Bulgaria June 2015. Images Here

Bulgaria June 2015

We 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.

Sunday 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.

Monday 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.

Tuesday 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.

Wednesday 17th Day off birding to do some sightseeing, shopping, wine and food in Sofia. It rained most of the day thankfully.

Thursday 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.

Friday 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.

Saturday 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.

Sunday 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'

Below is a list of species of interest seen between the above sites, underlined are links to images, or if one has time the link at the top and bottom of this page brings you to page by page of images taken on the trip.

Paul and Andrea Kelly 2015.

Common (C) Localised (L) Rare (R)
Mallard (C) Gull billed Tern (4) Marsh Warbler (1)
Garganey (2) Lake Sabla. Caspian Tern (4) Paddyfield Warbler (L) Durankulah.
Red crested Pochard (C) Lake Sabla. Whiskered Tern (L) Great Reed Warbler (C)
Ferruginous Duck (C) Lake Sabla, Durankulah. Turtle Dove (C) Olive Tree Warbler (C)
White headed Duck (1) Lake Sabla, male. Common Cuckoo (L) Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (L)
Grey Patridge (2) Lake Sabla. Swift (C) Chiffchaff (C)
Great Crested Grebe (L) Pallid Swift (C) Goldcrest (C)
White Pecican (C) Alpine Swift (C) Firecrest (C)
Dalmation Pelican (3) Bee Eater (C) Wren (C)
Shag (C) Race desmarestii Only at Cape Kaliakra Hoopoe (L) Spotted Flycatcher (3)
Cormorant (C) Race sinensis. Roller (L) Semi Collared Flycatcher (1)
Pygmy Cormorant (L) Lake Durankulah. Grey headed Woodpecker (2) Great Tit (C)
Night Heron (L) Lake Sabla. Great Spotted Woodpecker (C) Blue Tit (C)
Squacco Heron (L) Lake Sabla and Durankulah. Syrian Woodpecker (L) Continental Coal Tit (C)
Little Bittern (L) Lake Sabla and Durankula. Woodlark (C) Marsh Tit (C)
Little Egret (L) Lake Durankulah. Short toed lark (C) Willow Tit (C)
Great White Egret (1) Lake Durankulah. Crag Martin (C) Bearded Reedling (C)
Purple Heron (L) Common at Lake Durankulah. Red rumped Swallow (C) Nuthatch(L)
White Stork (C) Everywhere. Tawney Pipit (C) Wallcreeper (2) Western Rhodopes
Black Stork (C) Not as common as White.. Water Pipit (C) Treecreeper (C)
Glossy Ibis (6) Lake Sabla. Tree Pipit (C) Lesser Grey Shrike (C)
Golden Eagle (1) Black headed Wagtail (C) Red backed Shrike (C)
Imperial Eagle (6) Lowlands. White Wagtail (C) Magpie (C)
Booted Eagle (2) Lowlands. Grey Wagtail (C) Jay (C)
Black Kite (2) Lowlands. Black bellied Dipper (2) Western Rhodopes. Nutcracker (8) South of Sofia.
Marsh Harrier (C) Nightingale (C) Jackdaw (C)
Montagu's Harrier (C) Redstart (C) Rook (1)
Long legged Buzzard (C) Lowlands. Black Redstart (C) Hooded Crow (C)
Steppe Buzzard (C) Northern Wheatear (C) Raven (C)
Red footed Falcon (2) Cape kaliakra. Isabelline Wheatear (C) Starling (C)
Hobby (C) Pied Wheatear (C) Cape Kaliakra. Golden Oriole (2)
Eleonora's Falcon (2) Rila Mountains. Whinchat (L) House Sparrow (C)
Avocet (1) Durankulah Stonechat (3) Tree Sparrow (C)
Black winged Stilt (C) Ring Ouzel (L) Spanish Sparrow (C)
Little ringed Plover (2) Durankulah Lesser Whitethroat (3) Serin (L)
Green Sandpiper (2) Durankulah Savi's Warbler (1) Bullfinch (C)
Spotted Redshank (1) Durankulah Reed Warbler (1) Crossbill (L)
Mediterranean Gull (L) Reed Bunting (2) Large billed. Durankulak.
Yellow legged Gull (C) Ortolan Bunting (L)
Caspian Gull (L) Durankulha. Corn Bunting (C)