TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Romania

7th - 15th September 2002


Leader: Keith Grant
Guide: Roxana Cristina
Driver: Viorel Moldoveanu

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Diary:

Saturday 7th September

Arrival.

Sunny and warm

After an uneventful early flight from Heathrow, we arrived at Bucharest to meet up with Roxana and Viorel, and drove through the city centre before heading eastwards towards Calarasi. The city gave way to rolling agricultural land, mainly sunflower and maize yet to be harvested, and large flocks of white ducks, geese and turkeys. We stopped for a drink at a roadside cafe with a Peregrine circling overhead, and a Hobby drifted across in front of the bus a little later. Just outside Calarasi, we had a brief stop at the fishponds but with our telescopes and tripods still packed away, views here were somewhat limited. We did however see Whiskered Terns, two Purple Herons, Great White Egret, Pygmy and Great Cormorants, Gadwall and Garganey. We arrived at the hotel in good time for dinner, accompanied by a Syrian Woodpecker in the mature trees opposite.

Sunday 8th September

Calarasi to Mamaia-Sat

Sunny and warm, though quite hazy

Our pre-breakfast walk really only took us across the road from the hotel, to search the mature trees. Nothing of note was seen until a Blackcap started calling. It flew across the road into some low conifers, which also contained several nice Tree Sparrows. As we returned to the hotel for breakfast, a Black Woodpecker was calling and it then appeared some distance away, on a dead tree down by the river. Two smaller 'pied' woodpeckers joined it on the same tree. We packed up and moved off south after breakfast. A second visit to the Calarasi ponds, this time with telescopes at the ready(!), produced fine views of the Whiskered Terns, and we added Pochard, Squacco Heron, Kingfisher, and a superb Little Bittern sitting quietly in the tall reeds near us. Two Caspian Terns flew over, as did Lesser Spotted Eagle. We had a brief wait at the ferry and we saw a Jay and another Syrian Woodpecker flying along the tree line. Once across the Danube, we headed directly for Lake Bugeac. Several raptors here included Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, and Marsh Harriers. A Wood Sandpiper flew along the edge of the lake and a Spotted Redshank flew past calling, though none of us actually saw it! Two Turtle Doves were sitting quietly on some electricity wires. The butterflies here were not to be outdone, with Common and Amanda's Blues, Clouded Yellows, Painted Lady, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Eastern Bath White, Knapweed Fritillary and, best of all, Lesser Fiery Copper all present. An Elephant Hawkmoth was also superb. We eventually tore ourselves away and continued on to Canaraua Fetei for lunch. Here, we walked a little way through the wood as the picnic table was being set up, and we found Chiffchaffs and both Willow and Wood Warblers. There were also brief views of Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher. The Silver-washed Fritillary and Large Skipper butterflies were excellent here, though the dragonflies were more problematic, with Ruddy Darter the only one identified. Bee-eaters were calling high overhead during lunch, and a Hobby cleared the skies temporarily of Swallows and Sand & House Martins. Red-backed Shrikes became more regular on the roadside wires as we travelled on to the Roman ruins at Adamclisi. Here, Northern Wheatears and Crested Larks vied with a Lesser Spotted Eagle overhead and Brown Argus butterflies and Balkan Wall Lizards on the ground. Although most flowers were long since over, there were still good numbers of knapweeds, white scabious and chicory in bloom. We eventually had to move on, checking in to our hotel at Mamaia-Sat in good time for dinner. A few of us managed a brief walk to the shore, finding Red-necked Grebes on the sea and several Spotted Flycatchers in the coastal bushes.

Monday 9th September

Mamaia, Histria & Vadu areas

Warm, sunny and clear, up to 28°C.

