Birding in Montenegro

Europe/Montenegro & Albania

Unknown gems of the Southern Mediterranean coast

Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, 9 days

Montenegro gained its independence from Serbia in 2006. The youngest country in Europe, its tiny size belies a wealth of different habitats, all easily reachable.
The Mediterranean Sea Coast has the most impressive scenery in Europe, and besides beaches, also offers saltpans, sand dunes and the delta of River Bojana. These are all important migration stopovers for waders, including Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Collared Pratincole and Wood Sandpiper. Levant Sparrowhawk breeds in nearby woodlands, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe and Woodchat Shrike abound. Rock Partridge and Western Rock Nuthatch are rare breeders of rocky outcrops.
Further inland, sandwiched between mountains we find Lake Skadar, fed by scenic Rijeka Crnojevica. The lake is home to thousands of Pygmy Cormorants and is the westernmost nesting place of Dalmatian Pelicans.
The unspoilt mountains of Durmitor National Park are covered with vast coniferous forests and provide a home to Three-toed Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit and Alpine Chough amongst others.

Albania is one of the least known countries in Europe. The dramatic mountains, sandy beaches, historic cities and Roman ruins have received few visitors, and the experience of discovering something new pervades each stop of our tour. From the birder’s perspective, the country’s birdlife is largely undiscovered, so surprises are guaranteed. Karavasta Lagoon is one of the few protected areas with a healthy population of Dalmatian Pelicans and an important wetland for migrating waterbirds.

Latest Reviews

"Montenegro has a very diverse range of habitats and climates – we experienced spring coastal bird migration in the warm south, and only a few hours drive to mountain scenery in the snow and forest birds. Very enjoyable trip with a good variety of birds."
Lynn Mann, UK

"Montenegro offers a surprisingly good range of habitats and species. A superb trip. Thank you Attila for another memorable trip!"
Peter Bailey, UK

"This tour was conceived, planned and executed in a first rate manner.What made it actually happen so well was the astonishing knowledge and expertise of the guide, Attila. The readiness to share his experience and knowledge added to the success of the trip."
Bernard Jeffcote, UK


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Facts

Highlights

Hotels

1 night near Dubrovnik, Croatia
2 nights in Virpazar, Montenegro
2 nights in Shkodra, Albania
2 nights in Zabljak, Montenegro
1 night near Dubrovnik, Croatia

Departure Dates

April – May

Price

Ask for the actual price

Itinerary

1

We drive to our nearby accommodation following arrival at Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia. Time permitting we might visit the beautiful city of Dubrovnik before our evening meal.

2

We cross into Montenegro and visit the Bay of Kotor, the southernmost fjord in Europe. The road from here ascends up into the mountains, allowing us to enjoy the breathtaking vista of Kotor Bay and the mountains cradling it. We then drive through Lovcen National Park taking breaks en route for birding. Later in the day we pass into the valley of Rijeka Crnojevica, leading towards Skadar Lake. We are once again blessed with an astonishing landscape as the river meanders between the hills into the lake. We spend two nights at nearby Virpazar, listening to Scops Owl calls after dusk and into the night.

3

We take a boat ride on Lake Skadar, to search for the last surviving Dalmatian Pelicans of the lake. There is an abundance of Pygmy Cormorant, Squacco Heron and marsh terns, and migration might turn up some unexpected surprises for us. Our journey then turns towards the hillsides around the lake. The olive groves, Mediterranean shrubs and cliffs are home to Rock Partridge, Olive-tree Warbler, Sombre Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Subalpine Warbler and Black-eared Wheatear.

4

We take in the Ulcinj saltpans which lie on the coast, attracting many birds during migration. Later we explore Velika Plaza on the River Buna, an area of sand dunes, adjoining grassland, forests and wetlands that is an important breeding area and migration stopover. Our next stop is Albania; in the afternoon we pass through the border and settle down in Shkodra, which will be our base for the next two nights. We might visit the castle to enjoy views of the lake and the River Buna and drive to a nearby lake.

5

Karavasta Lagoon is the next location on our schedule, an important coastal wetland which is home to a nice population of Dalmatian Pelicans. Migration sees the arrival of thousands of waterbirds including an occasional Marsh or Broad-billed Sandpiper. Leaving the lagoons we explore the adjoining countryside for Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike and Black-headed Bunting. We then head back to Shkodra.

6

We drive back to Montenegro. After we cross the border we turn further northwest to head into the mountains. We make a brief stop to admire Ostrog Monastery and come late afternoon we find ourselves at Zabljak in Durmitor National Park where we spend two nights.

7

We explore the untouched forests in Durmitor National Park for Three-toed and Black Woodpecker, Nutcracker and Common Crossbill. We drive into the higher areas into the realm of Ring Ouzel, Rock Thrush, Water Pipit and Alpine Chough.

8

The morning is spent birding in the Durmitor NP then we make the long journey back to Dubrovnik, birding on the way.

9

After a final morning birding we drive to Dubrovnik Airport to return to the UK.

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