PA „DURANKULAK LAKE”
Protected Area “Durankulak Lake” /4465.4 decares/ is located in the northeastern part of Bulgaria, about 6 km from the Bulgarian-Romanian border and 15 km north of the town of Shabla.
It was announced by Order № 123 / 21.02.1980 of the Committee for Environmental Protection. A management plan has been developed for it, approved by the MoEW in 2002. The lake is included in the list of the Ramsar Convention as a habitat for waterfowl of international importance. The whole area is included in the list of BirdLife International – Ornithologically important places in Europe, under the name “Durankulak Lake”. The territory is part of the CORINE site according to the European program CORINE Biotopes with code F00008800.
The protected area together with adjacent agricultural lands and marine waters is a site of the European ecological network NATURA 2000 under the name “Durankulak Lake” / under Directive 79/409 / EEC for the protection of wild birds / and “Durankulak Lake” / under Directive 92/43 / EES for protection of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna.
Durankulak Lake is a shallow, covered estuary, occupying the coastal low parts of the deep dry lands / the rivers Vaklinska, the village of Bilo – the village of Smin and the village of Granichar – the village of Durankulak /. It was formed at the beginning of the Holocene / about 10,000 years ago /, when there was a period of epirogenic decline and invasion of sea water in the river valleys. As a result, bays are formed, later separated from the sea by sandy hair and turned into a lake. In the estuarine parts of the land, radial incisions of the lake in the land have been formed, more characteristic of which are the Vaklin arm, the Durankulak arm, and the southern tail. The largest extension of the lake is to the north. It is called Kartali / Orlovo / swamp and is naturally separated from the lake by a narrow, almost entirely overgrown with water-loving vegetation shoal. Another characteristic extension of the lake, the formation of which is also not related to the “drowning” of the land, is the Southeastern Swamp. It is separated from the lake by narrow sandy hair, part of which is flooded at high water levels. In the southwestern part of the lake there are two islands – “Big Hell” with an altitude of 12.4 m and “Little Hell” with an altitude of 4.3 m. They are positive paleorelief forms that have preserved the remains of the oldest necropolis in our lands.
Durankulak Lake is among the most important and best preserved coastal wetlands in Bulgaria, of international importance for the conservation of more than 260 species of endemic, rare and endangered plants and animals. It is a representative example of natural coastal lakes of estuarine type on the Western Black Sea coast. 244 bird species have been identified in Durankulak Lake and its adjacent territories, of which 67 are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria / 1985 /. Of the birds found, 123 are species of European conservation importance.
The lake is one of the five most important nesting places in the country for the little water bull, the sea rattlesnake and the black-headed shrike. Although in smaller quantities, the lake is also home to the globally endangered white-eyed diver, as well as some other rare and endangered bird species such as the great water bull and the brown-winged collar.
As the lake is located on the migration route Via Pontica and near the Danube Delta, it is one of the most important stations for the flight of birds on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The Stork-like, Goose-like, and Whistler-like birds are especially numerous. It is used as a resting place during the flight of the pink pelican, the small cormorant, as well as single specimens of the great bald eagle. Smaller-tailed grebe and Dalmatian pelican have been observed in smaller numbers, both in winter and during migration.
Durankulak Lake is a place of world importance for waterfowl in winter, mainly due to the large flocks of geese. Together with the great white-fronted goose, the red-breasted goose winters here in significant quantities, and almost the entire world population in January and February lives in the Durankulak and Shabla lakes, which makes them one of the most important wetlands in the world. Among the numerous flocks, the small white-fronted goose is noted. The lake is one of the places in the country with large flocks of green-headed duck in winter.
The lake is inhabited by 17 species of fish, 4 of which are globally endangered species included in the Red Book of Bulgaria – Caucasian poppy, triangular thorn and others. Durankulak Lake is the only modern locality of wild carp in Bulgaria, scientifically proven.
Other representatives of the fauna included in the Red Book are the Balkan garlic and the otter. Rare and endangered plants such as Bulgarian flax, which is a Balkan endemic, are found on the territory of the lake.