Bulgaria: May 09—23, 2006

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Departs: Varna
Tour Limit: 14
Download Itinerary: PDF (165.6 KB)

Tour Leaders

Milko Dimitrov

Milko Dimitrov is Bulgarian, and lives in Burgas. He is a professional biologist and ornitho...

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In the southeast corner of Europe, experience this less-known, friendly Balkan State on the Black Sea offering a large bird list and many species found nowhere else in Europe. High mountains, rocky gorges, marshes, fine coastal scenery, pristine countryside and farmland remaining from a bygone era.

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Europe, a Slavic nation in the Balkans, edging the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria is gaining recognition as an exciting and prime European birding location. Since the collapse of Communism, Bulgaria has been making sterling efforts to "westernize," but is still wonderfully rural. Wildlife tourism is well-developed, and roads, transportation, and hotels are all of a reasonable standard. A wide range of pristine habitats stretch from the Greek to the Romanian borders. We will visit coastal marshes, sand dunes, freshwater lakes, superb sea cliffs, ancient deciduous woodland, steppe grasslands, and spectacular alpine scenery of rocky gorges and snowy pine and spruce-clad mountains. A strategic position on the eastern edge of Europe makes Bulgaria an important location for birds migrating to central Asia, and the country boasts many species on the western edge of their range, and found only in this region of Europe. Levantine Shearwater; Pygmy Cormorant; Great White and Dalmatian pelicans; Ruddy Shelduck; Ferruginous Pochard; Black Stork; Chukar Partridge; Red-footed and Eleonora's falcons; Levant Sparrowhawk; Sombre Tit; Eastern Orphean, Paddyfield, Eastern Bonelli's, Olive-tree, River, Eastern Olivaceous, and Icterine warblers; Semi-collared and Red-breasted flycatchers; Isabelline and Pied wheatears; Rosy Starling; Rock Nuthatch; Masked Shrike; Eurasian Nutcracker; Spanish Sparrow; and Black-headed Bunting are at the top of this special list, and most are quite easily seen.

We will visit one of the best European sites for Wallcreeper, and areas immensely important for numbers and species of raptors. Twenty-nine species include White-tailed, Golden, Imperial, Booted, Short-toed, Greater Spotted, and Lesser Spotted eagles; Eurasian Honey-Buzzard; Long-legged Buzzard; Eurasian Griffon; and Cinereous and Egyptian vultures. There is also a huge range of classic European species to delight us. Little and Great bitterns; Squacco, Purple, and Gray herons; Little Egret; Eurasian Spoonbill; White Stork; Slender-billed and Mediterranean gulls; Spotted and Little crakes; Pied Avocet; Black-winged Stilt; Collared Pratincole; Eurasian Penduline-Tit; Eurasian Hoopoe; Eurasian Golden-Oriole; Cirl, Rock, and Ortolan buntings; Pallid and Alpine swifts; Red-backed, Woodchat, and Lesser Gray shrikes; Savi's, Cetti's, Barred, Subalpine, and Sardinian warblers; Rufous-tailed and Blue rock-thrushes; European Roller; European Bee-eater; eight woodpecker species; Calandra and Greater Short-toed larks; Red-rumped Swallow; Eurasian Crag Martin; Short-toed Treecreeper; Hawfinch; European Eagle-Owl; and European Scops-Owl are all likely.

This is surely one of the richest European bird faunas to be found in a short, unusual, and welcoming destination; expect over 200 species. Bulgaria, along with Spain and the Baltic, is one of the three essential birding destinations in Europe.

Good accommodations and food; pleasant warm climate; easy/moderate short walks.