Hides and equipment
Golden eagles stone hide – that is our first permanent hide we built up back in 2004 and initially it was for two photographers. Last October however we have rebuild it and now it can accommodate 4 photographers and has a smal, separate toilet.
The main target here are the Golden Eagles and the background is just perfect – a distant mountain ridge that change its color depends on the season. It is situated in the center of the breeding territory of the local Golden Eagle pair and beside the adults, there are normally juveniles and immature birds visiting the baits. Other species here can be Raven, Goshawk and all the three species of buzzards. Smaller birds, such as Jay, Mistle Thrush, Black Redstart and Great Grey Shrike are also possible and we even have had a visit by a Nutcracker! The hide is reached in about 45 minutes drive from the hotel we use in the area, after which we have about 100 walk to get into it. Best months are November to early March. Some of the best shots on Golden Eagles taken on our tours are made of this hide. Distance to the birds is 26 to 35 meters.
Golden eagles wooden hides – these are actually three wooden hides in a territory of another Golden Eagle pair. They are for 1, 2 or 3 photographers and are within 25 to 30 min drive from the nearest hotel. Walking is from 10 min to the three men hide, but it is about 30 min to reach the other two. Distance is 35 to 22 meters. Other birds are Common Buzzard, Raven, possibly Goshawk, while Jay, thrushes and smaller passerines are often visiting the area front of the hides.
Goshawk hide – this hide is also a wooden one, for 3 or 4 photographers and it is about 50 minutes drive from the accommodation and 150 meters easy walk. The main target here is the local pair of Goshawks which between November and mid-February visit the baits virtually every day. Golden Eagles also come to feed but not every day, as well as Common Buzzard and rarely ravens. We even have had a visit by the local pair of Black Woodpeckers. Distance varies and is between 20 and 30 meters and the birds can perch on the stones or dry branch we have provided them.
Hawfinch hide – that is a new hide, actually build up in the backyard of my grandmother house. It is in a small village, really a beautiful area where I have actually started my birdwatching and wildlife experience when I was 11 years old, some 25 years ago. So far we have used blinds in the garden but recently I have put up a simple wooden hide and also a small pond as this will allow photographing many species in the summer too – including Rock Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Redstart and (I hope) Golden Oriole etc.
The main season here however is the winter so far and it starts in October and continues until the end of March. Main species here is the Hawfinch as single birds or a flock up to 50 birds present daily in the garden during the cold winter months. Photographing Hawfinches is a real challenge as despite they spend a great deal of time in front of you they move extremely fast when they land, take off and fight between each other or chasing the other species away. Other species are woodpeckers – Grey-headed, Syrian and Great Spotted, sometimes we also have Green, Lesser Spotted and once there was a Middle Spotted. Sombre Tit, Brambling, Tree Sparrow, Jay are also daily at the feeders during the winter – up to 22 species in a single day is the biggest number I have recorded. It is for three photographers and of course can be reached by car. It is very close to the Golden Eagles wooden hides, so we combine them very often.
Garden birds hide – that is another garden hide which is run by a friend and it is in the same area as the Goshawk hide, so we use it very often. Many of our clients have stated that that is the best hide they have even been to, in terms of convenience and comfort. It is also very good for bird photography both in summer and winter – over 50 species are photographed in front of the hide so far – Middle Spotted, Syrian, Great Spotted woodpeckers, Hawfinch, Sombre Tit, Nightingale, Brambling, Fieldfare, Jay, Sparrowhawk, and many more. It is for 3 people and can be reached by car.
Buzzard hide – a hide for buzzards, ravens and possibly harriers in the winter. It is for three photographers and the distance to the birds is 20 to 25 meters. It can be reached by car and the last 200 meters need a walk, but on flat and easy ground. It is about 2 km away from the Garden birds hide, so we often combine them.
Drinking pool hide – a specially build hide in front of drinking pool. The surrounding area is a quite dry one and in the hot spring months (May, June and July) it is visited by most of the birds that breed in the area. The total number of species recorded at the drinking pool is over 35 species and in 2 consecutive days we have managed to photograph 23 species of birds. Species include Black-headed, Ortolan, Cirl and Corn buntings, Calandra, Crested and Short-toed larks, Red-rumped and Barn swallows, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrike, Isabelline and Northern wheatears, Barred Warbler, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, Spanish Sparrow, finches etc. Golden Oriole, Stone Curlew and Rosy Starlings are rare visitors too. The hide can accommodate 5 photographers and can be reached by car, some 25 min of driving from the nearest hotel.
Geese hide – that is a hide for two photographers specially build for Red-breasted geese photography – one of the most difficult species to photograph on the mainland Europe. It is for two people, and depends on the weather it requires walking.
Portable hides – we have more than 10 portable hides – single and double chair hides, doom hides and 3D ponchos, so where needed we use the those types that are most suitable for the terrain, weather conditions and the particular species.
Accessories – we also have different chairs for our portable hides, foot heaters that are very useful during the winter months, bean bags, head lights, torches etc, as well as good picnic equipment.
Vehicles – Spatia Wildlife owns two vehicles:
Mitsubishi L 200, pickup, made in 2008, 4 doors and air condition, an excellent 4WD that can bring you nearly everywhere. We use it mainly on our photo tours and it is for 1 driver/leader and 3 photographers, and the boot is large enough for all the necessary equipment.
Opel Vivaro – a 9-seater van that we use for our photo tours when the tour is fully booked which means not more than 5 clients.