Upon your arrival at Sofia or Plovdiv Airport, you will be warmly greeted by your guide. He will swiftly try to satisfy your initial curiosity and excitement that are so inevitable at the beginning of each birding trip. Is there a better way to start of birdwatching holiday than to commence your observations almost immediately after passing the customs!? Following an hour's transfer through the Bulgarian countryside, you will be at the rolling Besapara hills. Welcome to a wildlife oasis in the agricultural Upper Thracian plane. Fragrant steppe grasses and short bushes cover this ridge of gentle limestone hills. Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Common and Isabelline Wheatears, Rosy Starling
(some years), Spanish Sparrow, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, Ortolan, Corn and Black-headed Buntings and European Bee-eaters
songs are enchanting this wonderland. Lesser Spotted Eagle, Long-legged and Common Buzzard, Little Owl, Stone Curlew
, and other species names can be included in your day birding list. After a 2.5-hour transfer, you will arrive at a cosy family hotel in the village of Trigrad. Your hosts will make sure are comfortable and over dinner and a glass of local brandy, you will hear from your guide what awaits you in the next days.
After a delicious breakfast prepared from local products by our hosts, you will head to the nearby Trigrad Gorge - a site with mesmerizing topography. It will be time for thrilling mountain birding (and intensive neck exercise) when you scan the sheer cliffs of the gorge for its most sought-after inhabitant - the Wallcreeper. Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Black Redstarts, White-throated Dippers, Grey Wagtails will add more emotions to your morning birdwatching excitement. With some luck, you may also enjoy the dashing flight of a Peregrine Falcon or a soaring Honey Buzzard. In the afternoon you will take a stroll in the nearby old-growth coniferous forests, where species as Serin, Tits (Great, Blue, Crested, Willow, Coat), Crossbill, Bullfinch, Nutcracker, Black Woodpecker and many more can be found. Overnight in a family hotel in Trigrad.
The day starts with a healthy breakfast and continues with a long transfer from the realm of the Wallcreeper in the Western Rhodopi Mountains to the realm of the birds of prey in the Eastern Rhodopi Mountains. There will be planned stops along the way for bird observations along the Maritsa River and the protected areas on its banks. The expected highlights are: Levent Sparrowhawk, Shrikes (Masked, Red-backed, Woodchat and Lesser Grey), Little Bittern, Penduline Tit, Ferruginous Duck, European Roller, Common Bee-eater, Great Reed Warbler, Montague`s Harrier, and more.
In the late afternoon, you will reach the town of Madzharovo - a small settlement in the bottom of a long silent volcano. Overnight at a family-run hotel.
Most birdwatchers fall in love with the area around Madzhrovo at first sight. A panoramic view reveals it all: many species, many birds and many wonderful landscape features. The birdwatching starts immediately after you walk out of your hotel. Just lift your binoculars for Griffon, Egyptian, Cinereous vultures. You will continue on a scenic route that runs between towering rocks and Arda River. Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch, Rock Bunting, Golden Eagle, Black Kite, Orphean, Sardinian and Olive-tree Warblers, Nightingale, Black Stork, Levant Sparrowhawk, Black-eared Wheatear, Wryneck, Roller, Long-legged Buzzard, Chukar, Masked Shrike, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and many others could be seen in a matter of minutes. In the afternoon you will be driven to other great birding spots to see some additional warblers and the generally enjoy the wildlife of the Eastern Rhodopi. Can't get enough of this fabulous birding? Well, after dinner with local culinary delights, your guide can can take you a place where you can hear singing Tawny Owl, Scops Owl and Nightjar.
An early breakfast and your journey to the famous Burgas wetlands will begin. The route passes through the Sakar Mountains where your guide will have excellent opportunities to show you species such as Masked Shrike, Cirl Bunting, Woodpecker (Black, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Syrian), Short-toed Lark, Imperial Eagle, Black Stork, Ruddy Shelduck, Roller, Common Bee-eater, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted Eagle, Montague`s Harrier, Levant Sparrowhawk, Honey Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Hobby, Lesser Kestrel, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Bonelli`s Warbler, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe and many more. In the late afternoon, under the soft lift you will do some birding at the Atanasovsko Lake salt pans. The Greater Flamingoes there will add a romantic touch to experience. Overnight at a family-run hotel in the area of Burgas.
This day is dedicated to the vast wetlands surrounding the town of Burgas and the many birds that call them home. Many water-connected birds breed in the Atanasovsko, Vaya and Madra lakes and Poda lagoon, but what makes the area even more special is that it is a very important stop-over and bottleneck site along Via Pontica flyway. Short transfers and long hours to observe: Terek, Broad-billed, Wood, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope, Little and Temminck's stints, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Gull-billed, Black, White-winged and Whiskered terns, Mediterranean and Slender-billed Gulls; Ruddy Shelduck, Little Bittern, Penduline Tit and Bearded Reedling, Olivaceous Warbler and many more. Atanasovsko lake is the place where the highest number of bird species has been recorded! Besides the famous birding spots, your guide will take you a bit further to some little known rich of birds gems. Overnight in your hotel in the area of Burgas.
This will be the last day of active birdwatching and your guide will do (again) his best to make it exceptional. In the morning you will visit Pomorie Lake - a site for sea salt extractions and a Natura 2000 site. Around noon you will head for Sofia, but the itinerary includes stops for possible observations of Eastern Imperial Eagle, Roller, Bee-eater, Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Red-footed Falcon, Golden Oriole and lovely colonies of Ground Squirrels (Sousliks). Dinner in a restaurant in Sofia where you can roundup your reflections of the tour, share good memories and ask you guide questions.
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport according to your flight.