Bulgaria, the eastern balkans
Bulgaria, the Slavic nation in the Southeastern corner of the Balkans, has become one of the prime birding destinations in the European continent. The country offers a vast variety of landscapes going from the high alpine mountains, deep gorges with fast flowing rivers, hills covered with dense scrub lands, wide farming valleys and dark, untouched spruce and oak forests beside a remant of the coastal steppe land along with marshes, lakes and sandy beaches in the Black Sea coast. Despite the communism is only in the memory of the older, the traditional maners are still well alive in the country, and most of farming is still done in the old ways, producing a notable density of birds all around.
Our tour will explore the breathtaking landscapes in the Rila & Pirin Mountains in search of the many specialties living there. Here, in the solid spruce extensions that cover the slopes, we may have good views on secretive species including Spotted Nutcracker, Hazel Grouse, Eurasian Pygmy Owl and Three-toed Woodpecker before explore the alpine meadows and rocky outcrops where we expect to find Rock Bunting, Alpine Chough and the often elusive Rock Partridge before transfering to the coast to look for the many goodies living there.
Once in the coastal plains, we will look for some very localised specialities in Europe including Pied Wheatear, Paddyfield Warbler and Rose-coloured Starling while enjoying the good variety of Warblers around that may include River, Olive-tree, Marsh, Eastern Bonelli’s and Barred. The list of Woodpeckers and birds of prey will not be less impressive, with White-backed, Syrian and Grey-headed as most sought-after species in the firsts, and Levant Sparrowhawk & Long-legged Buzzard shinning by its own in the lasts. Along with all of them, we shall enjoy other goodies such as Semi-collared Flycatcher, Dalmatian Pelican, Spotted Crake, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Thrush Nightingale, Masked Shrike and many more!
Day 1. May 23rd, 2024. ARRIBAL TO SOFIA,
Coordinated arrival to Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, during the early afternoon. We will move towards the South of the city to explore some meadows and grasslands with large thickets. Here it is possible to see some very interesting species including Lesser Spotted Eagle, Syrian & Grey-headed Woodpeckers around the city. In the grasslands is possible to see Barred & Icterine Warblers and Common Rosefinch but also the always difficult to see Corncrake.
Days 2 & 3. RILA NATIONAL PARK,
The impressive conifer forests, mountain bushlands, grasslands and rocky outcrops at Rila National Park host a large variety of birdlife. Here we hope to contact with Spotted Nutcracker, Grey & Willow Tits, the elusive Three-toed Woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Rock Partridge, Eurasian Griffon, Ortolan Bunting and, if lucky, the very shy Hazel Grouse or the tiny Eurasian Pygmy Owl. The are is also noted for Barred Warbler, Masked Shrike and Semi-collared Flycatcher.
Day 4. CENTRAL BALKAN NATIONAL PARK,
From the conifer forests in the South we will transfer East to explore the large beechwoods at Central Balkan National Park. Here we will look for the most sought-afte inhabitant of the this habitat, the White-backed Woodpecker while enjoying Semi-collared Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale, Icterine Warbler and Marsh Warbler.
Days 5, 6 & 7. VARNA & CAPE KALIAKRA,
During these days we will explore the most complete birding area in Bulgaria. Here we will enjoy a large variety of habitats, including the very scenic Bulgarian coastal steppes. During these three days we will visit one of the few sites for Paddyfield Warbler in Europe, and we will search for Levant Sparrowhawk, Pied & Eastern Black-eared Wheatears, Rose-coloured Starling, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, River Warbler, Ferruginous Duck, Syrian Woodpecker, Greater Short-toed Lark, European Bee-eater, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Black-headed Buting, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Long-legged Buzzard and some migratoty species that can surprise us at any moment. In the afternoon on day 7 transfer to Burgas and birding around the area.
Day 8. BURGAS and final trasnfer to SÒFIA,
Morning of birding around Burgas trying to find Spotted Crake, Dalmatian Pelican, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Levant Sparrowhawk while enjoying the good variety of migrating shorebirds including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Temminck Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper. At midday final transfer to Sofia for an afternoon flight to Barcelona.
VAT included in all prices.
7 nights of accommodation in twin/double room, breakfasts, lunches and evening meals, birding guides, ground transport, reserve entrances fees and travel insurance.
Transport to/from Barcelona, alcoholic drinks, any other item not listed as “INCLUDED”
4 accommodations in our itinerary. We will spend most of them in local owned, small accommodations in the privilegied locations and wonderful birding immediately around. All dinners are in our accommodations.
You can expect 20ºC to 25ºC with mostly sunny but some cloudy or even light rains appearing. It is very important to bring strong insect repellent for this tour, long t-shirts and pants.
PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH
Bulgarian authorities depend all Passports to have an expiration date of at least 90 beyond your date of arrival into Bulgaria. Visa is not required to British, US nor Canadian Passport holders. Currently there is no health issues nor restrictions when accessing Bulgaria.
Reportes de viaje: