DANUBE BIRDING ADVENTURE

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21 May -31 May 2013

11 days/10 night 

On this trip, among stunning landscapes and wild places, you can expect to see a wealth of birds, including specialities like Dalmatian Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Black Stork, Ferruginous Duck, Great Black-headed Gull, Levant Sparrowhawk, River Warbler and Sombre Tit. Not to mention an abundance of plants, butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife. In addition, you will enjoy the wide range of hospitable local cultures, and indulge the cuisines and wines!


Tuesday 21 May. (Moldova)

The adventure will begin with arrival in Chisinau - the capital of Moldova. From here we will proceed southwest across the rolling countryside of woodlands and meadows to Cahul, situated on the east side of the River Prut floodplain. On the way we can expect to see birds such as crested lark, hoopoe, bee-eater and lesser grey shrike. We will stay overnight in Cahul.

 

Wednesday 22 May. Lower Prut Reserve, Bolgrad steppe, Izmail (Moldova/Ukraine) 

We will drive south along the Prut floodplain and visit Lake Beleu. We should see our first White Pelicans here, along with a good range of herons and waders. Black Storks and Lesser Spotted Eagles are regular visitors. We will head inland across the steppe zone through Vulcanesti to the Ukraine border at Bolgrad. This town, founded by Bulgarian settlers, lies at the apex of Lake Yalpug - Ukraine's largest natural freshwater lake, where species like Red-footed Falcon, Tawny Pipit, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Pied Wheatear and Ortolan Bunting can be found. We will stay in the historic town of Izmail for the night.

 

Thursday 23 May 2013. Danube Delta, 0 km, Izmail (Ukraine)

Our excursion today covers the Danube floodplain between Izmail and the Black Sea coast to the east, passing through a mosaic of woodlands, meadows, fish ponds, rice paddies and reedbeds where we can expect to find a good range of waders, woodpeckers and warblers.  We will visit Vilkovo - the "Little Venice" of Ukraine and take a trip into the Kilia part of the Danube Delta, aboard our locally-built "chaika" and alight on the coast at "0" kilometre where the river enters the sea. The shallow waters and sand bars here provide rich feeding grounds for a large number and variety of waterbirds, including White
Pelicans, Spoonbills and Pygmy Cormorants. With luck, we might see a White-tailed Eagle or a Great Black-headed Gulls. 
We return to Izmail for the night.

 

Friday 24 May 2013. Izmail, Danube Lakes, Macin Mountains,
Tulcea (Ukraine/Romania)

In the morning we will investigate the vast marshes and meadows of lakes Yalpug and Kugurlui  lying just west of Izmail. These areas support a huge number of waterbirds including  Black-necked Grebe, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, White-winged, Whiskered and Black Terns, and Penduline Tits. We will also see a large colony of spotted susliks. In the afternoon we will cross the borders of Moldova and Romania
at Giurgiulesti, take a ferry across the Danube and enter the Macin Mountains National Park. The woodlands here support birds such as Levant Sparrowhawk, Sombre Tit and Hawfinch. We will spend the night in Tulcea..
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