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A Report from

North East Bulgaria, 2 - 16 July 2007 ,

Allan Finlayson

We stayed at the Magnolia apartments in Albena. (Records from the apartment area are recorded as ‘Albena’). Woodland and wasteland around the apartment area produced some interesting species of birds and butterflies, and also a Golden Jackal.

The use of a hired car made it possible to visit many places in the area. The weather was warm and sunny although there was some cloud cover on some days and even a thunderstorm on one occasion.

The wildlife highlight of the trip was a chance encounter with a local ornithologist at Durankulak, who took us on a trip in his four wheel drive vehicle into some remoter areas which we would not have found by ourselves. The success of this venture can be gauged by the number of species recorded for that site, and it resulted in the longest holiday bird list so far.



1. Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Pair recorded from Srebarna (14/7).

2. Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7), Shabla (9/7), Durankulak (10/7), where abundant, and Albena (13/7).

3. European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

4. Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

5. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7) and Srebarna (14/7).

6. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7).

7. Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
One adult and one juvenile recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

8. White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7) and nesting in local villages.

9. Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
4-5 individuals recorded from Shabla (9/7).

10. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7), and a family party at Srebarna (14/7).

11. Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
One juvenile recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

12. Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

13. Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
One heard calling at Shabla (12/7).

14. Little Crake (Porzana parva)
A pair recorded from Durankulak (10/7) were perhaps the birding highlight of the trip.

15. Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

16. Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

17. Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7).

18. Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

19. Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans michahellis)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Cape Kaliakra (7/7), Varna (8/7), Durankulak (10/7) and Silistra (14/7).

20. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7), Srebarna (14/7) and Silistra (14/7).

21. Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
2-3 recorded at Durankulak (10/7).

22. Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7) and Shabla (9/7).

23. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

24. Feral Pigeon (Columbia livia)
Recorded from Dobrich (6/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Varna (8/7) and Silistra (14/7).

25. Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Recorded from Albena (6/7) and Silistra (14/7).

26. European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Pair recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

27. Common Swift (Apus apus)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7) and Varna (8/7).

28. Alpine Swift (Apus melba)
Several recorded at Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

29. Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

30. European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Party of 5 recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7); recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

31. European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
2 birds recorded at Durankulak (10/7) and one from the Silistra –Dobrich road (14/7).

32. Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7).

33. Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopus syriacus)
2 recorded from Albena (8/7), where eating cherries from trees by the apartment.

34. Common Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

35. Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Recorded on the E87 road near Balchik (10/7) and at Durankulak (10/7).

36. Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7), where common.

37. Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7); abundant at both sites.

38. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Balchik (4/7), Cape Kaliakra (7/7), Varna (8/7), Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

39. Common House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Cape Kaliakra (7/7), Durankulak (10/7) and Silistra (14/7).

40. Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

41. White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

42. Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava feldegg)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

43. European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Recorded from Albena (5/7).

44. Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)
3-4 birds recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

45. Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

46. Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7), Albena (5/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

47. Common Magpie (Pica pica)
Recorded from Albena (5/7) and Varna (8/7).

48. Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7) and Albena (10/7).

49. Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Varna (8/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

50. Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Recorded from Albena (4/7), Durankulak (10/7) and Srebarna (14/7).

51. Rose-coloured Starling (Sturnus roseus)
Recorded from Albena; one on wires beside the apartment (exact date not recorded).

52. Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Shabla (9/7) and the Silistra –Dobrich road (14/7). Common and very vocal.

53. European Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

54. Paddyfield Warbler (Acrocephalus agricola)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7).

55. Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7). Unlike in Greece and Portugal, easy to see.

56. Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)
Recorded from Albena (8/7).

57. Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Recorded from Albena (5/7).

58. Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)
At least one (female) recorded from Albena (15/7).

59. Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Recorded from Silistra (14/7).

60. Great Tit (Parus major)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7), Dobrich (6/7), Varna (8/7) and Silistra (14/7).

61. Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Shabla (9/7) and Albena (9/7), where a pair observed feeding young.

62. Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7), Shabla (12/7) and the Silistra –Dobrich road (14/7). Quite common.

63. House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7), Dobrich (6/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Varna (8/7), Durankulak (10/7) and Silistra (14/7).

64. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Recorded from Albena (5/7), Dobrich (6/7) and Silistra (14/7). Common in parks and gardens.

65. Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

66. Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Recorded from Albena (5/7), Dobrich (6/7) and Varna (8/7).

67. European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Dobrich (6/7) and Shabla (9/7).

68. European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Dobrich (6/7), Cape Kaliakra (7/7), Varna (8/7), Shabla (9/7) and Silistra (14/7).

69. Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
One recorded singing from a tree near the apartment in Albena (15/7).

70. Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)
Recorded at Durankulak (10/7), where very common.

Unconfirmed sightings

Bearded Reedlings were almost certainly seen at Shabla (9/7), but were very distant. Several species of waders were noted at the same site, but could not be identified for the same reason. A hovering falcon was noted near Balchik.

A very good bird list, considering the time of year, though the help received at Durankulak made a big difference. 9 new species was excellent.


1. Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages)
Recorded from Albena (13/7).

2. Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)
Recorded from Albena (3/7) and on other days there and elsewhere.

3. Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7) and Albena (13/7).

4. Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

5. Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Balchik (4/7) and Dobrich (6/7).

6. Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7).

7. Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)
Recorded from Dobrich (6/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

8. Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Balchik (4/7), Shabla (12/7) and Srebarna (14/7).

9. Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
Recorded from Shabla (12/7).

10. Small White (Pieris rapae)
Recorded from Albena (7/7).

11. Eastern Bath White (Pontia edusa)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Shabla (12/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

12. Wood White (Leptidea sinapis)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

13. Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Recorded from Albena (4/7) and Silistra (14/7).

