planned a ten day trip to Bulgaria with the first four days under
the guidence of Neoprone Tours, known as The Wallcreeper Tour. Our
guide picked us up from our Burgas Hotel for a four hour drive to
the Western Rhodopes birding along the way. We stopped off on the
plains to the Eastern Rhodopes to look for raptors. At this site
we observed several Eastern Imperial Eagles, two Booted, two Black
Kite, several Long legged Buzzards not to mention plenty of Steppe
Buzzards and a distant Lesser Spotted Eagle. Arrival to our hotel
for food and drinks and meet other guides and birders.
14th early breakfast and a short drive to Trigad Gorge for Wallcreeper.
Shortly after we arrived we heard two male Wallcreeper singing but
only our guide saw one. After a wait of two hours we picked a male
up in the gorge below us, after a short time it flew over to us
and checked out an empty nest site used previous years but not this
year, as the female was not present. The male Wallcreeper performed
well and was on show for over an hour before flying like a butterfly
down the gorge out of view. The day finished ahead of schedule watching
a pair of Black bellied Dippers giving craking views next to the
hotel. Also Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
and a wing clapping Honey Buzzard, overnight at the hotel again
and a few beers with other tour leaders.
15th saw us heading to the Rila Mountains for Nutcracker and Alpine
Accentor. We failed to see Accentor but fell into Nutcracker before
our intending site. We spent most of the evening looking at them
as they were lifers.
16th we headed just south of Sofia to a better site for Nutcracker,
we saw plenty including Firecrest, Water Pipit, Woodlark, Grey headed
Woodpecker, two Eleonora's Falcons in the mountains among plenty
more common birds.
17th Day off birding to do some sightseeing, shopping, wine and
food in Sofia. It rained most of the day thankfully.
18th We had a seven hour drive from Sofia to Kavarna just south
of the Romanian border in the rain, we finally arrived, unpacked
and went birding as soon as the rain stopped. So over to Cape Kaliakra
to tick off Pied Wheatear, and we did in style with lots of them
at point blank range.
19th Up early and over to Cape Kaliakra again for more Pied Wheatears
not to mention Alpine Swifts, Lesser Grey Shrikes and lots of Olive
Tree Warblers. This is the only place we saw Shag of the Mediterranian
race. Later in the day we visited Lake Sable and saw plenty of Red
crested Pochards, Ferrugenous Duck, Whiskered Terns, the usual Herons
and plenty of Great Reed Warbler's.
20th a short spin to meet a ringing group studying Paddyfield Warblers
at Lake Durankulah. As we arrived the lads had a Paddyfield in the
hand, they caught twenty four in total, this is the only way of
seeing them away from May as they stop singing. Other birds of note
here were the Yellow legged Gulls as twenty per cent are Caspian.
Caspian Terns, Herons, Red footed Falcons and Hobbies. Black headed
Wagtail and Large billed Reed Bunting.
21st Back birding at Cape Kaliakra for a few hours birding before
heading to Burgas for our flight. We stopped off to check out a
Semi-collared Flycatcher nest box, but only got brief views of one
female attending young, the rest had fledged and left the area.
All in all fantastic birding with a lot of driving but would not
have been possible without our guides. Many thanks to Neophrontours'