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Republic of Bulgaria

Hoopoe Upupa epos ©Svetoslav Simeonov

Over the last ten years birding has really taken off in Bulgaria, but this is not really surprising when one considers the species that can be seen in this birding paradise. There are over 200 Dalmatian pelicans in the colony at the Srebarna UNESCO reserve, which is the biggest European colony, Red-footed Falcons (over 500 pairs); over 20 pairs of Eastern Imperial eagles, over 800 pairs of Pygmy cormorant, over 100 pairs of Ferruginous duck, and more than 50 pairs of Ruddy shell duck. The country is dotted with fishpond systems and many small and bigger rivers, where Savis Warbler, and Penduline Tit are common, and herons and egrets easily seen.

The chain of the Central Balkan National Park, Pirin and Vitosha mountains National Parks, Rila mountain with many mountain reserves, Rhodope mountain and in the far South east Strandza mountain National Park and the local reserves, with their perfect woods and huge cliffs give great opportunities for raptors. These include Eastern Imperial, Golden, Booted, Short-toed, and Lesser spotted eagles, and Saker. The lower parts of the mountains and the whole of the rest of the country is good for Long legged buzzard, Levant Sparrow hawk, Red footed falcon, Montegue's harrier, Honey Buzzard, Egyptian, Black and Griffon vultures, White-tailed eagle, and Black and White stork. Bulgaria is also the best place in the World for seeing Wallcreeper, the biggest European populations of Sombre Tit, Masked and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Short-toed Treecreeper, Olive-tree and Paddyfield Warblers, Spanish Sparrow, Semi-collared flycatcher, Black-headed & Rock Buntings, Black-headed Yellow Wagtail, Golden Oriole, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Rose-coloured Starling, Rock Partridge, Pied, Isabelline and Eastern Black-eared Wheatears, Corncrake, Syrian Woodpecker, Calandra and Short-toed Larks.

Many rare European species, like Pallid swift, Little and spotted crakes, Stone-curlew, Collared and Black-winged pratincoles, Gull-billed and Caspian terns, White pelicans, Eagle owl, Ural owl, Scops owl, Pygmy and Tegmalm's owls, Shore lark, Rock and Blue rock thrush, Sub-alpine, Barred, Sardinian and Orphean warblers, Nutcracker, Rock sparrow, and Dotterel are relatively easy to find. In almost every wood and the open area there are Black, Green, Grey-headed, Middle-spotted, Great-spotted, and Lesser-spotted woodpeckers. High in the mountain are three-toed woodpecker. There is a good chance of the rare White-backed woodpecker, as well as Syrian woodpecker and Wryneck in the open areas.

The best time to visit is spring, with, on average, 220-230 species, including many rarities but birding in autumn is also good, especially for large raptor migration, Pelicans, and shorebirds. There are huge number of birds every autumn with Honey Buzzards (6000+); Levant sparrow hawk (100+); Common buzzards (20,000+); Booted eagle (100); Lesser spotted eagles (10,000+); Short-toed eagles (400+); Pallid harriers (15); Hobbys (70+); Red footed falcons (1000+); White storks (over 130,000); Black stork (3000+); White pelicans (20,000+); Dalmatian pelicans, and many other rare and interesting birds such as thousands of wagtails, swallows, pipits, and larks etc.

Bulgaria is one of the best European countries for birding in winter, as it holds thousands of Red-breasted and White fronted geese, a very good chance of lesser white-fronted geese and rare European ducks. In the last few years there have been very good numbers of White headed duck (over 300); Smew, Dalmatian pelican, Great white Egret, Whooper and Bewick's swans, Rough-legged and Long legged buzzards.

Bulgarian landscape is very variable. The plains and marshes of the Danube and Maritsa rivers and Black sea coast give a great possibility of getting all the European herons, as well as Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern breed. Even the forest in the centre of Sofia - the Bulgarian capital, gives perfect opportunities for birding, and Vitosha mountain national park is just a few minutes by car from Sofia. The dozens of reserves in the country and also many unprotected areas with their variety of landscape, birds, plants insects etc, in a small country such as Bulgaria, mark it out as a leading European country for birding.

