Saturday, June 28, 2008

60 species of butterfly

I have just finished the tour with those nice butterfly photographers. We observed 60 species of day-flying butterfly without rushing around and 45 of these were photographed. Not bad for just 5 days in the field. Besides butterflies Fire-bellied Toad, Agile Frog, White Storks on nests and Common Susliks also had their portraits taken.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More and more photography

We are now in the Bukk Hills in NE Hungary. We are finding all kinds of subjects to take photos of, besides the butterflies and moths. Edible Frogs, Fire-bellied Toads, orchids and helleborines... birds are not as easy subjects but today I am taking the group to a Bee-eater colony...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hungarian Glider and all that

I am guiding a dozen butterfly photographers around north-east Hungary. We are doing very well, around 50 day flying species seen so far and many night flying species, too. Many also photographed. These people are really keen and really professional. Favouite subjects so far ? Privet Hawkmoth, Buff-tip, Nine-spotted Moth, Lesser Purple Emperor, Scarce Copper and Hungarian Glider.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Very, very busy...

I have just not had time to up-date my blogs recently... very, very busy... mostly guiding birders here in Eastern Europe. It is the peak season for me right now. And when I have had time, usually late at night, I am often in a place with no internet connection. Anyway, please bear with me, I will try to put up some more nice photos of birds, butterflies and places soon...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Romania: bird of the trip

We recorded 150 bird species on our Romanian tour last week. Highlights (in no particular order) included masses of Pygmy Cormorants, lots of White Pelicans, Dalmatian Pelican, Paddyfield Warbler, Sombre Tit, Pied Wheatear, Collared Pratincole, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Great Black-headed Gull, Ruddy Shelduck, etc, etc, etc, but after a discussion and a vote, my group decided that Rose-coloured Starling was the ultimate "bird of the trip". A worthy winner IMO as not only is it a beautiful bird and rare in western Europe, but we saw LOTS of them, in a noisy, colourful colony! Here is a photo by Dan Petrescu of that very colony..

Friday, June 13, 2008

Danube Delta - Romania

I have just finished a 4 day trip in the Danube Delta, staying on a house-boat with a group of UK and US birders... as ever, the place was alive with birds and frogs and dragonflies. Where to begin ? 100s and 100s of herons and egrets and Glossy Ibis, 1000s of Pygmy Cormorants, daily flocks of White Pelicans, around 20 Dalmatian Pelicans, many Rollers, hawking Red-footed Falcons, etc, etc, etc. We also saw many Beautiful Demoiselles, though the main European book on dragonflies does not show them as being in the Delta. This great photo of roosting White Pelicans is by my friend Daniel Petrescu.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Very Eastern Birds

Two days in Dobrudja, eastern Romania, and we have found some VERY eastern birds... a colony of 100s of pairs of Rose-coloured Starlings, Paddyfield Warbler, Pied and Isabelline Wheatears and Great Black-headed (aka Pallas's) Gull, for example. Besides these specialties we have seen Levant Sparrowhawk, Red-rumped Swallow, Sombre Tit, lots of White Pelicans, etc, etc. Quality birding by any standards. Tomorrow, on into the Danube Delta...

Friday, June 6, 2008

New book on its way...

I have just heard that advanced copies of my new book - Central & Eastern European Wildlife - have arrived at the Bradt office in the UK. It is said to "look great". A copy is on its way to me and I am eagerly awaiting it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Danube Delta and dragonflies

I am off to the Danube Delta in Romania soon. I go every year, once, twice, sometimes three times, and have been doing so since the mid-1980s. It is, without question, a superb birding destination. But there is so much more there as well... amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects. The place is alive with wildlife. One of the fauna groups I have tried to get to grips with recently is the Odonata, the dragonflies. The Delta is a great place to work on them as over 40 species have been recorded and some of these are adundant. They include several demoiselles and damselflies, hawkers and the magnificent Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator as in this photo. I will let you know how I get on...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hot... and Syrian Woody

It certainly is hot now. Up in the 30s C. In the field the lowland wetland and grassland birds are abundant and most easy to find, if you know where to look. But in the woods, it is hard. It's hot and the lush leaves hide most things. But our local Syrian Woodpecker obliges most days, hammering on a wooden phone-pole in the neighbouring yard.