A wildlife photography holiday at the hearth of the magical Danube Delta - Wildlife Photography at its best.

Danube Delta Birds Photography

Saturday 17th - Saturday 24th June 2017

Formed where the mighty Danube meets the Black Sea, is five thousand sq. km of river delta the second largest in Europe. Most of its pristine wetland habitat consists of endless reed beds, large open waters, natural canals, gallery woodlands and even some steppe like habitat and forests. Combine this with the naturally restricted access and sparse population makes this one of the richest wildlife sites on the continent. The whole delta in Romania is declared a national park, a UNESCO site and biosphere reserve, where hunting is strictly forbidden. The delta is a real paradise for birds - some 300 species are recorded. A true wildlife watching bonanza, but a bit difficult for bird and wildlife photography due to the lack of hides, other infrastructure and as everything is covered in water access is very restricted. That is until recently.

At the heart of the Delta, in Romania, is situated a large private estate of more than 1000 ha, full of wildlife,  thoroughly run by a dedicated team of naturalists which now offers excellent opportunities for the bird and wildlife photographer.

Firstly - there are quite a number of specially built hides for wildlife photography, all of them situated within a walking distance from our cozy accommodation.  The hides are set up to photograph White-tailed Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant, all the herons, waders and kingfisher, also Roller, Bee-eater and Hoopoe. Many passerines - such as Bluethroat and Thrush Nightingale; woodpeckers, but also Golden Jackal, Wild Cat and Otter can be seen. Secondly - there is a floating hide - a boat, which brings us outside of the estate and explores the surrounding lakes and open water. This providing excellent opportunities for water level bird photography - White and Dalmatian pelicans, White-winged, Black and Gull-billed terns, Black-necked and Red-necked grebes, Squacco and Purple herons, ducks and other water birds. Thirdly - as there is a fair network of dirt tracks, by self-driven electric cars, or in 4x4 vehicles driven by your leader you can photograph other species - Bearded Tit, Penduline Tit, Avocet, Collared Pratincole and many more. The list is long and tempting.

The whole area is remote and beautiful, full of wildlife and as there are few people it is quiet and peaceful. Accommodation is fine and the food delicious and it all contribute to an excellent photographic holiday. And it is a holiday really as all of the hides are situated at a walking distance from the little hotel, or at ten minute's drive. Because of it, you are free to decide which hides and species you want to concentrate on every day and work under your own priorities. Of course the boat trip is a must for everyone, and the land trip outside the estate is also strongly recommended.

 

Itinerary

Day 1
     For this tour you will need to fly to Bucharest Airport, Romania, and it is recommended that you arrive here in the early afternoon (before 1 pm) so we can reach our base in the same day. The transfer to Tulcea - a small town at the entrance of the delta will take about four hours. From here it takes less than two hours on a private boat to reach the estate where we will spend the following week.  For the entire holiday we will be based in the estate's own accommodation, perfectly situated, having cozy rooms with private facilities and excellent homemade food. After check in, time permitting we will have walk/drive around the estate so you become familiar with the options for photography and look to make the best of the week.

After the dinner, the leader will give you a detailed lecture about the area, the hides and the recent wildlife movement and presence and opportunities for photography. Together we will develop a general plan for everybody's photographic priorities.

Days 2 to 7
 
Six full days of birds and wildlife photography. Most of the hides can be entered and left any time. However, the longer you spend inside the better the chances for good shots are - 4-5 hours sessions are recommended.  The hides for the White-tailed eagles, the Golden Jackals and the Wild Cat needs to be entered very early, before the first light in order not to be seen by the animals, but can be left at noon. Some of the hides are set up so all day photography is possible, while for the others the light is only good either in the morning or in the afternoon. In most of the hides you will shoot through glass, the rest you shoot through directly.

The boat hide will take us outside the estate for the day, visiting some open waters where we can photograph wetland birds at a low angle. The hide-boat with flat floor is a prototype boat designed and specially built for this kind of photography: extremely silent, equipped with electric engine, guarantees the best results carrying three photographers at a time. Swivel chairs and a personal wide space around allow to take pictures by both sides of the boat, with a stunning perspective near to the water level.

One of the days we will also have a land excursion which is normally best for a late afternoon session. The salty steppes of Rosetti village, located south from the estate, give its best if you stay there until the sunset, its golden light makes the last pictures the most beautiful ones. The excursion will be done using pick-up vehicles

If you bring the specific equipment, it's also possible to build up a set for night photography and have the opportunity to photograph the Wild Cat or other nocturnal animals. The Wild Cat has also been watched and photographed during the day.

Breakfast has not a scheduled time, it depends on the hide you want to try. If you want to enter for example in the eagle hide you need to wake up very early in the morning, so a packed breakfast will be prepared for you. Otherwise breakfast is served from around 7.30 am, lunch at around 12.30/13.00, dinner is normally at 20.30.

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Day 8 
    An early start will bring us back to the airport, for you flight back home. In case the time is not enough, we will need to transfer to Bucharest in the afternoon on the previous day, and spend the night near the airport. Departure.

 

PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT and other information


We suggest you to bring the 300/2.8 mm lens with at least a duplicator 1.4 or 2x: this is the most versatile equipment for Ultima Frontiera.

Obviously 500 or 600 mm lens have better results during the boat hide excursion and trips by 4x4 vehicles, but can be not very good for hide sessions where animals are closer.

 

Other information: what to bring:

Being in a wetland area, it would be better to bring repellent for mosquitoes, ticks and other bothering insects that might occur
We remind you that the reserve is located in a very remote area, possible to reach only by boat, far from the civilization and then from shops and drugstores. We recommend to bring any medicine or other personal products that you might happen to need.
For the same reason it's important for us to know in advance (when we receive the application form) all the possible food intollerance, allergies or preference to be able to offer you a dedicated service, as well as possible health problems that we might need to know.
 

Transfer to/from Ultima Frontiera and excursions are suitable for people of any age

 

CLOTHES
Danube Delta weather is extremely variable, even along the day. It's better to be ready for beautiful sunny and warm days, as well as to sudden cold wind and rain. We do suggest you to bring:

confortable dark colour or camouflage clothes, k-way, trekking waterproof boots, hat, sunglasses, solar cream.



TOUR MAP


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