A special underground hide situated in one of the best birding places in Europe.
Passerines hide - In The Hide
Why to choose Bulgaria as the destination for your Nature holiday?
Still unknown to many foreign visitors, Bulgaria is actually a green country with four mild, but well discernable seasons and very variable terrain. High mountains, deep gorges, untouched forests, rivers, broad plains, numerous cliffs as well as a beautiful sea coast are situated in a relatively small territory making the country diverse and interesting.
Because of its geographical position and the different habitats, the country boasts one of the richest biodiversity in Europe.
Bulgaria has more than 400 bird species, of which 267 breed here. In the summer it is one of the best places to see species such as Olive-tree, Orphean and Paddyfield warblers, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Isabelline and Pied wheatears, Masked Shrike, Rock Nuthatch, White-backed Woodpecker, Black-headed Bunting, Levant Sparrowhawk and Long-legged Buzzard. Many other rare or hard to find species are easy to observe here – Rock Partridge, Barred Warbler, Scops Owl, and the woodpeckers are just a few. Bulgaria is definitely the best place in Europe to watch Wallcreeper.
Additionally almost all of the species breed here in considerable numbers and the population of one million pairs of Corn Bunting is the simplest evidence of this.
The second biggest migration route in Europe follows the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Every year hundreds of thousands of raptors, storks, pelicans, waders and passerines fly over it to their wintering grounds, making the observation of the migration spectacular and unforgettable.
The Bulgarian Black Sea coast is also the haunt of many wintering species. Seven globally threatened species spend the winter season here. The Red-breasted Goose is undoubtedly the highlight of them all. In January and February almost the whole winter population of this handsome bird can be found concentrated at two small lakes in the northeastern part of the country. The observation of 50,000 Red-breasted Geese is an amazing event for any birdwatcher. Bulgaria is also the most important wintering ground for Pygmy Cormorant which has good numbers here – up to 12,000. Other globally threatened species found in Bulgaria are White-headed Duck, Dalmatian Pelican, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck and Spotted Eagle. Many other raptors, geese, ducks and passerines spend the winter months here.
The mammal family is also well presented here, as about seven hundreds Brown bears and more than a thousand wolves are to be found in parts of the country. Many other species, such as Golden Jackal, Common Otter, Wild Cat, Red Deer, Suslick and many more – in total 87 – are represented by quite stable populations.
BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS
The butterfly and moth fauna is also considerable – more than 3000 species have been recorded, including 208 native butterfly species. The unique character of the Bulgarian butterfly fauna is determined by the number of Balkan-Anatolian and Balkan-Turanic species living in the southern part of the country, as well as more than thirty endemics and glacial relicts which occupy the subalpine belts of the high mountains. The country holds important populations of several species restricted to Europe and considered globally threatened. There are many sites with well preserved butterfly habitats, especially in some river valleys and national park areas of Stara planina (the Balkans), Rila and Pirin Mountains.
Bulgaria has some of the richest flora in Europe: 3 550-3 750 higher plant species and nearly 850 subspecies. Of special importance are the endemic and relict species which constitute quite a significant part of Bulgaria's higher plant flora. About 170 species and 100 subspecies are identified as Bulgarian endemics.
Characteristic and unique to Bulgaria are species such as Primula deorum, Lilium rhodopaeaum, Oxytropis urumovii, Betonica bulgarica and many others, most of which are concentrated in the largest mountain ranges. Balkan endemics number up to 300 species and subspecies. Among them are Pinus peuce, Haberlea rhodopensis, Sideritis scardica, Aquilegia aurea, Centranthus kellererii, Geum bulgaricum, Viola delphinantha and many others.
Orchids, the most spectacular of plant families, are very well represented in Bulgaria – with 68 species. As well as the common orchids such as Early purple orchid, Green-winged orchid, Common spotted orchid, Fragrant orchid, Early marsh orchid, Red and White helleborine and others, a number of very rare orchids such as Lady's slipper, Violet bird's-nest orchid, Ghost orchid and others can be seen here.
A wide range of plant communities can be observed in Bulgaria. A number of these are relict and endemic communities. Bulgarian endemic species are dominant in 27 communities and Balkan endemics are dominant in 77 others.
The greatest variety of habitats and plant communities occurs in the larger Bulgarian mountain ranges. Other plant communities of high conservation value include sand dunes, and other habitats along the Black Sea coast; longose forests; steppe communities; the Mediterranean elements in the Struma and Mesta river valleys; mesophytic meadows in the plains and macrophytic vegetation around water basins.
So, two of the most frequently asked questions – why in Bulgaria and when? – have no easy answers. Virtually all year round the country can offer you an exciting wildlife or botanic holiday.
The beautiful nature with rich biodiversity and plenty of suitable, easy to approach good places make Bulgaria a great place for wildlife photography.
For people with main interest in bird photography, we should notice, that all four seasons provide excellent opportunities for photography. Every season is characterised with different light conditions and different species inhabited the same places. This creates more and new opportunities to be more creative in your photography work.
For macro photographers, often exchanging landscape, alternation of mountains, valleys, arid steppe areas and wetlands is a guarantee for excellent diversity of interesting and beautiful objects – plants, butterflies, dragonflies and all other small creatures from the invertebrate kingdom.