Our Danube Delta Photography Tours in 2018 were just amazing. Such a bird rich area in Europe can definitely offer some exciting and sometimes outright incredible wildlife photography experiences. To summarize what’s happened during our tours, here is a gallery of photographs taken by our guests and guides over the season.
Year on year it seems that we are finding a larger number of subjects in nice and interesting settings, allowing us to observe behavior rather than just document different species. This year was particularly good in this respect, our experience combined with a calm and dry spring-summer, without substantial flooding has allowed successful breeding seasons for most birds and plenty of opportunities for photography. Some species, like the terns and grebes even started breeding earlier than usual, offering us some unforgettable experiences while feeding their hatchlings and raising their young. In mid July many of the young Terns had already flew. The water level in Danube Delta marshland can change form one week to the next if somewhere in the river basin substantial rains fall, therefore quite often species like Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Common Tern, Black-necked Grebe, Red-necked Grebe even Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe wait until June with the breeding mainly because the floating vegetation in the lakes needs to be thick enough to protect their nest against flooding or against a storm.
All in all, Terns and Grebes finished a successful breeding season in 2018 in most areas of the Delta! – Great!
This year we have started visiting a smaller mixed heronry primarily for taking flight shots. This new part was a nice intro or end part for every tour throughout the season. In this place Night Herons, Squacco Herons, Cattle Egrets, Spoonbills, Pygmy and Great Cormorants bred and offered us some really nice views.
Also, since this year, we have changed our base and moved it a bit to the North from Mila 23 village. We made this decision mainly because we wanted an accommodation with larger land around it and also wanted a more isolated, silent area rather than being in a sometimes noisy village. The change was successful as we found a quality place with a friendly host and some really nice remote lakes with rich birdlife. In the Hotel garden we had some nice times with Rose-coloured Starlings feeding on Mulberries, a nest building Penduline Tit was superb but we have also found here the 4th Blue Rock Thrush for the country! All in all this new location offers a whole host of new opportunities.
An unexpected species to find from the Hotel terrace was a male Blue Rock Thrush on 27th of May (Photo: Beat Rüegger)
The view from the Hotel terrace in the Danube Delta
Just like in the previous years we had fantastic opportunities to capture many interesting pictures in the Danube Delta useing our special camouflage photo boat.
White-tailed Eagle (Photo: Heinz Frehner)
White-tailed Eagle (Photo: Beat Rüegger)
Local fisherman in a foggy morning (Photo: Dick Van Der Lely)
Young Bearded Tit (Photo: Moritz Braun)
In the coastal areas the highlight this year were definitely the Rose-coloured Starlings! In 2018 roughly 5000 pairs breed in Romania and offered some superb photographic opportunities. Last time this species bred in Romania was in 2002 and than in 2003. Will they return for breeding in 2019? Who knows?
The Macin Mountains National Park and the surrounding areas offered us some nice moments too with Bee-eaters, Rollers, Ground Squirrels, Isabelline Wheatears, Black-headed Buntings, Red-rumped Swallows,Turtle Doves, Corn Buntings and we found a place where Little Bittern breed and were photographable from the car. Macin Mountains was also great to photograph lots of different kind of Butterflies.
Isabelline Wheatear chicks (Photo: Patrick Donini)
Some of the guests had chosen our ‘Transylvania Extension’after the Danube Delta and could photograph wild Brown Bears and a little bit of the magic of this unique destination too!
See you next year!