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Áreas Importantes para las Aves - Balchik

Balchik Estado: Dobrich
Área: 1554,16 ха
Propiedad: state - 41%; municipality - 26%; private - 37%;

The site is located in north-eastern Bulgaria, on the Black Sea coast, south-west of the town of Balchik, immediately next to the town. The area covers a part of the Dobrudzha plateau and reaches the cliffs of the villa zone and Albena resort to the south. To the north-west it borders on the international road E87 and to the north-east – on the town itself. Its territory includes also the residential area of Momchil. The area’s south-eastern part is terraced and cut by numerous gorges and ravines with vertical sediment walls and often – landslides. It is separated from the sea by a narrow coastal strip and a road. The site also includes the coastal littoral zone of the Black Sea. The prevailing habitats are open grasslands – non-irrigated agricultural lands and pastures with domination of xenophile and steppic communities of Artemisia alba, Agropyreta pectiniforma and Bromus riparius. The broadleaved oak forests of Quercus pubescens and Q. virgiliana and the shrub associations form a secondary habitat.

The area of Balchik supports 136 bird species, mainly migratory ones, 42 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 65 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 7 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 18 in SPEC 2 and 40 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 56 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 51 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive. It is defined as a typical bottleneck migration site of global importance for the soaring storks, pelicans and birds of prey, being the site with the most intensive migration of birds of prey in north-eastern Bulgaria. There are recorded the biggest number of the following migratory birds along the northern Black Sea coast – Red Kite Milvus milvus, Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Montagu`s Harrier Circus pygargus, Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, Goshawk Accipiter gentilis, Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus, Sacker Falco cherrug and Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. 23% of the migratory birds fly not higher than 150 m above land, and 39% of the migratory birds fly between 160 and 500 m, which highly depend on weather condition. In addition to this Balchik is one of the most valuable areas in the country on the European Union scale for the Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleshanka, which national breeding population is concentrated in North-east Bulgaria, along the coastline. One pair of the Eagle Owl Bubo bubo also breeds in the area. Particular studies on the breeding birds of Balchik is not done so far, but it seems that the area is important for other birds typical for steppic habitats as well.

The region of Balchik is particularly sensitive to human activities related to deterioration of steppe habitats, building activities, as well as constructions of high facilities. The main threats are currently the plans for construction of wind turbine farms within the core area of Balchik, which will lie on the migration route of the birds along the Via Pontica. The wind turbines are mostly with height of 120 m. most of them are to be erected on areas where BSPB has proved soaring and other active flying migrants pass at altitudes up to 150 m. which means direct collision for big number of birds. In total 24 wind turbines are due for erecting on the territory according to existing plans and further enlargement of the Wind Farms is quite possible. The development of wind turbine farms in this particular area will disturb the free movement of birds, especially of soaring migratory birds, and will limit to a significant extent the access of birds to the suitable habitats. They will cause direct collision and killing of them, fragmentation and loss of valuable the habitats used by birds for feeding and soaring, as well as places for avoiding of severe weather conditions. They will be a barrier for thousands of migratory soaring birds and night migrants on their flyway to the south and north and will cause significant mortality of birds and further decline in their populations. The construction works of different types of buildings will cause inevitable loss of steppe habitats, fragmentation of the habitats and reduction and significant decline of the breeding populations of the Black-eared Wheatear and other typical species. Because of the settlements situated in the area and also close to it during the recent decades illegal deposits of waste appeared there and further degrade habitats. The activities related to the development of the infrastructure, as well as the intensification of the tourism could cause to significant disturbance to birds, fragmentation, deterioration and even loss of valuable habitats if are not well planned.

La protección legal:
Balchik does not have legal protection according to the national nature conservation legislation. In 2005 it was designated also as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

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