Saturday, 25 February 2017

Hidden corners of the Delta - Letea forest

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (slo. belorepec) - two adults. Probably a pair nesting in the Letea forest on the edge of our reserve (top photo).
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (slo. belorepec) - immature.
Letea forest is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and represents the oldest nature reserve in Romania. Some parts of it are of primeval type (virgin forest), with large oaks reaching 700 years of age. The whole forest grows on huge sand dunes - deposits of the river Danube.
The highest point of the Danube delta reaches a height of 13m on the Letea dunes.
Semi-wild Horses Equus ferus caballus grazing on the dunes of Letea forest.
Dune exploration.
Desert-resembling landscape in the dune valleys: with Salix rosmarinifolia (bushes in the front), Quercus pedunculiflora and Populus alba.
Scanning over the vast dune-forest system.
Stock Dove Columba oenas (slo. duplar) - a breeding bird in the delta, using old Black Woodpecker's holes for nesting. Recently we heard two singing birds in the Letea forest.
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius (slo. črna žolna) - one of the two territorial males active around the reserve.
Cattle in the steppe of Letea.
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor (slo. veliki srakoper).
Typical encounter with a Golden Jackal Canis aureus (slo. zlati šakal) on one of the reserve's sandy roads. Up to 2-5 are encountered daily and frequently heard howling in the evenings.
Flock of Fieldfares Turdus pilaris (slo. brinovka).
After we managed to stuck the car in deep mud, the only choice was birding.
Spot the tiger...
...a Bittern Botaurus stellaris (slo. bobnarica).
Smew Mergellus albellus (slo. mali žagar): male-below & female-above. They are using the freshwater pools at the reserve and small groups of up to 5 birds can be seen.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (slo. rjavi lunj) - female; this is the commonest raptor at the reserve. Some pairs are vocal and have began with courtship & nesting.
Our place: African-styled lodge in the heart of the Danube delta.
Official hide-keeper's car...
...that she readily avoids.
A view just over the Danube - Vylkove in nearby Ukraine.
Sunset over the Letea forest.