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Bird ID training course: the end

birdwatching in Bulgaria

Route: the steppe and the area around Cape Kaliakra

Last full day birdwatching in Bulgaria

The last full day of birdwatching in Bulgaria has come. Today we will head south of our hotel to some different types of habitats we have not visited until now.

Our pre-breakfast walk was in the village of our hotel and again it was very productive. We had at least 3 different Barred Warblers, many Golden Orioles, Bee-eaters, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike and many more. The morning sun illuminated the beautiful poppy flowers on the steep shoreline!

Our first stop for the day was for a Laughing Dove. This is the first confirmed breeding of the species in the country and it was rather exciting to be able to show this to the group. Unfortunately, they didn’t share my enthusiasm but that’s all right. It was still great! I know it is just a “pigeon” but it is a first!

Laughing Dove, image: Iordan Hristov
Laughing Dove, image: Iordan Hristov

We continued birding in the most picturesque valley in the country! You would not expect it to be there if you did not know it. A valley with red rocks is carved in the landscape with a small marsh at the bottom which reaches the sea.

We started the walk with a visit to the sea and our first Pied Wheatears. What a smart bird! This is a bird that many of the group wanted to see and here it was. A group of 10 Mediterranean Shags were sitting on a rock just outside the valley. Back along the track we heard Water Rail and had fantastic views of Hobby hunting the numerous dragonflies above the marsh. At the end of the track, we heard a Marsh Warbler and saw a Hawfinch.

Pied Wheatear
Pied Wheatear, image: Iordan Hristov

Birding after lunch

It was getting rather hot regardless the breeze and we decided to go to the nearby village and stop for a light lunch with coffee and icecream. Everybody voted positive and spent a nice our hiding from the sun.

Our next birding stop is another picturesque place in the country: cape Kaliakra. It is an archeological reserve and very well visited by a great number of tourists. We didn’t see many birds here but had great time looking over the sea. The only birds we saw were a few Shags, Alpine Swifts, many Pied Wheatear and a couple of Black-eared Wheatears. The sea watching here produced a group of several Harbour Porpoises which were showing well. It was a fantastic walk at a very picturesque site.

Birdwatching in the Steppe

It was finally time to go to the steppe. What an experience that was! Some people voted it as one of the best for the whole trip. Our main target birds here were Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark and Tawny Pipit.

First we stopped at a place where the Stone Curlew bred last year but we failed to find it. Then we decided to go to another spot and have a walk along a track in the steppe with the sun in our backs. Just as we were approaching the spot, one of the group members shouted “Can you stop? What is that stone there?” Well, it was a Stone that was Curlewing 🙂 Great excitement took over the van! Everybody jumped out of happiness! A Stone Curlew was sitting low and hiding from us. It was clear they had a nest there. We didn’t stay long and certainly did not go out of the van to disturb the birds. What an amazing find!

birdwatching in Bulgaria
Stone Curlew, image: Iordan Hristov

Once in the steppe, it was a real miracle! I could see the smiles on people’s faces enjoying the bird song and the superb landscape. Calandra Larks were singing from every direction, light was already getting milder and the smell of steppe flowers was superb. It was an amazing treat to people’s senses. A real joy and an example of what being out in nature can bring to people. I cannot explain the satisfaction and appreciation of the people being there. This has got to be the most amazing experience for the whole trip!

What birdwatching in Bulgaria is all about?

We spent about an hour just walking along and absorbing with all our senses as much as we could. We got all our birds but even that is not that important. It is the joy and pleasure of being out there that matters! We did not want to leave but I had promised the group to show them one more spot like this.

The other place was identical and full of bird songs. We got more Calandra Larks and another pair of Red-footed Falcons sitting by a nestbox. This has got to be another great sign for the species.

Calandra Lark, image: Iordan Hristov
Calandra Lark, image: Iordan Hristov

We headed back to the hotel but the group wanted us to stop at the easternmost point of the country: the lighthouse of Cape Shabla. Just as were traveling and approaching the lighthouse, i heard a Common Rosefinch singing. Immediately jumped on the brakes and everybody was out of the van for seconds. The bird kept singing and re-appearing at its usual post. What a great bird! That was a superb end to one very, very lucky day!

This was our last full day of birding which we finalised with 80 species. In the evening we summed up all the experiences during the trip and tried to vote for bird of the trip. There was almost no bird that was no mentioned. Most observations have left a memorable moment with everybody. Amongst the highlights were the Wallcreeper, the Olive-tree Warbler, the migration of Honey Buzzards and Black Kites, the numerous Red-footed Falcons, the Pratincoles, and many more. It was ana amazing trip which resulted in 192 species seen in these 9 days.

birdwatching in Bulgaria
Common Rosefinch, image: Iordan Hristov

Day 10

Today is mainly a traveling day. We have to be in Sofia in the late afternoon for an early flight so we rushed across the country. Along the road we saw a single Lesser spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle and many White Storks. We tried a quarry for Rose-coloured Starlings which were reported recently but did not see any. Anyway, it was still a fantastic trip!

Hope you have enjoyed my daily blogs and if would like to experience this treat and proximity to nature, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to guide you around Bulgaria.

See the reviews of my customers on TripAdvisor here and feel free to add yours if we have traveled together.


