There is no doubt about it, the Danube delta is one of the best place in Europe for birds yet still most birdwatchers haven’t been there – so begins Dave Gosney in his booklet about birding in Romania. The number of is, according to a several sources between 380 and 400 species.
Indeed, the Danube delta along with the lagoon system and plains south of it host massive numbers of bird species and individuals that make this region a birding Eldorado for the visitors.
The 580,000 hectares of the Danube Delta Biospheres Reserve includes the largest reed surface in the world, interrupted by lakes and channels, where thousands of pelicans, herons, ibis, ducks, warblers and other birds breed. Birds like White-Tailed Eagle, Paddyfield Warbler, Pied Wheatear and Dalmatian Pelican may be of interest for list keepers, but the main attraction here is the great show of nature, with huge wild areas reachable only by rowing boat, and all the birds seen at close range.
South of the delta Histria is a reserve where, stopping the car anywhere on a road near a lake, you can see thousands of water birds including 60 species of waders, terns, ducks, gulls, geese, cormorants, pelicans, herons, and egrets. And in the reeds a few meters from the road, Paddyfield Warblers, Bearded tits.
In the steppes just one kilometer away, you can easily see Calandra Larks. In the last few years things have changed, the wetlands of Histria are dried out most of the year, only in early spring the area has water and it is abundant in water birds, including a good number of waders. In some years, by the end of May the area has already dried out and birds moved on.
The mountains are even less well known to birders and we heartily recommend a visit to Piatra Craiului and Retezat mountains, or to the large Bicaz Gorges, and again not just for easy ticking of Wallcreeper and other alpine species, but also for the large areas that are still wild and untouched by human influence, they can offer spectacular birding.
These areas are of great interest to those keen on mammals with wolf, bear and lynx all relatively easy to see. Romania is also rich in rodent species, especially bats. Mustelids also abound with several species found far less easily in other parts of Europe such as the least weasel and marbled polecat. Wild boar, moose and a number of deer species complete the mix.
For herpetologists there are not only a good mix of southern Balkan and central European species of both amphibians and reptiles but several endemics such as Montandon’s Newt Lissotriton montandoni.
Major Source: Fatbirder
Map Source: Google Maps