Straight back to the beach before breakfast . . . . . where good numbers of Red-backed Shrikes were present, often several in each bush! Parties of Yellow Wagtails were flying south, and there were quite a few stopping and feeding on the beach amongst the roosting gulls. We also watched a pair of Syrian Woodpeckers in the camping grounds, some excellent views of these birds. We spent the morning after breakfast exploring the Histria area. Stopping on the approach road, we quickly found numerous Bearded Tits in the roadside phragmites, or rather they found us with pairs and small groups climbing up to the reed tops several times to watch us watching them! At this point, about 80 White Pelicans drifted along the coast and other flocks totalling probably several hundreds were soaring on the thermals inland. They looked really splendid in the bright sunlight. A muddy lagoon was a real attraction for a multitude of shorebirds and wildfowl. The many duck there included Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Garganey and several Pintail. These all tested our identification of ducks in eclipse! Amongst the shorebirds, we found Curlew, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, three Marsh Sandpipers, Avocets, Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Little Stints, and eventually, several really excellent Broad-billed Sandpipers, and this was apart from various Collared Pratincoles flying across the road. The terns were not to be outdone here, with at least 20 Caspian Terns, various Black, Whiskered and Sandwich Terns, and ultimately, three Gull-billed Terns flew in, an adult with two juveniles tagging along. Two Common Treefrogs were also found clinging to the reeds in front of us. We then had to drag ourselves away to continue to the ruins themselves at Histria. Some opted for a coffee, others visited the museum, but for those simply shading themselves under the few trees at the site, we suddenly found ourselves surrounded by migrants. These included Spotted Flycatcher, at least four Red-breasted Flycatchers, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, two male Redstarts, and what was probably a Collared Flycatcher, though we didn't get enough on the bird to separate it from Pied Flycatcher before it disappeared.

We then headed back to Vadu for our picnic lunch, again being distracted, this time by a Roller sitting on one of the concrete pillars by the disused industrial complex. We overlooked one of the lagoons, watching another good variety of wildfowl and waders. A flock of Shelduck flew off as we approached, but the Little Gulls remained, some feeding along the water's edge, others just loafing on a sandy spit. Common Terns and Black Terns were also present. There were two Whinchats along the bund as we got out of the bus, and a Spotted Flycatcher was using a concrete pillar as a lookout perch, sallying forth for insects. Closer searching of the shoreline revealed two Ruffs, Spotted Redshanks, and a Curlew Sandpiper. As our picnic was being laid out, a White-tailed Eagle was circling in the very far distance, and just as we loaded our plates with lunch, a group of pelicans started thermalling. Initially, these were at about the same distance as the eagle, but they gradually circled closer until we eventually had a flock of 12 Dalmatian Pelicans right overhead, drifting south. With these were a number of raptors, including Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and a lone Black Kite.

After lunch, we walked across to a second lagoon, flushing two Green Sandpipers from the ditch as we approached. But best of all and most unexpectedly, there were three Red-necked Phalaropes 'spinning' on the water. Common and Wood Sand-pipers were also along the water's edge. We then drove out along the back of the dunes, watching a 'ringtail' Hen Harrier keeping pace with us. On the open beach, we found Sanderling, and Great Crested, Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes offshore, many quite close in. A helping hand to push the bus out of the sand and we retraced our journey, stopping again to look out over the open sea before returning to Navodari to find a pharmacy, bureau de change and tomorrow's picnic. Back to the hotel in time to watch the pair of Syrian Woodpeckers feeding on the ground, (yes, on the ground!) picking up insects flooded out by the lawn sprinklers, and a short spell on the beach for some.

Tuesday 10th September

Travel north to Tulcea & the Delta

Cloudy, sunny spells, thundery shower early afternoon

Our pre-breakfast walk on the beach revealed many fewer Red-backed Shrikes in the coastal scrub, a sea like a millpond reflecting a wonderful sunrise and the grebes well offshore. The Syrian Woodpecker was again in the hotel grounds and I think by now everyone had obtained excellent views of this species and the differences separating it from Great Spotted. We packed the bus and set off northwards.

