01.08.2020 Rhodopes and Sakar tour during Corona.

A ten day bird tour that started in Trigrad with the Wallcreeper and ended in Levka with the Lesser Kestrel.

Rhodopes and Sakar tour during Corona.

June 15 was allowed to fly from The Netherlands to Bulgaria. We arrived two month later than in previous years. Fortunately, the bird season appeared to be 2 weeks later: right away on a trip to experience the bird season here.

First to Trigrad in the Western Phodopes now that after years of absence the Wallcreeper is breeding again. Fortunately, the young birds were still in the nest and the parents flew in and out. 3 days of stable and dry weather are exceptional there so I came back with enough images. Also from the Dipper and Firecrest.

White-fronted Dipper



Traveled to the Game Reserve at the Studen Kladenets reservoir. Abandon the idea of filming bison and Tarpan horses. Too extensive area to do alone without thorough preparation. However the necessary contacts have been made to do that next year.

Found the targeted Masked Shrike but did not get it right. However the Cirl Bunting that is feeding and already flown Black-eared Wheatears. And - time to photograph the Common Turtle, Red Deer and Fallow deer in the reserve up close.

Cirl Bunting


Black-eared Wheatear


Common Turtle


Red Deer, mother and calf

The next stop is Krumovgrad where I have not spend the night before. Last year I found the Black Stork fishing in the river. Now I found them with chicks among the cattle looking for a cool down in the water. You dream about such a scene and I also found the Little Owl in the neighborhood, which is raising 3 young birds in a water tube this year. A strange display offering funny images.

I provide the links to YouTube at the end of the report on the Black Stork, the Little Owl, the Wallcreeper and the Lesser Kestrel.

Then to the new part of the Eastern Rhodopes for me. The area between Krumovgrad and Ivaylovgrad bordering Greece. It is remarkably green here. You can see tobacco plantations here on a small scale. I don't see many birds. Unexpectedly, an Egyption Vulture is circling and - that's it.


Stringing tobacco leaves is manual work

On the way to the final destination, the Lesser Kestrel Rehabilitation and Breeding Center in Levka passed by the Vulture Center in Madzharovo. It was closed due to a power failure. So no lunch there but got a cup of coffee from an old friend.

The first young birds were already flying around in Levka. This year, about 25 pairs are breeding. Being able to film well from the hide in the evening and morning light. And - got the necessary ideas here to capture the Imperial Eagle in this region next year.

Young Lesser Kestrel

Older bird raised in the colony in 2013


What a restful and what an exceptional area, the southeast of Bulgaria. 10 days fly by. The tour started and ended in Burgas and eventually there are almost 1500 kilometers on the counter.

Links to the videos:

Black Stork >>> https://youtu.be/7xuNkZQWgcQ

Little Owl >>>  https://youtu.be/Fb97EQiQSaM

Wallcreeper >>> https://youtu.be/xW6L7dkRs6Y

Lesser Kestrel >>> https://youtu.be/2a-p3jRiHH8

You can find additional photos of the tour grouped together under the header "My recent photos". (go to the top of page)

All bird videos you can find under "My bird clips" by name in alphabetical order.