During April-May this year Eirik Bornø and I visited Sergey Panayotov and the Nature Travel photo hides at Ognyanovo. In addition, we had several days in the Eastern Rhodope mountains to photograph vultures and a morning trip to Cape Kaliakra on the Black Sea coast for Pied Wheatear and Calandra Lark. The whole visit was a huge success thanks to Sergey and his staff. Anybody wishing to get an idea of the excellent bird photography opportunities that can be expected here, I have recently uploaded a short review and a selection og bird images from this tip to my website, which may be viewed here: https://www.photobirder.net/bulgaria-2018
We, Neil and Brigitte stayed in the Cottage in Ognyanovo before. We enjoyed it so much that we decided that the "custom made bird photography tour" would be ideal for us and our friends Gabi and Frank. The mixture of Mountains, with the vultures and the birds of prey, waterhide and the cottage with all its different hides was ideal to get a great variety of birds and habitats. The only change we made was to extend the stay in the cottage one week. The hides close to the cottage where perfect for four photographers, and a great improvement with the one way glass windows. We where also very lucky the get chances of photographing nearly all our target birds.
Sergey`s organisation was perfect, but left enough room for all our wishes. Food and entertainment where absolutely "bomba". :-)
We can highly recommend Nature Travel and especially this tour to all nature photographers. Thank you again for two unforgettable weeks Gabi, Brigitte, Frank and Neil from Germany.
More about Brigitte and Neil you can see on their web site.
Dear Sergey! I just wantet to say thank you one more time for this incredible week we had with you. What made our trip so impressing for us was, that we could feel your unrestricted devotion and the love to the birds and the nature in general. You understood, what kind of treasure you still have and your effort to protect it is amazing. Keep up your HARD WORK so that many more people can see the beauty of your country.
Thank you Sergey, for this wonderful days full of light, birds and colors! It feels the being with a friend long known. Food was perfect, service also, even that you are not a proffesional :).
I really hope that we will see us next year again, untill then we both keep our fingers crossed for your success.
See you my friend, Sabine and Werner.
My bulgarian birdwatching trip was planned from 3 years.
When I grabbed team and reserved time, I phoned to Sergey to realize my plans.
Sergey is a professional birdwatcher and nature guide, allways smiling and helpful.
He knows nearly every bush in the circle about 100km :)
Thanks to his knowlege I was able to take some correct photos of birds, which I couldn't have in Poland.
Now I'm thinking about next visit in his cottage, I couldn't photograph evertyhing I planned at once.
Honestly recommend Sergey's service for each undecided birdwatcher. Satisfaction guaranteed :)
Best Regards Sergey!!! See You next time!
Some photos from Michal you can see in his gallery here http://naturetravel.eu/gallery.php?cat=35
In the first half of May, we set off on the photo expedition to Bulgaria. I could devote the entire week only for photographing and observation of the nature of this country. I managed to see and partly to photograph: European rollers, Orioles, bee eaters, great spotted woodpecker, little owl, Gophers. Apart from kinds come across also in Poland, also rarities came up: the lesser grey shrike and the woodchat shrike, the black-headed bunting, the Fawn Wheatear, Mediterranean Sparrow or the
W pierwszej połowie maja, wyruszyliśmy na foto wyprawę do Bułgarii. Cały tydzień mogłem poświęcić tylko na fotografowanie i obserwację przyrody tego kraju. Udało mi się zobaczyć i częściowo sfotografować: Kraski, Wilgi, Żołny, Dzięcioła Dużego, Pójdźkę, Susły. Oprócz gatunków spotykanych również w Polsce, trafiły się także rarytasy: Dzierzba Czarnoczelna i dzierzba Rudogłowa, Trznadel Czarnogłowy, Białorzytka Płowa, Wróbel Śródziemnomorski czy Kazarka Rdzawa.
I can highly recommend Sergey. He will do everything he can to get you to the birds. His tower hide and other hides are fantastic. Of course the Golden oriole is the star bird but there are so many other birds to photograph. It is really THAT good.
I arranged this trip through Sergey Panayotov of Naturetravel (www.naturetravel.eu). I can highly recommend Sergey. He is an excellent host and guide. He will do all he can to make your trip that extra bit special.
Weather during the trip was excellent, no rain, plenty of sun and temperatures between 23-26 degrees.
A big thank you goes to Kevin Lunham. Always good to have you around for photography, a beer and of course wine gums!
Full trip report for Rene's Bulgarian photo tripyou can read in hes web site http://naturepics.co.uk/diary_bulgariast.php
I was with Sergey for one week. It was an unforgettable trip. Sergey is a very knowledgeable guide, who prepares all the places to photograph birds very well. He is a professional guide and a great guy. I recommend his company and his professional preparation for any trip.
