Danube Delta Bird Photography Season in 2019

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Photographing birds and other wildlife in the Danube Delta greater area with Sakertours is a fantastic opportunity for a wildlife photographer. First of all mainly because this region has one of the most diverse birdlife in whole Europe but secondly our company has the local knowledge and infrastructure for a successful tour. We have developed a network of hides including photo boat, floating hides, fixed hides, mobile blinds and having a well prepared and experienced group of guides behind to introduce you to this part of the world.

In 2019 the main highlight was the Pallas`s Gull (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

The 2019 Spring-Summer season was fabulous. With our special photo boat we could approach and photograph many species and got a lovely insight of the Delta wildlife with every group. The early morning and late afternoon light is just fantastic here and in a right place and time we were able to take some fabulous pictures.  The highlight of the 2019 season in the Delta part was the Pallas`s Gull.

On every tour we could photograph Pallas`s Gull in the Danube Delta (Photo: János Oláh)

The population size in the Delta is slowly growing and reached a number of aprox. 300 breeding pairs in a single known colony in 2019. The result of this change was well visible in the area between Chilia and Sulina branches where we met them regularly as they followed the fishing groups of White Pelicans and Cormorants. In the previous seasons we could only occasionally photograph them so well!

In 2019 it was nice to meet with Little Crake several times, Little Bittern, Wild Cat and Racoon Dog (even if the later is an invasive species).

Male Little Crake (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Female Little Crake (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Little Bittern (Photo: János Oláh)

Little Bittern (Photo: Tiganov Romica)

Little Bittern (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

A Wild Cat looking out from the dense cover (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Racoon Dog (Photo: Gábor Simay)

Racoon Dog with Glossy Ibises in the background (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Among the favorites over Spring season were Red-necked Grebe, Kingfisher, Pelicans, Squacco Heron, Cuckoo, Penduline Tit, Black-necked Grebe, Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, Hoopoe in the Hotel garden and many more…

Feeding time at the Red-necked Gerebe`s family (Photo: János Oláh)

Red-necked Gerebes in the sunset light (Photo: János Oláh)

Black-necked Grebe family (Photo: Garth Peacock)

Black-necked Grebe (Photo: János Oláh)

Kingfisher (Photo: Attila Szilágyi)

White Pelican take off (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Sunset in the Danube Delta (Photo: Tiganov Romica)

White Pelican on a golden water (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

Dalmatian Pelican (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

White Pelicans (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Sunset over the Danube Delta with the “actors” (Photo: Attila Szilágyi)

White Pelican in early Spring in full breeding plumage (Photo: Zoltán Gergely Nagy)

Squacco Heron (Photo: János Oláh)

Squacco Herons (Photo: Marcel Burkhadt)

Squacco Heron with a fish (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Black Tern (Photo: Marcel Burkhardt)

Black Tern chick (Photo: Gábor Simay)

Whiskered Tern (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Whiskered Tern in a backlight (Photo: János Oláh)

White-tailed Eagle (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Purple Heron (Photo: Gábor Simay)

Glossy Ibis (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Penduline Tit (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Horses in the marshland. Livestock in the Delta is part of the environment (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Hoopoe was breeding in the Hotel garden (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

It was interesting to witness how an intense increase on a water level in Iune could influence the breeding of Tern species (and not only) on Delta inner lakes.  The huge colonies of Whiskered Terns known from the previous years were completely destroyed or the high water level has made it impossible  for the colony to settle.  As the water level increased the floating vegetation become more mobile and a strong wind and/or stronger water flow removed it from the lake and completely transformed the lake surface.

Whiskered Terns had a bad breeding year in 2019 (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

In the Macin Mountains National Park area we were finally able to change the tour accommodation to a brand new place! This step was an important and very welcome change. Now we have excellent conditions in the Hotel to rest and new photographic opportunities to work with in the Hotel `garden`. This new Hotel lies in a rural area and has a huge garden where we have already a new drinking station.  Macin area was our main photography place for Bee-eater, Roller but was excellent for other species like Black-headed Bunting, Red-backed Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, Corn Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Hoopoe, Stone Curlew and Souslik or Ground Squirrels too.

European Ground Squirell with a May bug (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

European Ground Squirrel (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Black-headed Bunting (Photo: Gart Peacock)

Singing male Black-headed Bunting (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Singing Ortolan Bunting (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Corn Bunting (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

European Bee-eater (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Bee-eater with a Painted Lady butterfly (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Bee-eaters (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Red-rumped Swallow (Photo: Marcel Burkhardt)

Spanish Sparrow (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Isabelline Wheatear (Photo: Christophe Perelle)

Our woodland drinking hide in the foothills of the Mountains was visited several occasions by a Levant Sparrowhawk in June but among regular species I can mention Common Nightingale, Turtle Dove, Wood Pigeon, Syrian Woodpecker and Lesser Whitethroat, Sombre Tit. Earlier in May a female Red-breasted Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Barred Warbler was photographable for a group.

A regular visitor in our woodland drinking station, the Turtle Dove (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

Common Nightingale was breeding nearby our drinking hide  (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

Syrian Woodpecker from the woodland drinking station (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Sombre Tit in front of the woodland hide (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Female Red-breasted Flycatcher from the new drinking hide (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

Barred Warbler also from the new drinking hide (Photo: Svitlana Tkach)

The Black Sea area just North from Constanta was a great place to photograph Collared Pratincoles and other breeding shorebirds like Avocet. We also made a good site for photographing Lesser Grey Shrike and Red-backed Shrike but the area was excellent to photograph Yellow Wagtails, Hoopoes, Great Reed Warbler, Penduline Tit, Long-eared Owl, Cuckoo and earlier of the season Paddyfield Warbler too.

Collared Pratincole (Photo: János Oláh)

Common Tern (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Avocet (Photo: Barbara Trösch)

Black-winged Stilt and Avovet (Photo: Zoltán Gergely Nagy)

Curlew Sandpiper (Photo: Zoltán Gergely Nagy)

Lesser Grey Shrike (Photo: Garth Peacock)

Cockoo in flight (Photo: Zoltán Baczó)

Cockoo (Photo: János Oláh)

The rocky area of Constanta offered the best chance for Pied Wheatear photography.

Pied Wheatear (Photo: Marcel Burkhardt)

Pied Wheatear (Photo: Marcel Burkhardt)

As you can see within a week long photography in this part of Europe between May – July you can have a nice insight of the Danube Delta wildlife. In May and June we are running the three center tours visiting the Delta lakes (1), Black Sea lagoons (2) and Macin Mountains (3). While from the end of June and July we are focusing only to the Delta lakes area throughout the week.

We are looking forward to welcome you in the Danube Delta!

Danube Delta from above as the Pelicans see it (Photo: Zoltán Gergely Nagy)

Danube Delta from above as the Pelicans see it (Photo: Zoltán Gergely Nagy)


See you next year!

Sakertours team


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