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Patronka protected site

Patronka  is located on the south bank of river Arda, east of the town of Madzharovo. It is one of the most picturesque and inaccessible portions of the valley of the Arda River, where the river bank is very steep and intensely rugged. Interspersed in a mosaic of  oak woods there are open areas, rock complexes, single rocks and sprees.

Some 77 bird species nest here, of which 24 are on Europe’s red list. The Patronka area holds about a dozen breeding pairs of the rare Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) which in Bulgaria only  nests in the Eastern Rhodopes. Egyptian Vulture, Black Stork, Chukar, Rock Nuthatch, Barred Warbler and Ortolan Bunting are among the appealing birds to attract the birdwatchers interest.

A pair of Otter inhabits the river bank and can often be seen playing in the river during  daytime.

The rocks are covered with the rare Haberlea rhodopensis and on the open places you can see the orchid Hymantoglossum carpinum, the regional endemic Carduus thracicus and the rare Fritillaria pontica. Thriving populations of the Spur-thighed and Hermann’s Tortoises also occur here.

The protected site is rather small and we do not recommend to enter inside in order not to disturb the breeding birds. Easier and better views are obtained from two view points (1. Google Earth coordinates: 41 38' 45''N 25 52' 28'' E   2.  Google Earth coordinates: 41 38' 35''N 25 53' 33'' E). Here it is possible to see the flying and breeding Griffon Vultures, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush and with some luck Chukars and White-tailed Eagle. The best observations can be made in the afternoons when the sun illuminates the rocks which have their exposition facing west.

IV category of IUCN                            Surface: 180 ha


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