An 8-days birding holiday in search of wintering birds along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
Bulgaria in Winter
Saturday 8th - Saturday 15th February 2014
Because of its mild winter, the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is a haunt for many birds, which winter here in their thousands. For several species Bulgaria is the best place to see them, especially during this time of the year.
Foremost among them is the spectacular Red-breasted Goose. In January and February almost the whole world’s population is concentrated here. Other attractive species wintering in big numbers are the Pygmy Cormorant, the White-headed Duck and the Dalmatian Pelican. Additionally we have a good chance for real rarities, such as Lesser White-fronted Goose and Spotted Eagle.
Even the Great Black-headed Gull is possible as usually we observe several birds every February around the Burgas wetlands. We expect well over 100 bird species in our checklist. This holiday will be on a relaxing pace, with only two hotels to be used.
Arrival at Varna airport and transfer to Durankulak where we will be based next 3 days. Birding in the area if time permits.
Days 2 to 4
These days we will explore Durankulak and Shabla lakes, as well as the surrounding wheat fields where the geese feed. Beside our main goal – the Red-breasted Goose flocks, we will careful check the White-fronted geese flocks as it may reward us with Lesser White-fronted Goose. Other birds will be Bean and Greylag geese, Black-necked and Red-necked grebes, Black-throated and Red-throated divers, Syrian Woodpecker, Rough-legged and Long-legged buzzards, Hen Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Merlin, Peregrine and possibly Saker Falcon. We also stand a good chance for the Spotted Eagle. Passerines will include Bearded Reedling, Moustached Warbler, Calandra and Crested larks, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Hawfinch and many more. We will also visit some rocky areas in order to find the majestic Eagle Owl.
Transfer to Burgas, for a three nights stay. On the way we will check an woodland where we can find Lesser Spotted, Middle Spotted, Great Spotted, possibly Black, Grey-headed and there is a little chance for a White-backed woodpeckers.
Days 6 and 7
We spend both days exploring Burgas wetlands which are important Ramsar sites and IBAs. We will also visit some wetlands further south. Meanwhile we enjoy viewing species like Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, White-headed Duck, Smew, Red-crested Pochard, Pintail, Spoonbill, White-tailed Eagle, Bittern etc. Great Black-headed Gull is also possible. Some early waders such as Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank and Curlew will have already arrived. The deciduous forests around the lakes can provide several species of woodpeckers – Grey-headed, Middle and Lesser Spotted and other birds, such as Sombre Tit, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting etc. The wetlands support a healthy population of Common Otters and the winter is the best time to see them out in the open.
Two and a half hours transfer brings us to Varna airport for your flight back home. En-route, we shall have few more birding stops. Departure.
Note: This tour is also possible to start/end at Burgas Airport!
Bulgaria in winter - cold, but sunny!
The adult Dalmatian pelicans will have their bills bright red coloured!
Photo by Dobromir Domuschiev.
The observation of the huge geese flocks is unforgettable experience.
Photo by Emil Enchev.
Grey-headed Woodpecker by Dobromir Domuschiev.
Mixed flock of Red-breasted and White-fronted Geese. Photo Emil Enchev.
The Otter is easier to be seen when the wetlands are frozen.
Photo by Dobromir Domuschiev.
Red-breasted Goose by Emil Enchev.
Sombre Tit by John Sheppard.