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Birdwatching in Romania

The delta of the Danube River represents one of the last natural paradises in Europe, a network of channels, lakes, and lush forest. It is home to a fascinating mix of cultures, people and a huge diversity of birds, presided over by the greatest of them all, the pelican.
The Danube Delta is a refuge for people like you, who love the peace and quiet of nature. As you explore the vast complex of lakes and channels, you will discover a dream world still untrammeled by human intervention. Occupying some 5800 sq.km, the Danube Delta is the second largest in Europe, after the Volga Delta. It was formed approximately 12,000 years ago at the point, where the Danube flows into the Black Sea. The Danube arises in the German Black Forest and flows across 10 countries, a distance of 2,860 km. It flows into the Black Sea as three main branches: the Chilia, Sulina, and Sf. Gheorghe (Saint George).
All of the Danube Delta was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1990. It is part of the world’s natural patrimony, and is managed by a state institution located in the town of Tulcea. The managing body is overseen by a governor. The main objective of the DDBRA (www.ddbra.ro) is to preserve and protect the huge natural patrimony, that still persists in this natural paradise. Another main objective of the DDBRA is the ecological reconstruction of areas destroyed by the impact of human activities.
The fauna includes many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as 3,018 species of invertebrates. Birders can admire approximately 330 species of birds over the course of the year, many of them otherwise very rare in Europe.
The quintessential Danube Delta bird is the Pelican, represented by both European species: the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and the White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus). Other notable birds found in the Delta include Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis; winter only), European Roller (Coracias garrulus), European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus), Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), European Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), and a host of others.

"Roosting birds in the Delta"



The most common mammals include the Otter (Lutra lutra) with one of the most significant populations in Europe, the Wild Cat (Felix silvestris), Racoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides) and Wild Boar (Sus scrofa). Reptiles are well represented by the Dice Snake (Natrix tessellata), Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), Spur–thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca), and European Pond Terrapin (Emys orbicularis) and a variety of lizards is also present.
Fish are also richly represented in the Danube Delta. The main species are Carp (Cyprinus carpio), Catfish (Silurus glanis), Pike (Esox lucius), Sander (Stizostedion lucioperca) and Sturgeons. As a curiosity, the smallest fish recorded in the Danube is a Chub no longer than 3.2 cm. Also, the biggest Pike ever captured weighed 18 kg and was over 1 meter long; the largest Catfish weigh nearly 400 kg!


Electronic map of Romania

Tour I
12 Day birdwatching tour to the Danube Delta.

Expect 150 species in spring and 120 in summer.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Transfer from the Bucharest airport to Sinaia.
Sina is one of the most interesting town resorts in the Carpathian Mountains. Depending on arrival time we will visit Peles Castle, one of the most famous castles in Europe.
Accommodation in a guest house, welcome dinner, where we will present the tour plan in details.

"White Pelicans"



Day 2 - Sinaia-Busteni.
We will visit one of the highest places in Romania, the Sphynx and the Babele known as the old ladies by cable car. Time and wind sculptured these amazing stone shapes that dominate the landscape.
Breakfast in Sinaia, lunch and dinner in Busteni.
Overnight in guest house.
Day 3 - Busteni-Bran.
Crossing the mountains we will visit one of the Dracula’s castles in Transylvania. Here you’ll have possibility to buy a lot of souvenirs, traditional art, taste amazing Romanian wine and palinka (plum brandy).
Breakfast in Busteni, lunch and dinner close to Bran.
Accommodation in Simon, near Bran resort, in a very peaceful place over looking the hills and mountains.
Day 4 - Bran-Tulcea (approximately 375 kilometers)
Following the route Bran-Brasov through the Buzau Valley (one of the most spectacular in Romania) we cross the Danube River by ferry at the town of Tulcea.
Breakfast in Simon, lunch along the road, dinner and accommodation in Tulcea, in a very nice guest house.