14. Large Copper (Lycaena dispar)
Recorded from Durankulak (10/7) and Shabla (12/7) (one male at each site)

15. Meleager’s Blue (Meleageria daphnis)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), where common, and Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

16. Short-tailed Blue (Everes argiadess)
One recorded at Albena (8/7).

17. Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Recorded from Albena (3/7).

18. Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Recorded from Albena (10/7) and elsewhere.

19. Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

20. Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus)
Recorded from Albena (12/7).

21. Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Recorded from Varna (8/7), Albena (11/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

22. Comma (Polygonia c-album)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

23. Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Balchik (4/7), Cape Kaliakra (7/7), Shabla (9/7) and Durankulak (10/7).

24. Peacock (Inachis io)
Recorded from Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

25 Cardinal (Argynnis pandora)
Recorded from Albena (3/7) and Shabla (9/7).

26. Silver Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia)
Recorded from Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

27. Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia)
Recorded from Albena (3/7).

28. Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia)
Recorded from Srebarna (14/7).

29. Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

30. Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7) and Albena (5/7).

31. Lattice Brown (Kirinia roxelana)
Recorded from Albena (6/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

32. Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), where common, and Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

33. Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)
Recorded from Albena (3/7), Dobrich (6/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

34. Great Banded Grayling (Brintesia circe)
Recorded from Albena (8/7).

35. Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Recorded from Albena (5/7), Kaliakra Gorge (7/7), Shabla (9/7) and Aladzha Monastery (13/7).

36. Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
Recorded from Shabla (9/7).

Unconfirmed sightings

A probable Berger’s Clouded Yellow at Albena (6/7). Some Blues were undoubtedly missed!

Skippers were noted at the Albena (5/7), Aladzha Monastery (13/7) and Srebarna (14/7) but were not identified.

A very good butterfly list, the longest holiday list so far. Kaliakra Gorge was the best site, not only for numbers of species, but also for numbers of individuals.

Damselflies and Dragonflies

1. Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Recorded from Srebarna (14/7).

2. White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)
One noted at the rest stop on the journey between Bourgas and Varna (3/7).

3. Eastern Spectre (Caliaeschna microstigma)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7) and Srebarna (14/7).

4. Scarce Libellula (Libellula fulva)
Recorded from Albena (3/7) and Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

5. White-tailed Orthetrum (Orthetrum albistylum)
Common at Srebarna (14/7).

6. Southern Orthetrum (Orthetrum brunneum)
Recorded from Balchik (4/7) and the Kaliakra Gorge (7/7).

7. Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea)
Recorded from the Kaliakra Gorge (7/7) and Srebarna (14/7).

8. Red-veined Sympetrum (Sympetrum fonscolombei)
Recorded from Cape Kaliakra (7/7).

Unconfirmed sightings

Cordulegaster species noted at Balchik (4/7) and the Aladzha Monastery (13/7) were probably the Blue-eyed Goldenring.
A Blue-tailed Damselfly at Albena (7/7) could have been either the Blue-tailed or Scarce Blue-tailed species.

Land Snails

Unconfirmed sightings
Two species are being investigated (seen at Albena on 13 and 15/7).


1. Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)
One at Albena near the apartment (6/7).

2. European Souslik (Spermophilus citellus)
One glimpsed briefly at Durankulak (10/7).

Unconfirmed sightings

Bats were observed occasionally in the evenings. A couple of hedgehogs were noted as road kills.
Only two mammal species were identified, but both were new, and with a distinct eastern European flavour.

Marine Life

1. Rhizostoma pulmo
This jellyfish species was present in huge numbers in the harbour at Balchik (7/7) and was also noted in the sea at Albena.

Unconfirmed sightings

A shoal of herring like fish was observed by the river mouth at Albena (15/7).


1. Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)
Seen on several occasions, notably at Albena (3/7).

Unconfirmed sightings

Several moths were noted around the apartment in the evenings, including a yellow-underwing species (10/7).

Reptiles and amphibians

1. Marsh Frog (Rana ridibunda)
Several at the Summer Palace, Balchik (4/7), also by the river mouth at Albena (5/7), in the park at Dobrich (6/7), at the Kaliakra Gorge (7/7) and at Durankulak (10/7).

2. European Pond Terrapin (Emys orbicularis)
2-3 by the river mouth at Albena (5/7 and 15/7).

3. Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)
A few at the Summer Palace, Balchik (4/7).

4. Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)
A large individual seen hunting near the river mouth at Albena (5/7); one adult and one juvenile at the Kaliakra Gorge (7/7) and one at Shabla (12/7).

5. Dice Snake (Natrix tessellata)
At least two, apparently hunting Marsh Frogs, in the drainage channels at the Summer Palce, Balchik (4/7).

Unconfirmed sightings

Water Frogs at Srebarna (14/7) could have been Marsh or Edible Frogs.
A little disappointing as regards species diversity, but at least 3 out of 5 species seen were new, and Grass Snakes were commoner than usual.

Other Creatures

Cicadas: Heard frequently at the apartment.

Other bugs: Shield bugs were common in many places.

Carpenter Bees: Several observed; one noted at Albena on 6/7.

Spiders: A few.

Beetles: A large, shiny metallic green species was very common around the apartment area.


Species (Total seen) (New species) ( Unconfirmed)

Birds 70 9 2
Butterflies 36 8 4
Damselflies and Dragonflies 8 2 2
Land Snails 0 0 2
Mammals 2 2 0
Marine Life 1 1 1
Moths 1 1 2
Reptiles and Amphibians 5 3 1


TOTALS 123 26 14



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