Emerging birding destinations: Serbia

10,000 Birds

I am talking of the very heart of the Balkans and the final birding frontier of Europe: Serbia. When choosing the top birding area of Serbia for a weekend visit, head for lowlands, Deliblato Sands and Labudovo Okno complex with 250 bird species. Serbia – the big picture.

Serbia 101

Birding Serbia in the 2020

10,000 Birds

The post Birding Serbia in the 2020 appeared first on 10,000 Birds. Birding 2020 SerbiaAs the year is closing, I am looking back to realise, despite it being such an awful year, it’s far from the worst I had, it doesn’t even come close (it’s the mileage that’s killing me, I guess).

2020 86

Birding the Bear Mountain of Serbia

10,000 Birds

We are in the Tara Mountain in western Serbia, ranging from 1,000-1,500 m / 3,000-5,000 ft above sea level. The post Birding the Bear Mountain of Serbia appeared first on 10,000 Birds. Destinations bears Europe mountains Serbia

How to find the Ural Owl in Serbia

10,000 Birds

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).

Going Medieval: Waterfowling the Two Towers of Serbia

10,000 Birds

In the chill morning of late January, I am driving east of Belgrade towards the Two Towers section of the Danube and the best waterfowling bonanza in the whole of Serbia. The post Going Medieval: Waterfowling the Two Towers of Serbia appeared first on 10,000 Birds.

Where to watch shorebirds around Belgrade, Serbia

10,000 Birds

Where to find shorebirds around Belgrade, Serbia? So far, 33 species have been eBirded in Serbia. Let me add that the only ever ringed Critically Endangered (yet, possibly extinct) Slender-billed Curlew was ringed in northern Serbia (Carska bara Ramsar site) in the 1970s. The post Where to watch shorebirds around Belgrade, Serbia appeared first on 10,000 Birds. Birds Belgrade birdfinder birding tips Serbia shorebirds waders

The Top-5 Birding Hotspots of Serbia

10,000 Birds

“I would certainly recommend Serbia to visiting birders. Nonetheless, I visited some excellent habitats, especially the flooded wetlands, and saw some good birds,” wrote the UK Birdwatch Magazine journalist Mike Unwin of his bird tour of northern Serbia 15 years ago. With 222 species eBirded so far by a single observer, Ivan Medenica, it does not only occupy the first position among the top-5, but also is the only hotspot in Serbia with more than 200 eBirded species.

The slaughter tourism trade in Serbia

10,000 Birds

Twenty years ago, flocks consisting of a thousand European Turtle Doves were a common sight in Serbia in spring. As we speak, in Serbia these birds are still hunted in August and September. In all European Union countries to the north and east of Serbia (except Romania), Turtle Doves are strictly protected. And on their way south, they reach the killing fields of northern Serbia ( Newsweek on poaching in the Balkans ).

Serbia – birding overview of a year in the Central Balkans

10,000 Birds

Serbia has 317 eBirded species so far, or 89% of the 356 in the national checklist. Among travel guides, due to its extensive coverage of natural history and birding sites, recommendation goes to Laurence Mitchell’s Serbia: The Bradt Travel Guide (5th edition, 2017). Usually about 40K geese overwinter in Serbia, but the last cold spell, when the Danube was mostly frozen solid, pushed twice as many to Serbia. Trips Balkans birdfinder seasons Serbia

2018 63

The Final Days of the Danube backwaters in Belgrade: Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is coming to Serbia

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It is part of the international ecological corridor and the “Confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers” Important Bird Area (IBA), already proposed for a nature reserve by the Government’s Institute for the Protection of Nature of Serbia.

2019 83

Western Serbia, or Griffons in the raspberries

10,000 Birds

Our destination lies further west, along the Drina River, which marks the border between Serbia and Bosnia. Due to mass wolf poisonings in the 1960s and the 1970s, Griffon Vultures in Serbia suffered a dramatic population crash. After the first two vulture restaurants were opened in Western Serbia in 1990s, the population recovered, they even attracted birds from the then war-torn Herzegovina to move in. Trips Europe mountains Serbia vulture vultures

St. Michael’s summer birding along the Danube in Serbia

10,000 Birds

We were heading to the Djerdap (Iron Gates) Gorge National Park, stretching along the south bank of the Danube in eastern Serbia, to do the 400 km / 250 mi bird tour interconnecting possibly the very best sites around Belgrade reachable within a day. Michael’s summer birding along the Danube in Serbia appeared first on 10,000 Birds. Trips Black Woodpecker Danube Europe Iron Gates Np mountains Serbia wetlandsIt was only a few days ago, yet it already seems like days long gone.

