Romania not only harbours some of Europe’s most wonderful avifauna, but also hosts other highlights, which make it a perfect destination for a comfortable and rewarding birding and photography tour. On this tour we visit the Romanian Dobrogea, Danube Delta and Southern Carpathian Mountains.
Starting in Bucharest, we take in the best of the coastal Dobrogea steppe, rocky valleys and woodlands that provide a unique opportunity to see thousands of breeding and migrating birds, rare or absent in other parts of Europe. First we will explore some of the coastal lagoons and marshlands at the Black Sea – Lake Sinoe, Lake Zmeica and others. Here we expect various water birds, including different species of herons and egrets, gulls and terns, Western Marsh Harrier, Collared Pratincole, Kentish Plover, some species of reed warblers (like the Paddyfield Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Great Reed Warbler), Black-headed race of the Yellow Wagtail, etc.
Moving inland to the extensive steppe grasslands we will be searching for the Eurasian Stone Curlew, Tawny Pipit, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Isabeline Wheatear. We will visit beautiful rocky gorges, areas with small woodlands and shrubs among the steppes, where we will be searching for the Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Hoopoe, Syrian Woodpecker, Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser-Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Barred Warbler. At the loess cliffs we will enjoy European Bee-eater nesting colonies, where often European Rollers nest next to them on the same ground walls too.
Birding in the Danube Delta during springtime is one of the most spectacular events and always produces a long list of specialties. On our way to the Delta we will make a long stop in the Babadag Forests, looking for various forests birds, such as the Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Warbler, Sombre Tit, Hawfinch.
Then we will spend the afternoon in the riverine forests and reedbeds in the vicinity of Tulcea, looking for Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Bearded Reedling, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Icterine Warbler, as well as in the wetlands and steppes to the east of the town. In the shallow-water lakes we will find breeding colonies of Caspian Gull, plus Black-winged Stilts and other waders and shore-birds.
On the next morning we will start our birding in the Danube Delta by boat. Using our boat, we have three full days to experience a selection of the best locations within the Danube Delta, seeing birds and places that are simply impossible to reach any other way. The pristine sites in the core of the Delta hold a big variety of birds, including Dalmatian Pelican, Great White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, White-tailed Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Pallas’s Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Whiskered Tern, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Great Reed Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Common Reed Bunting and many others. Our accommodation for the next two nights will be in the core of the Danube Delta, the village of Mila 23 – an isolated rural and traditional settlement of the 18th century.
Back from our boat trip, we will visit the Macin Mountain National Park to the west of Tulcea. This volcanic mountain is the oldest in Romania and owing to its habitat diversity it has some of the richest and most interesting fauna and flora, including numerous endemic plants and insects. The key species of birds here will include the Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Roller, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Rose-colored Starling, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Ortolan Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike.
During the final part of our tour we will be exploring the alpine zone and conifer and beech forests in the Southern Carpathians – the highest part of this huge mountain chain, spreading across Romania. In the mountain rivers and streams we expect to find White-throated Dippers and Grey Wagtails. There will be a good variety of forest birds, including the White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Eurasian Bullfinch, Common Crossbill, Spotted Nutcracker, Fieldfare, Wood Warbler, Wood Lark. In the alpine areas we will have very good chances for Alpine Accentor, Black Redstart, Water Pipit, Eurasian Crag Martin. Here we can also see, enjoy and photograph one of the most beautiful and sought-after birds in the world – the Wallcreeper.