Early Spring and Autumn Birdwatching Tour Bulgaria – Romania
Being a part from the Balkan Peninsula, which is one of the most strategically important points for birdwatching in Europe, Bulgaria is a paradise for birdwatchers. In Bulgaria theyhave the opportunity to see much of everything: water birds, waders, mountain and grassland bird species typical for Central and Northern Europe, passerines and raptors typical for the Mediterranean, steppe and even semi-desert species influenced by the proximity of the northern regions of Pontus and Asia Minor. The country has an incredible variety of habitats. Adding the outstanding location on the second biggest migration route in Europe (Via Pontica), we finally get a rich set of conditions for superb birdwatching almost throughout the year, including a list of more than 420 species found so far. Bulgaria is known for watching thousands of Red-breasted geese in winter, massive herds of thousands of pelicans, storks and an incredible variety of birds of prey during migration and other species such as olive-tree warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, White-fronted Shrike Levant Sparrowhawk, Orpheus warbler, Pied wheatear, Indian Warbler, Imperial Eagle, Black-headed Bunting, Wheatear and much more.
There is no doubt that the Danube Delta represents a superb corner of Europe, with its network of canals, lakes and dense forests. Danube Delta was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1990 and covers 580,000 hectares of reed surface, interrupted by lakes and channels, where thousands of pelicans, herons, ibis, ducks, warblers and other birds breed. Birds like White-Tailed Eagle, Paddyfield Warbler, Pied Wheatear and Dalmatian Pelican might be interesting for list keepers, but the magic here comes from the great show of nature, with huge wild areas reachable only by rowing boat, and all the birds seen at close range.
The Danube delta along with the lagoon system host massive numbers of bird species and individuals that make this region a birding paradise for the visitors. Birders can admire about 330 species of birds throughout the year, many of them very rare in Europe.
Some of the most important species include:The White Pelican (pelecanus onocrotalus) In March, swaths of white pelicans leave the Nile Delta and the Red Sea to come nest in the Danube Delta. The Delta is home to Europe’s largest breeding population (some 3,500 pairs).
Best seen: March to October
Dalmatian Pelican (pelecanus crispus)
After decades of decline, this species’ numbers have slowly begun to increase in the Delta. Currently, some 150 pairs have been spotted in several small colonies.
Best seen: April to October; some pairs may stay over the winter.
Small Egret (egretta garzetta)
A migratory species protected by law, the small egret lives in marshy areas and nests in small willows.
Best seen: April to October; some pairs may stay over the winter.
Pygmy Cormorant (phalacrocorax pygmeus) Best seen: April to October; some pairs may stay over the winter.
Ferruginous Duck (aythya nyroca)
The Danube Delta may be the last place in Europe to see this declining species. In August and September, large numbers often gather at Somova Lake, just west of Tulcea.
Best seen: March to October
Red-breasted Goose (branta ruficollis)
In winter, thousands of this species – almost half of the entire world population – reside on the Razim-Sinoe lagoon and coastal plain to the south of the Delta.
Best seen: Late October to March
Glossy Ibis (plegadis falcinellus)
More than 30% of the European population nests in the reed beds of the delta.
Best seen: April to September
Other notable birds are also found in the Delta including Saker Falcon (Falco peregrine), Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), the European Roller (Coracias Garrulus), Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus, the European spoonbill (Spoonbill) and many others.
|Day 1||Varna – Natural Reserve Kamchia – Lake Complex Varna – BeloslavNight in Varna|
|Day 2||Varna – Natural Reserve Kaliakra – Cove Bolata – KavarnaNight in Kavarna|
|Day 3||Kavarna – Kamen bryag – Yailata – Taukliman (Bird bay) – Lake Shabla – Lake DurankulakNight in Durankulak|
|Day 4||Durankulak – Histria – Vadu – Sinoe LakeNight in Sinoe Village|
|Day 5||Sinoe – Babadag – TulceaNight in Tulcea|
|Day 6||Tulcea – Sfantu Gheoghe Arm (Bratul Sfantu Ghoerghe)of Danube DeltaNight in Murighiol|
|Day 7||Murighiol – Constanta Airport|
Maps of the tour
4. Bolata cove. Located at the northern rocky coastline of the Bulgarian seaside. It is 3 km to the north of the Kaliakra headland. In the sky of Bolata cove passes Via Pontica one of the main roads (north to south) of the migratory birds. Bolata is the only reserve in Bulgaria that includes sea area in its territory. Many interesting species make their nests here. Among them are: Little Bittern / Ixobrychus minutus, Little Grebe / Tachybaptus ruficollis/, Common Kingfisher / Alcedo atthis, Mallard / Anas platyrhynchos, Tufted Duck / Aythya fuligula, Grey Heron / Ardea cinerea
5. Kavarna. Kavarna is a small coastal town in northeastern Bulgaria, situated in the middle part of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Its population in 2011 was 11 368 inhabitants. There are small beaches along the picturesque Kavarna coast with a length of 42 km. there is a large artificial beach on the coast of the town.
6. Kamen Bryag is a small village situated near the town of Kavarna on a rocky coast dotted with many caves and coves, surrounded by stone blocks and lavish greenery.
7. Yailata protected area is an archaeological reserve, located about 1 km. south of Kamen Bryag. Its natural beauty combines with numerous remains of ancient civilizations and hints of the past.