Our first stop was at the gorge at Cheia, but no sign of the hoped-for Pied Wheatears. We did find Northern Wheatear, Whinchat, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and a lovely juvenile Lesser Grey Shrike. There were also Sousliks in the valley bottom. With masses of Blue-winged Grasshoppers underfoot and nice views of Swallowtail and Silver-studded Blue butterflies, and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth checking out the chicory flowers, we spent rather longer there than we anticipated. We moved on to Babadag where there were several Woodland Ringlets along the forest trails. I think this is one of the most flamboyant of the Brown butterflies, but apart from these and a Jay, the wood was very quiet. So we again moved on, this time to Enisala for lunch. Within sight of the hilltop citadel and just opposite a sand face with a Bee-eater colony, we were accompanied by the fluty calls of about 50 Bee-eaters. We had excellent views of these through the telescopes, and raptors included the ever-present Marsh Harriers, Long-legged Buzzards circling the citadel and a juvenile Levant Sparrowhawk right overhead. Sousliks were again just below us on the grass. We'd just about packed up when the thunderclouds, which had been threatening us, did eventually drop their load. We quickly covered the luggage on the rack with a waterproof sheet and loaded up and moved on. We'd hoped to stop at some nearby ponds, but the rain at this point was really too heavy. The rain eased, just a squall really, and three Red-footed Falcons were sitting on the roadside wires, followed briefly by a Hoopoe, and then a continual stretch of wires covered with Bee-eaters, totally some hundred or so. A brief stop on the shore of Lake Razim produced at least seven Marsh Harriers, though this was the exposed side of lake with a strong wind and rough water. Then on, straight to Tulcea to board the ponton, where we soon settled into our rooms and came on deck for tea and coffee, birding all the way to our mooring point just where the old river course flows into the main navigable channel. These first few hours on the deck revealed what was to come, with many egrets, the first of the Night Herons, Glossy Ibis, our second, much closer White-tailed Eagle sitting quietly on a dead tree and an Osprey on the trees alongside the channel. Glimpses of lakes beyond the bankside trees covered with pelicans, ducks, and terns enthused us for tomorrow. Excellent dinner as the light faded and we moored for the night where the old river course joined the channel.

Wednesday 11th September

Danube Delta

Cloudy & hazy, thundery showers towards dusk

We walked the short distance to a watchtower overlooking the delta before breakfast, finding Grey-headed Woodpeckers and a Hoopoe. A flock of Chaffinches and Greenfinches were new for the trip as we walked back to the ponton. The tug set off as we had breakfast, this time travelling back upstream, up the original river course. At Mila 23, we moored and transferred to the tug which took us to overlook Lake Ligheanca, before returning to walk round the village. Back on the ponton and continuing westwards, we explored other lakes and channels. With hundreds of Pygmy Cormorants, Squacco Herons and Little Egrets, and several Purple Herons flushed from the banksides, there was always something of interest. There were thousands of Coots already present on the lakes, and a lone female Smew was a surprise this early in the autumn. We did record several Ferruginous Ducks flying off, but never really got good views of these, and as we passed one side channel, we saw Red-crested Pochard briefly. Having moored at one point, we looked down into the reeds to find a large Grass Snake curled up on a reed mat. Heading on upstream, we came to an area of floating weed alongside the bank where we briefly saw two Little Crakes and two Snipe, but the rain started with thunder and lightning, and we had to continue to get to our mooring point before it got dark.

Thursday 12th September

Back to Tulcea, drive to Sinaia

Much colder, rain at times, 12-14°C.

The boat set off at 6:30am and, with breakfast on the move, we had returned to Tulcea by 8 o'clock. We passed several Kingfishers soon after starting. With a northerly wind blowing, the temperature dropped markedly. Back on the bus and we set off on the long drive westwards. With a brief stop to stretch our legs, we broke the journey soon after to overlook a lake just before Harsova. There were two Spoonbills, and as a flock of ducks was disturbed by a Marsh Harrier, these proved to be mixed Garganey and Teal. We then moved on to have our picnic lunch near Albesti, with Sparrowhawk & Hobby overhead. Butterflies were very slow in the relatively low temperatures, and we had good views of both Large Copper and Amanda's Blue.

