Finding Birds in South-east Romania

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Finding Birds in South-east Romania
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This is the latest in the Finding Birds in… series by Dave Gosney, based mostly on his observations in Romania in April to June 2019 so it’s really up-to-date.

It replaces his previous book, Finding Birds in Romania, covering all the same sites but now with much more detail and many extra sites too. Many of these are ‘new’ sites that haven’t previously been described in any book. Romania has changed massively since his original book was written in the 1990’s and much of what is written in other publications eg by Gorman (2006) and Roberts (2000) is now surprisingly inappropriate, with some top sites becoming rather poor and other ‘new’ sites offering far more birds. This book covers almost all the sites most frequently visited by birders travelling to Romania including all the hot-spots on the Black Sea coast, along the River Danube, in the mountains around Brasov and, of course, in the fabulous Danube Delta.
As ever, all the sites are described in detail with the aid of GPS co-ordinates and Dave’s unique hand-drawn maps showing exactly where to go for all the birds you might be hoping to find in Romania.

Full of invaluable details on exactly where to find the best birds of Romania from the Danube Delta and the Black Sea coast to the Transylvanian mountains around Brasov. Essential for anyone visiting Romania and hoping to find Wallcreeper, Pied, Black-eared and Isabelline Wheatears, Paddyfield, River and Moustached Warblers, Horned Lark, Alpine Accentor, White-backed, Black and Three-toed Woodpeckers, Pallas's Gull, White-headed Duck, Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers, Red-footed Falcon, Rock Thrush, Alpine Swift, Little Crake, Little Bittern, Great Bittern, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra and Short-toed Larks, Ortolan and Black-headed Buntings and lots more

Dave Gosney writes: ‘‘In the time I’ve been birding, few countries can have changed as much as Romania. The whole infra-structure is vastly improved, making it an excellent place to visit. Depressingly, some of the birding sites, formerly among the best in Europe, have degenerated alarmingly but thankfully I found several ‘new’ sites that birders will love. Plus, of course, the Danube delta is still an awesome place. ”

Sites covered

Hagieni forest - several of the species that are said to be here have either gone or were never here in the first place. But I still found lots of really good birds.

Albesti steppe - a ‘new’ site, found by accident but with a range of steppe species including raptors

Lake Techirghiol - a fantastic site, especially for passage birds, but you need to know where the best parts of the lake are

Lake Tasaul - a terrific site for waterbirds such as pelicans and pratincoles and with Pied Wheatears nearby

Cheia - famous as a site for Pied Wheatears but some species previously listed for this area are unlikely to be found. I still had great birds in this area, even though didn’t find the Great Spotted Cuckoos nearby

Vadu - an essential part of any Romanian birding itinerary - not to be missed

Istria - not as exciting as it used to be but I still found some really good birds here

Sinoie - my descriptions will give you a much more realistic idea of what to expect here

Lake Ceamurlia - how to reach the best part of the lake and what to expect when you get there

Jurilovca - a site with much potential, barely mentioned elsewhere

Enisala - no longer the ‘hotspot’ that it was but still with some good birds nearby

Around Murighiol - some wetlands here have ‘gone’ but others are still great for birds

The Danube Delta - best visited by boat to see all the wetland species, including Pallas’s Gull, as well as Red-footed Falcon, White-tailed Eagle, Collared Flycatcher, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and several woodpeckers

Somovo wetlands - are these marshes still as good as they were 20 years ago?

Niculitel forests - exceptional numbers of Icterine Warblers and Red-breasted Flycatchers in some places, plus raptors, Black Stork and woodpeckers in others

Macin hills and Greci - both Rock Thrush and Pied Wheatear are possible here but which of the many claimed raptors are actually likely?

Babadag forests - more woodpeckers, Icterine Warblers and Red-breasted Flycatchers and, surprisingly, River Warbler at two sites too

Around Harsova - a bird-filled lake, some of the best steppe areas in Romania, the easiest Red-footed Falcon site and one of the best, yet previously undescribed, wetlands in the country

Ciocanesti fishponds - a beautiful place to go birding where pelicans and Little Bitterns should be easy to find

Calarasi - another system of lakes and pools with lots of birds Canyons of

Fetii - some species have now gone from here but it’s still great for raptors, woodpeckers etc

Lake Oltina - no Pied Wheatears any more but there are several wetland sites in the area which can be exceptional for waders, ibis, pelicans, Ruddy Shelduck etc

Poiana Brasov and the Rasnov gorge - don’t believe half of what you’ve previously read about these sites but there are still some good birds to be found

Piatra Craiului - access is a problem here but it still has one of the best Wallcreeper sites in Europe

Bucegi National Park - easy access to mountain areas where species such as Horned Lark, Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-breasted Flycatcher are all possible. If you miss Wallcreeper at Piatra Craiului there’s another site here that is possibly even easier

Transfagarasan pass - the easiest place to find Alpine Accentor and I also had a couple of surprise finds in the woodland lower down

The river at Carta - another ‘accidental find’ - this turned out to be a great place for species such as Marsh Warbler, Little Bittern and Lesser Spotted Eagle

Unique features

Compared to other publications covering the same area, this one:

  • Provides the most useful maps - so you can easily find your way to the best bits of wetland, steppe or woodland

  • Includes GPS co-ordinates to help you find the right turnings, parking spaces or viewing points

  •  Highlights the best areas only - and summarises the key attraction in the first paragraph so you can easily decide whether to read on or bother to visit the site

  • Has a map on the inside cover which serves as an index so you can easily find any site in the book

  • Is light and portable (and cheap)

  • Is updated in the free update pages on this website, giving details of what other birders have found at these sites

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