вторник, 16 септември 2014 г.

Egyptian Vulture photography trip in Bulgaria

Photographing birds of prey takes a lot of patience. They are really smart and wouldn't allow someone getting into the hide under their sight. That's why we had to get up early and sneak into the hide in the dark. To avoid the early start we decided to spend the night in the vicinity of one of the vulture photography hides in the Eastern Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria. This reduced the time for traveling and we had an hour extra sleep in the morning before the photography session.

The evening before the photography session was superb. We had a late dinner at the Vulture conservation centre managed by the Bulgarian Society for the Photography of birds / BirdLife Bulgaria and then traveled for about an hour to the vulture photography hide. We put up a tent in the area and had a drink under the moonlight with the smell of wild flowers and herbs. Accompanied by the sound of crickets we sneaked into the sleeping bags.

On the next morning the alarm went on at 5,00 a.m. Full of enthusiasm we grabbed the gear and off we went into the hide. It was still totally dark. Shortly after that, the light began to change. The Sun was rising. What a blessing...

landscape photography in Bulgaria
Sunrise over the Eastern Rhodope mountains in Bulgaria taken from the vulture photography hide
With the changing light birds began to sing. The first one to call was a Robin, then Sombre Tit, Green Woodpecker, Jays, Ravens and here they are... The first Egyptian Vultures landed in front of us within half an hour from the entry into the hide.

It was shortly after the sunrise. The "Golden hour"... Superb back-light was outlining the marvelous feathers on the head of the birds. The colours of the grass were creating more contrast with the object making it to stand out in the picture. Have a look at these Egyptian vulture images...

hide photography in Bulgaria
Egyptian Vulture, copyright Iordan Hristov
hide photography in Bulgaria
Egyptian Vulture, copyright Iordan Hristov
hide photography in Bulgaria
Egyptian Vulture, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Egyptian Vulture, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Egyptian Vulture, copyright Iordan Hristov


Two birds stayed for half an hour or so when something flushed them. They didn't appear for the next two hours when the light was already gone. However, we were waiting for the Griffon Vultures to land. No luck though. There were 20 or so birds on the cliff adjacent to the feeding site but at about 10,30 all of them took off to unknown direction. We decided to give them some time since we weren't quite sure what was going on. After a couple of hours waiting we gave up. It was already 14,30 and although the September light was getting better the birds were not going to come back. so we left. It was time for relaxing.

On the next morning we intended to give it another try but the heads felt too heavy and turned off the alarm that wanted to wake us up at 4.00 a.m. We got up at 9.00 and decided to do some birdwatching instead. We grabbed some sandwiches and had a superb breakfast right under the cliffs where vultures roost.

Landscape photography in Bulgaria
Madzarovo - in the crater of the volcano
Landscape photography
Arda river, Eastern Rhodope mountains
Landscape photography
Arda river by Madzarovo Eastern Rhodope mountains

During our breakfast time we had Rock Bunting, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Peregrine Falcon, Black Storks, Kingfisher, Crag Martins, Lesser spotted Woodpecker and a few other good birds. After breakfast we had a walk in the area exploring it for some landscape photography opportunities along Arda River. Unfortunately soon it was time to go home. Anyway, it was a superb morning and weekend.

I totally recommend this hide and the services of Living Nature. This is the tour operating company of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of birds which aims at raising funds for conservation activities. Especially in the context of the BirdLife International's campaign to Save the Vultures funds are really vital.

петък, 12 септември 2014 г.

Vulture photography trip coming up

It is Friday and it is time for new adventures. Couple of phone calls and here I am on the way to the Eastern Rhodope mountains: the realm of Vultures. The Egyptian vultures are already on their way to the south but Griffons should be here in their strongholds. There should be still a few Egyptians anyway.

Hoping for some other birds and new adventures in one of the most picturesque places in the country. If there is time I will also try to do some landscapes. Pretty excited so off I go.

Here is a taste of what I expect:

bird photography workshops
copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
copyright Iordan Hristov
hide photography in Bulgaria
copyright Iordan Hristov

These images are from a photography trip in august 2012.

събота, 6 септември 2014 г.

Black-winged Stilt photography in Bulgaria


Black-winged Stilts are peculiar birds but rather difficult to photograph because of their black and white colors. I decided to give them a try and visited a wetland on the Bulgarian Black sea coast. There was a lot of water in comparison to last year so birds were spread around. However, I visit the place regularly with the birdwatching groups that I guide so it wasn't difficult to find the right place. I managed to get a few pictures of juvenile and adult Black-winged Stilts, Kestrel, Spotted Redshank and Little ringed Plover.

Here are some of the shots from this three hour session which I would call productive.

bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography

bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography

bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography
bird photography in Bulgaria
Black-winged Stilt photography

петък, 5 септември 2014 г.

Kestrel photography

With the birdwatching groups that I guide, we regularly see the Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus but to photograph it, is a different story. I have had only a few lucky distant shots but never this close. Kestrels are ever so difficult to photograph. I was lucky to get this youngster coming down to land a few meters away from me while I was waiting for Black-winged Stilts and Spotted Redshanks.

Well hope you like these here:

bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

понеделник, 1 септември 2014 г.

Sunday bird photography trip

It's been long time since I last went out birdwatching and photographing them. It was high time to spend some time with my favourite hobby and decided to explore the areas next to Sofia. It is migration time so there should be some birds around.

So I did, managed to wake up before sunrise which was a bit difficult and soon I was on my way early enough to arrive at my first location at the golden hour. It was steaming with birds. Migrating Common Whitethroat, Whinchats, Stonechats, Willow Warbler were all around the fields. The local Red-backed Shrikes and Crested Larks were also around so luckily I managed to get a few shots of these quite often photographed birds.

bird photography in Bulgaria
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio

bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio

bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
bird photography in Bulgaria
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio

After spending some time here I went to the next place, a marshland further west. There, birds birds were already grouped. There were several flocks of 60+ Corn Buntings, 100+ Common Starlings, etc. In the marsh, couple of Ferruginous Duck and Garganeys were still around. Several Little Grebes, Coots and Marsh Harriers were also around. So soon I started building up my list for the day. I wanted to spend some time to try and photograph the Ferruginous Duck but the conditions were not right and I didn't have the right equipment so I left the place and headed further west.

bird photography in Bulgaria
Marsh Harrier

Flocks were even bigger and more in numbers. 100+ Corn Buntings in a flock. Here I wanted to check a site where birds often bathe but there was no water so no luck there. There were a few Common and Long-legged Buzzards, Water Rails, Great White Egrets and a single Black Stork. It was getting rather hot so I decided to go. Well it was a nice Sunday.

понеделник, 25 август 2014 г.

Paddyfield Warbler photography in Bulgaria

Paddyfield Warbler is an Asian species and many birders have seen it there. However, there aren't many places in Europe where one can see it. The Western border of its distribution range is on the Western Black Sea coast, namely several sites at the Bulgarian and Romanian Black sea coast. These are the only places in Europe where the species breeds. Of course it is occasionally observed as a vagrant in a number of Western European countries but hard to guarantee. Well, we are lucky to have it breeding in Bulgaria and show it to our guests coming for birding trips.

Here are a few images I took during the birdwatching trips that I guided this year:

bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov
bird photography in Bulgaria
Paddyfield Warbler photography, copyright Iordan Hristov