The tour starts from Sofia at 14.00 h in the afternoon at the latest. The tour participants will be picked up either from Sofia Airport, as they are kindly requested to arrive there until 14.00 h (2 p.m.), or from their accommodation place within the city of Sofia, if they have arrived earlier.
One hour and a half transfer southeast to the northeastern part of the Rila Mnts, where for the rest of the day we will be searching for the Eurasian Pygmy Owl, Hazel Grouse, Spotted Nutcracker and other conifer forests birds, like the Ring Ouzel (ssp. alpestris), Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Common Firecrest, plus Water Pipit in the mountain grasslands and streams.
Overnight in Rila Mnts area.
In the morning we could either do birdwatching in Rila – to try to see the bird species we have missed in the previous day, or could transfer directly to the Trigrad Gorge in the Western Rhodope Mountains, where the main target will be the Wallcreeper. Other birds to be seen here include the Peregrine Falcon, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, Eurasian Crag Martin, White-throated Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Rock Bunting.
Overnight in Trigrad area.
Morning walk in conifer and deciduous forests with chances to see a Hazel Grouse, Grey-headed Woodpecker and Black Woodpecker. Then we could visit the Trigrad Gorge again (in case we have missed to see the Wallcreeper well in the previous day due to a bad weather). Later we will have a 4 hour transfer to the Eastern Rhodopes with several birding stops on the way.
Accommodation in the town of Krumovgrad for three nights.
Day 4 & Day 5
Two days in the Eastern Rhodopes, incl. one morning at the main vulture feeding place in the area. Main birds to be seen in the Eastern Rhodopes: Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Black Kite – all of them visit the feeding place, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Stork, Chukar, Eurasian Scops Owl, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Barred Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Common Redstart (ssp. samamisicus), Western Rock Nuthatch, Sombre Tit, Cirl Bunting.
Drive east to the southern Black Sea coast, with stops in the Sakar Hills, where we will spend almost the whole day, looking for the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, European Honey-Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Montagu’s Harrier, European Roller, Masked Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Tawny Pipit, Isabelline Wheatear.
For the next three nights we will stay in the town of Sozopol.
Today we will explore the wetlands around Bourgas: Bourgas Lake, Mandra Lake, Atanasovsko Lake and Pomorie Lake.
Key bird species to be seen here: Great White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Eagle, Greater Flamingo, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Collared Pratincole, Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, White-winged Turn, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Penduline Tit, etc.
Visiting the Strandzha Mountains (one hour drive south from Sozopol), where we will be searching for White-backed Woodpecker (ssp. lilfordi), Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Semi-collared Flycatcher and other birds occurring in the broad-leaved forests.
Today we drive north to Coastal Dobrudzha on the northern Bulgarian coast with a stop in the Eastern Balkan range, where we can see the Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Wryneck, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper, Hawfinch, Sombre Tit, Barred Warbler, Ortolan Bunting, etc.
Accommodation in Kavarna area for the next three nights.
Cape Kaliakra and Yailata steppes and cliffs. Here we will be looking for the European Shag (ssp. desmarestii), Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Pied Wheatear, Rosy Starling, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Lesser Grey Shrike, Tawny Pipit, etc. Mediterranean Shearwaters often fish in the sea close to the cape, attacked by Arctic Skuas.
This day we will visit the northern coastal wetlands of Shabla and Durankulak, close to the border with Romania. The highlights here will be the Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Western Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Collared Pratincole, Paddyfield Warbler, Lesser Grey Shrike, Bearded Reedling, Common Reed Bunting (ssp. reiserii), and other migrating & summering species of waders, gulls and turns.
Today we drive westward – to the Central Balkan Mountains (~ 300-350 km for 5-6 hours) with some stops on the way for birding and lunch.The Central Balkan National Park, protects the largest European massif of beach forests (Fagus silvatica), which are over 250 years old. In the evening we have good chances to see the Tawny Owl in the hotel area.
We will be staying overnight in Beklemeto.
Morning – another walk in the beech forests, searching for Red-breasted Flycatcher, Eurasian Treecreeper and other forest birds, incl. the Black Woodpecker and White-backed Woodpecker (if we have missed them on the previous spots). Then we will head to Sofia, where we could visit the Dragoman marsh (to the west of Sofia) and its surroundings, where we can find the Great Bittern, Short-toed Eagle, Corncrake, Little Crake, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Lesser Grey Shrike, Bearded Reedling, Ortolan Bunting.
One night in Sofia area.
Departure from Sofia Airport.
If the departure is in the afternoon, or in the evening we could visit some birding sites around Sofia like Vitosha Mountain.
During the trip we will see the White Stork, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-backed Shrike, Syrian Woodpecker, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Crested Lark, Olivaceous Warbler, Spanish Sparrow, the Black-headed subspecies of the Western Yellow Wagtail (ssp. feldegg), Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, etc. almost everywhere in the lowlands.
Download the check-list of birds likely to be seen on this tour.
2-3 persons: 2350 EUR
4-6 persons: 2090 EUR
Single room supplement: 260 EUR
The prices include ground transport, accommodation in en-suite double / twin rooms in middle standard hotels, all meals and guiding.
Arrival at Sofia Airport and transfer to Rila Mountain
Transfer to Trigrad area through the Western Rhodopes
Trigrad Gorge and drive to the Eastern Rhodopes
Days 4 & 5
The Eastern Rhodopes
Transfer to Bourgas with stops in the Sakar Hills and Strandzha Mountain
The Bourgas wetlands
Transfer to Coastal Dobroudzha with stops at Goritza and the Kamchia riverine forests
Cape Kaliakra steppes and cliffs
Shabla and Durankulak lakes
Drive to the Central Balkan Mountain
The Central Balkan Mountain; drive to the Dragoman Marsh and Sofia
Vitosha Mountain and departure from Sofia Airport