DALMATIAN PELICANS, GOLDEN EAGLES AND GRIFFON VULTURES
These are some of the key species that we will be photographing during this 10-day photography trip in Bulgaria and Northern Greece.
We start our trip from the Eastern Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria where we will spend 3 full days in 2 different hides: one for Golden Eagle and one for Griffon Vultures. Golden Eagles at the first hide are often in a pair and interact with Red Foxes, Griffon Vultures and the odd Grey Wolf. Griffon Vultures regularly circle around the second hide, giving fantastic opportunities for flight shots. We shall take turns in both hides so that everyone can spend enough time at both locations.
The second part of the trip will be at Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece where our main target bird to photograph is the Dalmatian Pelican. January and February is the time when Dalmatians gain their superb breeding plumage with red pouches. The peculiar faces of the birds and their overall majestic size, combined with their tame character set us up nicely for productive sessions with ample photographic opportunities and scope for creativity.
Jan 19 - Jan 28, 2020
10 days / 9 nights
min. 4 guests
max. 6 guests
Difficulty level and Essential equipment
This tour involves easy walking.
Warm clothes are essential for the long hours in the hides.
We recommend wide angle and telephoto lenses 300 to 500 mm.
We meet and gather in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Arrive in Bulgaria
In the morning we make a short trip to a ski resort at Vitosha mountains close to Sofia (40-50 min drive up the mountain) where we spend time with Spotted Nutcrackers. Birds are rather tame and offer superb photographic opportunities for wide angle and long lenses. For photography we need no hides and can feed the birds from our hands. After lunch we shall start our journey to the Eastern Rhodope Mountains (4 hours). We aim to arrive in the late afternoon for an early dinner and preparation for an early start on the following morning.
Day 3 - 5
Eagles and Vultures
We shall devote these three days to Golden Eagles and Griffon Vultures.
Golden Eagle is one of the most majestic and enigmatic birds of prey. With its 2-meter wingspan, sharp claws and powerful beak, it makes a superb subject to photograph, especially when landing and taking off with energetic and powerful wing beats.
Once on the brink of extinction in Bulgaria with fewer than a dozen pairs remaining, the Griffon Vulture population flourished as a result of the conservation actions of the local Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. Nowadays, over 70 pairs breed in the area and numbers increase every year. The social character of the species and invisible hierarchy present lots of dynamics and interactions to photograph.
All three days we shall be sitting in comfortable and heated hides with all facilities necessary for a day-long stay. Entry into the hide is early in the morning during the dark hours and exit is after sunset. Picnic lunch and hot drinks will be provided at mid-day. We shall split in two and will take turns at two hides. Both of them are located in remote areas so off-road vehicles will be hired locally.
In the morning we shall start our journey to Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece (5 hours). It will be mainly a travelling day with no planned photography opportunities. We expect to arrive at the lake in late afternoon to capture the last light for the day and have our first meeting with the Dalmatian Pelicans.
Day 7 - 9
We shall spend two and a half days photographing Dalmatian Pelicans.
Once a Globally Threatened species, the Dalmatian Pelican is now a success story for conservation. Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece is one of the key sites for the species populations on a global scale.
For these three days we shall be by the lake from early mornings to capture the first light. For lunch we shall go back to our hotel to warm up and get ready for another session in the afternoon. This will allow plenty of time for discussions and image editing.
The highlight will be three boat trips and three feeding sessions from the shoreline that would will allow shots of birds in flight and close ups. When feeding, Pelicans interact with each other and come as close as a few inches away. The snow covered domes of the mountains nearby allow for atmospheric shots.
Other than pelicans, we will also have the chance to photograph Pygmy Cormorants, Flamingos, Great Crested Grebe, Crested Lark, Little Owl, Red-Crested Pochard, Grey Heron, Greater Spotted Eagle and others.
In the afternoon of the day 9 we shall start our journey to Sofia (4 hour drive) for a night in the city and departure on the following day.
Depart Sofia and transfer to airport.
Departure from Sofia
Included: Accommodation (9 nights) double/twin rooms sharing (singles available upon request), all meals (three per day), airport transfers and all transportation during the tour, photography tuition, entrance fees and all local taxes.