdwatching. Final details and bird lists will be sent to participants after booking the tour.
Birds are the main focus of the tour, but the wealth of butterflies, flora and fauna will ensure that you gain a fascinating insight into many aspects of Bulgaria’s natural beauty. Bulgaria is rich in flowers and you could see up to 80 species of butterfly, some interesting dragonflies including Norfolk Hawker, and a good variety of reptiles and amphibians including European Green and Yellow Bellied Toads, European Green Lizard, Spur-thighed and Hermann’s Tortoise, European Pond Terrapin and many other.
The full itinerary of the tour can be downloaded as a pdf file from above.
Costs: 1470EUR per person (groups size 4-8 persons)
1860EUR per person (group size 2-3 persons)
For Larger groups and individuals: to be agreed
This holiday is on a Full-Board basis.
As long as LivingNature is the brand of BSPB/BirdLife for wildlife and nature tourism in Bulgaria no percentage but ALL of the tour income will be used for conservation projects within BSPB/Birdlife Bulgaria.
For more details about the costs of your trip please check Useful info
Day 1 Arrival at Sofia Airport. Drive to a hotel in the area of Bratsigovo for one night stay, calling at Zvanichevo fishponds for Whiskered Tern, Little Bittern, Little Ringed plover and other wetland birds. Birding stop also at a steppe area of Besaparski Hills for Calandra Lark, Roller, Long-legged Buzzard, European Bee-eater and other.
Day 2 Exploring the surroundings of Bratsigovo for Isabelline Wheatear, Short-toed Lark, Barred Warbler. Drive to Trigrad for a one night stay, calling at the beautiful valley of the River Vucha, looking for Peregrine, White-throated Dipper, Grey Wagtail. Overnight at hotel in Teshel.
Day 3 After morning observation of Wallcreeper, Rock Dove (one of the last areas in Bulgaria to see pure individuals), Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Serin and other birds, drive via Kardzhali to Madzharovo for a three night stay. Birding stops on the way for European Honey Buzzard, Whinchat, Sombre Tit, and Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Night Heron and Little Egret at the wetlands in the river bed of the Arda River in Kardzhali. Dinner at the BSPB managed Vulture Conservation Centre in Madzharovo.
Day 4 Drive to the BSPB vulture feeding station and to Studen Kladenets area, looking for Black, Egyptian and Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Black Stork, Western Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear (the Eastern race), Chukar, Subalpine and Eastern Orphean Warblers. Back at Madzharovo we expect to see Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Black Kite, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Little Owl and others. After dinner we plane observation of Scops Owl at Madzharovo.
Day 5 Travel to Sarafovo estate of Burgas for three overnights. At the beginning we will pass near to Ivaylovgrad Reservoir, looking for Sardinian Warbler, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting and some water birds. Later we will cross the open Sakar Hills and the forested Strandzha Mountain with birding stops for Eastern Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Isabelline Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Spotted Eagle and other birds of southern origin, such as Short-toed Lark, Hoopoe, Roller, Black-headed Bunting. Migrating Red-footed Falcons can be seen.
Day 6 Excursion to Atanasovsko, Vaya and Mandra Lakes, and the BSPB Poda Reserve, looking for Collared Pratincole (Black-winged Pratincole have been seen here too!), Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Penduline Tit and Bearded Reedlind, Gull-billed Tern, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Pygmy Cormorant, waterfowl and waders. At Mandra Lake we will look for Ruddy Shelduck and at Poda Reserve for White-tailed Eagle. Dragonflies include Norfolk Hawker, Lesser Emperor and Scarlet Darter.
Day 7 Visit Pomorie Lake and Poroy Reservoir, looking for Slender-billed Gull, Broad-billed Sandpiper (in some years Terek Sandpiper, too), Little Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Marsh Sandpiper and variety of other waders and gulls. At Poroy Reservoir we expect to see Snipe, Ruddy Shellduck, but also Sombre Tit, Tawny Pipit, Woodchat Shrike, Black-headed Bunting and other Balkan specialities.
Day 8 Drive north to Kavarna for a three night stay, calling on the way at several sites in Eastern Balkan Range, including Irakli Bay and Goritsa Forest, looking for Semi-collared Flycatcher, Sombre Tit, Barred Warbler, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-necked Grebe and seabirds. At the cliff areas of the coast we will search for the Eagle Owl.
Day 9 Drive north to Durankulak and Shabla Lakes for one of the most wanted species – Paddyfield Warbler, an Asian species with very few breeding sites in Europe. Other birds at the wetlands are Ferruginous Duck, Bearded Reedling, Reed Bunting, Colared Pratincole and other. Birding at the steppe areas can produce Black-eared, Isabelline and Pied Wheatears, Calandra Lark, Stone Curlew, Lesser Grey Shrike. On the sea gulls and terns will be seen, possibly Caspian Tern and even Yelkouan Sherwater. Overnight in Kavarna.
Day 10 Visit to the Cape Kaliakra for observation of Pied Wheatear, Shag (of the Eastern race desmarestii), Alpine Swift, Eagle Owl, Calanda Lark, Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Stone Curlew and sea birds. In some years the cape is the best place to see Yelkouan Shearwater and Rose-coloured Starling. Visit to some of the forested valleys in the area can produce Grey-headed Woodpecker. Overnight in Kavarna.
Day 11 Drive to the Central Balkan National Park for two nights stay at hotel in the mountain resort Beklemeto. Birding stops on the way for Ruddy Shellduck, Golden Eagle, Corncrake, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern and some waterfowl. Overnight in a hotel at Beklemeto.
Wednesday 3 June Excursion to the high mountain beach forests and meadows for White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Water Pipit, Rock Partridge.
Day 12 Travel to Sofia for a two nights stay in a hotel at the foothills of Vitosha Mountain. Birdwatching along the road for possible Pallid Swift, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Peregrine, Red-rumped Swallow and other.
Day 13 Excursion to the alpine zone of Vitosha Nature Park, where in the mountain pine forests, rocky areas and meadows we will look for Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel (of the race alpestris), Common Crossbill, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Alpine Accentor, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Marsh Tit, Black Woodpecker. Overnight in the hotel at the foothills of the mountain.
Day 14 Transfer to the Airport and departure.