The climate is typically continental in Northern Bulgaria and Dobrudza region, which means warm summers and cold winters. Along the black sea coast the winter is not so severe and the summer is not so hot. In the high mountains the climate is typical with long and cold winter and shorter spring and summer. Along the southern border with Turkey and Greece the Mediterranean influence is tactile. One of the most important sources of foreign income in Bulgaria is tourism and so most of the country is geared up to receiving and looking after visitors and that includes birders. Food, and drinks are cheap and accommodation is very reasonable. Yet, many regions of Bulgaria are still rather under developed with farmland that still hosts good numbers of birds.

Pelican Lake Guest House is located just 200 metres from the lakeside museum and extensive walking trails, the Pelican Lake Guesthouse offers comfortable and affordable accommodation for individuals, couples or small groups. We can arrange guided or non-guided trips to the Srebarna Biosphere Reserve and birding or cultural tours of the greater Dobrudja region. The area around Srebarna is steeped in History with both Roman and Thracian sites close by. Click on the view for our website. Mike and Jerry Black - Srebarna Birding Field Station, Pelican Lake Guesthouse, Petko Simov 16, Srebarna 7587, Bulgaria - Tel: 00359 8677 2322, Mob: 00359 885671058, Skype: pelicanlakeguesthouse

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 393

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Finding Birds in Bulgaria

by Dave Gosney - Paperback (Re-print 2010) with added material on Bulgaria in Winter. Gostours £6.00p Buy direct from the Author sales@easybirder.co.uk

ISBN: 9781907316128

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Bulgaria

Lankov & Pchelarov Paperback - 120 pages (October 1996) Pensoft Publishers

ISBN: 9546420115

Buy this book from NHBS.com

DVD - A Winter's Tale from BULGARIA

from Malcolm Rymer - Buy direct from the filmmaker: http://www.wildlifevideos.net/winters_tale_bulgaria-2010.html

DVD - Birding Bulgaria - The gorge bird of Trigrad…and other stories

Malcolm Rymer introduces Bulgaria's major birding locations. We visit the Danube Flood Plain, the spectacular steppe habitat of coastal Dobrudja, the Ramsar site Bourgas wetlands, the coastal lakes of Durankulak & Shabla, the eastern & Western Rhodope Mountains & other bird-rich habitats around the country. Buy direct from the filmmaker: http://www.wildlifevideos.net/bulgaria.html

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding in Bulgaria

Tour Operator

You will be pleasantly surprised with what Bulgaria has to offer. Even better, you should experience it first hand.

Pandion Birdwatching Holidays

Tour Operator

Tour company which specialises in birdwatching tours to Bulgaria - the site has some very nice photographs of special birds of the area. Visiting our site you will know about one of the most interesting countries in the world situated in Europe - Bulgaria. Superb nature. Unique finds, Orthodox cloisters, folklore and traditions. Run by Nikolay Dilchev who is licenced to run such tours - beware, other tours may NOT cover you if things go wrong!

British Bulgarian Society

Website

…hover over the images to see the names and dates of the tours, then click on one to see its itinerary, details and price…

Birding Pal

Website

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Probirder

Tour Operator

Ten Good Reasons to Visit Bulgaria - Dalmatian Pelican, Ruddy Shelduck, Black Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Slender-billed Gull, Red-rumped Swallow, Pied Wheatear, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Black-headed Bunting

Birdwatching Bulgaria

Tour Operator

Birdwatching is a passion, an ardour unifying in a very special society tens of millions of people each year who have been seized with love about birds! No wonder that birding is among the fastest-growing outdoor activity worldwide. It is a real delight, which could be practiced generally everywhere - in your own yard, in the park, among the buildings in the cities and even through the windows of the car when traveling!