Over the Christmas period I was looking via the net at places to visit this year. I wanted to photograph something totally different and this would mean visiting another country. Whilst looking on the net I found a website which was advertising a small cottage in Bulgaria which had several hides in the premises and others local by. The gallery section of the bird photo’s looked promising and the prices were cheap. The cottage said it was basic but and in a remote village with no telephone, internet or TV; this sounded like the perfect break that I needed...
During the photo trip we photographed the following birds:
Female Golden Oriole, Male Golden Oriole, Juvenile Female Golden Oriole, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Cuckoo, Hawfinch, Juvenile Hawfinch, Isabelline Wheatear, Woodchat and Red-Backed shrike, Corn bunting, Great spotted woodpecker, Green woodpecker, Middle spotted woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Black headed Bunting, Hoopoe, Little Owl, Red Backed shrike, Woodchat shrike, European souslick, White Stork, etc...
Full photography trip report from Stuart you can read it here.
You can see more Stuart's photos from his Bulgarian photo trip in his web site or in his photo gallery section in our web site.
During the trip I photographed many wonderful species, especially the “exotics” of Europe. One of these being the Eurasian Hoopoe. A long time ago, when I was 10 years old to be precise, I saw a Hoopoe in our garden in South Africa, since this day the Hoopoe has always been a bird at the top of my list.
The Hoopoe was a wonderful companion each morning at 5am when Sergey and I were up ready for our early morning photography sessions, calling from a distant tree and vying for our attention along with Common Cuckoo, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove and Ortolan Bunting.
We enjoyed the cottage, the village and nature - landscape most northers Bulgaria. Great!
The photohides are superb, well located and with a mastered eye for backgrounds. The pond surface however could be improved, covering the plastic and creating more contrast. Leaving your place with many bird pix to review and upload to my personal albums. Will send you copies to upload on your side.
With my recommandations for all bird photo tweaks.
p.s. Sounds are great, internet not missed and slept very well.
A place to remember!
Some photos from Frank you can see in his album gallery in our site.
We had a really great time in the cottage and the area. Special thanks again for the really well located and build photo hides. Especially the Bee-eater hide was our highlight. But also siting very quiet at the little pool and waiting the frogs and the occasional bird coming for a bath. Can see that a photographer has put many thoughts in to all of this.
Thanks again. Recommend you to our photo friends. But the photos will speak themselves.
Nail and Briggite Handy
"The area is a charming countryside which has to offer surprisingly good locations to shoot images of excellent birds". This is what Johannes posted on his blog a few days after his visit to our cottage.
Our guest assesses his visit as very productive and "an excellent chance" to photograph Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris), Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca), Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) and a pair of beautiful colored Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala). And indeed Eurasian Golden-Oriole (Oriolus oriolus).
You can see the images of Johannes in his gallery here. His images are for sale so if you are interested in purchasing any of them or other photos of birds, you are welcome to visit his picture shop here.
See the full story from Johannes'es visit on his blog here.
"We had fantastic time in your lovely cottage", this is what Piotr Remesz and his friends wrote down in our guest book. The group of four visited our cottage at the end of June to photograph Rollers and Bee-eaters. You can ses some of their photos in our blog here and here.
See the profiles of our guests on birdwatching poland here:
"It was a good trip to Bulgaria and I hope to come back to Ognyanovo". This is what our guest Hawi Grömping suggested in an email with some of his images after the trip.
Hawi spent two weeks at our place aiming to photograph Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eaters, Middle spotted Woodpecker, Barred Warbler, Tawny Pipit, etc. After his lovely time, he is willing to come back.
Dear Sergey and Hellena,
Many thanks for your great hospitality in your great cottage! We listened to all the sounds of wind, birds, the little owl in the night, the dogs now and than. Herman was the early-riser and had lots of luck with all animals, beautiful light and mist in the morning and evennings.
We are very happy for the oppurtunity to live for a short while in a place where things happen almost the same every day: sunrises, birds, cowmilk... neighbours walk along and have ther chat together!! We satdown in the evening and enjoyed some food, talk over the day. We slept fine to the next start of a brand new day.
For your both all the best in future, good health and succes with work and keeping up your second home.
Bye Bye (Totziens!) and good luck
Herman and Ellie
More about Herman's photography you can see here http://www.natuurfotovanderhart.nl and read about he's comments about bugarian trip here: http://www.natuurfotovanderhart.nl/newsblog/89-eastern-rhodopes.html
After a long drive from Poland they arrived in our cottage. Eager to photograph the birds we immediately went to the nearest locations where the Bee-eaters were. They didn't even took the luggage out of the car, not to loose time.
Half an our after they had arrived, they already had great images of Bee-eaters and Sousliks. Using the great late afternoon light our guests had a fantastic start. "We are in paradise", This is what Basia repeated all the time. While travelling around to see the sites for photography, Basia called several friends to share her impression from the area. Being a botanist and general nature lover, I think Basia enjoyed mostly the Sousliks in the area.
"We shall come back again", "This is a paradise", This is what Basia wrote in our guests' book.