Bird and mammal photography trip in Southern Bulgaria

Bird and mammal photography trip around Bulgaria

Just completed a very productive photography trip for birds and mammals in Southern Bulgaria with an Israli photographer. He was very keen to travel around Bulgaria and see some of our wildlife.

Day 1: Birdwatching and European Bison photography

We met in Plovdiv and started our journey with a visit to one of the famous places near the city. We logged in about 40 bird species for an hour. This was a pretty good start with some good birds like Temminck’s Stint, 2 Thrush Nightingales, 400+ Lapwings, lots of snipes, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser spotted Woodpecker and many others. We then stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant and hit the road to the Eastern Rhodope mountains where we had a meeting with local people who were going to take us to the only European Bisons in the counry. Our hosts were extremely kind and helpful in our attempts to photograph these majestic animals. We had superb opportunities at various light conditions including direct and backlight. It was truly superb.

We spent the night camping in the heart of the wild Rhodopes with Fallow Deer and Golden Jackals all around it. It was truly memorable experience.

mammal photography

European bison © Iordan Hristov 2020

wildlife photography in Bulgaria

an adult European bison © Iordan Hristov 2020

European bison cub © Iordan Hristov 2020

portrait of European bison © Iordan Hristov 2020

European bison photography © Iordan Hristov 2020

Day 2: Fallow Deer, Griffon Vulture and landscape photography

On the following day we woke up with the first morning light to optimise our time for Fallow Deer. We were hoping to see some in front of our tents but didn’t have that luck. Even though, the deer were waiting for us just round the corner so we did manage to take a few shots. During the walk we saw another 30 bird species to our list including many Griffon Vultures, Red-breasted Flycatcher, loads of Red-rumped Swallows, Cirl Bunting, Middle spotted Woodpecker, etc.

Fallow Deer © Iordan Hristov 2020

Fallow Deer © Iordan Hristov 2020

Wild Hare © Iordan Hristov 2020

Wild Hare © Iordan Hristov 2020

After this fairly short session with the Deer, we packed our camping gear and headed onto our next adventure. We just couldn’t leave this amazing place and a Wild Hare kept us amused and posed for us for a half an hour session. On the way to our final destination we had a group of 50 low flying Griffon Vulture which proved to be the sighting of the trip for my guest from Israel.

In the late afternoon, we took more pictures of Griffon Vultures at a site where we also logged Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Bunting and Black Stork. For the very end of the day we decided to position ourselves at a stunning look out with a view over Arda river and enjoy the autumn colours. Absolutely awesome!

 

Day 3: Griffon Vulture and wader photography

Our alarms woke us up at 4.30 a.m. We were about to go to a Vulture photography hide situated at a usual place for feeding the vulture. The food for the majestic birds was disposed in the afternoon on the previous day and hoped we will be able to take pictures. However, it turned out that the birds had landed in front of the hide on the previous day and had eaten all the food. Thus we couldn’t take any photos but the experience was worth it. We left fairly early in the morning and departed to the Black sea coast where we had other plans for photography.

En route to the coast we stopped at several places to watch Eastern Imperial Eagle and other raptors. We had great views of the eagle plus a few Booted, Short-toed and Lesser-spotted Eagles. We also saw several Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers.

Sanderling

Sanderling © Iordan Hristov 2020

Sanderling photography

Sanderling © Iordan Hristov 2020

Day 4: bird and mammal photography

We started our at “Poda” reserve. After a great session with a Glossy Ibis and a Kingfisher, we slowly headed back to Sofia. On our way i wanted to stop at a small colony of European Souslik which proved to be a favourite animal of my guest. Yes, we did take one or two shots 🙂

Glossy Ibis © Iordan Hristov 2020

Kingfisher © Iordan Hristov 2020

Common Kingfisher © Iordan Hristov 2020

Common Kingfisher © Iordan Hristov 2020

European Souslik © Iordan Hristov 2020

Thus we completed a short but fantastic and very productive wildlife photography trip.

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