Birding Bulgaria

Tour Operator

On the crossroad between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria is one of the best European birdwatching destinations. For the moment in the country have been recorded more than 400 birds species. For some of the breeding species Bulgaria is simply the best destination - here you can enjoy many species like Levant Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Rock Partridge, Pygmy Cormorant, Ruddy Shelduck, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Masked Shrike, Olive-tree and Paddyfield Warblers, Sombre Tit and many more birds…

Neophron Tours

Tour Operator

Spring tours in the richest and most attractive bird areas in the country, including the Rhodopes, Pirin, Rila and Central Balkan mountains; the Black Sea coast with amazing wetlands and steppes, the wetlands and forests along the Danube river, etc…

Wild Echo

Tour Operator

Bulgaria has more than 415 bird species, of which 267 breed here. In the summer it is the best places to see species such as the Olive-tree and Paddyfield warblers, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Isabelline and Pied wheatears, Masked Shrike, Black-headed Bunting, Levant Sparrowhawk and the Long-legged Buzzard. Many other rare or hard to find species are easy to observe here - the Rock Partridge, the Barred Warbler, the Rock Nuthatch, the Scops Owl, and woodpeckers are just a few. Bulgaria is definitely the best place in Europe to watch the Wallcreeper…

Wildlife Photography Tours in Bulgaria

Tour Operator

I would like to invite you to join one of my photograph tours and workshops amongst Bulgarian nature. That would give you the chance to rest assured of all precious, well preserved biotopes that should be conserved…

Branta Tours

Tour Operator

Branta-Tours is a Bulgarian wildlife and especially birdwatching company, which operates tours to the most important birding locations in Bulgaria. We also focus on flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles and mammals (including marine species), as well as other fascinating features on most of our trips. Branta-Tours is equipped with Swarovski optics to help ensure the best possible birding experience for your trip…

Honeyguide

Tour Operator

Few countries can rival Bulgaria's scenic splendour and diverse nature. Alpine mountains, rivers with spectacular canyons, vast meadows and forests contrast with coastal wetlands and sandy beaches…

Via Pontica Tours

Tour Operator

On the crossroad between Europe and Asia, Bulgaria is one of the best European birdwatching destinations. For the moment in the country have been recorded more than 400 birds species….

Nature Travel

Tour Operator

Birdwatching in Bulgaria becomes incredibly popular in the last several years. The area "Suha reka" offers fantastic opportunities for birdwatching. There is an immense variety of habitats ranging from wetlands, dry steppe, cliffs and gorges, grassland, arable land, orchards, woodland, etc. The specific landscape features have defined large diversity of birds. At the moment are registered nearly 200 species and over 25 of them are birds of prey. Amongst the highlights are Ruddy Shellduck, Pallid Harrier, Lesser-spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Stone Curlew, Common Crane, Syrian Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, Eagle Owl, Sombre Tit, Thrush Nightingale, Golden Oriole, Wryneck, Barred Warbler and many others. European Bee-eaters, Red-backed Shrikes and Rollers are very common birds in Spring and Summer…

Ecotours

Tours

Bulgaria is one of the most exciting countries in Europe for birdwatching and wildlife tours. The country boasts of scenic landscapes, nice churches and monasteries, traditional villages and rich nature reserves. Habitats are really varied; within short distances you can experience alpine mountain meadows, spectacular river valleys, vast coniferous and beech forests, Mediterranean shrubs, wetlands, shallow coastal lakes and lagoons.

Iordan Hristov - Independent Guide

Webpage

Birding around Sofia can be rather productive for half a day or a full day depending upon your time availability. The area around the capital is rich in birdlife especially in spring. Depending upon your interest we can visit a variety of habitats and aim for good diversity of birds. Contact Iordan mailto:biomonitoring.ltd@gmail.com

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2006 [02 February] - Steve Lister

Report

…Early departure from Kavarna for the largely frozen Lake Durankulak, c30 minutes away. Very cold. Birded the largely frozen lake from near the observation tower. Small numbers (hundreds rather than thousands) of geese were flying around. Coffee and our packed breakfast at the Dell campsite café next to the lake. Looked at the birds on the sea…

2007 [02 February] - Nikolay Dilchev - Birdwatching Breaks

Report

…We had time to spare as we were catching the overnight train to Burgas, we left the centre of Sofia and went to an area with a man- made lake and meadows. It was quite cool but we took a walk around the meadows to stretch our legs and to get a few birds on our Bulgaria list. Jays, Chaffinch and Hawfinch were visible but the stars were the pelicans - 12 Dalmatian and 1 White flying quite high above…