We arrived in Sinaia and settled in to our rooms. A short walk, then, down to the palace grounds proved successful despite the light rain, with good numbers of Fieldfares feeding on the elderberries, Robin, Black Redstart, Coal Tit and Nuthatch all present. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and then went up to the local refuse tip in the bus. We go to all the right places! With the spotlight, we were quickly watching several scavenging Brown Bears. There were several immatures and two large adults, one walking right past the front of the bus. What a great shame that this evening was very misty and raining, making visibility rather restricted.

Friday 13th September

Sinaia & Bucegi Hills

Low cloud, fog, occasional drizzle, 8-10°C

The pre-breakfast walk up the road from our rooms provided Jays, Coal Tit, Black Redstart, Blackbird & Robin. Both Great Spotted and Grey-headed Wood-peckers showed reasonably well. There were also good numbers of Ravens flying over, coming out from roost. We walked down to the restaurant for breakfast, then moved on in the bus to climb up and over the Bucegi Hills. This rather rough unmade road steadily climbed up through the low cloud. Visibility was virtually nil, though we kept hoping to climb above it. A Honey-Buzzard was spotted sitting quietly on a nearby tree, but views were really limited to a mere silhouette. A small flock of Linnets was feeding on the roadside weeds, and several Water Pipits were seen as we climbed above the tree-line on to the open grassland. A brief clearing in the cloud enable us to spot Fieldfares and Black Redstart. We stopped briefly at a cabana to order soup for lunch later, and then moved on to a deep gorge at the head of a reservoir. No sign of the hoped-for Wallcreepers, but we did find Dippers and Grey Wagtails along the stream. We moved on to another gorge near the Monastery, with again, many Dippers along the river. Back to the cabana for a very welcome soup lunch before heading back over the hills, the cloud occasionally lifting and tantalising us with views across the valleys. One Raven sitting on a conifer was really the only bird of note. Back to Sinaia during the afternoon, allowing most of the group to walk round the palace gardens whilst a quick visit to the hospital for one member to have a nasty cut on the hand dealt with. Treecreeper and Marsh Tit were the only birds added.

Saturday 14th September

Rasnov & north of Brasov

Clear and bright, one shower, 14°C

A lot brighter today with the clouds much higher and the hilltops were mostly visible. The Red Squirrels around the gardens were very dark in colour, and we also noted several Chiffchaffs, a Spotted Flycatcher and Song Thrush before breakfast. There were many fewer Fieldfares than previous days. After breakfast we headed north, finding a fine Lesser Spotted Eagle circling over the road just before Predeal. At the Rasnov Gorge, there was a Grey Wagtail and a very confiding Dipper, and Crag Martins hawking insects against the rock faces. On to Zarnesti Gorge but very quiet bird-wise though a lovely walk up through the gorge; then back to the Citadel at Rasnov, which we explored before our picnic lunch by the old walls. We headed north through small villages and flat agricultural land, typical of Transylvania, before stopping to overlook a lake near Rotbav. Initial impression was pretty birdless, but then two Little Grebes were found, several ducks included at least two Shovelers, and a Kingfisher landed in some rushes close by. Several Buzzards circled in the distance and a Marsh Harrier headed south down the valley. As time had slipped by, we headed homewards through the city of Brasov, stopped briefly at a roadside market whilst the bus was refuelled and arrived back at Sinaia in good time for our farewell dinner.

Sunday 15th September

South to Bucharest and home.

Clear & sunny.

A pre-breakfast walk revealed still fewer Fieldfares, and a Treecreeper in the front garden. Our bags were packed and after a leisurely breakfast, we were moving by 9:30am. We had time for a quick shop in Sinaia itself then, later, we stopped to buy honey from a roadside stall. Some ponds near Paulesti proved excellent. Two Golden Plovers and a Ruff were joined by a lone Little Stint. Buzzards circled overhead, then a Goshawk came up from the wood and circled just over the trees. A Black Tern was also flying over the ponds. Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, two Night Herons, Little Egrets and one Great White Egret completed our sightings when a Little Bittern flew past just in front of us but disappeared into the reeds. Roxana then produced several bags of goodies and we tucked into a selection of chocolate, vanilla and lemon pastries before heading on to the airport for our flight home.

