birds

Bulgarian Birds

Bulgarian Birds in May

LEADER: CHRIS KEHOE

Our recent tour to Bulgaria produced an excellent selection of southeast European specialities and more widespread Palearctic species. Particularly notable were the likes of Dalmation Pelicans, Paddyfield Warblers, Olive-tree Warblers, Black-headed Buntings, Levant Sparrowhawks, Syrian Woodpeckers, Masked Shrikes, Pied Wheatears and Semicollared Flycatchers. Further highlights included Eastern Imperial Eagles, Red-footed Falcons, Eurasian White Pelicans, Lesser Kestrels, Ferruginous Ducks, Sombre Tits, Eurasian Eagle Owl and Eurasian Griffon, Cinereous and Egyptian Vultures. Bird of the trip though was an unexpected and extremely cooperative Corncrake. Perhaps most striking of all though was the experience of seeing large numbers of birds in agricultural areas where the likes of Red-backed Shrikes, Eurasian Cuckoos and Corn Buntings were positively common, as were many other species that are sadly in serious decline in more intensively farmed Western Europe. Apart from a couple of wet afternoons at the start of the tour, fortunately mostly while we traveled, the weather throughout was very pleasant and the tour logistics ran smoothly.

Our birding began with an unscheduled stop near Vakarel just 30 minutes from Sofia Airport where a calling Corncrake had been reported. On arrival we quickly saw our first European Golden Orioles and a Red-backed Shrike, two species that were to become frequent sights in the coming days, while both Long-legged and Common Buzzards and a Short-toed Eagle appeared overhead…

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History of Thermal Waters and Balneology in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is situated at the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula and is an heir of ancient civilizations. There are extremely good bio-climatic resources which combined with the existing ancient Mediterranean traditions in thermal water use, provide an have been based for the balneological development in the country.

Bulgaria has a variety of mineral waters with temperatures up to 100ºC. On places of old Thracian or Roman residential areas there are a number of big SPA resorts, like: Sandanski, Banya, Dobrinishte, Ognyanovo, Kjustendil, Hisarja, Velingrad, Sapareva banja, etc.

The most active development of Bulgarian's SPA system is in the time period of 1970-1980. Until 1990 about 40 resorts of local and national significance were actively operating in Bulgaria. In these spas a wide range of diseases are treated using scientific methods and programs, confirmed by a long-term professional experience.

The Bulgarian SPAs are under the Ministry of Health governance and their sponsoring, management and exploitation is going to be done according to the new laws and regulations in the country. Up until the 1980 thermal waters was only partially used for health and recreational bathing, washing, swimming pools, greenhouses, bottling of potable water and soft drinks production, derivatives, etc. Most of the geothermal stations have been build on reservoirs of low temperature (40ºC-60ºC) which are prevailing the country.

The wide variety and the high quality pure mineral waters in Bulgaria combined with the extremely favorable natural and climatic conditions as well as the good SPA base plus mineral water healing traditions justify long term investment policy for development and improvement of the existing resorts. In parallel to that, there are permitting conditions to carry on small local centers in the spirit of today’s tendencies in the so called “countryside tourism” and traditional healing as well as to widely use the renewable energy sources in our every day life.