Spring Bird Photography Tour

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 Eurasian Griffon Vultures, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Pied Wheatear, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole and many others.

 

This tour includes 4 different regions in Bulgaria – the Black Sea coast, the Sakar Hills, the Eastern Rhodope Mountains and the Western 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 Varna 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 short transfer to the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast, where we will be staying for three nights.

 

Day 2 & Day 3: In these two days we will visit three different sites for bird photography:

  • The coastal lakes of Durankulak and Shabla: here our focus will be on species like the Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Black-headed Bunting, Penduline Tit, Yellow Wagtail (the black-headed subspecies feldegg), Paddyfield Warbler, Savi’s Warbler.
  • Cape Kaliakra and the surrounding steppes, which are home to species such as the Alpine Swift, Pied Wheatear, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Black-headed Bunting.
  • One of our inland sites for Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater and European Roller photography.

 

Day 4: After the morning photo-session along the coast, we will be moving south with a few stops in the oak forests and shrubs of the Eastern Balkan Range to photograph Middle Spotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike. 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, such as Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avoset, Kentish Plover, Collared Pratincole, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern.

 

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 Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Masked Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrikes, Isabelline Wheatear. The accommodation will be 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 hide 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 Eurasian Black Vulture and White-tailed Eagle. We will also survey the cliff formations in the area for Western Rock Nuthatch, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Rock Bunting. We can also put tent-hides along the local rivers, where we have 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, which is one of the most reliable places in Europe to photograph the Wallcreeper.

Accommodation in the area of Trigrad for two nights.

 

Days 11: A full day in the Western Rhodopes. Apart from the Wallcreeper here we will try to photograph other attractive birds like the White-throated Dipper, Firecrest and Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Black Redstart.

 

Day 12: Transfer for 3 hours to Sofia Airport, where we will finish the tour.

 

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.

 

 

European Bee-eatersEuropean Bee-eaters by Dimiter Georgiev

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