Looking for Vultures in Bulgaria - Madzharovo, Rhodope Mountains

Manol Donchev @manoldonchevMay 2019 · 3 min read


Sorry, No Close Ups This Time

Or "Where my vultures at?" Well, I was not prepared to see them up close and personal. There's one place in Bulgaria where you can take beautiful Wildlife photos of vultures but in order to do that, you need an appointment. An access to a blind or bunker near a hillock where the national park's management feeds the birds once in a few days. They have to bring the carcasses of cows or other domestic animals there. And you need a ticket. Which is fine but when I was there, it was during a holiday and the staff was...on a holiday.

It was Easter again. Not this year but a few years back. We were on a small vacation about fifty kilometers from the place, still in the Rhodope Mountains - at the mineral springs resort near the town of Haskovo. One morning we got on the car and drove east.


It was a foggy morning in early May.


On one of the many curves of the river Arda, near the village of Madzharovo, is the caldera surrounded by rocks on all sides. Rising straight up they are. And since it's a relatively low and warm mountain in the South, it is a place where vultures can actually live and nest. I may associate their kin with deserts but it seems this place is suitable.





I went to the bunkers on a high ground at the middle of the Madzharovo caldera. It was a pleasant trek but of course no bird would come near the place unless it saw carrion. Food, I mean. And no human presence. But later, on the other side of the river, on the road above it and below the rocks themselves, I was at least able to spot the rare creatures high up in the sky.




Doing what vultures do. They circled. And that's it.


At least I saw both subspecies - the Egyptian and the Griffon Vultures.



This one would be the Egyptian.

But not very detailed. The other is even worse on my images. But not to despair. It's normal to just be able to spot something during the first visit. Good pictures take special planning and preparation and I have to admit I had none at that point.

And this fellow with the yellow (beak) is also the symbol of The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. Which I was a member of. As a child. But that's another story.

Waiting for a chance to go there again and this time for real ;) Snap a few vultures in their faces. Without causing harm, of course. That's the most important part.




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Hey neat adventure!

Around here, we have turkey vultures but they mostly circle looking for rodents and road kill.

There, they probably were eying you as a full course meal in case you unsuccessfully navigated that exotic terrain!

Awesome stuff and I can wait to see your closer shots next time.


It's good you wrote you Can wait because you will have to wait ;)

I think local authorities wouldn't leave me to the vultures...but who knows...

Yeah, funny thing is authorities pay respect and attention mostly to what's dead. Because the media will care about that, too.


Some nice shots of them, as well as the mountains/surroundings.


Thanks. The surroundings mostly. The birds are just...photoregistered i would say ;)


Wow, some lovely photos!


Hey, Thanks!


This post has been voted on by @acropolis photography in collaboration with the project @templo.



I always thought you need to climb to a very high place to be able to see them. Very nice shot of them @manoldonchev!


I say that is a cool outdoors trip you had there. Getting in touch with nature, natural wildlife and doing photography. You got a good shot of that vulture there. I really struggle getting shots of moving subjects.


Nice shots. We don't have any vultures here in Germany.


Just as you I was suprised when I first saw a vulture in the Sierras of El Chorro.
I as well expected them to live in desert typ landscapes.

And I also tried to take a good picture of one of them.
It was a little bit frustrating, also because I just started to learn using a DSLR.
But in the end, on a hike up one of the higher mountains I got a quite satisfying result where I actually shot the photo from above the vulture :)
That was quite an experience!

Wish you a lot of fun seeking out those shots you are imagining!


Thanks. It's not the first thing on my list but I would be glad to do it properly someday.


Even though you had to settle for distance shots you have a brilliant job. I would expect nothing less from your work though, @manoldonchev It is always excellent.

How far is this from Bucharest?



About 400 - 500 km almost straight south. Two mountains to go through. Balkans and then Part of the Rhodope.


lol. Not just a quick trip down then! 😁


Perhaps quicker if you were a vulture.