8.Taukliman (Bird Bay) is a protected area, located south of Yalata, about 8 km from the village. Here you can see various species of birds (more than 100), nesting or flying in the area. The shore resembles rocky terraces descending to the sea with small cozy beaches and rock arches. Taukliman is separated from the sea by a sandy hill through which sea waters seep. Water salinity ranges from 2.3 to 87 ‰. The bottom of the lake is covered with curative hydrogen sulphide mud. During seasonal migrations many birds stop here for rest and food. The rocky massifs and covered with dense vegetation slopes harbor birds – owl, long-legged buzzard, olive-tree warbler, a few endangered reptiles – glass lizard, stengushter, spur-thighed tortoise. The area around the lake is very picturesque. Here you can see remains of ancient medieval villages, parts of late antiquity fort, a Byzantine fortress from the V century, a large number of circular stone structures (Sharap-Tashi) used for making wine.
Two globally threatened species breed in the complex – the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and the Corncrake Crex crex. A number of other rare and threatened bird species, like the Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus and the Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor breed in considerable numbers. The lake complex is one of the most important sites in the country for the Kentish Plover, the Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola, the Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, the Little Tern Sterna albifrons and the Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus.
1. Sinoe Lake. To the south of the delta lies Lake Sinoie, a huge bird-filled lake. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of pelicans feed here, mostly Whites and a few of the rare Dalmatians. Another rare European breeding bird here is the Ruddy Shelduck. Wolf`s Peninsula wetland site, close to the Sinoe lake in spring time is one of the best places for waders, terns, gulls, pratincoles and pelicans. In the agricultural fields you can see migrating Red-throated Pipits, different forms of Yellow Wagtails, Red-footed Falcons, displaying Calandra and Short-toed Larks. The biggest Dalamatian Pelican colony of the Danube Delta is close to this place and small groups often rest here.
3. Vadu area. Here the places with shallow water attract waterbirds like Caspian Tern, Collared Pratincole, Red-necked Phalaropes, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Stone Curlew or even scarce passage migrants. The oil refinery pools has in past years provided an assortment of rare waders (Broad-billed, Marsh, and Terek Sandpipers) plus Spotted Redshanks, Curlew Sandpipers, and Paddyfield Warblers and Bearded Tits in the reedbed. The pools at Vadu could hold Red-necked Phalarope, Temminck’s Stint, and Collared Pratincole while the beach usually has good numbers of Kentish Plover and Sanderling.
4. Sinoe village. It is a Romanian village situated on the Black Sea coast and very close to the most important wetland sites. The closest birding destinations is near Sitorman where an abandoned rock quarry can hold species like Isabelline and Pied Wheatear.
6. Tulcea. The city of Tulcea, laid out on seven hills like Rome, has been an important harbor since ancient times. Founded in the 7th century BC by the Dacians, Aegyssus, as the city was known in antiquity, was conquered by the Romans who rebuilt it after their plans, their technique and architectural vision. Some of the city’s attractions include St. Nicholas’ Church (1865), the Azzizie Mosque (1924), the Danube Delta History Museum, the Art Museum, and the History and Archeology Museum. The local Lipovani Russian and Turkish minorities lend the city a multi-ethnic flavor.
7. Murighiol. A traditional fishing village, is home to the ruined Roman city of Halmyris, one of the most important ancient sites in Romania. The city was continuously inhabited from the 6th century BC to the 7th century AD. Although a basilica and a crypt containing the tomb of Epictet and Astion, the earliest Romanian Christian martyrs, have been discovered here, much of the ruins remain unexcavated. A visit offers the chance to see an ancient city still in the process of being uncovered. Exploring the beautiful Murighiol area the birdwatchers may meet Little Crake, Corncrake, Avocets, Golden Plover, Dotterel, Marsh and, with luck, Terek Sandpiper.
Varna – Kamchia – 39.5 km
Kamchia – Lake Complex Varna – Beloslav – 39.5 km
Varna – Natural Reserve Kaliakra – 73.6 km
Natural Reserve Kaliakra – Cove Bolata – 2 km
Cove Bolata – Kavarna – 13.6 km
Kavarna – Kamen bryag – 20.2 km
Kamen bryag – Archeological Reserve Yailata – Taukliman (Bird Bay) – 14.0 km
Taukliman (Bird Bay) – Lake Shabla – 18.0 km
Lake Shabla – Lake Durankulak – 24.2 km
Durankulak – Histria – 77.0 km
Histria – Vadu – 31.2 km
Vadu – Sinoe Lake – 40.6 km
Sinoe – Babadag – 59.4 km
Babadag – Tulcea – 35.3 km
Tulcea – Murighiol – 40 km
Murighiol – Constanta Airport – 134 km
Transportation in the Danube Delta:
Navrom operates both regular and express passenger ferries year-round from Tulcea to towns and villages in the Danube Delta. Ferry tickets are sold at Tulcea’s Navrom ferry terminal.
Hydrofoils to Sulina (1 ½ hours) depart from Tulcea every day at 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., stopping in Maliuc and Crisan en route. Hydrofoils for the return trip from Sulina depart at 8:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Private motor boats, rowboats and kayaks are available for hire in Tulcea. For a list of companies, please contact the Tulcea Tourist Information Center http://romaniatourism.com/delta.html#tulceatourist