Also known as the hairy hawker, and called ‘hairy’ because of its hairy thorax, we saw this one in a marshland area near Letea in the Danube Delta.
We find it difficult to distinguish between warblers particularly when we are in a new environment. Fortunately, with Naturetrek, you are usually surrounded by excellent birders who know exactly what you are looking at.
We had two warbler lifers on this trip. Great Reed Warblers were regularly seen while we were on the Danube Delta – distinguished mainly by their size.
Plus, at the coastal marshes near Vadu, we found several tiny Paddyfield Warblers with their distinctively strong pale stripe over the eye.
We have seen bears before. On Vancouver Island we saw black bears on at least two occasions but I never took the opportunity to photograph them. If you want to see great pictures of black bears then visit Tofino Photography. In Romania they have European Brown Bears and, this time, I did get pictures. Our guide and a local ranger took us to a hide on the side of a steep hill that overlooked an area some 300 metres below. We saw at least four different adult bears – some gingery brown, some much darker.
The Danube Delta is blessed with huge numbers of herons and egrets. I can see grey herons, little and great egrets at home, so I focused on species that are hard or impossible to see in the UK. Black-crowned night heron, squacco heron and purple heron were around but some were easier to catch on camera than others.
The Danube Delta is full of marsh frogs and we saw them regularly. However, Florin our local Naturetrek guide, found us a more regional speciality – the yellow-bellied toad. Small, dark and very undistinguished from above – it has bright orangey-yellow markings underneath. As an extra bonus, one day when we came aboard our small boat and found a beautiful tree frog attached to one of the legs of a chair.
We regularly saw red-backed shrikes during our time in Romania and we even found a pair of lesser grey shrikes. I always think of shrikes as looking like the elegant masked bandits of the bird world.
It was a damp day in the Zarnesti gorge and it did not take our guide very long at all to find this fabulous Fire Salamander. Even though it has several spots and patches of vibrant yellow on its skin, I doubt whether I would noticed it skulking through the moist undergrowth without some local help.
Salamandra salamandra, Zarnesti gorge