This is an 8-day tour, focusing on the rich bird diversity and the beautiful scenery of the Eastern Rhodope Mountain and the Eastern Balkan range in Bulgaria.
We normally start the tour from the Eastern Rhodope Mountains, located in southeastern Bulgaria near the state border with Greece. The region hosts exceptional biodiversity – a result of the impact of both the Mediterranean and the continental climate. The diversity of birds of prey is amazing – 36 species of the 39 recorded in Europe can be seen there.
The main photography targets in the Eastern Rhodopes are the birds of prey, coming to feed on the carcass at a feeding place, which we manage together with a local game reserve. We offer a fixed hide for 6 persons, providing excellent opportunities to photograph several species of raptors. In front of the hide you can get three vulture species – Griffon Vulture, Cinereous (Eurasian Black) Vulture and Egyptian Vulture, as well as some other birds of prey like White-tailed Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Common Buzzard, Black Kite. The Common Ravens are always there. An occasional Wolf, Golden Jackal or Red Fox may turn up at the feeding table too. During times when there is less activity at the hide, we can go off to explore the region looking for other wildlife. We will be sure to visit the nearby reserve, where reintroduced populations of Red Deer and European Bison roam in the wild – a setting that makes for good photography.
During the second part of the trip we drive northeast to the Eastern Balkan range, where we offer a complex of 4 wooden bird photography tower hides set in different habitats. They are at a walking distance from one another. Each hide can accommodate 2 or 3 photographers. The main targets here include 7 species of woodpecker (among which the Grey-headed Woodpecker, European Green Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck), Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Golden Oriole, European Turtle Dove, Red-backed Shrike, Sombre Tit, Hawfinch and others.
HERE is the list of birds, which can be photographed from the hides, the time of year they can be photographed and the chances/probability of taking good shots.
Although this tour is designed for taking photos from permanent hides, if there are good opportunities for photographing birds and wildlife from mobile (tent) hides and time allows, we take advantage of those opportunities. That may result in wonderful experience photographing a variety of attractive and colourful birds, like the Black Stork, Black-headed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, etc, plus the cute European Souslik, etc.