Autumn migration in Bulgaria
9 day birding tour along Black Sea coast looking for raptors and waders on migration
Bulgaria’s black sea coast offers the chance to watch spectacular autumn migration every year. The western black sea flyway is the second biggest migration route in Europe after the Atlantic flyway. Soaring birds from the whole East of Europe, parts of Scandinavia and Russia gather in large flocks above the “bottleneck” near Burgas before heading south to Africa. On this tour we will see thousands of raptors and water birds, sometimes at very close distance. Impressive flocks of ten to twenty thousands raptors or storks and pelicans are likely to be seen almost every day.
Day 1 Arrive at Burgas airport. Depending on the flight times we can have a bit of birding after we check in at our hotel.
Day 2 Birding around Burgas wetlands. A Ramsar site and IBA, the wetlands around Burgas provide a safe spot for birds on the move to rest and feed before the long journey south. Today we’ll call at the raptor watch point at Atanasovo lake and visit several other sites to look for waders and waterfowl. Possible birds – Collared Pratincole, Red-necked phalarope, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Rudy shelduck, Ferruginous duck and large flocks of migrating raptors, storks and pelicans.
Day 3 A day trip to Strandzha mountains, south of Burgas to check for White-backed, Grey headed, Syrian, Great, Middle and Lesser spotted woodpeckers, Sombre tit, Hawfinch and Cirl bunting. Later we’ll go to Alepu marshes to see Purple, Squacco and Night heron, Bittern and Bearded tits.
Day 4 Today we go north of Burgas to check Pomorie lake and the nearby salt panes for migrant waders. Later we’ll visit large reservoir inland surrounded by small oak wood for Woodchat, Red-backed and Masked shrikes, Isabeline wheatear, Roller, Bee-eaters, Ferruginous duck, Rudy Shelduck, Glossy Ibis.
Day 5 Today we’ll make our way to Kavarna in the northern Black sea coast, stopping at a fantastic oak woods on top of the Balkan range to check for Semi-collared flycatcher, Short-toed tree creeper, Syrian, Middle-spotted and Lesser-spotted woodpeckers, Grey headed and Green woodpecker, Yellow hammer, Cirl and Ortolan bunting, Sombre tit.
Day 6 Today we’ll explore the stunning cape Kaliakra to check for passerines and the local Pied wheatears. Kaliakra forms the eastern end of Dobrudzha plateau and its 150 m from the sea makes it Bulgaria’s highest coastal cliff. Impressive list of 310 recorded species makes it really special at the right time of the year. The tip of the cape is one of the best places for sea watching. Being lucky with weather and overall conditions Kaliakra can provide excellent migration with flocks of Levant sparrow hawks, Red footed falcons, Storks, Lanner falcon, Red necked grebe and Yelkouan shearwaters in the sea.
Day 7 Today we’ll go towards the Romanian border to explore the Durankulak and Shabla lakes, both providing excellent stopovers for migrants among the surrounding flatlands. Possible species today will be various waders, several species of terns and passerines and maybe some late Paddyfield warblers.
Day 8 Drive back to Burgas stopping at several places depending on winds to watch migration from different points.
Day 9 Departure from Burgas airport.
Best period: September - October
Group Size: 3 - 6 people
Cost: 1050 Euro