We were really lucky on this trip – not only did we see bears and birds – we also had some fabulous views of butterflies. Some butterflies, like the Silver-washed Fritillary, will land and pose for photographs. Others are far less co-operative. The Clouded Yellow took off every time I approached and I struggled to get any sort of camera shot.
One of the most exciting bird finds in the Danube Delta was when we turned into a small inlet and found another lifer for us – this Collared Flycatcher. Beautifully marked, it briefly darted in and out of the nearby bushes giving occasional opportunities to get a half decent picture.
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.