The Srebama Nature Reserve is Bulgaria’s premiere wildlife viewing destination. It is a freshwater lake that lies adjacent to the great River Danube and extends over an area of 600 hectares. It is a breeding ground for about 100 species of birds some of which are endangered. There are other 80 species of birds that migrate here in search of refuge from the chilly winters further north. Even if you miss out everything else that is interesting in this ecosystem, do not miss out the purple heron, the great egret, the white-tailed eagle, the little cormorant and the glossy ibis.
This reserve was primarily established to preserve the wildfowl. Note that this birds represent about half of the Bulgarian avifauna and hence the need to protect them. Srebama is home to the mute swan, some varieties of geese and ducks, European species of marsh tern, bearded tit, red-necked grebe and otter. The wintering species that are endemic to this reserve include the red-breasted goose, the blue throat and the white fronted goose.
Srebama Nature Reserve encompasses a region that hosts about 67 flora species that include the water lilies as well as some rare marsh plats. About two thirds of the reserve is occupied by reeds that make a thick barrier around the lake. The reeds also form the reed mace islands that are ideal habitats for the bird’s nesting.
The freshwater lake was formed on the flood plains for the River Danube. It was connected to River Dabube in 1949. The disconnection of the lake and the river caused an annual flooding, but upon connection via a canal in 1978River Danube’s water levels were kept in check and the lake’s fish populations started to rise again.
Annual sedimentation of large reed mace has greatly affected the reserve. To further compound the problem is the fact that the waters of River Danube are no longer enough for the marine life found here. The reeds and maces continue to extend allowing the boars, jackals and foxes to get inside the reserve and pose threat to the nests and bird colonies. Upstream human intervention such as the Iron Gate Dam has altered the hydrology of the Danube River. This is why the UNESCO listed this reserve as a World Heritage Site in 1983.
As you have already seen, this will be the best place to see the European wild fowls.