2013Romania

Having undertaken a birding trip here, in 2011, I thought it was time for a return visit.  This time with my wife, for a walking trip - with just a bit of wildlife watching thrown in.

26th May

After an uneventful flight to Bucharest we drove to the beautiful city of Brasov.  Rain en route did worry us slightly.  A walk around the old town, was followed by a beer, overlooking the square, sadly we were quickly driven indoors by a heavy downpour. Then I was keen to re-visit Festival 39 restaurant, where I had eaten before.  Thoughts of eating on the pavement were blown by the weather, but very pleasant and full of character inside.  Worth visiting just for the toilets!





27th May

We had a quick, slightly hung-over, post-breakfast look around Brasov, before heading towards Bran.

We parked outside the very picturesque Bran Castle.  


This is sometimes referred to as 'Dracula's castle' but it does seem that it has little or nothing to do with Bram Stoker's book.

Our walk was not particularly productive, although we did see this red-backed shrike.


We did see a few serins, black and common restarts and a white stork, flying over the castle.

The Transylvania Inn took rather a lot of finding but turned out to be very pleasant with an extremely good view from our balcony.  


We then had a rather rain interrupted afternoon at Zanesti Gorge, seeing little apart from four red squirrels.

 

The hotel restaurant had a rather limited menu, and several things were not available, but, at £15 for two courses each, including a litre of a very pleasant house red,  we weren't complaining.


28th May


A day of fairly serious walking in the Bran area.  Unfortunately we were 'adopted' for the day by a dog.  Not ideal for wildlife watching.  Shouting at it  didn't seem to deter it!  So we gave up and it joined us for about ten hours walking.


I was desperately hoping to see bear, this was the nearest we came.



The only mammals seen were two red squirrels.

Birding wasn't wildly exciting either.  Tree pipits were common in some areas.


And we did see a pair of redstarts.

My attention was mostly on insects.  

two-spotted cricket



?

large speckled bush-cricket

Lygaeus saxatilis



black-veined moth



Butterflies included woodland ringlet


swallowtail and scarce swallowtail.


A quick trip to check out the start of tomorrow's planned walk.  A nutcracker was seen, but sadly only in flight, and a fieldfare was feeding its young.



Sadly a showy redstart, seen on the drive, didn't hang around long enough for me to get my camera from the back seat.

29th May

Today was the day to try to get above the treeline.  On the way we saw firecrest.



A couple of ring ouzels were seen.


A nutcrackers was heard.  We also saw crossbill and plenty of water pipits and wheatears.


We also saw grizzled skipper



shepherd's fritillary



and pearl-bordered fritillary, as well as more bear footprints.





We were eventually thwarted in our attempts to ascend further by snow and ice.

30th May

Zanesti area

The forecast was awful, so we were rather surprised to actually get a full days walking.  Sadly wildlife watching was a little disappointing. 

We did see wood white



Alpine dark bush-cricket



2 Camberwell beauties - far too flightly to get a decent shot

the superb ichneumon Rhyssa persuasoria


The bird highlight were 3 willow tits of the race Montanus.




31st May

We decided to spend the last morning looking around the castle. I'm not the best at this kind of thing: I can't stand crowds and it was very small and crowded!


Sadly, this was the closest we ever got to a bear.


The drive back to the airport was livened up by a large flock of storks and 12 Feruginous duck and a whiskered tern at Lake Snagov.

Lastly a tip. Romania is a considerably cheaper country than the UK.  Bucharest airport is a considerably more expensive airport than any airport in the UK.  And the duty free shop with take your pounds, or US dollars, or Euros but not the local currency! 
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