The Eastern Rhodopes are the first region to be visited on this tour. There we explore various habitats including arid areas, dry grasslands with patches of shrubs and dry deciduous forests, small rivers with stony beds.
Main species to be seen: Smooth Newt, Yellow-bellied Toad, Common Tree Frog, Spur-thighed Tortoise, Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise, Balkan Green Lizard, Erhard’s Wall Lizard, Balkan Wall Lizard, European Glass Lizard, Dice Snake, Large Whip Snake, Eastern Montpellier Snake, Horned Viper; possibly Eurasian Worm Snake, Eurasian Sand Boa, Dahl’s Whip Snake, Cat Snake and Snake-eyed Lizard.
Having spent 3 days in the Eastern Rhodopes, we drive to the southeastern corner of Bulgaria, to the Strandzha Nature Park, where we stay for the next 3 days. En-route we stop at the Bourgas Lakes, which are good for Blotched Snake, European Pond Turtle, Balkan Green Lizard and Dice Snake.
The Strandzha Nature Park is an area of dry grasslands with patches of shrubs and dry deciduous forests, small marsh-areas and rivers. Here we search for the Agile Frog, Spur-thighed Tortoise, Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise, Meadow Lizard, European Snake-eyed Skink, Slow Worm, Aesculapian Snake and Balkan Terrapin.
We also spend a day in the Ropotamo – an interesting and diverse complex, including marsh areas and a river bed, deciduous riverine forests, wet grasslands, sand dunes and shrub formations. The main species of amphibians and reptiles here include the Southern Crested Newt, Fire-bellied Toad, Common Tree Frog, Eastern Spadefoot, Dice Snake, Blotched Snake, Spur-thighed Tortoise, Eastern Hermann’s Tortoise, European Glass Lizard, Large Whip Snake, Eastern Montpellier Snake and special search for the Red Whip Snake. While we are in the area of the Strandzha Mnts. we search in certain urban areas for Kotschy’s Gecko.
This tour can be extended to the Southwestern corner of Bulgaria, along the Struma river valley, where the Mediterranean influence is most expressed in the country. The main target species there include Balkan Stream Frog, another subspecies of Kotschy’s Gecko (Mediodactylus kotschyi bibroni), Eurasian Sand Boa, Dahl’s Whip Snake, Four-lined Snake, Leopard Snake, Balkan Terrapin, Balkan Wall Lizard.
Another possible extension of the tour can be the Western Rhodopes and/or the Pirin Mnts, where we look for the eastern sub-species of the Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis bosnica), Alpine Newt, Fire Salamander, Common Lizard, Smooth Snake and Balkan Cross Adder.