Species Lists:

Notations used below:

Ba = Babadag

Bu = Bucegi Hills

Ca = Calarasi

Ch = Cheia

DD = Danube Delta

E = Enisala

Ha = Harsova

Hi = Histria

LB = Lake Bugeac

M = Mamaia

P = Paulesti

R = Rasnov

S = Sinaia

Tr = Transylvania

V = Vadu

Z = Zarnesti

BIRDS:

Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted on 4 days, ones & twos on 7th & 8th (Ca), 14th (Tr), 6 on 15th (P).

Red-necked Grebe: Noted on 3 days, numerous offshore on 8th - 10th (MV).

Great Crested Grebe: Noted most days.

Black-necked/Eared Grebe: Noted on 2 days, numerous offshore on 9th & 10th (MV).

Great Cormorant: Noted most days.

Pygmy Cormorant: Noted on 5 days, up to 10 on 7th & 8th (Ca), many on 10th - 12th (DD).

Great White Pelican: Noted on 3 days, several hundred on 9th (Hi), rather fewer on 10th & 11th (DD).

Dalmatian Pelican: Noted only on 9th, 14 overhead (V).

Grey Heron: Noted each day.

Purple Heron: Noted most days.

Great [White] Egret: Noted most days.

Little Egret: Noted most days.

Squacco Heron: Noted on 4 days, several on 8th (Ca), then several hundred on 10th - 11th (DD), several on 15th (P).

Black-crowned Night-Heron: Noted on 4 days, up to 8 on 10th - 12th (DD), 2 on 15th (P).

Little Bittern: Noted on 2 days, 1 perched quite close in full view on 8th (Ca), 1 flew past us before disappearing into reeds on 15th (P).

Glossy Ibis: Noted on 2 days, 3 on 10th, 6 on 11th (DD).

Eurasian Spoonbill: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 12th (Ha).

Mute Swan: Noted on 3 days, up to 10 each day on 10th - 12th (DD).

Common Shelduck: Noted on 2 days, 20+ on 9th (V), 10 flew south along beach on 10th (M).

Gadwall: Noted on 5 days, up to 10 on 7th (Ca), 9th (Hi),10th - 12th (DD).

Mallard: Noted most days.

Northern Pintail: Noted only on 1 day with 3 on 9th (Hi).

Garganey: Noted on 3 days, 6 on 7th (Ca), also on 9th (Hi,V) & 12th (Ha).

Northern Shoveler: Noted on 3 days, on 9th (Hi,V), 2 on 12th (Ha), 2 on 14th (Tr).

Eurasian Teal: Noted on 2 days, 6 on 9th (Hi), and on 12th (Ha).

Common Pochard: Noted on 3 days, on 8th (Ca), 10th (DD), and 40 on 11th (DD).

Ferruginous Duck: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 8th (Ca), 6 on 11th (DD).

Red-crested Pochard: Noted only on 1 day, a juvenile on 11th (DD).

Smew: Noted only on 1 day, 1 f/juv on 11th (DD).

Osprey: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 10th (DD).

European Honey-buzzard: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 13th (Bu).

Black Kite: Noted only on 1 day, 1 overhead with other raptors and Dalmatian Pelicans on 9th (V).

White-tailed Eagle: Noted on 3 days, 1 distantly on 9th (V), 1 perched on 10th (DD), and a total of 5 on 11th (DD).

Hen Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, 1 'ringtail' on 9th (V).

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted most days.

Levant Sparrowhawk: Noted only on 1 day, 1 right overhead at lunchtime on 10th (E).

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted on 4 days, singles on 8th (LB), 11th (DD), 12th (Albesti), and 2 on 15th (P).

Northern Goshawk: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 15th (P).

Common Buzzard: Noted most days.

Long-legged Buzzard: Noted only on 1 day, 2 circling the Citadel on 10th (E).

Lesser Spotted Eagle: Noted on 3 days, 1 on 8th (Adamclisi), 1 on 11th (DD), 1 on 14th (near Predeal).

Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted on 4 days.

Red-footed Falcon: Noted on 2 days, 5 on 10th (E), 3 on 11th (DD).

Eurasian Hobby: Noted most days.

Peregrine Falcon: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 7th (en route Budapest - Ca), 1 on 10th (en route M - DD).

Common Pheasant: Noted only on 1 day, heard on beach on 10th (M).

Water Rail: Noted only on 1 day, heard on 9th (Hi).

Little Crake: Noted only on 1 day, 2 seen briefly on 11th (DD).

Common Moorhen: Noted most days.

Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted most days.

Eurasian Oystercatcher: Noted on 2 days, up to 5 on beach on 9th & 10th (M).

Pied Avocet: Noted only on 1 day, 3 on 9th (Hi).

Collared Pratincole: Noted only on 1 day, several hundred on 9th (Hi).

Northern Lapwing: Noted on 2 days, c.100 on 9th (Hi), 1 on 11th (DD).

Golden Plover: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 15th (P).

Little [Ringed] Plover: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 9th (Hi).

Kentish Plover: Noted only on 1 day, several on 9th (Hi,V).

Ringed Plover: Noted only on 1 day, several on 9th (Hi).

Eurasian Curlew: Noted only on 1 day, 20+ on 9th (Hi).

Spotted Redshank: Noted on 2 days, heard on 8th (LB), several on 9th (Hi,V).

Common Redshank: Noted only on 1 day, several on 9th (Hi,V).

Marsh Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 3 on 9th (Hi).

Common Greenshank: Noted on 2 days, 1 at each site on 9th (Hi,V), 2 on 11th (DD).

Green Sandpiper: Noted on 2 days, 2 on 9th (Hi), 1 on 10th (DD).

Wood Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days, 1 on 8th (LB), 2 on 9th (Hi,V), 1 on 12th (Ha).

Common Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 9th (Hi).

Red-necked Phalarope: Noted only on 1 day, 3 on 9th (V).

Common Snipe: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 9th (Hi), 2 on 11th (DD).

Sanderling: Noted only on 1 day, at least 100 on beach on 9th (V).

Little Stint: Noted on 2 days, at least 100 on 9th (Hi,V), 1 on 15th (P).

Dunlin: Noted only on 1 day, 5 on 9th (Hi).

Curlew Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 10 on 9th (Hi).

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Noted only on 9th, 2 seen well, probably many more present (Hi).

Ruff: Noted on 2 days, 2 on 9th (V), 1 on 15th (P).

Common/Mew Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 4 on 10th (DD).

Yellow-legged Gull: Noted on 5 days.

Caspian Gull: Noted on 3 days, on 10th (E), 11th & 12th (DD).

Black-headed Gull: Noted most days.

Little Gull: Noted only on 1 day, c.40 on 9th (V).

Whiskered Tern: Noted on 5 days.

White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted on 2 days, on 10th & 11th (DD).

Black Tern: Noted on 3 days, ones & twos on 8th (LB), 9th (V) & 15th (P).

Gull-billed Tern: Noted only on 1 day, an ad & 2 juvs on 9th (Hi).

Caspian Tern: Noted on 5 days, 2 on 8th (Ca), 10+ on 9th (Hi), up to 3 on 10th & 11th (DD), 2 on 14th (Tr).

Sandwich Tern: Noted on 2 days, several on 9th (Hi), 6 on the beach on 10th (M).

Common Tern: Noted on 2 days, several on 9th (V), 2 on 11th (DD).

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.

[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 11th (DD).

European Turtle Dove: Noted on 2 days, 2 on 8th (LB), 3 on 10th (DD).

Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.

Common Swift: Noted only on 1 day, 1 preceded the storm on 10th (E).

Common Kingfisher: Noted most days.

European Bee-eater: Noted on 4 days, when heard overhead on 8th (Canaraua Fetei), at least 30 on 9th (V), 150 on 10th (E), heard overhead on 11th (DD).