2007 [02 February] - Bob Swann & Andrew Ramsay

Report

… After a good nights sleep and getting our tyre fixed we left Ruse around midday and headed south east down the E70. East of Sumen we decided to follow the old road, rather than the motorway so we could stop for birds. Field side trees held large flocks of Starlings and Goldfinches with Chaffinches, Linnet, Yellow Hammer, Corn Bunting, a few Brambling and a single Mistle Thrush. One group were dispersed by a Sparrow Hawk. We stopped in a wooded hillside by the road just east of Devnja. As well as Blue and Great Tit, we had a pair of Marsh Tit, a Eurasian Nuthatch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, lots of Blackbird and Robin, but best of all excellent views of 40+ Hawfinch. We continued onto Varna and then north up the coastal road. We stopped in more woods close to Albena. Here we had 2 more Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Wood Pigeon and another Hawfinch. At Kavarnar we met up with Svetoslav and drove on to Krapec to Vila Artea, the small family run hotel where we were to comfortably spend the next two nights. Here we also met up with Dimiter and two Finns. We enjoyed a convivial evening admiring some superb photographs taken by Markus and Jari…

2008 [07 July] - Kerry Gardner - Allan Finlayson

Report

Having visited the North East of Bulgaria last year (see separate report for 2007 on this site), we decided to return again in 2008, but this time to the South East. Thus, the two reports taken together cover practically the whole of the Eastern seaboard of Bulgaria, from the Romanian border in the north to the Turkish border in the south…

2008 [05 May] - Mark Finn

Report

…We had many highlights especially the passage of White Storks over Burgas. Interesting species observed during the tour included Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Imperial and White-tailed Eagles, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Wallcreeper, and above average numbers of Red-footed Falcon and European Rollers and Eurasian Eagle Owls at two sites on the Black Sea. Wader migration was a little patchy this year although two Pectoral Sandpipers at a lagoon on the Black Sea was a notable sighting…

2010 [06 June] - Brian & Isabel Eady

Report

…Once they had passed through we soon picked up Long Tailed Tits high in a nearby tree, and Great Tits and Eurasian Blue Tits followed quite quickly afterwards. We heard the call of Eurasian Golden Orioles and soon spotted a beautiful male in his immaculate breeding plumage…

2010 [06 June] - Ed Keeble

Report

…Morning at Trigrad with the Wallcreepers (wonderful until it started to rain at 11AM) then across to E Rhodopes (Krumovgrad) at lunchtime for vultures etc….

2010 [06 June] - Ed Keeble

Report

…Before Poroi village we had olive tree warbler and then above the reservoir many bee-eaters, isabelline wheatears, ruddy shelducks and black- headed yellow wagtails…

2010 [06 June] - Kenny Musgrove

Report

… Simeon picked out a Nutcracker sitting at the top of a tree calling and we enjoyed good views until the heavens opened and we sheltered in a small hut….

2010 [05 May] - Derek Scott

Report

…The birding was superb, and although the main spring migration was already over, we recorded an impressive total of 210 species, including all of the south-east European specialities that we could reasonably expect, namely Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Levant Sparrowhawk, Chukar, Syrian Woodpecker, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Paddyfield Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Semicollared Flycatcher, Sombre Tit, Masked Shrike and Rosy Starling…

2010 [02 February] - Pavel Simeonov

Report

…We then birded the open countryside of Dobrudja getting excellent views of 5 Rough-legged Buzzard, 5 Long-legged Buzzard and over 120 Common Buzzards for the day, allowing good comparisons to be made. The buzzard feast didn´t end there, as a single Steppe Buzzard was watched near the roadside and later an all white bird…

2010 [06 June] - Honeyguide - Western Rhodopes & Black Sea Coast

Report

…On the pre-breakfast walk we watched hobby and ravens, and later, while we were walking in the forest areas, we saw woodlark, goldcrest, firecrest and many orchids, including lesser twayblade, toothed orchid, bug orchid and fly orchid, and also hepatica…