"Black-winged Pratincole"



Day 5 - Tulcea - The Danube Delta - Channel Litcov - Channel Crisan.
Starting now, the trip will continue on water using a boat with kitchen, deck for bird watching, saloon with beds and toilette! Accommodation in Crisan village, in a very nice guest house situated along the Danube river, in the middle of the Delta.
This is the day were plenty of birds can be seen all over and up close: White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Common Pochard, Honey Buzzard, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, White Wagtail, Savis Warbler, Ruff, Little Gull, White-winged Tern, Cuckoo, European Roller, Thrush Nightingale (hundreds), Common Nightingale, Common Redstart etc.
Breakfast in restaurant in Tulcea, lunch on board, dinner in Crisan guest house.
Day 6 - Crisan - Caraorman village. Crossing the lakes Puiu, Puiulet, Rosu, Rosulet - Sulina town.
A day very rich in bird watching in canals, lakes and fish farms. We can expect: Dalmatian Pelican, White Pelican, Purple Herons, Gray Herons, Great Egret, Little Egret, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibis, Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallards, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Northern Sparrow Hawk, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Kestrel, Pied Avocet, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt, Whiskered Tern etc.
For two hours, we will walk in the Caraorman village, a very isolated place in the Danube Delta, where we can see a Pied Avocet colony.
Breakfast in Crisan, lunch on board in the middle of the nature, dinner and accommodation in Sulina town.
Day 7 - Sulina.
Sulina is a very old Romanian town, a pirate refugees port in old times. The town is very interesting for its international cemetery and the old light tower. Here the Danube enters into the Black Sea. It,s a walking day, and also a very interesting day for birdwatching: Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Gray Shrike, Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, White Pelican, Dalmatian Pelican, Red-footed Falcon, Marsh Harrier and many more.
We will have all meals in Sulina (onboard or restaurants.)

"Hoopoe"



Day 8 - Sulina - Mila 23 village.
A very interesting day, crossing lakes, channels, the Danube and floating islands.
Along the way to Mila 23 village, we will try to find the birds we missed yesterday, but we should also find Kingfisher, Grey-head Woodpecker, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, European Hobby, Syrian Woodpecker, Little Tern, White-winged Tern, Common Tern, Black Tern etc.
Accommodation in Mila 23 village. This is a fishermen village, situated in the wildest part of the Danube delta. You must "feel" the sunset here. Breakfast in Sulina, lunch onboard, dinner and accommodation in Mila 23 village in a traditional guest house.
Day 9 - Mila 23 village - Lopatna Channel - Heracle Channel - Batag Monastery - Babina Lake - Mila 23 village.
As all the days spent in such a nature paradise, this day offer us an amaizing mixture of water, channels, reed, birds, fishermen, water lilies, sunrise and sunset. The Batag monastery is situated in the heart of the Danube Delta, in a very isolated place in a perfect harmony with nature.
Walking and visiting the monastery yard for about one hour, we could see the Great Red-footed Falcon from the Danube Delta (in spring time). All day long, White Pelicans will fly above us, because very close the biggest White Pelican colony in Europe(around 10 000 birds) is situated. Along the way we may see Red-necked Grebe, Dalmatian Pelicans, Pygmy Cormorants, Great Cormorants, Night Herons, Squacco Heron, Golden Oriole, Kingfisher, European Hoopoe, European Cuckoo, Rose-coloured Starling (if we are lucky), Willow Warbler, Red Warbler, Song Thrush etc.
Breakfast in guest house, lunch and dinner on board.
Day 10 - Mila 23 village - Olgutza Channel - Sontea Channel - Sireasa Channel - Fortuna Lake - Baclanesti Lake - Nebunu Lake - Tulcea.
This is a very long birdwatching day, but probably the richest for bird species. The landscapes will also be delightfully and the last day spent in the Danube Delta. For sure you will never forget it. Usually we see White-tailed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, European Hobby, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Roller, White Pelican and many more species.
Breakfast in Mila 23 guest house, lunch on board, dinner in Niculitel village.
We will transfer by minivan to this village situated in the middle of a very famous vineyard, with the opportunity to taste some very delicious local wines and to eat a very tasty traditional Romanian meal.
Day 11 - Niculitel - Macin mountains.
We leave in the morning and have all day for birdwatching in the oldest mountains of Europe (Hercinic mountains - Macin). Here we will have a change to see rare breeding birds such as Levant Sparrow Hawk, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Skylark, Spanish Sparrow, Isabelline Wheatear, Ortolan, Long-legged Buzzard, Pied Wheatear, Common Rock-Thrush, Nuthatch, Icterine Warbler etc.
Breakfast in Niculitel, lunch as picnic, dinner and accommodation in Niculitel guest house.
Day 12 - Babadag - Bucharest airport.
Depending on departure time we will be birdwatching along the road. Meals on the road.