European Roller: Noted on 4 days, 1 on 9th (V), 8 en route throughout the day on 10th, 3 on 11th (DD), 1 en route on 12th.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 10th (E), 2 on 11th (DD).

Syrian Woodpecker: Noted on 4 days, 1 briefly on 7th (Ca), several on 8th (Ferry crossing & M), a pair at hotel on 9th & 10th (M).

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 13th & 14th (S).

Black Woodpecker: Noted only on 1 day, 1 distantly on 8th (Ca).

Grey-headed Woodpecker: Noted on 5 days.

Crested Lark: Noted on 3 days, 8th (Adamclisi), 9th (Hi,V), 10th (E).

[European] Sand Martin: Noted on 3 days, 8th, 10th, 12th.

Barn Swallow: Noted each day.

Crag Martin: Noted only on 1 day, 12+ on 14th (R).

[Common] House Martin: Noted on 4 days, 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th.

Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 3 days, several hundred on 9th - 11th.

White Wagtail: Noted most days.

Grey Wagtail: Noted on 3 days, 2 on 10th (DD), 6+ on 13th (Bu), 3 on 14th (R,Z).

Tree Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, 1 flew overhead on 8th (Adamclisi).

Water Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, 5 on 13th (Bu).

Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 3 days, several on 8th (en route), c.30 throughout day (with many on the beach at M) on 9th, 5 on beach on 10th (M).

Lesser Grey Shrike: Noted only on 1 day, a juvenile on 10th (Ch).

[White-throated] Dipper: Noted on 2 days, 8 on 13th (Bu), 1 on 14th (R).

Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 14th (S).

Common Blackbird: Noted on 5 days, 11th - 15th.

Fieldfare: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th.

Song Thrush: Noted on 3 days, 13th - 15th (S).

Mistle Thrush: Noted on 2 days, singles on 12th & 14th (S).

European Robin: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th.

Black Redstart: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th.

Common Redstart: Noted on 3 days, 1 on 8th (Canaraua Fetei), a male (Hi) and a female (V) on 9th, 1 on 10th (Ch).

Whinchat: Noted on 2 days, 2 on 9th (V), several on 10th (Ch).

Northern Wheatear: Noted on 3 days, several on 8th (Adamclisi), several during day on 9th (Hi,V), 2 on 10th (Ch).

Bearded Tit / Reedling: Noted only on 1 day, 6 seen well & many heard on 9th (Hi).

Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 9th (V), 2 on 11th (DD).

Icterine Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 9th (Hi).

Willow Warbler: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 8th (Canaraua Fetei), several on 10th.

Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted most days.

Wood Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 8th (Canaraua Fetei).

Blackcap: Noted on 3 days, 8th (Ca & ferry), a male on 9th (Hi), 4 (M) & 1 (Ch) on 10th.

Common Whitethroat: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 13th (Bu).

Lesser Whitethroat: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 9th (Hi).

Goldcrest: Noted on 4 days,12th - 15th (S).

Spotted Flycatcher: Noted most days.

Collared/Pied Flycatcher: One, probably Collared, on 9th (Hi).

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, at least 5 (Hi) and 1 (M) on 9th.

Marsh Tit: Noted on 2 days, 1 on 13th & 14th (S).

Coal Tit: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th (S).

Great Tit: Noted most days.

Blue Tit: Noted on 4 days, 11th - 14th.

Eurasian Nuthatch: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th (S).

Eurasian Treecreeper: Noted on 2 days, singles on 13th & 15th (S).

Eurasian Jay: Noted most days.

Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie: Noted each day.

Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted most days.

Rook: Noted most days.

Hooded Crow: Noted most days.

Common Raven: Noted on 3 days, 10 on 13th, heard on 14th & 15th (S).

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted only on 1 day, 1 male on 11th (DD).

Common Starling: Noted most days.

Common/European Chaffinch: Noted on 5 days.

European Greenfinch: Noted only on 1 day, on 8th.

European Goldfinch: Noted on 2 days, 8th & 14th.

Common Linnet: Noted only on 1 day, 8 on 13th (Bu).

