South West Bulgaria May 2011
Arrival to Sofia and drive south through the Struma valley to Melnik, Bulgaria’s smallest town for a three night stay; stop at Kresna gorge for possible Subalpine, Orphean, Barred and Olive-tree Warblers and Woodchat Shrike. At Ilindentsi hills you may see Raven, Rock Nuthatch and Blue Rock Thrush.
Visits to Rozhen Monastery, Rupite (the crater of an extinct volcano) and Hotovo. Possible birds today include Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Rock Sparrow and possibly Rock Nuthatch.
Day excursion to Hursovo, Katuntsi and Slavyanka mountains, for endemic plants, Grey-headed and Black Woodpecker, Wood Lark, Goshawk and Sparrowhawk.
Drive to Kerkini Lake in Greece. Around the lake you might see storks, Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Spoonbill, terns, birds of prey including Pandion and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Cetti’s and Savi’s Warblers, Penduline Tit. Overnight stay at a hotel overlooking the lake.
Today before leaving Greece you will make several more stops around Kerkini looking for Night and Squacco Herons, ducks, Mute Swan, and several species of terns. Return to Bulgaria and drive to Gotse Delchev for a two night stay, via Orelyak and the Papaz pass, looking out for pine forest birds and Nutcracker.
Day visit to Slavyanka Mountains above Paril village for Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Honey Buzzard and Isabelline and Common Wheatear.
Drive east to Trigrad for a two night stay, possible birds here include Wallcreeper, Serin, Dipper, Black Redstart and Alpine Swift.
Visit to Trigrad gorge, Yagodina gorge and cave, looking for Rock Bunting, Crag Martin, Raven, Dipper, Peregrine Falcon, Alpine Swift, Goldcrest and Crested Tit. The best way to enjoy this area is to walk across the meadows and hills, taking about four hours. However any participants who do not want to walk can travel with the tour’s bus to meet the group later for birdwatching and the visit to Yagodina cave.
Drive further east to Madzharovo for a three night stay, with birdwatching stops along the way.
Visit to Dolna Kula looking for Black Stork, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Little Ringed Plover and possible Levant Sparrowhawk and Stone Curlew.
Visit to Studen Kladenets and the vulture feeding centre hoping for Griffon, Egyptian and possibly Black Vulture, and many other raptors.
Birding around Madzharovo, possible birds include Hoopoe, wheatears, warblers, Hawfinch, Golden Eagle.
Drive northwest to Koprivshtitsa the town-museum with traditional for the final night. Possible birds - Isabelline Wheatear and even Imperial Eagle.
Transfer to Sofia airport.
GBP 880 per person for the group of 7
The price includes:
Hotels with en suite facilities on a twin bedded shared occupancy basis
Coach for transfers and excursions
Flights to/from Sofia
Drinks and personal expenses
Single room supplement – GBP 110
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