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winter wild goose chase

Exploring the threatened wetlands of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, with its spectacular winter wildlife.

Every winter almost the entire world population of the endangered Red-breasted Goose returns to the Black Sea coast, feeding on the winter crop fields of northern Bulgaria and roosting on the lakes of Shabla and Durankulak. Watching the early morning ‘take off’ of hundreds of thousands of geese, which can include thousands of Red-breasted Geese is truly spectacular.

We will also search through the larger flocks of White-fronted Geese, looking for Lesser White-fronted and Bean Goose. Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzards are both common winter visitors and we will keep our eyes peeled for the occasional White-tailed Eagle, with Saker and Spotted Eagle both possible at this time of year.

From here we move south to the lakes and wetlands around Bourgas. Here we will find Pygmy Cormorant, White-headed Duck and Smew, alongside Dalmatian Pelicans in their bright breeding colours and the occasional Bittern, while scarcer visitors to the area might include Pallas’s Gull and Great Grey Shrike.

A day away from the water will take us south into the oak-clad Strandzha Mountains where the woodland floor is a carpet of early-flowering Colchicum coumPrimulas, snowdrops and crocuses, and woodpeckers drum while Woodlarks sing. As well as the birds, we will also spend time looking for some of Europe’s most exciting mammals: Wild Boar, Wild Cat and Golden Jackal been seen on our previous visits to Bulgaria, while Otter is always a possibility.

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Bulgaria 3rd – 7th January 2019

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Snow Bunting on stony ground, Bulgaria
geese flying in dawn skies, Bulgaria
Little Owl snoozing on a chimney, Bulgaria