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).

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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. Trips Europe mountains Serbia vulture vultures

Serbia 179

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 ).

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Therapy: Not Just For Anyone in Serbia. ~ Elana Temple

Elephant Journal

Homepages (Gold Tabs)* Blog (always click 4 all blogs) Enlightened Society (Politics, Active Citizenship, Civil Rights, Social Good) Health & Wellness depression europe mental health Serbia social stigma therapyDon’t ask; don’t tell.

Given the Choice, Would you Squat—in Serbia?

Elephant Journal

Now I know, for sure, how difficult it can be to take a leap of faith into unchartered territories without the aid of Google Maps to light the way. Adventure Enlightened Society (Politics, Active Citizenship, Social Good) Belgrade creativity fear travel

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. Birding eagles Europe falcons grasslands sands Serbia wind farms

2018 198

Urban birds, urban birding… is there a future?

10,000 Birds

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 wetlands

2018 230

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.

2018 199

Flight of a Red-tailed Hawk

10,000 Birds

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.

2017 189

Serbia joins renewables race, to have planet's biggest solar park

EcoFriend

With Germany and the United Kingdom making strides in wind and solar power, it’s now the turn of Serbia to do the same. Serbia to have world’s largest solar park in southeast EU nation.

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. Conservation bustard counting Europe Great Bustards Serbia

2018 207

The Great Bustard Search is On (1)

10,000 Birds

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. Conservation bustard counting Europe Great Bustards Serbia

2018 173

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.

2017 188

Birding Balkans: A Play in Two Acts

10,000 Birds

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.

2016 267

No two scaups are equal

10,000 Birds

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 waterbirds

2017 208

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.

That Time of the Year Again

10,000 Birds

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?

2016 266

You Gotta Fight When You Think it’s the Right Thing to Do

10,000 Birds

Yet, I was there with journalists every other day, the site was in the media almost every day and the first effect of the Save the Belgrade Amazon campaign is now visible: quite unusual for Serbia, the rules are strictly applied. Birding Conservation movies Patch Birding Serbia

2017 195

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.

2016 207

The Belgrade Amazon Campaign or the House of the Eagle

10,000 Birds

While Serbia claims to strive towards the EU membership, it is back to the Chinese credit and Chinese environmental standards. Conservation Belgrade Beljarica IBA Important Bird Areas Serbia wetlands White-tailed Eagle

2017 207

Snowbound Birding

10,000 Birds

Birding Car birding Europe Serbia snow winterThe entire world, it seemed, was buried under two feet of snow. I was checking weather forecasts for days looking for a window of opportunity for a field trip. Yet, even the mighty Danube was frozen solid from bank to bank.

2017 207

City Guide: Finding Birds in Belgrade

10,000 Birds

I am a birder and I can claim that out of Serbia’s total of 350+ bird species, highly urbanised inner city areas of Belgrade hold almost 100 birds, while the outskirts have more than 200 species. Trips Belgrade birdfinder city birds eBird Europe Serbia

2017 229

Those magnificent places down the Danube

10,000 Birds

Beside several well-showing Red-backed Shrikes , the highlight was one uncommon Lesser Grey Shrike (highly localized ** , with only 700 to 1000 breeding pairs in Serbia). Trips Europe Iron Gates Np mountains Serbia wetlandsCover photo: Black-headed Bunting by Mark S.

2017 199

THE BIGGEST URBAN PYGMY CORMORANT ROOST IN THE WORLD DECREASED!

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 160

Urban birding at its best

10,000 Birds

The gamekeeper drives by, I wave my greetings but do not mention the jackals I am observing at the moment: this animal is not protected in Serbia and is allowed for killing year-round (one may say “hunting” instead, but I am having problems trying to spot the difference).

2016 204

Morning Coffee with Eastern Imperial Eagle

10,000 Birds

Actually, I am not waiting for them, but for the Eastern Imperial Eagle to come here to hunt Susliks – an eagle from one of the last two remaining nests in Serbia. Birds eagles Europe Mammals SerbiaMay 2009. After a wakeup call at highly uncivilized 3.45

2017 173

Top 10 ethical destinations in the developing world

Green Traveler Guides

Argentina Bahamas Central America Chile Costa Rica Dominica Europe Latvia Mauritius News Palau Serbia South Pacific Islands Uruguay Ethical Traveler Green Travel NewsEvery year, Ethical Traveler reviews the policies and practices of the world's developing nations, then selects the ten that are doing the best job of preserving their environment, promoting human rights and creating a sustainable, community-based tourism industry.

Checking the news

10,000 Birds

They lay eggs in late January or early February, and the Statehood Day of Serbia is in mid-February. Birds Belgrade Common Goldeneye eagles eBird Serbia White-tailed Eagle

2017 182

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 193

Birding in the rain

10,000 Birds

Birding Belgrade Patch Birding Reva Lake Serbia wetlandsAre you stubborn enough to go out on Sunday morning even if it’s raining? Some of us are. In May, morning bird lists here reach 40 to 50 and day lists reach 60+, even 70+, yet, this morning I am happy with a mere 11 species.

2017 173

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

2015 207

Exploring the Kapela (Chapel) Reserve

10,000 Birds

They are declining in Serbia and in these lowlands, they are nowadays commonly spotted only on migration, but have mostly retreated from the plains (except some steppe pastures) and in the breeding season are common in the mountains above the upper forest line.

2017 173

The Ruddy Shelduck Twitch

10,000 Birds

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 201

Birding the Pannonian Sea Sands

10,000 Birds

I know that you believe that Serbia is a land-locked country, but Belgrade city was actually built on an island in the sea. Trips Europe grasslands SerbiaSandy terrains are at their best during spring migration and this is the off season for such habitats.

2016 197

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 206

Those Sea Serpents

10,000 Birds

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 191

Naked Shadows on the Road to Development.

Elephant Journal

Serbia is actually the first moderately well-functioning, middle-income country I have travelled to where there seemed little real income-inequality.

2016 67

Birding with the Pale Rider Close Behind

10,000 Birds

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 200

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 201

Beaten by an Angry Bird

10,000 Birds

Birds angry birds Europe Mute Swan Serbia swansNoisy wing beats, heavy landing behind the stern, water splashing everywhere and then, a hit of a heavy wing on my upper arm…. A few years back, I birded northern Greece with a couple from Namibia.

2017 200

How I dipped the Horned Grebe

10,000 Birds

To those unfamiliar with the Old World geography, this means that these grebes breed way north from the banks of the Danube, where I reside, and overwinter by the coasts, away from land-locked Serbia. As a consequence, this species is only a rare vagrant in Serbia. Birds Belgrade grebes identifying birds Serbia…or, how critical are you in twitch or dip situations? Here is one example.

2015 159

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 194

Birding from a Hide

10,000 Birds

I have asked myself that same question many times over the last six months, until last week, when I was involved in an opening ceremony of five new bird hides at the Palic Lake, by the town of Subotica in the very north of Serbia, along the border with Hungary (all photos are from that area). For example, the White-headed Duck is nowadays a rarity in Europe (okay, excluding Spain, I know… that Spain …), but until some 50 years ago, it used to breed in Serbia.

2015 212