For the second consecutive year on 16 August 2014 the city of Varna will host its festival of kites:
The Festival is organized by Kite Club “Asto – Sky Wonders” and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in partnership with the Black Sea Kite Festival – Romania, Seagull Kite Club – Turkey, International Youth Sanatorium Kamchia, Municipal Children’s Complex – Varna, Photoplace, Impact Press Group, Radio Varna and many other friends and partners from Varna and the region. The festival supports the candidacy of the city of Varna for European Capital of Culture in 2019 and European Youth Capital in 2017.

This year the Varna Kite Festival becomes international – participants from Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey, Romania and others will demonstrate their original handmade models. The program includes a parade of kites, a competition for the most attractive model demonstrations of model aircraft, gliders and other flying objects and kite-making workshop on the spot. The accompanying program of the festival is also rich – performances of children’s dance and theater groups from Varna and the region, mini-concert of famous Bulgarian pop singers, workshops for making jewelry, badges and origami, a photography workshop and photo exhibitions “Kite Festival – Varna 2014 “, guided watching the ongoing migration of storks, pelicans and other soaring birds with specialized optics, nice music and many other activities.

Striving to achieve the freedom and beauty of the flight of birds, about two millennia ago man invented the kite. Therefore, the relationship between such a popular entertainment like kite-flying and the cause of wild birds conservation is more than obvious. This year’s festival supports the initiative of the Wildlife Conservation Society “Let’s get to know and love the soaring birds along the Black Sea migration flyway, the Via Pontica”.

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The third field season of the project “Study on the Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata) in Bulgaria is over

The study is carried out and financed by Swedish ornithologist and researcher Johan Traff and is based on a regular survey of 200 specially designed nest boxes that are placed within the plots of Staro Oriahovo Forestry Service, Regional Forestry Directorate – Varna. During this four-year project the nest boxes, which are used each year by 75 – 105 pairs, are being observed and studied from the arrival of the birds until the young leave the nest boxes.

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The complex core is the Kamchia Reserve – dense flooded forest of Fraxinus oxycarpa, Quercus pedunculflora, Ulmus minor, Acer campestre and Alnus glutinosa, with undergrowth of Crataegus monogyna, Cornus mas and Cornus sanguinea, often combined with mesophyteand hygrophyte grass vegetation. Lianas and climbing plants entangled in the trees –Clematis vitalba, Smilax exelsa, Periploca graeca, etc. give the impression of a tropical forest, while summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) and several species of squill (Scilla sp.) make the spring view even more enchanting. Continue Reading →



The Kamchia Complex is particularly sensitive to human activities, related to pollution and fragmentation of the riverine forest habitat. In recent years there has been significant pressure on the protected area and attempts for construction and development on behalf of the nearby summer resort. On the other hand, much of what has been planned in the site’s Management Plan (MP) in terms of conservation, bio-monitoring, awareness raising and tourist interpretation programmes has not been done due to restrictions of state and municipal budgets.

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The Kamchia complex includes also the Kamchia Sands Protected Area, covering the most extensive sand dunes along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The sand dunes are partially overgrown with psamophyte grass vegetation, dominated by mammoth wild rye (Leymus racemosus), European marram grass (Ammophila arenaria), and the endemic Alyssum borseanum. This habitat at the periphery of the flooded forest gives refuge to the rare Balkan Spadefoot toad (Pelobates syriacus balcanicus) and the European Otter (Lutra lutra). The conservation value of the natural complex, preserving a unique combination of sand dunes and flooded forest, has been recognized internationally and it has been included in the European ecological network “Natura 2000” and the Ramsar Convention list of wetlands of global importance.


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Kamchia trail (map) is the main trail in the Kamchia Nature Complex, as it passes through three of the most representative types of habitat – riverine flooded forest, sand dunes and marshland. At present most of it is either overgrown with invasive vegetation, or passing through sand dunes covered with rare and fragile sand plants, with no explanatory signboards, nor other items providing tourist information.

The trail starts from a parking lot at the main road from Staro Oriahovo to Shkorpilovtsi, the first stretch of it passing through dense riverine forest of field ash (Fraxinus oxycarpa), eastern oak (Quercus pedunculiflora), field elm (Ulmus minor), field maple (Acer campestre) and black alder (Alnus glutinosa), with undergrowth mainly of common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), dogwood (Cornus mas) and son dogwood (Cornus sanguinea). The trees are often entangled with lianas and climbing plants, such as clematis (Clematis vitalba), beard (Smilax exelsa), garbach (Periploca graeca), etc. giving the impression of a tropical forest.

Coming into the open, the trail follows a dirt road between the forest and the wide sandy beach, then branches towards the sea shore. Crossing the sand dunes one has to be very careful not to destroy the fragile sand vegetation that covers them – mammoth wild rye (Leymus racemosus), European marram grass (Ammophila arenaria), and the endemic Alyssum borseanum. This habitat at the periphery of the flooded forest gives refuge to the rare Balkan Spadefoot toad (Pelobates syriacus balcanicus) and the European Otter (Lutra lutra), which you may see by a lucky chance.

Coming back on the main track along the edge of the forest, you may spot some of the breeding birds rare in Bulgaria and Europe, such as the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), Hobby (Falco subbuteo), Goshawk (Acipiter gentilis), Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and 7 of the 9 European woodpecker species. The Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus), Pied Wheatear (Oenante pleshanka) and Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata) breed in the complex in considerable numbers and your chances to enjoy them are quite high. If you happen to come in spring or autumn, you maybe even more rewarded – thousands of soaring birds – storks, pelicans and raptors pass overhead due to the site’s location on the Western Black Sea Migratory Route, the Via Pontica.

The final stretch of the trail reaches a marshy area at the edge of the flooded forest, overgrown with reed (Phragmites australis) and reed mace (Typha angustifolia). In spring the summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) and several species of squill (Scilla sp.) make the view really enchanting.


Eco-path “Kamchia” image gallery



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