Posted on July 20, 2014
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