Greece & Bulgaria Winter Wildlife
18th to 26th January 2024 (One Place Remaining)
During this 9-day workshop we will be photographing in both Greece and Bulgaria. I’m running this trip with the help of local guides who have a great knowledge of the resident wildlife and have been working with all the species we will be photographing for many years.
For the first three days of the workshop our main aim will be to capture some stunning images of Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini in Greece. These charismatic birds spend the winter on the lake. We will photograph them from a boat and from the shore, and we’ll use various techniques to enable you to capture some dramatic, beautiful and comical images of the birds. At this time of the year there should be over one hundred pelicans on the lake, and the adults will be coming into breeding plumage with bright orange and red throat pouches. Expect to capture a wide variety of images including portraits, fighting, feeding and flight shots of these enormous birds. Hopefully this will all be against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains! There may also be white pelicans in their splendid pink breeding plumage, flamingos and a few other species on and around the lake. If the weather is on your side the photographic opportunities will be quite amazing and you can expect to shoot 2000-4000 images per day!
From Kerkini we will move up to central Bulgaria where we will be working mainly from well-established hides. Our main target species will be Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Raven, Buzzard and hawfinch. The hides are also frequented by many species of small birds such as; larks, buntings and finches. One of the hides regularly provides excellent opportunities to photograph levant sparrowhawk, sombre tit and Syrian woodpecker. There is also a chance that we may be able to photograph wintering long-eared owls. We will also photograph nutcrackers high in the snow-covered mountains near Sofia on our final day.
Please bear in mind that you are always reliant upon the subject and weather conditions when photographing wildlife and that good opportunities can never be guaranteed. The hides that we use are well established and have provided excellent photographic opportunities over the years. All of the species mentioned above are regular visitors. Weather permitting we will start photographing each day before sunrise and finish after sunset. Image critique sessions will be carried out as required and when time permits. This trip is limited to only five participants so that we have sufficient space in the hides for everyone to continue shooting all day.
ITINERARY (subject to change due to weather conditions and wildlife activity)
Day 1: Arrive at Thessaloniki airport and transfer to our first hotel close to Lake Kerkini (1 hour). Evening photography of Dalmatian pelicans (weather and flight time permitting).
Day 2: Early morning photography around Lake Kerkini where we will photograph Dalmatian Pelicans from a boat and from the shore. Return to the hotel for Brunch and image review. Return to the lake in the afternoon to look for flamingos and to photograph the Dalmatian pelicans in late afternoon light and at sunset.
Day 3: A repeat of day two photographing more birdlife around Lake Kerkini. Each day we will spend three hours on a small boat on the lake to get some different angles on the pelicans and to find different backgrounds.
Day 4: After a full morning photographing around Lake Kerkini we will head east through Greece and up into central Bulgaria to our second hotel.
Day 5:: The group will split in two. One group will spend the whole day in a hide photographing eagles, raven, red fox and other species. The second group will spend most of the day in a woodland bird hide photographing hawfinches, other small birds and levant sparrowhawk, hopefully followed by long-eared owls in a nearby churchyard.
Day 6: A repeat of the previous day, switching hides. In the evening we all travel to our next hotel in the Rhodope Mountains.
Day 7: After a very early start we will all spend the day in a much larger hide photographing eagles, vultures, raven and hopefully more!
Day 8: Travel towards Sofia where will will photograph nutcracker high in the snow-covered mountains.
Day 9: Depart for Sofia airport after breakfast. Weather, time and flights permitting we may have another session photographing nutcrackers in the snow before heading to the airport.
Easy - just a little walking over rough terrain
Transport from and to Sofia airport, Accommodation in single en-suite rooms, All meals and most drinks
Travel to Bulgaria, Additional alcoholic drinks, Insurance, Tips