A short trip, with Paul Holmes.  I'm afraid the photos aren't up to much.  It was this trip that made me swear I would give up on 'superzooms' and put up with lugging SLR gear around.

28 May

A 01:50 flight to Bucharest got us there ready for a full day.  A white stork was seen on the drive and some corn buntings were heard.  The drive was livened up by me not realising that we were below the railway barrier as it was coming down.  The cars behind were not going to let me reverse, so I had to slam my foot down to get across.  I blame the lack of sleep!

Rasnov area

We completely failed to find the area, in the site guide, that we were looking for and, probably as a result, saw very little apart form a red-backed shrike and fieldfare.


The plan was to look for brown bears, which had been regularly coming to rubbish bins in the city. However talks with the hotel staff and the waiter at a restaurant revealed that, since the death of a spectator, the rubbish had been cleared up and some bears removed, which would explain why there was nothing recently on the internet.  There was nothing for it but to enjoy the food and drink and hope we struck lucky in the countryside.

29th May

On the journey to Bran we saw a grey partridge.

Bran area

Well we did strike lucky, but not in the way we expected, a wildcat was seen walking across a clearing.  Paul was sensibly armed with a SLR and got a couple of shots, thanks to Paul for allowing me to post these.

Photos: Paul Holmes

We were also quite successful on the bird front, seeing, all be it briefly, middle-spotted and white-backed woodpeckers, collared flycatcher, honey buzzard, wood warblers, red-backed shrike and a buzzard carrying a snake.  

A few butterflies were seen: dingy skipper, small  blue, swallowtail, chequered skipper and clouded apollo.

clouded apollo

Zarnesti area

We drove around until about midnight, hoping for bears.  No luck, but we did see a yellow-bellied toad.

30th May

Zarnesti Gorge

We had good, but rather brief, views of alpine chamois and also saw the montanus race of willow tit.

Butterflies included mountain green-veined white.

Dubravita fishponds

We fancied a change of scene, so headed to this site, north-west of Brasov

In approximately chronological order, we saw two lesser-spotted eagles; great grey shrike; Savi's warbler - untypically good views;

thrush nightingale- heard only; marsh warbler - a few heard, one seen fairly close, but briefly; scarlet rosefinch - heard only; white stork; pygmy cormorant; red-backed shrike

purple heron; black tern; whiskered tern.  As well as the birds we saw muskrat, small pearl-bordered fritillary, silver-studded blue and map.

Another lesser spotted eagle was seen at Vulcan

3 Camberwell beauties were seen on the way back.

The evening and early night driving around produced 2 fieldfares, roe deer and a little owl, but sadly no bears.

31st May

Zarnesti area

We saw 2 honey buzzards, pearl-bordered fritillary, Camberwell beauty and grizzled skipper.


Much of the drive was through heavy rain. This turned out to be a good thing as I finally got to see something I'd wanted to see for years: fire salamander.

Eventually we saw 9 of these superb animals.  The other highlight was a Ural owl.  Unfortunately we only managed flight views.

1st June

The Bucegi Massif

As well as some superb scenery, we saw two nutcrackers, black woodpecker and whinchat

The journey back to Bucharest was livened up by very narrowly missing a dog and a quick stop at some lakes where we saw several great reed warblers, whiskered tern, ferruginous duck and bee-eater.