Autumn Bird migration tour to the Danube Delta

Birding in the Danube Delta in early September is a really enjoyable.  Why? Because the weather this time is nice and warm (ca. 25 Celsius), bird migration is on the way, many close views and most of the special breeding birds are also present.  This year within a week we observed over 180 species and we can say this tour was just as productive as Spring tours!

dalmatian pelican Dalmatian Pelican, a special breeding bird of the Danube Delta (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

In the first part of the tour we have spent 3 days around the brackish lagoons of Black Sea where migrants appeared in every corner.  Early morning walks in the Hotel garden and in the small village produced many Red-breasted Flycatchers, Red-backed Shrikes, Hoopoes, Little Owl and even Golden Orioles and a spectacular Thrush Nightingale! Small groups of European Bee-eaters constantly moved to South every day.

red-breasted flycatcher Fisrt year Red-breasted Flycatcher from the Hotel garden (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Remote lagoons along the Sinoe lake were really fantastic and we have seen well such birds like Paddyfiled Warbler, Citrine Wagtail, Calandra Lark, Pallid Harrier, Red-footed Falcons, Levant Sparrowhawk, a group of 87 Pallas`s Gull, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns, Stone Curlew, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Collared Pratincoles, Lesser Grey Shrike and so on.

pallas gull Winter plumage Pallas`s Gulls (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

pallid harrier Male Pallid Harrier (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

citrine wagtail First winter Citrine Wagtail (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

calandra lark First year Calandra Lark (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

lesser grey shrike First year Lesser Grey Shrike (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Rocky  habitats and steppe fields produced the two special breeding wheatear like Pied and Isabelline and we were lucky to find a Saker Falcon as well.

pied w2 Pied Wheatear (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

After 3 days we left the coast and continued the tour along the Southern branch of the Danube Delta. The most important destination was the Sacalin bay, a superb place for birders in this time of the year. This shallow lagoon by the Black Sea was full with birds. On the floating vegetation many Squacco Heron hunted frogs, on the bay several Dalmatian and 200 White Pelicans were visible and along the muddy shore many more birds congregate like Black-tailed Goodwits, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, 1 Terek Sandpiper (seen by the guides only in flight), Broad-billed Sandpipers, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Slender-billed Gull, Pallas`s Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern.

squacco1 A winter plumage Squacco Heron catched a frog  right when we passed it (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

squacco2 Squacco Heron with a frog  (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

white pelicans Group of White Pelicans (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

donkies and birds Sachalin Sacalin bay (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

group Limosa Holidays & Travelling Naturalist Group birding in the Sacalin/Danube Delta (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Along the wooded channels we had good views of Grey-headed, Lesser Spotted and Black Woodpeckers, Penduline Tit, Eurasian Hobby, Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle (a total of 17 were seen) more Red-breasted and Spotted Flycatchers.

penduline tit Penduline Tit (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

hobby Hobbies are one of the commonest raptros of the Danube Delta. We have seen ca. 80+ individual during the tour (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

honey buzzard First year Honey Buzzard (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

The last two days we spent birding around Tulcea region. One of the highlight was a young Cuckoo spotted in a small village garden while hunting for caterpillars.

cockoo in the garden We had a nice views of a young Cockoo while hunting inside a garden (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

cuckoo web A young Cockoo beautifully posed to our Autumn Danube Delta group (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Right in the periphery of Tulcea we have found 150 Spoonbills, the highest count of the species during the week and a close pair of Syrian Woodpeckers.

In the very last birding day we have visited the Macin Mountain National Park. Notable species from this place were Lesser Spotted Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Pallid Harrier, Booted Eagle, Sombre Tit, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow and 20+ Turtle Dove.

long-legged buzzard2 Long-legged Buzzard (Photo:Zoltán Baczó)

In the way back to Bucharest we also had a nice list with Ferruginous Duck, 30 Black Stork circling over a rice field, 8 Roller and 10 Lesser Spotted Eagles heading South over the motorway.

Black Stork Black Stork (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)


Well done! See you next year!


Sakertour team



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