Tuesday, May 11, 2010


After partying on St. George’s Day in Pomorie and then taking a walk through history on Nessebar, I felt the need to commune with nature. A visit to PODA , a natural area protected by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, fit the bill. Covering 100 hectares, PODA is an internationally significant site which has played host to more than 250 species of birds.

Located along Europe's second largest bird migration route, the Via Pontica, PODA is best visited during migration (early spring or fall) when 100% of the White Pelican population (over 40,000) and approximately 75% of the European White Stork population (over 250,000) can be observed moving through the area, along with thousands of raptors, shorebirds, waterfowl, and other species. The timing of our visit wasn't the best, but it was still a great day to get out and enjoy a spectacular spring day in Bulgaria.

A view from the PODA Conservation Center deck.

PODA is believed to be the only place in the world where Great Cormorants nest on electricity pylons instead of in trees and reed beds. A single pylon can host up to eighty nests, and there are more than 300 active nests at PODA.

A number of cormorants still nest in more traditional fashion.

The area also is home to a small number of globally endangered Pygmy Cormorants.

Common Terns recently returned to PODA, displacing the less aggressive Pygmy Cormorants from the artificial nesting platforms provided as a substitute for lost natural sites.

There were only three species of ducks present on our visit: Mallard, Common Shelduck, and Common Pochard. This is a pair of Common Pochards.

Both House Martins and Barn Swallows nest on the Conservation Center building. It's amazing how quickly they build their nests. These House Martins were actively nest building the entire time we were there. As you can see, the nests are built one mouthful of mud at a time.

While the number of birds we saw was disappointing, there were plenty of butterflies, spiders, and wildflowers to distract us.

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