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Our 9 day tour to Southern Bulgaria, focuses on three of the country’s birding hotspots. First we go to the beautiful Trigrad gorge to see the local Wallcreepers and enjoy the stunning nature of Western Rhodopi , then we visit Eastern Rhodopi - home of Egyptian and Griffon vultures and other large raptors and we end up the tour in Burgas at Bulgaria’s Black sea coast - an extensive wetlands complex - IBA and a Ramsar site - one of Bulgaria’s best birdwatching sites, where we’ll look for migrating waders, gulls and passerines. Some of the highlights on this trip are Olive-tree warbler, Isabeline wheatear, Semi-collared flycatcher, Wallcreeper, Black-headed bunting, Eastern orphean warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s warbler, Blue rock thrush, Western rock nuthatch, Eastern imperial eagle, Long-legged buzzard, Levant sparrowhawk and many more.
Day 1: Arrive Sofia and transfer to Trigrad, stopping on the way at Besapari hills for Isabeline wheatear, Stone curlew, Lesser grey shrike, Short-toed lark.
Day 2: Trigrad. In the morning we’ll go to Trigrad gorge – the stronghold of the Wallcreeper. Other possible birds are Peregrine falcon, Alpine swift, Crag martin, Dipper, Grey wagtail, Serrin and Black redstart, Sombre tit. In the afternoon we’ll go for a walk in the surrounding woods to look for Hazel grouse, Black woodpecker, Rock bunting, Firecrest and Crested tit.
Day 3: Trigrad – Madzharovo.Transfer to Madzharovo in the Eastern Rhodopi Mountains with several stops on the way for Nutcracker, Bullfinch, Crossbill and woodpeckers.
Day 4: Madzharovo. Today we’ll explore Arda valley and visit the local RSPB (Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds) activities in the area and their vulture feeding station for Griffon, Egyptian and sometimes Black vulture. Other birds of prey are also come to the feeding station – Black kite, Golden and Booted eagles, Short-toed eagle, and Peregrine falcon. Later we’ll look for Subalpine warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s warbler and Orphean warbler.
Day 5: Madzharovo. Today we’ll have a short drive to Krumovitsa valley and stop to look for Chuckar, Rock nuthatch, Black-eared wheatear, Olive-tree, Orphean warbler, Blue and Rock thrush, Black stork and sometimes Great spotted cuckoo.
Day 6: Madzharovo – Burgas. Transfer to Burgas stopping at Sakar hills for Olive-tree warbler, Masked shrike and Cirl and Ortolan bunting. This area is also the stronghold of the Eastern Imperial eagle in Bulgaria and a good place for Montagu’s and Pallid harrier.
Day 7: Burgas. A whole day exploring Burgas wetlands – Ramsar site and IBA. We start the morning with Atanasovo lake. With 314 species recorded here this is one of the best birding spots in the country. Later we’ll move to the other lakes Vaya and Mandra reservoir. Possible birds today are Dalmatian and White pelicans, Spoonbill,Glossy Ibis, Collared Pratincole, Slender-billed and Little gulls, Gull-billed tern and a number of waders including Broad-billed sandpiper and Marsh sandpiper, Little and Temminck’s stint Red-necked phalarope, Penduline and Bearded tit and many more.
Day 8: Burgas - Pomorie. A day spent at Pomorie lake and the nearby salt works, checking for various migrating waders, plus Gull-billed, Whiskered, Black and White-winged terns, Med gulls and Pigmy cormorants. Later we’ll visit small woods inland for Grey-headed and Green woodpecker, Woodchat, Red-backed and sometimes Masked shrike, Cirl and Ortolan Bunting, Isabeline wheatear.
Day 9: Fly home from Burgas airport.
Wallcreepers at Trigrad gorge by Asen Ignatov
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