Sunday, 15 June 2008

Special birds: Sombre Tit

Sombre Tit Parus lugubris is resident and sedentary and in fact quite common locally in deciduous woodlands, especially oakwoods, in the Balkans. The furthest west it gets is Slovenia and Croatia, the furthest north Romania. It has a large brown hood, a significant black bib and a white cheek. It is a large tit (over 13cm in length) and overall rather greyish. This photo taken in Romania by Daniel Petrescu.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Special Birds: Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola is very much a bird of southern Europe. A migrant, it arrives in May to breed on wetlands, steppe and even in farmland in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. Most leave the region by August. It is a very distinctive species, looking like a tern when in flight, but more like a shorebird when on the ground. Pratincoles are gregarious with pairs breeding in colonies and hawking together for insects. Occasionally the very similar Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni (which has a more easterly distribution) is found with Collareds and inter-breeding seems to occur.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Destinations: Vadu, Romania

This site on the Black Sea coast south of the Danube Delta can, unlike much of the Delta, be birded on foot. There are salt-marshes, reedbeds, stagnant pools, dry scrub, dune and a long sandy beach. In spring and autumn this is a great place for passage birds, especially shorebirds and terns and some stay to breed. Offshore Yelkouan Shearwater is regular. In 2000 & 2001 a few pairs of White-tailed Plover even bred at Vadu. The area is east of the capital, about 30km north of the port of Constanta. From Corbu head for the hamlet of Vadu and its large and semi-abandoned indistrial complex (which is hard to miss) and follow the only surfaced road to the coast.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Special birds: Rock Thrush

Rock Thrush (aka Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush)Monticola saxatilis as the names suggest, is a bird of rocky places. They often occur at higher elevations, but not always. They are also birds of southern Europe, not often breeding further north than Slovakia or Hungary where they are also uncommon. In Dalmatia, Romania and Bulgaria they are more common. Males are strikingly beautiful, especially when they engage in their display flight and their orange body, blue head and white rump all show very well. This photo was taken by Szabolcs Kokay.