No doubt that the best season for birdwatching in Bulgaria is spring. For special occasions (watching migration or birds of prey displays), April could be quite sufficient, but true classic is the period May – June. This is the time when species lists are really long – at least 200 species in 10 days!
But this is possible when using local guide with good field experience otherwise you should be perfectly informed for the ultimate birding sites, different ways for approaching them and not the least – more time for investigation of the territory! Conventional vacations (up to two weeks) usually include the Eastern Rodopi Mountains, the Southern Black Sea Coast and the wetlands in Maritime Dobroudzha in Northeastern Bulgaria.
These sites provide opportunities for watching many birds of prey (more than 20 species sometimes!), great variety of passerines from the Mediterranean complex, some steppe species and of course – many water-connected birds.
Early summer (July – mid August) is also a nice season for birding, although many species are still busy with nesting or feeding youngsters thus remaining hardly visible! Their vocal activity is quite low which causes additional difficulties for finding the shier among them! The weather in the southern parts of the country is rather hot around noon, making the time for real birding really limited during daytime!
However as a combination with a holiday along the Black Sea Coast, birding could be done within the same areas as the ones mentioned above for Spring Birding! Early summer is nice for birdwatching in the mountains. Many interesting species, inhabiting the alpine meadows, could be encountered above 1700 m a.s.l.
Autumn (mid August – September) is the time for keen lovers of numerous flocks of soaring migrants along the “Via Pontica” flyway – storks, pelicans and thousands of birds of prey among them. Bird ringing could be also performed as an additional delight during days without good migration. Autumn is a nice season as regards to satisfying the interests of the whole family – members are free to choose between birding and resting along the sunny beaches of the Southern Black Sea Coast (providing also lots of other attractions like trekking, horseriding, cycling etc).
October is the “rarities” month, offering not quantity, but quality and possible meetings with very rare or scanty species (especially by the coastal areas of Eastern Bulgaria).
Winter birdwatching is very much dependent on the weather conditions in the country. During severe winters it could be successful even during December but January and February are better. Again the target areas (hyperhaline lagoons, large lakes and gulfs) are situated along the Black Sea Coast, thus requiring several hours long land transfers from Sofia to Varna and back.
Tens of thousands of geese and other waterfowl are the primal aim for birdwatchers (especially the spectacular taking off of numerous flocks of Red-breasted Geese in the morning!). During snowfalls part of the roads within the “gees” territories in the Northeastern Bulgaria may remain isolated and blocked for few days, so forecast consultation is much recommended when traveling alone.
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