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Classic Winter Birding Tour (In the Lands of 100 000 Geese!)

8-days birding tour- recomended.

Places remaining: 7

Time period: 31.01-7.02.2017

Area: Black Sea Coast

About our tour:
The tour will get us close to most of the wintering species typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Prepare for astounding numbers of geese (depending on the weather, up to 200 000 birds!), including the beautiful, globally endangered Red-breasted Goose: in colder winters 70% of the world population, or some 30 000 Red-breasts can be seen roosting at Shablensko and Durankulashko Lakes. Another bird from the World’s Red List, the White-headed Duck, can also be observed in numbers up to several hundred individuals. Other possible species include Lesser White-fronted Goose, Dalmatian Pelican, White-tailed Eagle, Eagle Owl, as well as Saker Falcon, Yelkouan Shearwater and many others.

In addition to the thrill of birding the tour will reveal the beautiful scenery of the Bulgarian countryside and its rich wildlife. You will get a chance to taste our excellent cuisine too.

Due to weather dynamics the day-by-day schedule may vary. We have one goal: the best birdwatching score based on the species composition of the particular sites in accordance with the weather conditions on the particular day. In any case all planned sites will be visited.


Itinerary

1 Day    Arrival at Varna Airport and transfer to the hotel in Sarafovo District of Burgas. Accomodation there for three nights.


2 Day    Day trip to Pomoriisko, Atanassovsko and Vaya Lakes for Dalmatian and White Pelicans, White-headed Duck and other waterfowl, as well as Black-necked Grebe. Possible sightings of waders, including Northern Lapwing, Spotted Redshank, Sanderling, Eurasian Curlew, Grey Plover and others. Red-crested Pochard, Red-breasted Merganser, Black-throated Loon, Mediterranean gull and Sandwich Tern can also be seen in the sea.


3 Day    Day trip to Mandra Lake, the BSPB-managed Reserve Poda and Chengene Skele Bay. Possible White-tailed Eagle, Black-crowned Night Heron, Tundra Swan, Whooper Swan, Ferruginous Duck and other waterfowl, Great Bittern, Great Egret, Common Kingfisher and other wetland birds. Passerines as Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Bunting, Penduline Tit and other can be seen too.


4 Day    Drive north for a four-nights stay in Kavarna. Birding stops along the way for Lesser, Grey-headed and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Eagle Owl, Short-toed Treecreeper, Hawfinch, Sombre Tit, Mistle Thrush, Cirl Bunting, Yellowhammer and others.


5 Day    Day trip to Durankulashko Lake Reserve. We will start early in the morning in order to be able to observe the geese taking off and to explore the neighbouring crop fields where they feed. Spectacular thousands-strong flocks of White-fronted and Red-breasted Geese, together with Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant, Eurasian Curlew, Whooper and Tundra Swan, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Smew and a great diversity of waterfowl and passerines, including Reed Bunting, Great Grey Shrike and others. Syrian Woodpecker, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Saker Falcon can be seen close by the lake, and Black-throated Loon, Caspian Gull, Little Gull and Yelkouan Shearwater are quite possible in the sea.


6 Day    Day trip to Shablensko Lake Reserve. We will start early in the morning in order to be able to observe the geese taking off. We will follow their flocks grazing in the fields in search of Lesser White-fronted Goose. Peregrine, Merlin, Common Crane, Rough-legged Buzzard are also possible around the lake. The visit to Shablenska Tuzla Lake can produce Great Egret, Sanderling, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Snipe and other waders, as well as Ruddy Shellduck, Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and other waterfowl and gulls, including Caspian Gull and Pallas’s Gull. Possible Common Kingfisher, Bearded Reedling, Common Stonechat, Wren, Water Pipit and other passerines.


7 Day    Day trip to Cape Kaliakra and Bolata Valley and the steppe areas along the coast. Calandra Lark, Meadow and Red-throated Pipit, Long-legged Buzzard in the steppe habitats, Shag (Eastern race desmarestii), Black-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Yellow-legged and Caspian Gulls, Black-throated Diver. Black Redstart, Syrian Woodpecker, Water Rail and Eagle Owl are possible on the cape and in Bolata Valley.


8 Day    Trip to Varnensko Lake area, birding for waterfowl and other wetland birds, waders, raptors and passerines. Transfer to the airport and departure.


NOTE: Depending on the participants’ preferences the duration of the tour could be shortened and it could be made more intensive. The tour schedule is flexible and routes can be adjusted according to the airport of arrival and departure, i.e. Burgas can be the starting/finishing point. It is also possible to shift the dates of the tour with several days, if it proves more convenient to our guests.

Photos:

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), image: Svetoslav Spasov
Red-breasted Goose, image: Nicky Petkov
Red-breasted Goose, image: Nicky Petkov