Shablenski ezeren komplex SPA



The site is a complex of three lakes in north-eastern Bulgaria, 5km north-east of Shabla town. The complex includes the lakes of Shabla and Ezerets, which are connected by an artificial canal and separated from the sea to the east by a 30-50 metre-wide sandbar. The third lake, 1.5 km to the south, is a saline lagoon named Shabla Tuzla, separated from the sea by high dunes. The lakes lie over Sarmatian limestone, and are fed mostly by ground waters. They have extensive fringes of emergent vegetation, mainly reed (Phragmites australis) with reed-mace Typha angustifolia, T. latifolia and sedge (Carex riparia). The lagoon has only a narrow fringe of emergent vegetation. The area around the governmental residence has park-like plantations of Eleagnus angustifolia, Syringa vulgaris, Ligustrum vulgare, Cotinus coggygria, Crataegus monogyna. To the north of Shabla Lake there are small plantations of Robinia pseudoacacia and Fraxinus americana, and to the south of it poplar Populus spp. plantations. The sand dunes and beach have communities of specialist psammophyte vegetation.

Birds in the protected area

The site supports 260 bird species, 103 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria. Of the birds occurring there 111 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC), 13 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened or near threatened, 26 in SPEC 2 and 72 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 90 species included in Annex 2 of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 86 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive.

Regular presence of Saker Falcons on migration in Shabla Lakes Complex SPA is registered.

Shabla lake complex SPA is a site of global importance for migrating and wintering Dalmatian Pelicans. Numbers fluctuate widely between winters, in response to the severity of the weather. The site is also of global importance for other congregatory wintering waterbirds. Up to 178,000 Greater White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons) have been recorded, along with a maximum of 3,273 Greylag Geese (Anser anser) 261 Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) and 62,210 Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and 286 Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus). Small groups of globally Vulnerable Lesser White-fronted Geese (Anser erythropus, SPEC1) are regularly recorded among the commoner waterfowl (up to 50 individuals, but fewer in recent years).

As the lake is located on the Via Pontica migration flyway and close to the Danube delta, it is one of the most important DP migration stopover sites along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

Threats to the protected area

  • Human activities
    The area is under significant pressure of urbanization and development of recreational facilities, especially along the coast.