2009 [09 September] - Honeyguide - Western Rhodopes & Black Sea Coast

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Pdf

2008 [09 September] - Honeyguide - Western Rhodopes & Black Sea Coast

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Pdf

2011 [02 February] - Branta Tours

Report

The Geese were spectacular and are becoming increasingly rare with a world population estimate of just 20,000, down very significantly on previous years and they all winter in the Coastal Dobrudja of Bulgaria and Romania…

2011 [05 May] - Pat & Judy Hayes

Report

It’s strange how trips are born; the germ of the trip is usually initiated by reading an article, a trip report, or the realisation that a number of your 'want to see birds' can best been seen at a specific location. The viewing of Malcolm Rymer’s CDs, Birding in Bulgaria, was the catalyst for this trip…

2011 [05 May] - Mark Easterbrook

Report

While we were waiting for Josele to arrive from Madrid, some brief but productive birding at a small pool next to the airport, produced Little Bittern, at least 2 Great Reed Warblers, and a Nightingale. Those who had arrived earlier had birded the mountains close to Sofia and were rewarded with Spotted Nutcracker and Firecrest amongst others – birds that were not recovered throughout the remainder of the tour….

2011 [04 April] - Kenny Musgrove

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We parked the car and made our way up a mountain track and Steve immediately spotted a Rock Thrush singing on the top the high rock face. A Sombre Tit was spotted in a nearby bush and then our target – Rock Partridge was heard calling just over the top of a ridge a little higher up. We clambered higher in an attempt to get a view and a second bird was heard, but all we could get a sight of was a Black Redstart…

2011 [06 June] - Honeyguide - Western Rhodopes & Black Sea Coast

Report

… at Trigrad Gorge, we stood waiting for the target species – the wallcreeper. A peregrine, crag martins and alpine swifts were all seen flying over the gorge. A male wallcreeper came and gave insects to the female and we had very close views just a few metres above us.

2011 [09 September] - Ronnie Irving, Ian Kinley & Dave Thexton

Report

…For two of us, this was the third autumn trip to the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria and was essentially a repeat of previous visits but with the dates falling midway between the two. Most of the sites visited were the same as in the past though, thanks to additional information largely provided by Pavel Simeonov at Branta Birding Lodge, we were able to add to our itinerary…

2012 [06 June] - Chris Gibson - Western Rhodopes

PDF Report

" … Trigrad Gorge, where Vlado pointed out a crevice in the rock face just a few metres above the road. And right on cue, after only a few seconds, its occupants appeared, a pair of wallcreepers which went on to give us a grandstand view for several minutes: creeping, feeding, flying, and even the male feeding his mate with the spoils from his last foraging trip. Magnificent jewels of birds … "

2013 [02 February] - David Erterius

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…The numbers of Red-breasted Geese vary annually from between a few hundred to several tens of thousands, depending on the severity of the winter. Almost the entire world population of this endangered and enigmatic species migrate from their tundra breeding grounds on the coast of the Kara Sea in Arctic Siberia, across the West Siberian lowlands and along the Urals, finally crossing the steppe in Kazakhstan to winter in the Dobrudzha region on both sides of the border between Romania and Bulgaria….

2013 [02 February] - Simeon Gigov

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…he highlights here were about 20 Pygmy Cormorants, one male Ferruginous Duck, a Northern Goshawk, two Western Marsh-harriers, two Long-legged Buzzards and two Water Pipits…

2010 [09 September] - Ecotours

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…Exploring the Black Sea Coast and the Rhodopes: superb scenery, trees in beautiful Autumn colouration, rare bird species!…

2010 [06 June] - Mark Denman

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On the last day of the birding tour with Ecotours Wildlife Holidays after dinner we discuss our choices for species, place and magic moment and Masked Shrike proves popular, as does Rose-coloured Starling and Longlegged Buzzard. Though the beautiful grasslands near the coast were popular, the clear winner for place are the spectacular Eastern Rhodope Mountains. And finally, magic moments! so many for all of us of course but the clear favourite was the Eagle Owl…

