Golden Jackal & European Ground Squirrel Photography Tour

Golden Jackal & European Ground Squirrel Photography Tour

Best Time: April-September

Golden Jackal

Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) © Pandion Wild Tours

Of approximately 180 species of mammal found that populate Europe: in Bulgaria you will find over 100 of these, including numerous rare European examples. During this tour our main focus will be on the Golden Jackal and threatened: European Ground Squirrel. Both of these species survive in sustainable numbers within the borders of the country. Notably: Bulgaria maintains the largest Jackal population in Europe. Among these target species we will also have the opportunity to observe, or photograph, other mammals common to the area such as; Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Wild Boar, Pine Marten, Stone Marten and Badger – and if we are lucky even the very rare Marbled Polecat. During the tour we will be situated in a small but fruitful reserve surrounded by wild nature near to the village of Vetren (North-Eastern Bulgaria). Vetren is located just a couple of hundred meters away from the mighty Danube River, and just a few kilometers from the highly important reserve of Lake Srebarna. Srebarna itself now granted the protection of UNESCO as a unique ornithological world cultural and natural heritage site. This gives us another perfect opportunity, during the tour, to observe or take photos of some globally threatened species like the significant; Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck and Pygmy Cormorant – and a number of other rare and of course, more common birds.

Landing at Bucharest airport (Romania) or Varna airport (Bulgaria) will be followed by transfer journey of 150 km approx. to the village of Vetren. Depending on the arrival time afforded to us we will take our first opportunity for observation and photography of the Golden Jackal. For observation of the Golden Jackal, we will use specially built permanent wooden hides. The hides are situated in front of known feeding sites also frequented by Roe Deer and Wild Boar. Observations from the Golden Jackal hides will take place twice daily: at the break of dawn at sunrise and thereafter: late afternoon.

We will have an early morning start to the day and head out towards the Jackal hides. We will spend around 3 hours there before coming back to base for breakfast. A short transfer journey then follows breakfast: a few kilometers only to the internationally important Lake Srebarna. Here we will search for such rarities as the; Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant – and a number of other common and rarer birds such as: Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes, Purple, Squacco, Night Herons, Marsh Harrier, Penduline Tit , Lesser Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrow-Hawk, Goshawk and also Ruddy Shell-duck. The latter species breeds on the banks of the small dry inlets found around the lake. A late lunch follows and after a short break we will head out towards the Jackal hides for late afternoon observations.

see day 2

Over the next two days our efforts will focus mainly on the Golden Jackal and threatened European Ground Squirrel. Following the early morning photography session afforded to us at the Jackal hide, we will have a quick breakfast before then – heading to the nearby colony of European Ground Squirrel. Here we will use portable hides, or if circumstances are favorable, take photographs up close from outside the hides: sometimes these animals allow us to be as close as 2 meters away. During early afternoon we will head back to base for a late lunch and short break: returning to the Jackal hides again during late afternoon.

see day 4

Our day will start with morning Jackal photography before then visiting a couple of the most important ornithological sites in the area. First we will stop at Maluk Preslavets Marsh – which is just 20 kms away. Maluk Preslavets is an interesting place, not only for its rich bird diversity, but also for plant foliage as well. The protected Marsh Malak Preslavets has the largest density of White Water Lily found in Bulgaria. Depending on the time of year we can observe: Squacco heron, Small and Great Egret, Gray Heron and Mute Swan – and even the Whiskered Tern can be seen here. Throughout the year: Met Cormorant, Western Marsh-harrier, Buteo, Montagu’s Harrier, Common Blackbird, Falcon, Eurasian Coot, Ferruginous Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Garganey and Eurasian Bittern are common. We will take a packed lunch for the day before continuing to a second important ornithological site with the name of: “Stenata” (The Wall). Here we find the biggest colony of European Bee-eater – usually more than 100 pairs. We can also use the opportunity for a late afternoon visit to see a European Souslik colony – before our last overnight stay of the tour.

Depending on your flight departure time/s we are more than happy to facilitate another early morning session at the Jackal hides – before your leave.


THE PRICE INCLUDES: Ground transport, full board, accommodation, guide. THE PRICE DOESN’T INCLUDE: insurance, photo equipment, flight, alcohol.

Booking: Please use the Prices and Booking section of our website to send your requests.