BULGARIA - THE BALKAN SPECIALITIES

'The 15 Most Wanted'

 

Black-headed Bunting

 

Dates: Friday 11th - Monday 14th May 2018

Tour costs: 370 Euros per person sharing. Single supplement 50 Euros

Flights: about £140 return

 

This enjoyable 4-day tour along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast focuses on the observation of some of the most targeted species of birds in South-eastern Europe. We have run this trip twice before and know that it makes a great long-weekend away.

 

The 15 Most Wanted 

Dalmatian Pelican   Pygmy Cormorant   Lesser Spotted Eagle
Long-legged Buzzard   Syrian Woodpecker   Masked Shrike
Sombre Tit   Paddyfield Warbler   Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler
Olive-tree Warbler   Olivaceous Warbler   Black-headed Bunting
Semi-collared Flycatcher   Pied Wheatear   Isabelline Wheatear

 A full list of species that we may see on this trip follows below.

 

             

Long-legged Buzzard                                                                Pied Wheatear

 

Day 1: Arrival at Varna Airport and transfer north to Coastal Dobrudzha (a one hour drive), where we will visit the Shabla Lakes for the rest of the day. There we will have excellent chances to observe Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Paddyfield Warbler, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, the thick-billed race of the Common Reed Bunting (ssp. reiseri).

Overnight in the town of Krapets

Day 2: Another visit of Shabla Lakes, especially if we have missed some of the target birds on the previous day. Then we shall visit the steppes and cliffs around Cape Kaliakra, searching for the Mediterranean race of the European Shag (ssp. desmarestii), Long-legged Buzzard, Alpine Swift, Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Black-headed Bunting, and Rose-coloured Starling.

While in this area we shall also check several spots, where both Levant Sparrowhawk and Syrian Woodpecker occur.

In the afternoon we shall travel south to Bourgas with a stop in the Batova riverine forest, where we can see Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Hawfinch, Short-toed Treecreeper, etc.

Accommodation in Bourgas Area for two nights

Day 3: In the morning – visiting the deciduous forests of Strandzha Mountains, looking for Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Barred Warbler, Masked Shrike, Ortolan Bunting and Sombre Tit.

Afternoon – exploring the Bourgas wetlands: Mandra Lake, Vaya Lake, Atanasovsko Lake.

Key species likely to be seen at Bourgas wetlands: Dalmatian Pelican, White Pelican, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, European Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, Collared Pratincole, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre Tit, etc.

Day 4: Travel back to Varna (takes two hours) for the departure flight, with stops in the Eastern Balkan Range, where we can see Lesser Spotted Eagle, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Bonelli’s Wabler, Sombre Tit, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.

Please note: There are various options for flights for this trip depending on convenience of flight times and costs. It is possible to arrive and depart from either Varna or Bourgas airports or to arrive at one of them and depart from the other.

 

Below is a list of species that we may see on this trip. On the previous two times that we have run this trip, in 2011 and 2012, we saw 129 and 132 species respectively (See the trip reports for full species lists). On both trips we saw all 15 of the target species.

