PODA PROTECTED AREA AND PODA NATURE CONSERVATION CENTER
Poda Protected Area is located south of the center of Burgas along the international highway E 87 in the direction of Sozopol, before the road fork to Burgas residential area Kraimorie.
Coordinates: 42°26'38.25” N, 27°28'01.47” E 0 m above sea level
Poda Protected Area is 100.7 hectares in size.
Documents for declaring it a protected area: Order №443 of 20.04.1989, Adoption of Management Plan with Order №RD-919 of 08.10.2002.
International status: Ramsar site.
Purpose for declaring it a protected area: preservation of the natural habitats of protected and rare species of water birds and colonies of five endangered species in the Red Book of Bulgaria.
Mode of activities:
Prohibited: any construction or other activities which can alter the natural environment of the area or its waters basins.
Prohibited: destroying marsh vegetation, setting fire to the reeds, etc.
Prohibited: pollution of the water in the marsh and the adjacent areas.
Prohibited: hunting and fishing.
Prohibited: disturbing the birds during their breeding season, destroying their nests, collecting their eggs, and ringing their chicks.
Allowed: activities for maintaining the natural water level of the marsh.
Allowed: extraction of sand and reeds after further consultations.
Overlap: ЗЗ from the Birds Directive: Atanasovsko Lake: Mandra - Poda
THE CONSERVATION CENTER is a recognized and favourite site for Bulgarian and foreign tourists. It is on the list of the 100 national tourist sites. The center and the protected area are run by the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Nature.
Poda Protected Area is a part of Mandra-Poda complex and is located near Burgas, at the exit for Sozopol (before Kraimorie). It was declared a protected area in 1989 and is the first protected area in Bulgaria, managed by a nongovernmental environmental organization - Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB). In 1989 the protected area was defined by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area (IBA), and in 1997 the Nature Conservation Center Poda was built on its territory. The following year Poda was declared a Corine site because of its European importance for the preservation of rare and endangered bird species. In 2003 it was declared a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention and is included in the UN program of HABITAT for best practices of preservation of habitats.
There are three main types of habitats in the protected area – habitats with freshwater, saltwater and brackish (mixed) basins.Poda Protected Area is open to visitors all year round. There are several distinct routes along which you can watch the feathered inhabitants without disturbing them. There is a special shelter which makes bird watching possible regardless of the weather. Not long ago a new tower for bird watching was built at the heart of the protected area, which allows for direct observations from above of the colony of nesting herons and spoonbills.
The size of the protected area is only 1 square kilometer, but it is one of the richest areas in Europe populated by birds – there are 265 bird species here. It hosts the only mixed Black Sea colony of spoonbills, ibises and herons (night, red, gray and small white herons).
There are 46 nesting species, the most attractive of which are the river terns, the great cormorants which only here in Europe nest on electric poles. There are also various species of ducks, mallards, marsh harrier, etc.
During the winter months in the gulf of Foros, close to Poda Protected Area you can see pygmy cormorants, pelicans, swans, geese, mallards, grebes, etc.
The second largest in Europe bird migratory route Via Pontica passes over Poda. Every year tens of thousands of white storks, pink pelicans, diurnal birds of prey and songbirds fly over the area.
Besides birds, in Poda Protected Area there can also be found the largest populations of colorful grass-snakes – the largest snake in the country, the Etruscan shrews – the smallest mammal in Europe, the exotic nutrias and the globally threatened otters.
Conservation center Poda is open all year round. Available to the visitors is a permanent exhibition presenting the biodiversity of the area and the region, special optics – tubes and spotting binoculars, experts-ornithologists who can offer thematic lectures in Bulgarian, English, German and Russian. The centre has terraces on two levels, from which you can watch the ornithological treasure of the protected area. Every visitor gets an information leaflet about the Poda Protected Area (available in 6 different languages) and an opportunity to have fun with the interactive modules in the open - "bird watching", "sensations path", "smell boxes", "an exhibition of nests", "treatment plant", etc. The conservation center Poda has a rich ornithological library and an exhibition hall with changing thematic exhibitions. There is a toilet and a small shop selling souvenirs and drinks. In the next few months the Centre will welcome tourists with a completely new exhibition, which will be arranged in compliance with the modern methods of interpretation of biodiversity.