Birding at lake mandra

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Lake Mandra (west side)

These details aren’t included in the new book Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria which does include information on the more productive parts of Lake Mandra


In his book, Birding in Eastern Europe, Gorman suggests that Lake Mandra is best explored by ‘seeking out small roads which run from Road 79 southwards to the water’s edge. One such road runs from the village of Debelt through woods to the lake’s southern shore’. This map and notes might be useful to anyone who tries to follow those directions. (The better parts of Lake Mandra are covered in my book Finding Birds in Eastern Bulgaria).

Getting there

I approached from Dimchovo, driving clockwise around the southern shore of the lake to Debelt.


1.In Dimchevo village, where the road bends sharply left, I carried straight on (42.4053N, 27.4099E) along a track I which eventually gave me views of the lake on the left. This might make a decent vantage point in winter but in spring the only notable birds visible amongst the Black-headed Gulls, Mallards, Great Crested Grebes and Cormorants were 2 Night Herons. I also had a Woodchat Shrike along the lane.

2.Halfway between Dimchevo and Prisad the road crosses a reedy water channel. From the     bridge (42.3936N, 27.3970E) you can look down into the reeds so it looks a promising spot for Little Bittern (April is too early) and crakes but the only birds I had were Great Reed Warbler, Kingfisher and Cormorant. There’s no view of the lake from here, at least from the road.

3.Beyond Prisad, the ‘road’ (42.3682N, 27.3695E) continues for nearly 7 km through woodland towards Debelt but is really nothing more than a forest track and should be avoided. It is probably totally impassable in winter when parts of the track will be flooded – it was bad enough at the end of April.

4.When I finally emerged from the wood I reached what seemed to be an abandoned sandpit (42.3778N, 27.3097E) which might once have had some pools but they seemed to have dried out. I didn’t see any waterbirds here, just Common Buzzard, Turtle Dove and, the best bird at this end of the lake, a hunting Short-toed Eagle.

5.There IS a bit of a wetland along a road south of Debelt. When the road from site 4 reaches route 79 if you turn left to Debelt, then left again in the village (42.3866N, 27.2753E), you will cross a bridge and continue to a grotty old industrial estate. Behind the buildings to the left (42.3817N, 27.2832E) is what remains of a wetland but it’s now just a reedbed with no obvious open water. It must still have some water because I could hear frogs and a Moorhen. I had nothing else of interest except Black Redstart in the abandoned works.

6.Travelling back on route 79 towards Burgas, the road crosses branches of Lake Mandra just before and after the village of Konstantinovo. From here you can see water on both sides (eg 42.4162N, 27.3360E) but it’s difficult to stop on the main road itself. It may be worth taking the left turn into Konstantinovo (42.4034N, 27.3195E) and following the road to the left, along the edge of the narrow arm of water.