1 Mute Swan

2 Greylag Goose

3 Shelduck

4 Ruddy Shelduck

5 Mallard

6 Gadwall

7 Shoveler

8 Wigeon

9 Teal

10 Garganey

11 Pochard

12 Ferruginous Duck

13 Grey Partridge

14 Quail

15 Pheasant

16 Black-throated Diver

17 Great Crested Grebe

18 Black-necked Grebe

19 Little Grebe

20 Yelkouan Shearwater

21 Great White Pelican

22 Dalmatian Pelican

23 Great Cormorant

24 Shag

25 Pygmy Cormorant

26 Great Bittern

27 Little Bittern

28 Black-crowned Night Heron

29 Squacco Heron

30 Little Egret

31 Great White Egret

32 Grey Heron

33 Purple Heron

34 White Stork

35 Black Stork

36 Glossy Ibis

37 Spoonbill

38 Greater Flamingo

39 Osprey

40 White-tailed Eagle

41 Golden Eagle

42 Eastern Imperial Eagle

43 Lesser Spotted Eagle

44 Booted Eagle

45 Short-toed Eagle

46 Black Kite

47 Marsh Harrier

48 Montagu's Harrier

49 Long-legged Buzzard

50 Common Buzzard

51 Honey Buzzard

52 Goshawk

53 Sparrowhawk

54 Levant Sparrowhawk

55 Kestrel

56 Red-footed Falcon

57 Hobby

58 Peregrine Falcon

59 Water Rail

60 Little Crake

61 Moorhen

62 Coot

63 Oystercatcher

64 Avocet

65 Black-winged Stilt

66 Stone Curlew

67 Collared Pratincole

68 Little Ringed Plover

69 Ringed Plover

70 Kentish Plover

71 Grey Plover

72 Lapwing

73 Sanderling

74 Dunlin

75 Curlew Sandpiper

76 Temminck's Stint

77 Little Stint

78 Broad-billed Sandpiper

79 Ruff

80 Turnstone

81 Common Sandpiper

82 Wood Sandpiper

83 Green Sandpiper

84 Redshank

85 Spotted Redshank

86 Greenshank

87 Marsh Sandpiper

88 Black-tailed Godwit

89 Curlew

90 Snipe

91 Arctic Skua

92 Black-headed Gull

93 Slender-billed Gull

94 Yellow-legged Gull

95 Caspian Gull

96 Mediterranean Gull

97 Little Gull

98 Little Tern

99 Gull-billed Tern

100 Sandwich Tern

101 Common Tern

102 Whiskered Tern

103 Feral Pigeon

104 Stock Dove

105 Wood Pigeon

106 Collared Dove

107 Turtle Dove

108 Cuckoo

109 Eagle Owl

110 Tawny Owl

111 Long-eared Owl

112 Little Owl

113 Scops Owl

114 Nightjar

115 Alpine Swift

116 Swift

117 Pallid Swift

118 Hoopoe

119 Kingfisher

120 Bee-eater

121 Roller

122 Black Woodpecker

123 Green Woodpecker

124 Grey-headed Woodpecker

125 Great Spotted Woodpecker

126 Syrian Woodpecker

127 Middle Spotted Woodpecker

128 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

129 Wryneck

130 Skylark

131 Crested Lark

132 Woodlark

133 Greater Short-toed Lark

134 Calandra Lark

135 Sand Martin

136 Crag Martin

137 Swallow

138 Red-rumped Swallow

139 House Martin

140 Tawny Pipit

141 Tree Pipit

142 White Wagtail

143 Yellow Wagtail

144 Grey Wagtail

145 Robin

146 Nightingale

147 Redstart

148 Black Redstart

149 Northern Wheatear

150 Isabelline Wheatear

151 Black-eared Wheatear

152 Pied Wheatear

153 Whinchat

154 Stonechat

155 Song Thrush

156 Mistle Thrush

157 Blackbird

158 Barred Warbler

159 Garden Warbler

160 Blackcap

161 Common Whitethroat

162 Lesser Whitethroat

163 Eastern Orphean Warbler

164 Savi's Warbler

165 Cetti's Warbler

166 Reed Warbler

167 Marsh Warbler

168 Paddyfield Warbler

169 Great Reed Warbler

170 Olive-tree Warbler

171 Olivaceous Warbler

172 Willow Warbler

173 Wood Warbler

174 Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

175 Common Chiffchaff

176 Wren

177 Spotted Flycatcher

178 Semi-collared Flycatcher

179 Great Tit

180 Blue Tit

181 Marsh Tit

182 Sombre Tit

183 Long-tailed Tit

184 Bearded Reedling

185 Penduline Tit

186 Nuthatch

187 Short-toed Treecreeper

188 Lesser Grey Shrike

189 Red-backed Shrike

190 Woodchat Shrike

191 Masked Shrike

192 Magpie

193 Jay

194 Jackdaw

195 Rook

196 Hooded Crow

197 Raven

198 Starling

199 Rose-coloured Starling

200 Golden Oriole

201 House Sparrow

202 Spanish Sparrow

203 Tree Sparrow

204 Chaffinch

205 Linnet

206 Goldfinch

207 Greenfinch

208 Hawfinch

209 Reed Bunting

210 Ortolan Bunting

211 Yellowhammer

212 Cirl Bunting

213 Black-headed Bunting

214 Corn Bunting