HIPPT1

Spring Bird and wildlife photography tour in Bulgaria

Route: Sofia – the village of Gabarevo – Central North Bulgaria – Northeastern Bulgaria - Sofia
Transport: 4x4 Vehicle / Mini-van
Price from: T/A

Bulgaria in spring offers some of the best bird and wildlife photography opportunities in Europe due to its rich biodiversity, variety of habitats and easy access. It is one of the few countries where there are a series of specially built hides for bird photography too.
Our tour is focused on some the most colourful and attractive European bird species such as Rollers, Bee-eaters, Hoopoe and Wryneck. Other species we will be likely to photograph are Hawfinch, Black-headed bunting, Red-backed shrike, Little-ringed plover, Syrian woodpecker, Isabelline wheatear, Cirl buntings and many more. The rich flower meadows are alive with insects and there will be opportunity to photograph both flowers and the large numbers of butterflies that Bulgaria is renowned for. The European ground squirrel or Suslick, is common at one of the sites we will visit, so there will be plenty of opportunity to photograph this very cute rodent.

Important to know:

This tour is suitable for both advanced and novice photographer. The tour itinerary is planned so we have enough time to make the maximum from each site rather than chasing higher number of species with rather poor results. We will also have early morning starts and evening sessions to get the best light and avoid the strong sun light in the middle of the day.

Walking and fitness: Quite easy walks, as most of the sites/hides will be reached by our vehicles. If we will be taking the advantage of the wetlands it may need some walking among the reeds for which appropriate boots will be provided. 

Hides: We will use comfortable portable hides for one or two persons. Permanent hides are very comfortable for up to three people. 

Weather: In the end of May and throughout June it is getting hot in Bulgaria with midday temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius. Rains are not likely, but possible. 

Clothes: Light clothes of darker and therefore better camouflaged colour, light shoes, hats and sun cream are recommended.

Accommodation and food: The accommodation is of good standard, double or single rooms with private facilities. Breakfast will mostly be a picnic with hot drinks available. Lunch will be in the restaurants and roadside cafes or again picnics depends our daily schedule. Evening meals will be in the hotel’s restaurants where we will have a free choice from the menu. Food in Bulgaria is very good, with a lot of fresh vegetable at this time of the year.

Equipment: Telephoto lenses from around 300mm to 500mm required, preferably with 1.4 extenders or similar. SLR camera bodies and stable tripods are must. For the flowers and butterflies we will need macro lenses.

Day - by - day Itinerary:

Day 1: Welcome to Bulgaria - SofiaGabarevo
Our guide will meet you at the Sofia Airport upon your arrival and accompany you throughout the whole trip. A three hours transfer  will bring us to the village of Gabarevo, where we will be based for the next four nights. Our main sites during the next days will be the meadows close to the Central Balkan National Park. Depending on the arrival and your wish we can either  take you on a relaxing walk around the capital’s highlights time or we can immediately set off for Gabarevo so we can have an afternoon session there.
Overnight in Gabarevo. (B,L,D)

Days 2 to 4: The village of Gabarevo
These days will be spent in the area within a short distance from our hotel. Here we will catch up the local Hoopoe and Wryneck pairs as they will be at the middle of their breeding cycle before their chicks fledge so we expect a lot of activity. For both species we shall use portable canvas hides. There is a small Bee-eater colony in the area, which is very photogra-phic. As well as perched shots it is possible to attempt these colourful birds in flight here. Other species in the area will include Black-headed bunting, Isabelline wheatear, Red-backed shrike, Little-ringed plover and Black-headed Yellow wagtail. Suslick is also numerous here. We also have two purpose built permanent hides in the vicinity at drinking pools where we will have few sessions too. In a hot and dry country like Bulgaria drinking pools are a very successful way of photographing birds. The species we can expect to come down to drink in front of our cameras are Hawfinch, Nightingale, Syrian woodpecker, Cirl, Ortolan and Corn buntings, Sombre tit, Jay and various finches, shrikes and some warblers.
Overnight in Gabarevo. (B,L,D)

Day 5: The village of Gabarevo – Central North Bulgaria
In the morning we can have another session in the area before driving north where we will spend the second part of our trip. We will now be in a flat area, near to the Danube river supporting colonies of Rollers and Bee-eaters which give us excellent opportunities for flight shots of these wonderful birds. At this time of the year these two most colourful birds are in the beggining of the breeding season, so will be very active both in flight as well as perched with dragonflies, beetles, even small lizards and rodents. Depending on the arrival time we can have an afternoon session.
Overnight in Central North Bulgaria. (B,L,D)

Days 6 to 8: Central North Bulgaria - Northeastern Bulgaria
Over these three days we will concentrate on the Rollers and Bee-eaters in order to get the maximum from these beautiful birds. Other possible subjects will be Red-backed shrike, Isabelline wheatear, Turtle Dove and White stork, all of which will keep us very busy. Further north there are few wetlands along the Danube river and if the water level is favourable they can be quite productive. If we are about to use them, it will need moving to a another hotel nearby. 
Overnight in Northeastern Bulgaria. (B,L,D)8

Day 9: Trip finishes in Sofia
According to the time of your departure flight we could go sightseeing in Sofia. Then it will be time for us to say 
“Goodbye”  with the promise to always remember out bird watching adventure in Bulgaria!

If you like the suggested program, ideas, services and this is really your kind of holiday please send us your request for further details! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and give you our professional advice. Thank you!

Highlights

  • Explore some of the best bird and wildlife photography opportunities in Europe thanks to Bulgaria’s rich biodiversity, variety of habitats and easy access!
  • Observe closely some of the most colourful and attractive European bird species such as Rollers, Bee-eaters, Hoopoe and Wryneck!
  • Grasp the opportunity to photograph both flowers and the large numbers of butterflies that Bulgaria is renowned for!
  • Indulge in the simplicity and friendliness of the Bulgarian countryside and explore the locals’ everyday life and tasty homemade meals while staying at traditional family owned guesthouses!

Route

Photos


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What Is Included

  • 9 days / 8 overnights
  • 9 Picnic Breakfasts (B), 8 Picnic and roadside café Lunches (L), 8 Dinners (D)
  • 8 nights in family owned hotels and traditional guest houses on a twin/double room basis
  • Escorted services of a professional guide in the requested language for the whole tour
  • Group Size: T/A
  • Transport: Modern air-conditioned 4x4 vehicle or a mini-van
  • Entrance fees for the Poda lagoon and the Cape Kaliakra Reserve
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