Spring Herpetology and Macro in Bulgaria 2019-2020
Group size: 2 – 4 photographers + guide
Available dates for 2020:
6 ÷ 13.April – 4 places available
14 ÷ 21.April – fully booked
21 ÷ 28.April – provisionally booked
1 ÷ 8.May – 4 places available
8 ÷ 15.May – 4 places available
Burgas lakes at late summer 2019-2020
5 ÷ 11 September 2019 – only 2 places avaiable
12-16 October 2019 – only 3 places
22-26 October 2020 – fully booked
27-31 October 2020 – 6 places available
Bulgaria is one of the richest countries in Europe for herpetofauna, inhabited by 66 species including Newts (Caudata) – 8; Frogs (Anura) – 15; Testudines – 7; Lizards (Sauria) – 17 and snakes (Serpentes) – 19.
The main focus of this trip will be reptiles and amphibians, and there are also many possibilities for Macro photography available in the area.
The trip takes place in two key locations, the Kresna gorge and the Rupite area, just 2 hours drive from Sofia airport. The Kresna gorge, which is situated in Southwest Bulgaria, was formed by the Struma river which sculpted a 16 kilometer long gorgeous canyon. The area is characterized by a typical transitional-Mediterranean climate, which is the reason for the great variety of plant and animal species typical for a Mediterranean region. The other spot is the Rupite area, situated next to the smallest mountain in Bulgaria– the Kozhuh mountain. The landscape is also variable – open areas, rocky places, forests, sandy rocks, river valleys, plain areas.
In this particular area you can find half of the whole herpetofauna in Bulgaria. Some of the herpeto species are distributed only in this region of the country. There are also endemic plants and plenty of insects.
The best time to search for reptiles and amphibians is during the Spring (April-May), because the breeding activity for most of them coincides in this period. September is also a very good time for herping and macro.
You can photograph the Balkan crested newt (Triturus ivanbureschi) and Yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) with a special aquarium setting. Another interesting species which is easily found is the stream frog (Rana graeca), distributed only in this part of Bulgaria.
In South-West Bulgaria there are also two species of tortoise – Hermann’s and Spur-thighed (Testudo hermanni and Testudo graeca). Both of them are in the list of protected species by Natura 2000.
Over the duration of the trip, we will have the opportunity to make some night time observations, because of the nocturnal “lifestyle” of the species. We will looking for: Leopard snake (Zamenis situla) the most beautiful and one of the rarest snakes in Europe, Kotschy’s gecko (Mediodactylus kotschyi), Eastern spadefoot toad (Pelobates syriacus) and Tree frog (Hyla arborea). These species are much easier to find in the evening.
Leopard snake (Zamenis situla)
The Dahl whip snake (Platyceps najadum) is a elegant, gentle and unaggressive creature. In the same area we can also find the Four-lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), a massive but relatively calm snake; the Montpellier snake (Malpolon insignitus) is also a very attractive species.
During this trip you will be guided by Miroslav Slavchev (Miro). He is a herpetologist & wildlife photographer and very good at catching snakes and lizards.
The hotels that we stay in are situated in a beautiful setting, surrounded by trees and next to a small river. They offers comfort and hospitality which are typical of the region.
The transport will be with a comfortable and reliable car, and the places are situated not too far from our hotel. The daily driving time will be from 15 min. up to 1 hour …. so less traveling and more opportunities for photography. Most of the places are accessible by car, but of course to find the animals you may need to do some moderate walking, but only a maximum 700m in one direction.
The photography will be mainly in the field. In case of bad weather conditions we can set the aquarium in the hotel and photograph newts, frogs and toads. After the sessions, the animals will be released at the same spots!
The weather conditions in April are very dynamic. Temperatures can vary from 6˚C to 28˚C. Also spring rains are possible.
During the photo sessions each photographer will be able to ask questions and get advice and assistance related to wildlife photography. In the evenings we will have time to further look through and discuss the work that we’ve done during the day and discuss the plan for the next day.
There is an option to extend some of the trips with several days. For more information, please ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org