Saturday 30 June 2012

ROMANIA, Mila 23, Part 1 of the Danube Delta Tour, JUNE 2012

PART ONE REPORT (first 3 days of the trip), Parts 2 and 3 will follow.

This 7 day trip is organised by Mr. Janos Olah, Saker Tours for Mick Southcott and myself.

We are to spend 3 days based at Mila 23 in the Danube Delta, then two days in the Macin mountain area, followed by a last 2 days at Sinoe at the southerly part of the Danube Delta, close to where it meets the Black Sea.

05.20 hours, depart my house for the 08.20 hours flight from London Heathrow to arrive Bucharest, Romania.

We are met by our guide for the next 7 days, Mr. Zoltan Baczo

We tie up with the 3rd member of our group, Mr. Hans Schouten from Holland, we set off  to Tulcea, some four hour drive, the place where we are to join up with the boat that is for all travel and our photo opportunities for the next three days, to be based at Mila 23, in the middle of the Danube Delta.

Arriving Tulcea 20.00 hours. Depart Tulcea in the the boat to travel some distance along a main channel, for the Paradise Delta House, a Pension at Mila 23.

Arrive at about 21.30 hours, evening meal, fish, then early night in preparation for !

Click on this link for a bit of info of where we are visiting

On route we have seen some of the common species of birds

House Sparrow, Swallow, House Martin, Magpie, Rook, Wood Pigeon, Ferel Pigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Starling, Black-headed Gull, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Coot, White Stork and Roller.

16 Species for the 'seen list'.
No Species Photographed.
No new to me Species seen.

Mila 23,  Danube Delta, Rumania
Sunday, 17th June, 2012

DAY 1,  Morning session,

Explore areas to the North West of Mila 23,

We set off before dawn, in the boat, off the main channel and into the smaller channels, acres of water lillies and water chestnuts, weed growng up in the shallow water,  makes progress difficult.
We arrive at a lake half filled with water lillies and dozens of Squacco Heron, a few Night Herons and a Purple Heron

Moving on to another more open lake, Whiskered Terns

Then Night Heron again

Travelling futher we see White-tailed Eagle

Red-necked Grebe

As we were crossing another open lake we had this Pallas's Gull do a flypast

Also a few Caspian Gull

The morning session is over at 11.00 hours, its getting very hot and the sun is scorching glare, not good for photos and not good for being out in !

Back to our Pension for a shower, lunch was fish, and a lay down to recover !

Afternoon session starts at 15.00 hours
                           Pygmy Cormorant

Glossy Ibis

Little Egret

Squacco Heron

                          Squacco Heron

Purple Heron

Dalmation Pelican

Black Tern

Purple Heron


                         Penduline Tit

White Pelican

White Pelican

The session finishes about 20.00 hours, we return to the pension, evening meal, fish, shower, bed.

Birds seen today

Caspian Gull, Pallas's Gull
Common Tern, Black Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern
Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe
Cuckoo, Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail, Hooded Crow
Cormorant, Pygmy Cormorant
White-tailed Eagle, Red-footed Falcon
Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Little Egret
Penduline Tit, Great Tit,
Dalmation Pelican, White Pelican, Spoonbill

30 additional birds seen today =  46 species seen so far
16 Species Photographed.
3 new to me Species seen

It does not come better than that ! !

DAY 2,  Morning session,

Explore areas to the North East of Mila 23, same start, early, to be on location at sunrise

Red-necked Grebe

                          Little Bittern

Caspian Gull

White Pelican

The 2nd day morning session again finishes back at the Pension around 11.00 hours, same procedure, shower, fish lunch and siesta.

2nd day afternoon sesion same start, 15.00 hours, again NW of Mila 23

We tie the boat up for this session near a sandy, tree lined bank and watch everything.

2 types of snake coming out of the water, one eating a fish it had caught

A Grey-headed Woodpecker was busy feeding low in a tree on the bank.

A pair of Kingfishers perching at intervals, 10 feet away

A Night Heron drops in for some close up views

Stunning !

Today I added to the seen list

Little Bittern
Ferruginous Duck
Black-tailed Godwit
Marsh Harrier
Grey-headed Woodpecker

7 additional birds seen today =  53 species seen so far
19 Species Photographed so far
3 new to me Species seen

Unbelievable ! ! !  and we hear this 'catchphrase' many times over the next few days.


DAY 3 in the Delta, the morning session again starts before dawn,

the Palas's Gull puts in a brief show

Then the compulsary Squacco Heron, they look better every time you see them

White Peican

                         Whiskered Tern


Great Crested Grebe

Back into the Pension 11.00 hours, fish for lunch, siesta and get ready packed for the afternoon session at 15.00 hours

15.00 hours see's us all packed, all gear in the boat, we are leaving the pension to explore lakes and areas towards Tulcea with Tulcea being the destination this evening for the finish of our Mila 23 visit.

 Caspian Gull

                          Pygmy Cormorant

Then in a larger lake we came across many White Pelicans, a mass feeding sessions, all the Pelicans were acting as a very well organised team, herding a shoal of fish then as if one they all, heads under water a feeding frency, superb to watch this activity at such close proximity ! !

The White Pelicans behind us !

Next a short-cut, the progress forward seems difficult ! the boat driver and Zolton lost ? Yes, but only temporary, we come out on our last lake of the visit.

 Whiskered Tern

and more Squacco Heron !   but then the chance to photograph the adult male, full breeding plumage (red legs) 'that made my day'

We arrived at Tulcea around 20.30 hours, said our goodby's to the boat driver, into the Rex Hotel, Tulcea,
shower, out at a nearby restaurant, MEAT for evening meal, 22.30 hours bed, we have an early start tomorrow !

On this final day of this Mila 23 visit, we noted Bearded Tit, Green Sandpiper and Mallard to add to the total seen list.

Final Totals list for the three day visit,

3 additional birds seen today =  56 species seen so far
21 Species Photographed so far
3 new to me Species seen

Unbelievable ! ! ! 

Tomorrow, were are heading to the Macin Mountain area, some 50 miles away and a lot is planned for us !

To be continued ! !