The tour combines the best of Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia, including a visit to one of the best birding spots in Northern Greece – Kerkini lake.
We start in Bulgaria’s beautiful southwest corner. We stay in the country's smallest town, famed for it’s good wines and fantastic landscapes. Before entering Macedonia, we’ll visit the nearby lake Kerkini - a must see for every birder in the area. The second half of the tour we’ll be in still little known Macedonia. This small country with its welcoming people and rural landscapes provides unspoiled birding and stunning nature.
Some of the tour highlights are Blue rock thrush, Subalpine warbler, Long-legged buzzard and Red-rump swallows amidst Melnik sandstone cliffs. Lake Kerkini’s Dalmatian and White pelicans and fantastic bird life. Macedonia’s unspoiled nature and a chance to see Imperial eagle, Lanner falcon, Lesser kestrel, Rock partridge and Olive-tree warbler.
Day 1: Arrive Sofia and transfer to Melnik with several stops on the way for Eastern Olivacious and Eastern Orphean warblers, Blue rock thrush, Red-rump swallow.
Day 2: Melnik. We’ll spend the day birding in the area, first going to the hills above the town to enjoy the magnificent scenery among the famous sandstone pyramids. Here we can pay a visit to the medieval Rozhen monastery and look for Subalpine and Sardinian warblers, Roller, Bee-eaters and various birds of prey. Later we’ll move on to the hot springs of Kozhuh - unusual volcanic area to look for Black-eared wheatear , Eastern Olivacious warbler, Rock sparrow, Blue rock thrush, Long-legged buzzard and Levant Sparrowhawk.
Day 3: Melnik - Kerkini. Today we’ll have a short transfer to lake Kerkini in Greece and will spend the day exploring the valley of Struma river before it reaches the lake. Possible birds include Levant sparrowhawk, Blue rock thrush, Lesser and Middle spotted woodpecker, Grey and Green woodpecker, Rock nuthatch and possibly Masked shrike.
Day 4: Kerkini Lake. Today we’ll drive around the lake with several stops to get the best out of its avian fauna. The lake is one of the best places for birdwatching in Greece. Located on a major migratory route, it is important stopover for hundreds of birds all year round. Possible birds include – Dalmatian and White pelican, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Whiskered tern and Common terns, four species of grebes, White-tailed and Lesser spotted eagle, Black kite and many more.
Day 5: Kerkini – Gevgelia. Today we’ll explore the rest of Kerkini lake area and then make our way to Gevgelia in Macedonia in the foothills of mount Kozhuf. Possible birds Black and White storks, Long-legged and Honey buzzard, waders and waterfowl .
Day 6: Kozhuf – Kavadartsi. This day we are going to higher elevation on Kozhuf mountain to try getting more mountainous birds. The mountain has been restricted border area up to the 1990s and is one of Macedonia wildest area. Possible birds today are Semi-collared flycatcher, Black and White-backed woodpecker, Golden eagle, Hazel grouse and sometimes Great spotted cuckoo. In the afternoon we move on to our next hotel in Kavadartsi.
Day 7 and 8: Kavadartsi. Next two days we’ll spend in the area around Vardar river, visiting different habitats for some of the highlights of the area – Imperial eagle and Lanner falcon, Lesser kestrels colony, Griffon and Egyptian vultures, Rock partridge, Olive-tree and Orphean warblers.
Day 9: Skopie - fly back home.
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