Spring Bird Photography Tour in Bulgaria

Black-headed Bunting by Mladen Vasilev

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, Black-winged Stilt, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Common Cuckoo, European Turtle Dove, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole and many others


This tour includes 5 different regions in Bulgaria – the Danube area, the Eastern Balkan range, the Black Sea coast, the Sakar Hills and the Eastern Rhodope Mountains. We take photos from fixed (permanent) hides, tent-hides and vehicles. 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.


Day 1: The tour starts from Sofia at 14.00 h (2 p.m.) at the latest. The tour participants will be picked up either from Sofia Airport, or from their accommodation within the city of Sofia if they have arrived in the previous days. Then we have a 3-hour transfer northeast to the Danube river area and we will be staying for the next two nights in the town of Belene.

During the rest of the day we will have a photo-session from a fixed tower hide targeting the European Bee-eater and European Roller. There we will have good chances to photograph also Little Owl.


Day 2: Morning and afternoon sessions from the same Bee-eater and Roller photography hide.


Day 3: Morning session either from the tower hide or using tent hides for photographing other species, such as the Eurasian Hoopoe (if there is a convenient site) and the Black-headed Bunting.

Then we will have a 3-hour mid-day transfer east to the Eastern Balkan Mountain Range, near the city of Shumen. Here we have a setting of several permanent hides (two of them with drinking pools in front) for photographing a big variety of forest and farmland birds, including the Common Cuckoo, European Green Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Eurasian Wryneck, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Hawfinch, Sombre Tit,  etc.

We will have an afternoon session here and will be accommodated in this area for three nights.


Day 4 & Day 5: Two full days of forest and farmland bird photography from the permanent hides.

If there is a convenient site for Eurasian Hoopoe photography in this area, we will visit it too, using tent-hides.


Day 6: We will either have another morning session targeting the forests birds, or move to another part of the Eastern Balkan range, where we can photograph Semi-collared Flycatchers in one of their nesting sites in oak forests, using tent-hides.


Then we will move further southeast to the southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast, where we will spend a couple of days in the area of the Bourgas wetlands. Here we will have very good opportunities for photographing Great White Pelicans, Dalmatian Pelicans (in non-breeding colors), Pygmy Cormorant, Squacco Heron and a variety of other water birds, such as the Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avoset, Kentish Plover, Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern. The Yellow Wagtail (the black-headed subspecies feldegg) and Eurasian Penduline Tit will be amongst our targets here too.

Two nights in the area of the city of Bourgas.


Day 7: Full day photography at the Bourgas wetlands


Days 8: After a morning session at the Bourgas lakes, we will drive inland and reach another interesting site, the Sakar Hills. Here we usually take very good flight shots of Eastern Imperial Eagles and Long-legged Buzzards hunting on the Souslik colonies in the area. Various passerines can be photographed here, including the Olive-tree Warbler, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear. We will stay in the town of Topolovgrad for one night.


Day 9: Whole day photography in the Sakar Hills. In the early evening we will do an hour transfer further south-west – to our final tour destination, the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, where we will be staying for three nights.


Day 10 & 11: Two full days in the Eastern Rhodopes.

On one of the days we will make use of our permanent hide for Eurasian Black (Cinereous) Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, White-tailed Eagle, Black Kite and Common Raven. Apart from the vulture and raptor hide photography, here we can also put tent-hides on the river banks, where we have very good chances to photograph feeding Black Storks in the river.

Other target birds for photography from tent hides in this area will be the Masked Shrike, Easthern Orphean Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Cirl Bunting.


Day 12: Transfer (3,5 hours) to Sofia Airport, where we will finish the tour. If we have time we can visit the mountains in the southern vicinity of Sofia, where we have excellent opportunities to photograph the Spotted Nutcracker and other high mountain birds.

This tour itinerary can 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, reptiles and other wildlife, providing opportunities for enjoyable macro-photography too.


European Bee-eatersEuropean Bee-eaters by Dimiter Georgiev

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