12 Day tour price is: 2 pax US$1870 per person. 4 pax US$1760 per person.
Single supplement: US$125

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Transfer from and to Bucharest airport, all trip meals, accommodation in guest houses and hotels (min.3 stars), boat transport in the Danube Delta, taxes for the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, English, French and Italian speaking guides (Spanish or German upon request), mineral water, coffee and tea. All land transportation using mini van
Accommodation will be in traditional guest houses and hotels in double rooms with one double bed or separated beds, two persons in every room. Rooms are very clean with hot water all day long. Meals are traditional, including local fish, meat, organic vegetables, soups, Romanian borsch, stews,etc. Every dinner and lunch includes fine Romanian wine.

Excluded:
Insurance, souvenirs, extra alcoholic drinks.


Notes:
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time 4 weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Birding season: The best season for birdwatching is spring and summer.
Fitness:
No special fitness is required.
Equipment: Telescope, binocular and rain gear.

Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Baciu.   

Birding guide Baciu Mihai, your local Birdingpal guide

I was born 40 years ago in Romania and since I was child I liked nature and birds. After high school I started to work for the Danube Delta Biorphere Reserve and was ranger for 11 years, where I learn aboute birds and the passion for nature. I'm also specialist guide for TV teams and mass media and have organized tours for many television companies around the world. I have two boys: Tudor(in photo) and Codrut, who will be (I hope) future guides in the Danube Delta.


Testimorial.
We participated in a birdwatching tour August/07 and we are very satisfied with the arrangements. Mihai Baciu is a very skilled birdwatcher, and this year in May we have again booked an exciting tour of 10 days in the Danube delta, where we will have time to explore the lakes and small canals from Tulcea to the Black Sea. We can recommend Mihai and Sorin as qualified tour guides.
Ole Fosvald, Danmark, ole_fosvald(AT)mail.tele.dk
Mihai, guide voyant les oiseaux avant qu, ils sont la, porteur de bonnes nouvelles et sourtout de beaucoup d,humeur
Raymond Aendekerk, Luxemburg, aendekerk(AT)biolabel.lu
We are delighted to confirm that Mihai (Baciu) is an excellent guide. We did a ten-day trip with him and his business partner Sorin in 2006. This was not exclusively a birding trip as we wanted to see something of the country, the Carpathians etc. as well as the Danube Delta. He knows the country well, is efficient, resourceful and a great travelling companion, who really looked after us. His birding abilities were outstanding and I believe, it was he, who first identified the White-Tailed Plover in the Delta. We can recommend him unreservedly.
Sincerely, Dr Alan and Susan Cowan, sandacowan(AT)grapevine.net.au

Some facts about Romania.

Romania is situated in the southeastern part of Central Europe and shares borders with Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Roughly the size of Oregon, Romania is the second largest country in the area, after Poland.
Geographical location of Romania: between latitudes 43°37'07" and 48°15'06" North and longitudes 20°15'44" and 29°41'24" East.
Romania extends approximately 450 kilometers north to south and 600 kilometers east to west.
Bucharest — the capital city of Romania — is aligned approximately with the cities of Portland, Oregon; Montreal, Quebec, Venice, Italy and Bordeaux, France.
Romania's territory features splendid mountains, beautiful rolling hills, fertile plains and numerous rivers and lakes. The Carpathian Mountains traverse the center of the country bordered on both sides by foothills and finally the great plains of the outer rim. Forest cover over one quarter of the country and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including bears, deer, lynx, chamois and wolves. The legendary Danube River ends its eight-country journey through eight European countries at the Black Sea by forming one of the biggest and most interesting wetlands in the world, the Danube Delta.
About a third of the country consists of the Carpathian Mountains (also known as the Transylvanian Alps). Another third is hills and plateaus, rich with orchards and vineyards. The final third is a fertile plain, largely devoted to agriculture. The Danube River runs through the country, from northwest to southeast, culminating in the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.

More facts about Romania.

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

"Collins Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe" with North Africa and the Middle East. by Hermann Heinzel, John Parslow and Richard S. Fitter.


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Last update 20/02/2014