2018 51

Birding Carska Bara Reserve in December Fog

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along the Carska Bara Nature Reserve, Serbia, a Common Reed Bunting awaits me on a low branch… and then performs a real dance, twitching its tail sideways and following it in a series of quick steps! Birding Carska Bara Serbia weather wetlands

2020 78

Birding Beljarica in August

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Last month, I birded my favourite local patch, Beljarica – the best eBird hotspot in Belgrade city and the 3rd best in Serbia – four times. Birding Belgrade Beljarica Conservation Danube Serbia wetlands

2020 97

Planning and executing birding plans in the times of corona-virus

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This was only my seventh observation of this species in Europe (3 in Greece, 4 in Serbia). Birding Coronavirus Serbia“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

2020 96

Finding birds in Deliblato Sands, part 1/3: the largest sand dune system of Europe

10,000 Birds

It has been a while since I wrote on where to watch birds (unbelievable, I know), and will now focus on the nature reserve of Deliblato Sands and the adjoining Labudovo okno Ramsar Wetland, about an hour east from Belgrade, Serbia.

2020 87

Finding birds in Deliblato Sands, part 3/3: along the eastern edge of the reserve

10,000 Birds

Part of the Labudovo okno Ramsar Wetland and protected within the Deliblato Sands Special Nature Reserve , this section of the Danube, downriver from Belgrade, Serbia, is unique for its wide shallows, before the river narrows downstream from the village of Ram.

2020 84

Finding birds in Deliblato Sands Reserve, part 2/3: the Labudovo okno Ramsar Wetland

10,000 Birds

LABUDOVO OKNO Ramsar Site and an Important Bird Area represents a section of the Danube floodplain downriver from Belgrade, Serbia, and situated in the south of the Deliblato Sands Special Nature Reserve.

2020 78

Kamikaze Pigeons and a War to Extinction

10,000 Birds

Serbia has a large number of pigeon fanciers and a long history of lack of law enforcement in the field of wildlife crime ( Newsweek on poaching in the Balkans ). This time it is not in Serbia, but in Zurich, Switzerland, where this particular Serbian pigeon fancier / blogger lives. Back to Serbia, three large pigeon-taking predators – Peregrine and Saker Falcons and the Northern Goshawk – have become increasingly hard to find in the last ten years. A Hooded Crow.

2015 78

The 20 best birds of Belgrade and where to find them

10,000 Birds

Some five years ago I was involved in a project of ecotourism evaluation of the river Danube in Serbia, which included the city of Belgrade, founded at the bank of this river. In Serbia, the more northerly Eurasian Treecreeper is mostly a species of mountain beech forests, as opposed to the Short-toed which mostly inhabits lower elevation oak forests. Serbia Birding calendar. Birds Belgrade birdfinder city birds Danube Europe Serbia

2019 72

The European Christmas Bird Count

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The other day I counted my favourite section of the Danube River, the wide and shallow Labudovo okno Ramsar site in Serbia. The biggest count ever was less than 10 birds in the whole of Serbia. Here in Serbia, in the south of the continent, this species is a proper rarity. Birds Danube geese Labudovo okno Serbia waterbirds wetlands winter

2019 65

The 701 Long-eared Owl of Kikinda

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Have you heard of a small town in Serbia graced by the presence of its 700 communally roosting Long-eared Owls ? Trips city birds Kikinda Long-eared Owl owls Serbia Urban Birding urban habitatYou may have read about them in the Wall Street Journal , the BBC Wildlife Magazine , or perhaps watched them on BBC, who filmed them here twice, for the Planet Earth II in 2015 and for the One Planet in 2018. Actually, the numbers are even higher.

2018 74

Flight of a Red-tailed Hawk

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The other day I watched a TV ad for a local mobile network provider showing a bright young free climber Stasha scaling a wall somewhere in the hilly heart of Serbia and immediately posting it at Instagram or wherever. A sound of a species never before recorded in the wilds of Serbia. Birds Hollywood Red-tailed Hawk SerbiaI can imagine how you hate to see a Bald Eagle in a movie and hear the Red-tailed Hawk screech.

