What our clients say about us:
Colin Steer about our Woodpeckers, Owls and Grouse of Bulgaria Tour – November 2023:
An Excellent & Successful 8 Day Tour finding the best Woodpeckers, Owls and Grouse of Bulgaria
In late October / November 2023 I completed an 8 day Woodpeckers, Owls and Grouse tour with my partner, a gentleman from Denmark and in part a lady from Kent. The tour was led by Dimiter Georgiev. We weren’t aware the lady would be joining the group (which was absolutely no problem) however it meant that cost for the tour was reduced slightly which was a welcome surprise.
Dimiter met us at the airport and had us swiftly on a way stopping for refreshments as we went. Throughout the tour I found him to be a sociable, easy to get along with, great company and perhaps more specifically an excellent and competent birder with a tenacity for targeting the specific species we were looking for. He also has an admirable passion for the environment and preserving nature and the worlds resources. He was not adverse to pulling any of us up if he considered we were talking too much or too loudly – frankly, I needed the telling off occasionally and certainly do not hold it against him.
The accommodations we stayed at and locations we ate at were all perfect and Dimiter took time to explain what some local dishes etc. were to ensure we were getting what we thought.
So, the million dollar question, if I were undertaking another Eastern European tour (both Romania and Azerbaijan are particularly tempting) would I call upon him and Neophron Tours for the trip? Answer, absolutely I would, no reservation whatsoever. He is an excellent and particularly knowledgeable guide and, having birded in Central & South America, North, East and West Africa, Asia and the Far East and Australasia I think I have enough experience of guides to know a good one from a bad one and Dimiter is excellent.
Well done Dimiter and thank you for a very enjoyable and successful tour.
Now to check my bird list targets for Azerbaijan.
Bulgaria wasn’t a country I ever expected to visit but the lure of a dozen birds I hadn’t seen for decades (some for 50 years!) and almost as many species entirely new to me proved irresistible. I confess I didn’t have much idea what the country was like so was delighted to discover it was an attractive land of mountains, alpine meadows, forests, coastal wetlands and agricultural areas with room for wildlife.
If I hadn’t edited the Crossbill Guide to the Rhodopes last year, it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to visit Bulgaria. Editing that book reminded me just how many new birds awaited me there. I was also reminded how many birds I hadn’t seen this century and some that I’d not seen for over 50 years. I went with a hit list of 15 species (at least 10 of which were lifers) and saw them all except Yelkuoan Shearwater. Lifers were Pygmy Owl, Hazelhen, Eastern Olivaceous, Olive-tree Warbler, Sombre Tit, Levant Sparrowhawk, Great White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Rock Partridge and Rock Nuthatch. Whilst I may have seen all or some of the following in Cyprus – Chukar, Eastern Orphean, Eastern Subalpine and Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers – I have no memory of them, so they felt like ticks! Seeing two megas – Pygmy Owl & Hazelhen on the first two days was a relief. Finding & identifying my third must-see – Levant Sparrowhawk was extremely satisfying. The last of my personal quartet of megas was Rock Nuthatch which proved elusive being absent from several sites we checked. Finding two birds on our last sortie for the species was a wonderful finale. My “century ticks” included Long-legged Buzzard (real ones, not cirtensis!), Nutcracker, Pygmy Cormorant, Common Rosefinch (a scarlet one!), Lesser-grey Shrike, Syrian, Grey-headed and Middle-spotted Woodpeckers, Black-headed Bunting, Semi-collared Flycatcher and Isabelline Wheatear.
I’m not really into snakes, lizards, amphibians, etc but I was very pleased to tick Fire Salamander, Yellow-bellied Toad, Schnidtler’s Newt, Eastern and Balkan Green Lizards, Glass Lizard, Snake-eyed Skink, Meadow Lizard and Worm Snake. The latter was a curious tiny snake that fully lived up to its name. I’ve always found it hard to believe wild tortoises really exist so seeing both Greek and Hermann’s Tortoise was probably the highlight of this aspect of my trip. I think Chamois was also a tick. I’ve not even started on the butterflies …
Finally, credit to Neophron Tours & Dimiter Georgiev for organising and adapting the itinerary to maximise my chances of seeing all my lifers. Thanks to the guide Dimitar Dimitrov & driver Victor.
… We just wanted to thank you (Dimiter) for your excellent services and company, that we thoroughly enjoyed. Your birding skills are excellent, and we found you, and all of the people that we met on holiday, very welcoming. If we decide to do another birding holiday then you will be high on our list for consideration. Bulgaria was truly beautiful and the birding superb.
My wife and I had 5 fantastic days birding along the Black Sea coast, guided by Chris, who not only found all of our target birds for us, but also many we were not expecting to see, like the Little Crake. We went to many different environments, to lakes, pools, wet-lands, forests, open woodland, steppe and the coast, and had great views of, amongst many others, Semi-collard Flycatcher, Long-legged Buzzard, Olive-Tree Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Sombre Tit, Black-headed Bunting, Pied Wheater, Pygmy Cormorant and 2 species of Pelican, etc. It was not just getting the lifers, either, it was also the experiences, like watching a Little Bitten catch a fish right beside the car, of a flock of Pelicans suddenly appearing right above us, of a Red-breasted Flycather on a branch about 3 feet above our heads. We stayed in 2 family-run hotels, where we were made to feel very welcome, and where we enjoyed fantastic home cooking (the home-made Quince Jam was very special).
