Birding northern Serbia, or a sudden bird tour

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We are heading towards the Great Bustard Pastures Nature Reserve in the very north of Serbia, along the border with Romania (near the town of Kikinda, the world Long-eared Owl capital ).

How to find the Ural Owl in Serbia

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The Ural Owl inhabits old and undisturbed boreal forests, in an unbroken belt from Sweden and Finland across Russia to Japan, and is rarely seen to the south, only here and there, in the Carpathians (Slovakia/Ukraine/Romania/eastern Serbia) and Dinaric Alps (Croatia/Bosnia/western Serbia).

The Great Bustard Search is On (1)

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The Pastures of Great Bustard occupy 6770 ha of extensive steppe, bordered by meadows, pasture, arable fields and seasonally inundated depressions in the north of the country, towards the triple border with Romania and Hungary. I am preparing for the new census of one of the rarest birds of Serbia, the globally threatened Great Bustard , taking place two days from now.

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Those magnificent places down the Danube

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Once upon a time, this narrow forest track was the main international road to Romania, but, back then, Romania was a country behind the curtain and perhaps there wasn’t that much traffic? Cover photo: Black-headed Bunting by Mark S. Jobling / Wikimedia Commons. This year, the first heat of the season came late, only with early June. Instead of writing at home, I discovered a new “study”, a discreet fish restaurant hidden in the branch of the Danube.

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Three Impressions

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Cover photo: Ortolan Bunting in the Danube Delta, Romania, by Andrej Chudy – Wikimedia Commons. Two more sparrows on the macadam ahead of me… In my early birding days, I would simply assume that they are sparrows, possibly not even taking another look at them, but now I am too old to be so naive.

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The slaughter tourism trade in Serbia

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In all European Union countries to the north and east of Serbia (except Romania), Turtle Doves are strictly protected. Twenty years ago, flocks consisting of a thousand European Turtle Doves were a common sight in Serbia in spring. Ten years ago, those flocks were reduced to a few hundred birds. Nowadays, the flocks are even smaller, merely a few dozen birds. As we speak, in Serbia these birds are still hunted in August and September.

We are Just Money Grubbers

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They do breed in the Balkans, in Montenegro and Greece where I observed them, as well as in Bulgaria and Romania. Out of just under 200 bird species I observed this year in SE Europe, there are 6 threatened species. Some of them were always uncommon in the region, others are highly localised, some are hard to notice among thousands of similar birds, but others were abundant recently and one of them still is, despite the decrease in numbers.

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Where to See Kiwi (and other birds) During the Rugby World Cup

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Invercargill The bottom of New Zealand and you’d be forgiven for thinking the end of the world is where you’ll be heading if you’re following Argentina, Scotland, Romania or Georgia. If there is one thing that Kiwis care about, it’s birds. No, wait, not birds. Rugby. Kiwis care about rugby. A lot. Rugby Union, to be specific (not Rugby League) and most particularly they care about the national team, the world famous All Blacks.

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