2017 53

Birding Deliblato Sands: What I have seen and what I haven’t

10,000 Birds

Turning off the asphalt, I enter the Deliblato Sands steppe, between the Danube and the Carpathian Mountains in the northeast of Serbia, where the first bird to greet me is a Northern Wheatear , followed by a Crested Lark. They are quite a rare breeding species in Serbia, declining as we speak, but one pair breeds nearby. Add into that picture that the last time I observed the endangered Saker Falcon in Serbia was here – but three years ago, when squirrels were still present.

2018 59


10,000 Birds

Here is a joint media release: WWF, Decembar 11, 2015 – This December, 3,800 Pygmy Cormorants are wintering by the river Sava in Belgrade, Serbia, representing 2 percent of the global population and 5.4 The census has been conducted by ornithologists from three NGOs, BPSSS/BirdLife Serbia, League for Ornithological Action and the World Wildlife Fund. “The Pygmy Cormorant is a strictly protected bird species in Serbia, as well as in the European Union.

2015 63

The top-5 birds of 2018

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The next specialty was the Great Bustard at the Pastures of Great Bustard Nature Reserve in the north of Serbia: “The Association for the Protection of the Great Bustard had just about enough counters to cover the reserve and the neighbouring areas (birds often spend the winter in arable fields outside the reserve). Birds 2018 Greece SerbiaWhat qualifies a bird to be included in the top-5? My first criterion was that I observed it only once during the year 2018.

2018 49

Birding Balkans: A Play in Two Acts

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Iron Gates (Djerdap) national park, Serbia. This one is most likely my latest swift in Serbia ever. Trips Car birding Europe mountains SerbiaACT I. SCENE I. Small canyon among wooded hills. Morning. Framed by red Permian sandstone, Eric Hyman is staring into the bare branches of a dead tree, or, to be more precise, into some fluttering t**s. Although the sun has risen, the cliffs around us are still deeply shadowed.

2016 82

Eastern Imperial Breakfast

10,000 Birds

Fruska Gora is a low, forested massif – mostly oak, lime, beech, hornbeam and ash – situated in northern Serbia. In the early 20th century, Imperial Eagles used to live not only in the northern lowlands of Serbia, but also in the southern highland plateaus. But persecution, killing and poisoning in the late 20th century has led to their demise and at the beginning of the new millennium, Serbia had only two to three pairs of Imperial Eagles.

2013 77

Urban birds, urban birding… is there a future?

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I am at one of my favourite local patches, the Reva Pond , on the northern outskirts – but still inside the city of Belgrade, Serbia. Birding Belgrade city birds Patch Birding Reva Lake Serbia Urban Birding Urban Birds wetlandsWhite-tailed Eagles normally take flight silently, yet, while checking some Common Starlings and hoping for Rosy Starlings , I heard a few noisy wing-beats, enough to turn and see a young eagle flying with a wing tag.

2018 69

I screamed: Ural Owl!

10,000 Birds

More productive areas of the Balkans have January eBird lists from 105 to 115 species (but I combined several areas in two countries, Greece and Serbia), so I have every reason to be satisfied. Without rarities and vagrants, Serbia has 333 regularly occurring species and my national list of 91 birds represent a good 27 per cent of local bird diversity. Birding 2018 Greece Serbia Ural Owl year listI screamed “UralOwlUralOwlUralOwl!!!”,

2018 47

The Great Bustard Search is On (2)

10,000 Birds

Yet, it takes great logistical effort to organize the census all the way from Germany to Austria, Hungary and Serbia in the same day, to count on numerous volunteers and hope for the best February weather. The Association for the Protection of the Great Bustard from Serbia had just about enough counters to cover the Pastures of Great Bustard Special Nature Reserve and the neighbouring areas (birds often spend the winter in arable fields outside the reserve).

2018 63

No two scaups are equal

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A month ago I was in the Iron Gates National Park in eastern Serbia, where one Black Woodpecker flew across the road, right in front of us (proving it is an extant taxon). Iron Gates National Park in eastern Serbia. Trips Serbia South Africa turacos waterbirdsJanuary is sort of a birding sprint – you start fresh and, all of a sudden, head for them all. In a typical birding year, no other month will bring you that many new species as January.

2017 63

My eBird Citizen Science Experiment

10,000 Birds

Two years ago, I was counting active nests of Rooks in the flat agricultural landscape north of Belgrade, Serbia. In the northern Backa region of Serbia, in the mid-1970s there were more than 37,000 active nests of Rooks, while in 2009 there were less than 8500, indicating a loss of more than 76% over a time span of 35 years ( source ). Birds city birds crows eBird Europe Serbia

That Time of the Year Again

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Oddly, in 1936 this mountain was declared a national park, the first in Serbia, but in 1946 it was stripped of its title and got a lower protection status, further confirmed in 2007. Birding Christmas eBird Serbia wish listsHow many species have I observed this year? The malicious eBird answers: only 186! Yes, I know, I’ll reach 190, but 200? No way. Not with these prices of petrol. What have I missed? Hmm, Black-throated Diver (a.k.a.