2012 [06 June] - Mark Denman

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…Place of the trip was dominated by our time in the mountains and magic moments range from the amazing butterflies, Monty's Harriers, incredible flower meadows and too many other moments to mention!…

2014 [02 February] - Christopher Hall

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…while a pair of Grey-headed Woodpeckers called from inside the adjacent wood. It didn’t take too long to whistle up one of the ‘peckers’ which emerged from the wood and flew straight towards us before landing in the tree right in front of us for a great view in the scope. With no red on the forehead this was clearly the female and she posed for several minutes while calling from her perch. This just left our target bird to find and eventually we found a Sombre Tit in a crab apple tree…

2014 [06 June] - Chris Gibson - Western Rhodopes

PDF Report

After breakfast and making our packed lunch, we headed back to Trigrad and took another opportunity to stop at the wallcreepers’ nest site. What a contrast to yesterday! Even before we had disembarked, Vlado heard and spotted a male bird around the (former) nest crevice, and it proceeded to entrance us with an extended display of feeding, flicking and flying...

2014 [06 June] - Kathie Claydon

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...This was our 5th trip to Bulgaria with Neophron Tours; all have been tailor-made for just the two of us. The first tour, in 2010, was mainly for birds and bears in the Western Rhodopes (yes, we did see a bear), followed by two trips in 2011, June for butterflies in the Pirin and Rila mountains (93 butterfly spp.) then autumn migration along the Black Sea coast in September (170 bird spp.) In July 2013 we went looking for more butterflies in different areas including the Central Balkans and Vitosha mountain (about 80 spp. of butterfly). Each trip was a great success and we have not yet tired of Bulgaria’s impressive and readily accessible wildlife. This latest tour was arranged at very short notice by Dimiter Georgiev (Neophron Tours) with no particular targets in mind and no fixed itinerary deciding on a daily basis where we wanted to go and watching whatever wildlife we came across. Our guide, Minko Madzharov, telephoned ahead to book accommodation as needed. We began with a 4-night stay at Chryssohorafa near Lake Kerkini then moved on to southern Bulgaria, from the interesting pyramid-like cliffs around Melnik to the Western Rhodopes, the Eastern Rhodopes and on to the Sakar Hills. Our last afternoon was spent in Vitosha mountains above Sofia...

2015 [06 June] - Peter Williams

Report

...A Hobby then also passed by. Taking our cue from the birds, we drove to the cliffs for a closer view of the action and were fortunate to see a Dark Phase Booted Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Kestrel and Hobby. Also there were a Black Redstart, Black-eared Wheatear, Hawfinch, an Olivaceous Warbler and 19 fly by Spoonbills. The 'squeaky gate' alarm call of a Nightingale was a new one for us.

2015 [05 May] - Nikolay Dilchev

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Annotated list

2015 [05 May] - Richard Webb - Southwest Bulgaria

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...Whilst I missed a few species, e.g. Levant Sparrowhawk, Western Rock Nuthatch and Olive-tree Warbler, that I would have liked to have seen given that it is almost 30 years since I last saw them, all-in-all it was an extremely enjoyable trip.

2015 [05 May] - Wingspan

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...We notched up some species on the first part of the trip, Hooded Crow, Common Buzzard, Barn Swallow and Crested Lark. After a quick stop in Pazardzhik to buy lunch supplies we stopped just outside the town for our first birding session of the tour.

2015 [06 June] - Chris Gibson - Western Rhodopes

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...After dinner, we were treated to a visit by the ‘Yagodina Grannies’, a local folk song and dance troupe, their numbers swelled this year by a young bagpipe player. But no takers for the opportunity to dress in local costume and join in.

2016 [03 March] - David Karr - Northeast and Vitosha Mountain

PDF Report

The Easter weekend break was a perfect opportunity to visit Bulgaria for some sightseeing and birding. Our focus was the northern Black Sea coast and the Danube River marshes near Silistra/Srebarna. The country scores high marks for historical interest, affordability, and the chance to easily see some of Europe’s less common birds: Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Longlegged Buzzard, Black Woodpecker, Black Stork, etc.