Common/Eurasian Bullfinch: Noted on 4 days, 12th - 15th (S).

House Sparrow: Noted each day.

[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow: Noted on 3 days, several on 8th (Ca), 50+ on 10th (E), several flocks on 11th (DD).

MAMMALS:

Weasel: Noted only on 9th (Hi).

Brown Bear: Noted only on 1 day, 5 on refuse tip on 12th (S).

Red Squirrel: Noted on 2 days, 3 on 14th & 1 on 15th (S).

European Souslik: Noted only on 10th (Ch,E).

Brown Rat: Noted only on 9th.

AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:

Common Tree Frog: Noted only on 1 day, 3 on 9th (Hi).

Marsh Frog / Lake Frog: Noted on 2 days, heard on 14th (Tr), heard on 15th (P).

Edible Frog: Noted only on 1 day, 2 green ones on 11th (DD).

Balkan Green Lizard: Noted only on 8th.

Balkan Wall Lizard: Noted only on 8th.

Grass Snake: Noted only on 11th (DD).

BUTTERFLIES & other insects:

Swallowtail: Noted on 2 days, 9th & 10th.

Marbled White: Noted only on 8th.

Large White: Noted on 3 days, 8th - 10th.

Small White: Noted most days.

Green-veined White: Noted on 3 days, 8th, 11th & 12th.

Eastern Bath White: Noted on 4 days, 8th - 11th.

Clouded Yellow: Noted most days.

Lesser Fiery Copper: Noted on 2 days, 8th (LB) & 11th (DD).

Large Copper: Noted only on 12th (Albesti).

Silver-studded Blue: Noted only on 10th (Ch).

Brown Argus: Noted on 3 days, 8th - 10th.

Amanda's Blue: Noted on 2 days, 8th, & 12th.

Common Blue: Noted on 3 days, 8th - 10th.

Red Admiral: Noted on 3 days, 8th, 11th, & 15th.

Painted Lady: Noted on 4 days, 8th - 11th.

Silver-washed Fritillary: Noted only on 8th (Canaraua Fetei).

Knapweed Fritillary: Noted only on 8th (LB).

Small Heath: Noted on 2 days, 8th & 10th.

Wall Brown: Noted only on 10th.

Meadow Brown: Noted only on 8th.

Woodland Grayling: Noted only on 10th (Ba).

Large Skipper: Noted only on 8th.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Noted only on 10th (Ch).

Elephant Hawkmoth: Noted only on 8th (LB).

Jersey Tiger: Noted only on 8th.

Blue-tailed Damselfly: Noted only on 8th.

Red-eyed Damselfly: Noted only on 11th (DD).

Lesser Emperor: Noted only on 11th (DD).

Common Darter: Noted on 3 days, 9th, 11th, & 14th.

Ruddy Darter: Noted only on 8th.

Migrant Hawker: Noted only on 10th (DD).

Red-winged Grasshopper: Noted on 2 days, 8th & 10th.

Blue-winged Grasshopper: Noted only on 10th.

Preying Mantis: Noted only on 8th.

A good trip from which we all have our memories, though with temperatures ranging from up to 28°C at the beginning of the week down to 8°C in the hills above Sinaia, we never quite knew what to wear! The skeins of pelicans flying overhead and excellent numbers of egrets and herons in the Delta was just the start. A usually difficult species, I was particularly pleased with the excellent views of Broad-billed Sandpipers near Histria. The Smew was also most unexpected this early in the autumn. Both White-tailed Eagles and Lesser Spotted Eagles gave good views, and of course the Red-footed Falcons, Bee-eaters and Roller were stunning. The butterflies were not to be outdone with both Lesser Fiery and Large Coppers being seen, and Amanda's and Silver-studded Blues. I personally found the dragonflies quite frustrating as it was so hot at the beginning of the week that they were too active. However we did identify Lesser Emperor, Common and Ruddy Darter, and Red-eyed Damselfly.

I do hope you all thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and I hope to see you again on a future trip.

Keith Grant, September 2002.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2002