The north-eastern countryside of Bulgaria called Dobruja or in Bulgarian Dobrudzha or in romanian Dobrogea was not famous of being one of Bulgaria´s birding hot spots for bird-lens before. But a trip to the Romanian Dobrogea in may 2012 was already very productive. Thus maybe an excursion to that thinly populated area south of the city of Silistra might be good as well.
The area is a charming countryside which has to offer surprisingly good locations to shoot images of excellent birds.
Having been spent 4 days at the place aiming to photograph Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eaters, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Barred Warbler, Tawny Pipit, etc. on invitation of Iordan Hristov one of the two owners of Nature Travel has been very productive – as you can see in the gallery. The other owner, Sergey Panayotov, and his friend Iordan Hristov offer Wildlife Workshops, trips with bicycles and canoes but also the chance to sit in one (or more) of their hides located in the superb gently rolling countryside of that part of Bulgaria. The center of these activities is an ancient farmhouse with an orchard meadow behind. The area in General is dry and can be – at least in that aspect – best compared to the Macin Mountains in Romania.
One of the main targets was the Golden Oriole photography. For this the tower hide was used. This brand-new photohide is in the yard of a small farmland. The tower overlooks the branches of a walnut-tree where birds often perch. Several bird species have their territories around the yard and they often perch on the highest branches for their displays in spring. When bird-lens was shooting the images you see in the gallery the breeding season was almost over. I felt, that the birds use the exposed position of this tallest tree to orientate between a open field and a forest behind and the cherry trees in the orchards of that nice village. An excellent chance to photograph Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris), Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca), Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) and a pair of beautiful colored Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala). And indeed Eurasian Golden-Oriole (Oriolus oriolus). Whereas young individuals of the yellow beauty were present almost every hour, the males were much more concealed and stayed only for a few seconds – if ever. On the very last day, the best shots of a male Golden-Oriole could be made during a prolonged stay. Wow!
The Syrian Woodpecker, which should be present in that kind of orchards, was missing –unfortunately.
The floor of the tower hide is at a 7m high. A perfect viewpoint towards the birds at the level of their position and slightly above the other trees in the orchards.
One of the photo hides in the yard of the cottage overlooks a small pond where birds land to drink water. At least at that time of the year, it was not productive, only attracting the abundant House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Another permanent photo hide near an almost aborted country road adjacent to a sand wall was supposed to be good for Rollers, which breed nearby. The hide is located away from the nests with no risk for disturbing the birds. One perch in front of the hide was very prominent and after quite a while gave excellent views of a European Roller (Coracias garrulus) and a Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica). Both birds show their prey aggressively towards the lens – as you see in the gallery here!
The two owners of Nature Travel offer a mobile hide, too. This hide is quite convenient for photographing European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), European Roller (Coracias garrulus), Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator) The hide is with a chair and disguised by a camouflage pattern.
On the way between the hides a nice selection of larks could be observed. Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) and Wood Lark (Lullula arborea) for example. Beautiful images of young Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) in all phases of adolescence could be shot; some in front of their sinkholes. With good luck we also arranged for good shots of a resting Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) while travelling to one of the hides.
All in all, you could say that the Dobrudzha in Bulgaria is a paradise for nature photographers. A description of the locations written by Naturetravel, you will find here ! Accomodation is possible in a cottage – the ancient farmhouse mentioned above – to rent for self-catering. To contact Naturetravel pls use firstname.lastname@example.org .The cottage is located in an area called “Suha reka” in the North East part of Bulgaria. “Suha reka” is a valley with cliffs up to 30m high and very scenic.
Here you will find some pictures shot on the 4 days in that area.
To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the Western Palearctic. Trips to remote places or to common – but underestimated locations as described above – to capture images of rare birds of Western Palearctic were very successful. The nice images you find in the gallery are only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.