2016 [05 May] - Chris Kehoe

PDF Report

...Particularly notable were the likes of Dalmation Pelicans, Paddyfield Warblers, Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Buntings, Levant Sparrowhawks, Syrian Woodpeckers, Masked Shrikes, Pied Wheatears and Semi-collared Flycatchers. Further highlights included Eastern Imperial Eagles, Red-footed Falcons, Eurasian White Pelicans, Lesser Kestrels, Ferruginous Ducks, Sombre Tits, Eurasian Eagle Owl and Eurasian Griffon, Cinereous and Egyptian Vultures. Bird of the trip though was an unexpected and extremely cooperative Corncrake....

2016 [05 May] - Wingspan

Report

...After breakfast we set off for the Trigrad Gorge passing through some magnificent scenery along the way, we saw Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Eurasian Jay and Cirl Bunting from the bus. At the gorge we hit a low point on our 'roller-coaster' or more appropriately 'big dipper' as we dipped big time on our main target bird, WALLCREEPER....

2016 [05 May] - Sándor Borza - Danube Delta & Dobrudja

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...It was a really enjoyable trip with a lot of quality birding and simply just lots of birds everywhere! We recorded a total of 183 species during this 8 days trip (with 6 and a half days of actual birding) and only four of them were heard only...

2016 [03 March] - David Karr - Northeast and Vitosha Mountain

PDF Report

The Easter weekend break was a perfect opportunity to visit Bulgaria for some sightseeing and birding. Our focus was the northern Black Sea coast and the Danube River marshes near Silistra/Srebarna. The country scores high marks for historical interest, affordability, and the chance to easily see some of Europe’s less common birds: Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Woodpecker, Black Stork, etc.

2016 [06 June] - Tim Strudwick - Western Rhodopes

PDF Report

Bears are a hard act to follow, but the sun came out and with it plenty of butterflies including Glanville, heath and pearl-bordered fritillaries and mazarine blue (all visiting what Vlado felt was probably polecat scat), and a broad-bodied chaser was hawking along the stream. A quail started calling in the stream-side meadow.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Villa Philadelphia

Accommodation

Villa Philadelphia, Bulgaria, is a new American-run inn and cafe which opened in the summer of 2000. Located in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Sinemoretz, Villa Philadelphia offers superb opportunities for swimming, canoeing, bird watching and exploring the natural and ethnographic beauty of the area.

Pelican Lake Guesthouse - Srebarna

Tour Operator

We provide comfortable and affordable accommodation for individuals, couples or small family groups. Meals are available for omnivores and vegetarians or for the more adventurous among you we offer traditional Bulgarian dishes…

Branta Birding Lodge

Accommodation

…overlooking Durankulak Lake and Black Sea (in Bulgaria), is located just 3 miles from the Romanian border. This charming observatory is an ideal field base for birders, photographers and nature lovers wishing to explore Durankulak Lake and surrounding areas. It offers outstanding birdwatching opportunities for novice and professional birders, including a variety of birding excursions from Bulgarian and Romanian wetlands, along the Black Sea coast, through steppe habitats and ancient wet forests, to steep-sided gorges…

Pelican Birding Lodge

Tour Operator

Pelican Birding Lodge is located in the village of Vetren, close to the town of Silistra. Vetren is situated two kilometers from the River Danube, and close to the internationally important nature reserve at Lake Srebarna, a UNESCO heritage site. The environs along the Danube attract a wide range of birdlife throughout the year. Lake Srebarna is world-famous for a colony of world-threatened Dalmatian Pelicans, and many other interesting and rare species which prefer a wetland habitat…

Organisations

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

Website

P0 Box 50, BG-1111 Sofia. + 359 2 722640 - bspb.hq@mb.bia-hg.com
The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds was set in 1988 as a purely conservation NGO with its main goal to protect all wild birds in Bulgaria, their habitats, nests, eggs and young's. BSPB is a nation-wide organisation of all Bulgarian and foreign citizens, irrespective of their race, trade, education, political belief, religion etc., who care for the wildlife and would be willing to contribute whatever they could towers preserving nature and wildlife in general and wild birds in particular. The second most important priority of the BSPB mission was to disseminate information and knowledge about nature and bird conservation and to help as much as possible for raising public awareness about conservation (as well as broader environmental) issues and for the education of the public at large, but with special emphasis on young people…

