A 12-day bird photography tour providing excellent conditions to take pictures of colourful and attractive European birds, such as the Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, European Bee-eater, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Pied Wheatear, Penduline Tit, Spotted Nutcracker and many others.
This tour includes 5 different regions in Bulgaria – the Black Sea coast, the Sakar Hills, the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, the Western Rhodope Mountains and Vitosha Mountains. We take photos from fixed hides, as well as from various tent-hides and vehicles.
Day 1: The tour starts from Varna on the Northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast, at 14.00 h in the afternoon at the latest. The tour participants will be picked up either from Varna Airport, if they arrive there before 14.00 h (2 p.m.), or from their accommodation in the city of Varna. Then we will have a transfer north, to the area of the coastal town of Kavarna (70 km north of Varna), where we will be staying for three nights.
Day 2: Today we will visit the coastal lakes of Durankulak and Shabla, which host a big variety of breeding and migrating species of birds in this time of year. Here our focus will be on species like the Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Paddyfield Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Black-headed Bunting, Penduline Tit, Yellow Wagtail (the black-headed subspecies feldegg).
Day 3: The second day in this area is dedicated to Cape Kaliakra and the surrounding steppes, which are home to species like the Stone Curlew, Alpine Swift, Pied Wheatear, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-headed Bunting, etc.
While in this area, we will visit some of our well selected sites for European Roller and European Bee-eater photography, where we take great images of these beautiful birds.
Day 4: After the morning photo-session we will be moving south with a few stops in the oak forests and shrubs of the Eastern Balkan Range to photograph the Semi-collared Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Barred Warbler.
Next accommodation will be in the area of Bourgas for two nights.
Day 5: We will spend the whole day at the Bourgas wetlands, where we will have excellent opportunities for photographing White Pelicans, Squacco and Purple Herons and a variety of waders, like the Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avoset, Kentish Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Collared Pratincole.
Day 6: After the morning session at the Bourgas lakes we will make a short transfer inland and reach another interesting site, the Sakar Hills. Here we usually take very good flight shots of the Eastern Imperial Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard, feeding on the Souslik colonies in the area. Various passerines can be photographed here, including the Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Red-backed and Woodchat shrikes, Isabelline Wheatear and, with a little bit of luck, we can take excellent photos of the Masked Shrike and Ortolan Bunting too. Accommodation in the town of Topolovgrad for one night.
Days 7, 8 & 9: Our next destination is the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, situated at an hour driving further south-west. There we will make use of our special fixed hides for photographing Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Egyptian Vultures and Black Kites feeding on carcass. There are good chances of photographing other birds of prey coming to the carcass, such as the Eurasian Black Vulture, White-tailed Eagle and Black Kite. We will also survey the cliff formations in the area for the Western Rock Nuthatch, Black-eared Wheatear and Rock Bunting. We can put tent-hides along the local rivers, where there will be excellent chances of photographing feeding Black Storks. Accommodation in the area of Krumovgrad for three nights.
Day 10: After the morning session in the Eastern Rhodopes we will be travelling to the Western Rhodope Mountains, crossing lots of picturesque and scenic areas. We will be staying in the area of the Trigrad Gorge – probably the most reliable place in Europe to photograph the Wallcreeper. Other attractive birds, which we will try to photograph in this area include the White-throated Dipper, Firecrest and Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Black redstart, etc.
Accommodation in the area of Trigrad for one night.
Days 11: We will spend the morning in the area of Trigrad. Then we will travel (~ 3 hours) to Sofia, where in the rest of the day we will focus on Spotted Nutcracker and Ring Ouzel photography in the coniferous forests high in Vitosha Mountains in the southern vicinity of Sofia.
Overnight in Sofia.
Day 12: We can do a morning session in the Vitosha Mountains, focusing either on Spotted Nutcracker and Ring Ouzel again, or on other birds species present here, like the Common Crossbill, Firecrest and Willow Tit. Then we will have a transfer to Sofia Airport for your return flight.
On this trip we normally do early morning and late afternoon photo-sessions to get the best possible light for photography, and we make the transfers to different areas in the mid-day hours.
This tour itinerary could be changed on the spot depending on the weather conditions and the success in photographing the target birds of the tour participants.
On this tour we will visit colorful meadows, sand dunes and shrub habitats, which are full of flowers, butterflies and other wildlife, giving you an opportunity for enjoyable macro-photography too.