Romania - May 2018

From 20 - 25 May 2018, I went on a solo birding trip to the eastern part of Romania. And it was great! Not only great birding but also very hospitable people and great food!

Check out my trip report hereunder!


Su 20 May – Arrival Boekarest (13:10). Drive to Vadu and then Jurilovca. Birding on the way. Overnight stay in Pensiunea Milica, Jurilovca.
Mo 21 May – Birding Sinoe + Histria + Vadu + Cheia Gorge (south of Jurilovca) . Overnight stay in Pensiunea Milica, Jurilovca
Tu 22 May – Birding Enisala + Babadag Forest + Macin Mountains + Histria. Overnight stay in Pensiunea Milica, Jurilovca
We 23 May – Birding Enisala + Murighiol area. Boat from Tulcea through Delta. Overnight stay in Vila Delta Travel, Mila 23
Th 24 May – Birding the Danube Delta. Overnight stay in Vila Delta Travel, Mila 23
Fr 25 May – Early boat to Tulca. Birding Somova + Celic Dere monastery. Drive to Boekarest. Departure to Amsterdam (18:05). Arrival at 20:05

Birding hotspots

Jurilovca is a commune in Tulcea County, Dobrudja, Romania. It is composed of three villages: Jurilovca, Vișina and Sălcioara. It was founded by Lipovans at the beginning of the 19th century. Although at its beginnings it was a small village, the settlement grew and become, at the end of the 19th century, an important fishing center in Danube Delta area. Nowadays it has the biggest community of fishermen in Romania, and it has the most modern fish processing factory in the country and Eastern Europe. At the 2011 census, 60.7% of the inhabitants were Romanians and 38.8% Russian Lipovans.

Sinoe (north of Histria)
44°37'45.4"N 28°43'55.3"E
The main target here is Syrian Woodpecker which usually breeds in villages where old orchards or wallnut trees are around. Close to Sinoe there is a shallow lagoon, with plenty of mudflats, surrounded by deep water ponds and reed beds. Good birding here.

44°32'07.9"N 28°43'37.2"E (page 16 Gosney)
Good area for birding, o.a. Broad-billed Sandpipers and Kentish Plovers. Check out the old ruins for dice snakes (near the walls) and the adjacent reedbeds that are home to the abundant Paddyfield Warbler (near the bridge).
Ruins: 44°32'50.6"N 28°46'22.3"E

44°25'47.8"N 28°46'06.8"E
Great birding here, including lots of waders.

Cheia gorge
44°30'17.3"N 28°25'44.4"E.
Check out the area for Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Redstart, Turtle Dove, Ortolan Buntings and Pied Wheatears.
Cheia`s limestone gorges - a famous site for breeding Pied Wheatears, Isabelline Wheatears and even Eastern Black-eared Wheatears. This site is also very good for raptors including harriers. Marsh Harrier, Montagu`s Harrier and maybe even Pallid Harrier, Eurasian Honey Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Lesser Spotted Eagle plus the local breeders such as Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Booted Eagle and Short-toed Eagle.

44°51'56.6"N 28°51'04.5"E
The fishponds on the edge of Enisala were not good for birding and are hard to reach. The reedbeds close to Enisala is an excellent bird watching area. If you pass the castle (on your right), follow the road and right after the right curve park the car on your right and walk along the road on both sides.

The Babadag-hills have an extensive oak forest. However, it is hard to find a good place to go in the forest and do some birding. Possibly good spot for Icterine Warbler and Wood Warblers, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit and Red-breasted Flycatcher.

Macin Mountain National Park
45°14'06.0"N 28°09'28.2"E (west of Tulcea)
The most popular part of the forest for birders is around Macin which is found by taking the road from Horia (site 4) and continuing 10 km further north than the turning to Greci. Long-legged Buzzard (Arendbuizerd), Buteo rufinus, is one of the largest buzzards of Europe and is the most common bird of prey in the Macin Mountains National Park. He usually builds it’s nest on cliffs. Other breeding raptors include Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk and Saker Falcon.

Murighiol (just south of Tulcea) (page 11 Gosney)
45°03'33.9"N 29°07'04.1"E (spot 1 en 2 page 11 Gosney)
45°01'40.1"N 29°09'24.0"E (spot 3 page 11 Gosney)

45°10'52.5"N 28°47'34.8"E
Take the ferry boat here to your choice of accommodation in the delta.

Mila 23
Mila 23 is a small and chic village right in the heart of the Danube Delta. If you want to find out what it feels like to live completely surrounded by water, than this is the place to visit. The only way to get here is by boat, making it the perfect retreat for a nature enthusiast or somebody who simply wants to get away from the busy life of the city.

The villagers are mostly Lipovans, Russians, Ukrainians and who support themselves through fishing. The Lipovans were the ones who founded the village in the early nineteenth century and they currently represent about two thirds of the population.

Mila 23 is probably best known for the fact that this is where Ivan Patzaichin was born in 1949, a sprint canoer who’s won four gold medals at the Olympic games and a bunch of other trophies over the course of his career. Nowadays, he’s the coach of Romania’s canoe team and still lives here most of the year.

Celic Dere
45°07'38.6"N 28°34'48.7"E
Stop at Celic Dere monastery where some ancient lime, hornbeam and oak woodland is present. Check out the area for Black Woodpecker, singing Red-breasted Flycatcher, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Warbler, Icterine Warbler and Golden Oriole.


Pensiunea Milica, Jurilovca.
44°45'25.9"N 28°52'32.9"E
The hosts Marius and his wife, a young couple, were very friendly and spoke excellent English. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable. The food in the restaurant is fantastic, very tasty. Rooms were clean and comfortable.

Vila Delta Travel - Mila 23
If you drive to Tulcea the car may be left in a public car park next to the waterway, a ticket can be purchased from a machine. A boat will meet you and take you to the village in an hour. This is an adventure in itself!
The accommodation is first class and the grounds mosquito free. Your host is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the Delta. The women who run the kitchen are excellent cooks and provide great service. Guides are available to take you through the myriad small channels which criss cross the area. The village is small and rustically charming.
The owner Mr Radu speaks English very well and is a member of the Romanian Bird Society and he knows all there is to know about birds in the Danube Delta.