Monday, 29 June 2009

Destinations: Lake Hasarlac - Romania

This shallow lake in eastern Romania, in Dobrudja, lies right by road 22a near Hirsova. It is smaller than most of the coastal lagoons and so can be easily scanned. It can be viewed from the roadside or from a tracks on adjacent hillsides and low sandy cliffs. From spring to autumn Ruddy Shelducks are likely here along with many of the other wetland birds one would expect in this eastern Romania - Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, etc.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Special birds: Tengmalm's Owl

Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus (aka Boreal Owl) is a scattered breeder in the region. In some years good numbers occur in older conifer forests in the Baltic States, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It is highly localised in other areas, though numbers may be underestimated in the upland forests of the Balkan countries. As with other owls breeding numbers, and the timing of breeding, relates to prey populations. Highly nocturnal, Tengmalm's Owls are hard to find and observe away from occupied nest sites.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Winter Hungarian Bird Festival

From 29 November to 6 December this year (2009) the UK company WildWings are running a birding tour to Hungary. This tour with a difference is called the WInter Hungarian Bird Festival. Rather than everyone on the tour go on fixed excursions the concept on this holiday is one of flexibility. Each day participants choose whether to join guided excusions, short or long by bus and 4x4, or do their own birding on foot or by bike. Based in Tata in the west of Hungary, key target species will be wildfowl such as Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese, Red-breasted Goose, as well as 8 species of woodpecker, Great Bustard, Saker, Eastern Imperial Eagle, White-taile Eagle, etc. Here is the link:

Friday, 5 June 2009

Special Birds: Common Tern

Common Tern Sterna hirundo is locally common in the region. In fact it is the most common sterna species over much of Eastern Europe, nesting in small colonies on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea coastlines and inland by lakes, fishponds and on rivers with gravel islets. Photo by Alan Outen taken at Stari Paklenica, Croatia, April 2009. 

Monday, 1 June 2009

Destinations: Alam-Pedja - Estonia

This vast area (over 250 km2) is comprised of rivers, bogs, fens and wet forests dotted with the odd hamlet. Around 200 bird species have been recorded, but it has to be said that many of these are often hard to find given the terrain and its extent. Breeding raptors include Golden, White-tailed, Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted Eagles, Osprey and Hen and Marsh Harriers. Other birds are Hazel and Black Grouse, Common Crane, Nutcracker, Ural, Tengmalm's and Pygmy Owls and 6 resident woodpecker species. Passerines include most of the boreal species one would expect in the Baltics. The area lies in central Estonia, 30km NW of Tartu, just off the main road 2 to Tallinn. There are some well-marked trails and board-walks.