2016 81

The Ruddy Shelduck Twitch

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Some 40 km north of Belgrade, Serbia, I am driving to the very end of an oxbow lake with the intention of looking for the Ruddy Shelducks ( Tadorna ferruginea ) that were found here the day before. Ruddy Shelducks do not normally show up in Serbia. They range from the eastern outskirts of the Balkans (while Serbia lies in the centre of it) all the way to Indochina. In a quarter of a century of my birding life, not a single wild Ruddy Shelduck has been seen in Serbia.

2014 80

About gulls and panic

10,000 Birds

I found my first in Serbia only last winter, but that was a result of a decision: you have to find it this winter. Birding Belgrade gulls SerbiaDo you ever feel that you do not know your birds anymore? I had that feeling today. Usually I do not start gulling before late October, but finding myself cut off from most of my local patches , I went gulling today, probably my earliest beginning of the gulling season at Ada Huja promenade , along the Danube inside Belgrade – ever.

2017 56

The Smell of Napalm in the Morning

10,000 Birds

Wigeons are only migrants and not a breeding species in Serbia and August is a bit too early for any longer distance duck movements. Among them are 3 to 4 breeding pairs of White-tailed Eagles, the largest density per square mile anywhere in Serbia. Only two years ago, in the spring 2014, Serbia had catastrophic floods. Conservation Belgrade Europe IBA Important Bird Areas Serbia wetlands

2016 63

The Four Goshawks

10,000 Birds

I was canoeing the Danube backwaters inside Belgrade, Serbia, on a warm and sunny November day when a Northern Goshawk tried to catch one of two Pygmy Cormorants. Northern Goshawk in Serbia, (c) Szekeres Levente. Birds eBird Europe Northern Goshawk raptors SerbiaEntering some old data at eBird, I found myself puzzled with one record.

2015 82

The Danube Backwaters

10,000 Birds

As you know, I started to bird from a canoe, exploring the Danube backwaters in Belgrade, Serbia. Nowadays this species is declining in Serbia and the biggest number I ever saw at once was 6 and that area most likely has the highest population density – 3 pairs – anywhere in the country. Conservation Belgrade Beljarica Black Stork Danube Serbia wetlands White-tailed Eagle

2018 58

Birding with the Pale Rider Close Behind

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I am driving down the dirt track in the Carska Bara Ramsar site (Serbia) and a cloud of dust closely follows me, like a rider on a pale horse. Trips Car birding Europe Serbia weather wetlandsJuly morning in the Balkans, early enough to create an illusion of a cool morning, umm, almost. Wheat fields around me were harvested in the previous days. In the short, golden-brown stubble, one Brown Hare is hopping. Just for fun, it seems – joie de vivre?

2015 80

Those Sea Serpents

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I am parked at the bridge over the Reva Pond in the suburb of Belgrade, Serbia, mere 150 metres away from the nearest buildings behind me, but facing the fascinating undeveloped 1.2 Birding Europe Mammals otters Serbia One Common Raven is disappearing towards its nest among the branches of the poplar plantation, only to reappear a few minutes later to give a good chase – aerial acrobatics included – to its first neighbour, the White-tailed Eagle which breeds in the vicinity.

2015 73

The Fourth Record

10,000 Birds

Two days ago, I’ve found the Great Black-backed Gull – the fourth ever record of this predominantly marine species for land-locked Serbia (previous were in 1857, 1993 and 2012): Down at the riverbank in Belgrade, I am mounting the scope onto the window clamp and making myself some coffee in a small water bottle, often used as an instant coffee shaker, while scanning the Danube water surface for gulls. Birds Europe gulls Serbia

2013 77

The Biggest Pygmy Cormorant Roost in the World

10,000 Birds

The night temperatures in Belgrade, Serbia, were already below minus 10 Celsius / 14 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks. Up to the mid-20th century, Pygmy Cormorants were a common breeding species of wetlands around Belgrade… until the wetlands were drained and the birds were lost, at one moment – from the whole of Serbia. Conservation cormorants Europe Pygmy Cormorant Serbia It all started during the icy February of 1996.

2014 78