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Birds and wildlife photography hide near Sofia

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The “Photo Wildlife Moments” hide near the town of Dragoman (40 km northwest of Sofia) was constructed by the joint venture of Traventuria Ltd. (owner of www.traventuria.com and licensed tour-operator) and Biota Films. It was open to photographers in December 2017.
Dragoman municipality is well-known for its two natural wonders – the Dragoman Marsh and Mount Chepan. Both sites are in the Natura 2000 network and are famous birdwatching locations for birds of prey and an array of waterbirds as well. The area lies on the second most used in Bulgaria migratory route – Via Aristotelis and rarities are common during the spring and autumn migrations.
Our nature photography hide is on a limestone hill, near the Dragoman marsh and karst Mount Chepan being a backdrop for the winter birds of pray photos. Photographers are welcome throughout the year. During the warmer seasons, the 5-meter long mirror pool (facing south) is used for drinking and bathing by various passerines, while during the winter there are great opportunities for photographing birds of prey, passerines and mammals.

> Group size: maximum 2 persons
> The hide does not have electricity.
> The hide does hot have a toilet. It is located on an abandoned limestone hill owned by the Dragoman municipality. There are plenty of bushes in the area that can provide you with needed discretion. The closest petrol station with a toilet is a bit over 1 km away. You should be prepared to stay in the hide at least for several hours. Every time you leave the hide will cause a gap in the animals visiting the mirror pool and the adjacent area, thus reducing the chance of making quality photos.
> Smoking is not permitted in our hide. If smoking is inevitable please make sure that you are out of sight of the hide and that you don’t leave any litter. Every time you walk out of the hide reduces your chances of making quality photos of animals.
> The hide booking is for a full day, you can enter it and leave at your own convenience. However, we highly recommend not to leave the hide when birds and/or mammals are visible close by!
> The hide is about 1.5 km away from the hide, but the vehicle you are coming with can be parked at a distance of 5 mins walk from to the hide.
> With the booking we do not provide food or drinks. Please bring enough food and water to last you for the day.
> The hide is on an open terrain and it may get hot inside it during the summer days. Bring appropriate clothes and enough water with you.
> We provide gas heater during the cold winter days, but using it reduces the changes of photographing mammals as they are very sensitive to smell.
> Please consider the wildlife and the environment, behave responsibly! Do not leave any litter in or out of the hide!

Mirror pool specifications:
The orientation of the pool is to the south. It is 5.5-meter in length and starts directly from the photo embrasures. Water depth – 10 cm. The recommended focal length is >300 mm.

Winter birds of prey and carnivores photography:
The orientation is to the north with a limestone mountain serving as a background to the photos.

Spring, Summer & Early Autumn
You can take an advantage of photographing passerines that are attracted to our mirror water pool. The species list of the photographed birds is growing by the day and it is as follows: Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita), Great Tit (Parus major), Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris), Robin (Erithacus rubecula), Jay (Garrulus glandarius), Magpie (Pica pica), House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana), Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra), Blackbird (Turdus merula), Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos), Linnet (Linaria cannabina), Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)

Late Autumn & Winter
Regularly thrown meat and seeds attract a big number of birds in winter, especially if snow cover elsewhere is significant. These are: Raven (Corvus corax), Magpie (Pica pica), Jay (Garrulus glandarius), Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Black Kite (Milvus migrans) (rare), Great Tit (Parus major), Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris), Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

For recent news and photos from the hide follow our Facebook page.

The birds and wildlife photography hides is active and can be used year round!

Price for rent of the hide (per day):
-1 person – 65 Euro
– 2 persons – 90 Euro

Two-way transfer within one day: 70 Euro per car

Recommended Equipment
> We recommend lenses at least 300 mm lenses. Zoom lenses give excellent flexibility. Please make sure you bring fully charged batteries and plenty of memory cards. There is no electricity in the hide.
> You have to bring your own tripod or you can rent one from us. There are no shelves for tripod head mounting or for bean bags.
Clothing
Comfort is essential to making sure you get the most out of your time in the hide therefore warm clothing is a must during the winter. We recommend thermal leggings and tops with a couple of layers on top. The walk to the hide is over a relatively flat pasture, but this can be with significant snow cover and walking boots or sturdy shoes are recommended.
Disclaimer
> Traventuria is not liable for any personal accident and or injury during the photography tour.
> Traventuria is not liable for any loss and/or damage to personal items/equipment during the photography tour.
> Whilst every effort is made to ensure a visit by the birds, they are completely wild and so we can never guarantee this. Weather conditions may influence a bird photography day to a great extent too.

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