Balkani Wildlife Society

Website

BALKANI Wildlife Society is a non-profit organisation, working for the public benefit. The main aims of the Society are study, conservation and restoration of flora and fauna in natural ecosystems, their preservation for future generations and raising public awareness on the problems of nature conservation…

Le Balkan-Bulgaria

Website

In 1998 a partnership between Swarovski Optik, "Le Balkan-Bulgaria" Foundation and Branta-Tours Birdwatching (www.branta-tours.com) company was established with the main goal of improving the breeding conditions in the Dalmatian Pelican colony at the Srebarna Biosphere reserve and to ensure the survival of the Pelicans. As a result of this fro! m 1998 to 2003 a team from Le Balkan (www.lebalkan.org) implemented several very important measures and management techniques at the site. The result of these measures was that the pelican colony was protected from extensive flooding and predators. We obtained authorisation for implementation of this project from the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water through the established written agreement. In parallel, a joint monitoring programme between Le Balkan-Bulgaria and the "Station biologique de la Tour du Valat" has been running in Srebarna Dalmatian Pelican colony. This work is included in an international research and conservation program on the species.

Reserves

Project Bourgas Wetlands

Information

Satellite View

The main goal of the Project is to establish a sustainable working structure, which will continue to manage and protect these important wetlands after the Programme and the Project are over. All governmental and non-governmental organisations, the business and the public at large should find their proper place and role in this structure to help it perform in the best possible way its functions of safeguarding the protected areas in the region…

Srebarna Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a fresh-water lake supplied from the Danube, extending over 600 hectares. It is the breeding home of close to 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge there every winter.

Wetlands

Information

Bulgaria currently has 11 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 49,912 hectares.

Bulgaria National Parks

Information

An interactive list of all the protected areas in Bulgaria…

Pirin National Park

Information

Satellite View

Pirin National Park is located in the Pirin Mountains, in southwest Bulgaria. The park includes seven municipalities in the district of Blagoevgrad: Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Razlog, Sandanski, Strumyani, Kresna, and Simitli….

Blogs

Mike and Jerry Black - Srebarna Birding Field Station

BLOG

We monitor and report on the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Srebarna, North East Bulgaria. We provide weekly/monthly updates on the progress of the bird populations and information on other species and developments in the Reserve. In addition we cover trips to other parts of Bulgaria. We work closely with other organisations to actively protect the area and to promote the sustainable evolution of eco-tourism in this region…

Nature Travel Bulgaria

Blog

Other Links

Birding in Bulgaria

Article

Over the last 15 years birding has really taken off in Bulgaria, but this is not really surprising when one considers the species that can be seen in this birding paradise. There are over 200 Dalmatian pelicans in the colony at the Srebarna UNESCO reserve, which is the best European colony, Red-footed Falcons (over 500 pairs); over 20 pairs of Eastern Imperial eagles, over 800 pairs of Pygmy cormorant, over 100 pairs of Ferruginous duck, and more than 50 pairs of Ruddy shell duck. The country is dotted with fishpond systems and many small and bigger rivers, where the Penduline tit is common, and herons and egrets easily seen.

Birdwatching Bulgaria

Website

A rough guide to birdwatching in Bulgaria…

Bird Banding in Bulgaria

BLOG

BLOG about ringing birds in Bulgaria…

Bulgarian Nature on My Doorstep

Website

A collection of nature and landscape images from South West Bulgaria…

Nature Monitoring

Website

Nature Monitoring is a consultancy company established with the aim to conserve Bulgarian nature. The services of the company include: biodiversity surveys, research, training, birdwatching and wildlife tours guiding, PR companies consultation, preparation of information materials on environmental subjects, etc.

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Emil Enchev

Gallery

A wonderful gallery of birds…