Day 1: After arrival at Sofia Airport we have a transfer to a hotel in Vitosha Mountains, where we will stay overnight. Short time for accommodation and rest before walking around the hotel area, which will ensure a pleasant meeting with many mountains specialties (Pallid Swift, Black Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Crag Martin, Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, Common Crossbill and Nutcracker).
Day 2: The first half of the day is dedicated to exploring the mountain and its inhabitants. Additional interesting species are expected to appear when trekking through the alpine zone (Ring Ouzel, Horned Lark, Rock Thrush, Goldcrest and Firecrest etc.). In the afternoon we head for the village of Trigrad in the Western Rodopi Mountains, where we stay overnight. Trigrad Gorge is one of the most popular European sites for watching Wallcreepers.
Day 3: In the morning we will go to the gorge, trying to find the elusive Wallcreeper. Other rock-dwelling species are also numerous (Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting etc.). Foraging Peregrine Falcons or Hobbies disturb the tranquillity in the area with their energetic flight. In the afternoon we head for the town of Plovdiv where we stay overnight. If there is enough time we will stop for a while on the hills by the town of Pazardzhik (Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle).
Day 4: After having breakfast, we start our journey to the Bulgarian realm of birds of prey – the Eastern Rhodopes. Exciting observations of the broken ground around the town of Madzharovo and above the valley of Arda River will add to our species list many birds of prey and passerines (Black Storks, Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultures, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards, Lesser Spotted, Booted, Eastern Imperial and Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Blue Rock and Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting, Orphean and Subalpine Warblers etc.). We spend two nights in Madzharovo, accompanied by the songs of Scops Owls.
Day 5: It will be an active birding day. In the morning we make a trip to the spectacular area of Studen Kladenets dam and explore the vicinity of the village of Potochnitsa. There we will have short strolls to a few watchpoints and to the “vultures restaurant” (Egyptian, Griffon and Black Vultures, Long-legged and Honey Buzzards, Short-toed Eagle, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Cirl and Rock Buntings, Eastern Bonelli's Warblers, Red-rumped Swallows, Blue Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches etc.). In the afternoon we make a short trip along the Krumovitsa River where we will continue watching and hearing passerines advertising their appearance in the undulating countryside (Stone-curlew, Olivaceous and Olive-tree Warblers, Masked, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes etc.). Around evening we turn back to the hotel in Madzharovo.
Day 6: In the morning we depart from the Eastern Rodopi Mountains for a diverting journey to the town of Bourgas on the Black Sea Coast. Our trip will pass through interesting habitats in Sakar Mountains (Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, Eastern Imperial and Booted Eagles, Olive-tree and Olivaceous Warblers, Barred, Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Red-rumped Swallow, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers, Cirl and Black-headed Buntings etc.). By the town of Sliven we will see colonies of the attractive little Suslik. The fields nearby are also a regular feeding place for Montagu’s Harriers, Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles. We spend two nights in the town of Bourgas.
Day 7: The tangible contrast from the mountain habitats in the previous days, compared to visiting the wetlands by the town of Bourgas (Atanasovsko, Mandra and Poda lakes) offers a delight of a whole new complex of species. In these important nesting places typical breeders are Great Cormorants, Night, Squacco and Purple Herons, Little Egrets, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibises, White-tailed Eagles, Yellow-legged Gulls, Little Terns, Collared Pratincoles and many wader species. Migrating or resting Pygmy Cormorants, White and Dalmatian Pelicans, Whiskered Terns, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gulls are very likely to be registered. It is possible to enjoy also rarities like Slender-billed Curlews, Citrine Wagtails etc.
Day 8: After breakfast we set off northwards to the Northern Black Sea Coast with a few stops of great interest. The first will be the hyperhaline Pomoriisko Lake (Shelducks, Avocets, Sandwich and Little Terns, Yellow-legged Gulls, Kentish Plovers, Slender-billed Gulls, Whiskered and White-winged Terns etc.). Further on we will stop at Goritsa forest. The biggest attraction of the site is the Semi-collared Flycatcher. The species list there will include also Syrian, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Golden Orioles, Spotted Flycatchers etc. Visits to Cape Kaliakra and Bolata Bay are planned for the afternoon (Mediterranean race of European Shag, Mediterranean Shearwater, Stone-curlew, Alpine Swift, Rose-coloured Starling, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Pied Wheatear, Barred and Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Bunting etc.). These species are all present there both by the rocky cliffs and in the unique steppe habitats on the plateau area. We spend the next two nights in the town of Kavarna.
Day 9: A short trip in the morning around the village of Kamen Briag and among the ancient tombs in the archeological reserve Yailite will be enough to enjoy once again the same birds, but in quite different habitats. Then we head to the wetlands by the town of Shabla (Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra Lark, Black-winged Stilt, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Lesser Grey Shrike etc.) and further to Dourankoulak Lake (Red-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Stone-curlew, Whiskered Tern, Paddyfield Warbler, Calandra Lark etc.). In the evening we go back to the hotel in Kavarna.
Day 10: After a trip through the Dobroudzha fields we reach Srebarna Lake around noon. The wetland is the earthly paradise for birds, being also the most prominent reserve in Bulgaria. Situated along the Danube River it is of international importance due to its breeding inhabitants (Red-necked Grebes, Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Little Bittern, Squacco, Night and Purple Herons, Little and Great Egrets, Glossy Ibises, Spoonbills, Ferruginous Ducks, Pochards, Whiskered Terns and many more). Foraging White-tailed Eagles, Black Kites and Levant Sparrowhawks are the perfect addition to this community, complemented also by Ortolan Buntings, Penduline Tits, Golden Orioles and Red-backed Shrikes. We spend the night by the town of Rouse.
Day 11: Early in the morning we will undertake a few hours walk along the canyons of Rousenski Lom (Black Stork, Long-legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Roller, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Middle Spotted, Syrian and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Sombre Tit, Black-headed Buntings etc.). On the way to Sofia we will visit a heronry with Grey, Night and Squacco Herons breeding along with Little Egrets. In the evening we will have farewell party in Sofia, celebrating the long species list observed during the last days!
Day 12: Transfer to the airport for departure.
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