The area called "Suha reka" is located in the North East part of Bulgaria. "Suha reka" is a valley with cliffs up to 30m high. It contains a unique combination of habitats which is a precondition for an immense diversity of wildlife. In addition to wildlife there is an unprecedented combination of natural and cultural history with Rock monasteries dating back to the V-VI century. This combination makes the area unique.
The name of the area "Suha reka" means "dry river". In the past, there used to be a river flowing along the valley. Currently, water flows only in certain parts of the valley. It is surprising that a hundred years ago the river used to flow all the way through. However, the river has dried up in the middle and lower part of its current because of woodland removal along the banks. The valley has cut into the Sarmatian limestone of the Dobrudza plain and in some places it has taken the form of a gorge with 30-50 meters high vertical cliffs.
Birding in Bulgaria and Suha reka in particular is fantastic. Nearly 200 species of birds are registered in the area. Amongst the highlights are Roller, Golden oriole, European Bee-eater, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Sombre Tit, Black-headed bunting, Ruddy Shellduck, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Eagle Owl, etc. The area is one of the major paths for migratory soaring birds with over 5000 birds of prey and over 37 000 White Storks. A week in the area in spring time (March-June) can result in about 150 species.
Butterflies in Bulgaria attract more and more people in the last couple of years. Suha reka is a Prime Butterfly area. Butterflies in the area are not studied. The main reason for the inclusion of the region is the presence of 5 of the target species. For the time being, Suha Reka is the only place in the country where the Scarce Fritillary Euphydryas maturna is widely distributed and common from the second half of June till the beginning of July. Other key species include Clouded Apollo Parnassius mnemosyne, Large Copper Lycaena dispar, Lesser Spotted Fritillary Melitaea trivia, Twin-spot Fritillary Brenthis hecate, etc.
Bulgaria is rich in rock monasteries and some of the oldest are in the area of Suha reka. These are the oldest not only in the country but also in Europe. They have been occupied during the I century After Christ. Photos of the rock monasteries can be seen here and here.