Thanks again, we had a great tour. Hope to meet you again.
A delightful – and productive – birding adventure! Dimiter Georgiev is an excellent – and patient – guide and an amazing birder! He was very generous in sharing some of his favorite birding places between Varna, Bulgaria, along the coast to the Romanian border. In two days, we saw almost 80 species new to us in many different habitats. Dimiter is persistent! The pace that he set and the amount of time at each location were just right.
Dimiter also shared with us some of Bulgaria’s landmarks, history and culture. We learned so much and we will remember our experience in Bulgaria with great detail and appreciation. His tours were the highlight of our visit to Bulgaria!
Great day out with Dimitar today with over 60 species of bird on an morning trip, highlight was the ringing station, marsh sandpipers, greater flamingos, collared pratincoles, thanks again Dimitar may there be a few more like it.
Chocolate & wine about our Birdwatching and cultural heritage tour from Varna – September 2019:
Lovely day tour! Minko was a fantastic guide. Great sense of humor, spoke excellent English, and man does this guy know his birds. Adjusted the pace and tour to fit my speed and preferences, and I would happily have him as a guide again anytime.
My husband and
I took a 10-day birding tour in Romania with Dimiter Georgiev of Neophron. With
just one other birder on the trip, the four of us traveled through the Dobrogea
and up into the mountains in a comfortable SUV, which was able to handle rough
tracks. We also spent 3 days birding by boat in the Danube Delta, moving past
Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans, grebes, terns, and gulls. Even though it
was mid-June, with migration over, and birds were almost finished raising their
young, we saw 160+ species. The scenery is simply stunning.
Accommodations were smaller, nicely-appointed hotels in quiet areas of towns. Each had a restaurant where we ate abundant breakfasts and dinners. Most of our rooms had a balcony overlooking the water or trees, very lovely for sitting to read or converse.
I´ve just enjoyed wonderful two week birdwatchingtour in Bulgaria with wonderful guide! Thank you, Dimiter!
Zoe Gam about our 12-day Wildlife tour of Romania – June 2018:
This was our second holiday with Neophron Tours (our first was to Bulgaria last year) and we cannot recommend them more highly. The organisation was exemplary: the whole trip taylor-made to our wishes from the type of hotel and rooms we stayed in, to the itinerary for each day and the nature/wildlife we wanted to see. Our guide was knowledgeable, interesting, respectful, friendly and spoke excellent English. We visited the Danube Delta and wetlands, and the Carpathian Mountains in this trip and saw a huge variety of birdlife, wild flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and mammals (including Brown Bear). Our favourite part of the trip was in the mountains and in the region to the north of the Carpathians where the scenery was stunning and the towns and villages very picturesque. Romania is a fascinating place both historically, culturally and for its nature. At least a week is needed to explore a couple of destinations as the country is so large.
Mark and Beth W about our Classic Spring Birding Tour in Bulgaria – May/June 2017:
Neophron organised all travel/ accommodation and meals during the tour and also provided excellent knowledgable guides who took us to a variety of habitats where, as a group we saw over 200 species of bird despite the fact that most migration had finished.
This particular trip had been organised on behalf of one the trip members who wanted to see certain birds for his European list – he saw them all. I am sure Neophron would do an excellent job providing bespoke wildlife trips for people. We thought that the trip was excellent value for money.
To select just one memory from such a fantastic trip would be far too difficult. But a few stand out moments include: prolonged daytime views of Eurasian pygmy owl singing; being surrounded by singing scops owls in a local park; a pair of displaying wallcreepers just feet in front of us; black woodpeckers asserting their territories with deep drumming and echoing calls; and breathtaking and such varied scenery throughout the whole trip.
Our local guides’ overall enthusiasm was outstanding, they worked tirelessly to help us all get onto the birds as quickly as possible and making sure we all got great views. But what was more heartwarming was that they always put the bird and its welfare first! This is something which I can’t say about other tour groups. They helped explain all about the areas we visited, the birds we would be likely to see, their habits, behaviours and key features to help us ID the birds. They were sharp to calls and song which helped ensure key species were seen. Local knowledge was exceptional including the history of certain areas that really opened the groups eyes to our surroundings and helped gain a deeper understanding.
If you want to visit a country full of fauna and flora with breathtaking landscapes where you can go from snow-topped mountains to open grasslands in just a few short hours then what are you waiting for. This trip offers a great chance to see a whole range of Eastern European and Western Palearctic specialities at a comfortable pace led by amazing and friendly people who will make you feel relaxed and make sure you enjoy the trip as much as possible.
For more detailed testimonials you can also check the Trip Reports section at the bottom of our home page.