After our trip to the Romania, the Danube delta, we were curious to see its southern neighbor Bulgaria. Relatively unspoilt, at around 2.5 times the size of the Netherlands and less than half of the population, it is a country where there is habitat for many interesting and beautiful species. Guided by Emil Enchev – in his VW bus – we made a 10 day round trip in June 2010, starting and ending at Varna airport.

Bulgaria - June 2010

 

 

 Although Bulgaria has a very wide range of species, it was clear to us that finding the best spots really depended on the local knowledge that only a good guide has. The rose colored starlings e.g. were in an abandoned marble quarry (there are quite a few of such quarries, though) and they were very numerous right there, but we didn’t see them anywhere else. The Golden Oriole was in a narrow gorge that could only be approached via private land, and several other species had their favorite hunting grounds or watering holes that one simply has to know. Emil knew his birds and their best spots, and he proved to be a tireless and very enjoyable companion.

Still, there are great Bulgarian species we did not see, like the Eastern Imperial Eagle, which would have required a separate trip and all day sessions in a permanent hide. The same can be said for the red-breasted goose and for mammals like the brown bear, the jackal, the Eurasian lynx, and the European mink. That will give us an incentive to come back one day.

Membership of the EU has helped Bulgaria to start development – not always an advantage to bird photographers – but this is still not a country of highways and big cities. Many Bulgarians continue to grow their own fruit and vegetables, for personal consumption and/or sale, and restaurants list various tasty salads, along with the local wines.  Prices are very reasonable. Emil treated us to his family’s home grown wine, a very tasty breakfast out in the field every morning and an excellent time all around.

More info on trips to Bulgaria also on Andreas Lentfer's site: www.lentfer-naturephotography.de

Early 2013, Renee made another trip to Bulgaria, to see Eagles and Pelicans.

 



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