As part of our campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census, we asked our partners to share their favourite images of wetlands and waterbirds. For February, Nicky Petkov kindly shared some of the fantastic pictures he has taken from his fieldwork in Bulgaria.
Nicky works for the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB). Bulgaria is blessed with a rich diversity of wetland areas, from the coast of the Black Sea to the banks of the Danube and the numerous inland lakes and marshes. These support a great diversity of life and livelihoods. From his extensive photo collection, Nicky has picked some of his favourite wetland areas and important (often threatened) wintering waterbirds in Bulgaria as the focus of this blog. You can find out much more about the work Nicky and his colleagues have done to protect these sites and species on the BSPB website and don’t forget to check out our other blogs to find out why #waterbirdscount!
Durankulak Lake in NE Bulgaria is an internationally important wetland, especially for geese. The neighbouring agricultural areas provide vital sustenance to the geese in winter, and conservation NGOs have worked closely with local farmers and hunters to monitor and manage goose populations in the area. Photo by Nicky Petkov #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
Up to 90% of the world’s population of Red-breasted goose can be found around Durankulak and the nearby Shabla Lakes. This globally threatened species has suffered worrying and rapid declines. The Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB), international NGOs and local communities have joined forces to reverse this decline. Photo by Nicky Petkov #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
The Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB) works together with other NGOs and the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment to conduct the International Waterbird Census in Bulgaria. Here BSPB counters have set-up at Srebarna Lake near the Danube River. Photo by Nicky Petkov #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
In the early 2000s Bulgaria was a key country for wintering White-headed Ducks with flocks of up to 2,000 birds. Nowadays the numbers registered in winter have declined to just a few hundred birds. The wintering population is shared with the neighbouring Greece, with birds moving between Vistonida Lake and Burgas wetlands depending on weather conditions. Photo by Nicky Petkov #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
A must-see for any bird watcher, Atanasovsko Lake was one of the first wetlands designated as a Ramsar site of international importance in Bulgaria and is a key breeding area for waders and terns. Dalmatian Pelicans like those pictured here are also a common sight during the winter or on migration. Photo by Nicky Petkov #iwc50 #waterbirdscount