Here is the full checklist of birds seen during the trip:

1 Black-throated Diver
2 Little Grebe
3 Great Crested Grebe
4 Black necked Grebe
5 Greater Flamingo
6 White Pelican
7 Dalmatian Pelican
8 Cormorant
9 Shag
10 Pygmy Cormorant
11 Grey Heron
12 Purple Heron
13 Little Egret
14 Squacco Heron
15 Night Heron
16 Little Bittern
17 Black Stork
18 White Stork
19 Glossy Ibis
20 Spoonbill
21 Mute Swan
22 Ruddy Shelduck
23 Shelduck
24 Gadwall
25 Mallard
26 Garganey
27 Pochard
28 Ferruginous Duck
29 Black Vulture
30 Honey Buzzard
31 Black Kite
32 White-tailed Eagle
33 Griffon Vulture
34 Egyptian Vulture
35 Short-toed Eagle
36 Montagu’s Harrier
37 Marsh Harrier
38 Buzzard
39 Long-legged Buzzard
40 Lesser Spotted Eagle
41 Imperial Eagle
42 Golden Eagle
43 Booted Eagle
44 Kestrel
45 Red-footed Falcon
46 Hobby
47 Peregrine
48 Chukar
49 Quail
50 Pheasant
51 Water Rail
52 Moorhen
53 Coot
54 Oystercatcher
55 Black-winged Stilt
56 Avocet
57 Stone Curlew
58 Collared Pratincole
59 Lapwing
60 Little Ringed Plover
61 Black-tailed Godwit
62 Curlew
63 Greenshank
64 Ruff
65 Mediterranean Gull
66 Black-headed Gull
67 Slender-billed Gull
68 Little Gull
69 Whiskered Tern
70 Black Tern
71 Common Tern
72 Little Tern
73 Sandwich Tern
74 Yellow-legged Gull
75 Caspian Gull
76 Arctic skua
77 Feral Pigeon
78 Stock Dove
79 Wood Pigeon
80 Turtle Dove
81 Collared Dove
82 Cuckoo
83 Scops Owl
84 Eagle Owl
85 Tawny Owl
86 Little Owl
87 Long-eared Owl
88 Alpine Swift
89 Pallid Swift
90 Swift
91 Bee-eater
92 Roller
93 Hoopoe
94 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
95 Middle Spotted Woodpecker
96 Syrian Woodpecker
97 Great Spotted Woodpecker
98 Black Woodpecker
99 Green Woodpecker
100 Calandra Lark
101 Short-toed Lark
102 Crested Lark
103 Woodlark
104 Skylark
105 Sand Martin
106 Crag Martin
107 Barn Swallow
108 Red-rumped Swallow
109 House Martin
110 Yellow Wagtail
111 Grey Wagtail
112 Tawny Pipit
113 Tree Pipit
114 White Wagtail
115 Red-backed Shrike
116 Lesser Grey Shrike
117 Woodchat Shrike
118 Masked Shrike
119 Dipper
120 Wren
121 Dunnock
122 Robin
123 Nightingale
124 Black Redstart
125 Redstart
126 Whinchat
127 Stonechat
128 Northern Wheatear
129 Pied Wheatear
130 Black-eared Wheatear
131 Isabelline Wheatear
132 Blue Rock Thrush
133 Ring Ouzel
134 Blackbird
135 Song Thrush
136 Mistle Thrush
137 Cetti’s Warbler
138 Savi’s Warbler
139 Reed Warbler
140 Marsh Warbler
141 Great Reed Warbler
142 Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
143 Olive-tree Warbler
144 Chiffchaff
145 Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler
146 Blackcap
147 Whitethroat
148 Lesser Whitethroat
149 Barred Warbler
150 Eastern Orphean Warbler
151 Sardinian Warbler
152 Firecrest
153 Spotted Flycatcher
154 Semi-collared Flycatcher
155 Bearded Tit
156 Long-tailed Tit
157 Penduline Tit
158 Sombre Tit
159 Coal Tit
160 Great Tit
161 Blue Tit
162 Nuthatch
163 Wallcreeper
164 Short-toed Treecreeper
165 Corn Bunting
166 Rock Bunting
167 Ortolan Bunting
168 Cirl Bunting
169 Black-headed Bunting
170 Reed Bunting
171 Chaffinch
172 Greenfinch
173 Goldfinch
174 Linnet
175 Bullfinch
176 Hawfinch
177 House Sparrow
178 Spanish Sparrow
179 Tree Sparrow
180 Starling
181 Golden Oriole
182 Jay
183 Magpie
184 Jackdaw
185 Rook
186 Hooded Crow
187 Raven
188 Water Pipit
189 Corncrake
190 Lesser Kestrel
191 Common Rosefinch
192 Laughing dove

2 thoughts on “Bird ID training course: the end”

  1. Nikolina Bukovac

    We had tremendeous 10 birding days throughout beautiful and scenic Bulgarian nature. Some birds were hard to find but with Iordans hard work and dedication we managed to see them. We stopped many times daily in different habitats and saw many different birds and other critters and flowers. We were travelling cosily and had super fun in the van and on the field. Iordan is relaxed person and experienced birder, and extremely safe driver. Thank you Iordan, see you!

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