BIRDWATCHERS PARADISE AT THE LOWER DANUBEAlina CODREANUDanube Nature & Culture Tourism ConferenceNovember 8th, Vienna
Lower Danube a fascinating bird watching spot? Landscapes along the river course and islands are considered to posses the highestaesthetic values which create exceptional impressions in combination with meadowsand hedges that present a natural background for the river. The unique natural beauty and the richness in biodiversity has created conditionsfor development of ornithological, educational, and other forms of ecotourism on theLower Danube. The Danube's varied and beautiful terrain is as diverse as the countries throughwhich it travels: Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Ukraine. Tourists, including birdwatchers can experience the allure of Eastern Europe asthey savor the natural beauty of the Danube's deep valleys between the exquisiteIron Gate region and the natural wetlands created by the unique Danube Delta.
BIRD WATCHING PARADISE IN LOWER DANUBE - BULGARIABulgaria has a complete complex of conditions for superb bird watching almost all theyear round, of more than 420 species discovered by now.WHEN TO WATCH BIRDS IN BULGARIA? SpringNo doubt that the best season for birdwatching in Bulgaria is spring. The classicperiod is May – June. This is the time when species lists are really long – at least 200species in 10 days! (when using local guide with good field experience).SummerEarly summer (July – mid August) is also a nice season for birdwatching, althoughmany species are still busy with nesting or feeding youngstersAutumnAutumn (mid-August – September) is the time for keen lovers of numerous flocks ofsoaring migrants along the “Via Pontica” flyway – storks, pelicans and thousands ofbirds of prey among them.WinterWinter birdwatching is very much dependent on the weather conditions in thecountry. During severe winters it could be successful even during December butJanuary and February are better.
Persina Nature ParkPersina Nature Park was established in 2000. With a total area of 21,762 ha, it coversthe areas of the Svishtov-Belene lowlands and part of the Nikopol plateau.There are two island groups – Nikopol Island group and Belene Islands Complexwhich is a complex with high international importance among the 114 important BirdAreas in Bulgaria. Part of the complex is Persina Island – the biggest bulgarian Danubeisland, where the first restored wetland on the bulgarian Danube is located.The unique natural beauty and rich cultural heritage combined with the hospitality ofthe local people has created conditions for development of ornithological, educational,fishing and other forms of ecotourism.
Natural highlights inPersina Nature ParkThe most precious wealth of thePark are the birds – more than 210species.The natural flooded forests ofwillows and poplars and themarshes along the Danube are theonly place where rare and ofthreatened birds as and many otherspecies of birds are breeding.
One of the symbols of the Park is theWhite-tailed eagle.
Persina Nature ParkVisitor centresThe visitor Centre is situated in Belene andregularly hosts local, regional, national andinternational events and exhibitions.Guests can receive information andadvertising materials.Park infrastructureIn 2002 the directorate of Nature ParkPersina started the construction of specialrecreation and birdwatching points havebeen built along the river. They offerspectacular view along the river: floodedforests, colourful landscape and differentspecies of birds.
Excursions for birdwatchingThe water route “In the embrace ofDanube" allows a boat to tour aroundsome parts of the islands that comewithin the park with rest on the island"Golyama Barzina", where during thebreeding season are mixed colony ofherons and cormorants, and in thewinter - from pelicans and swans.The starting point of the route is the urbanbeach of Belene. The duration is 1 hour and30 minutes.It’s passing along Island Magaretsa - PersinaIsland - Island "Golyama Barzina" - MilkaIsland - Island Kitka (and back).The route is specific and it’s taking place onwater. Five kayaks are available for rent aswell as a six seats motor boat, which is usedfor this special water route.
There is also specialized route focusingon wetland restoration and bird watchingof many rare, threatened and endangeredspecies.This route leads to the restored wetlandwith inland marshes on Persina Island(special permit is requested!).As well as the beautiful wildlife, thePark is witness to a rich historical past.Three religious communities live here:Catholics, orthodox and Muslims andeach group preserves its way of lifeand traditions.
Kalimok-Brushlen Protected SiteKalimok –Brushlen was designed to protectone of the few remaining Danube wetlandsand its unique biodiversity. It covers an area ofabout 6,000 ha.The area can be characterized as one of theten most representative areas of Bulgaria. Because of its rich biodiversity the protectedarea is attractive for tourism, especially forbirdwathching. The greatest richness are thebirds - 242 species, of which 134 are nesting. Birdwatching is the top priority because the birds are numerous, attractive and easy tosee. Species such as Dalmatian Pelican and Spoonbill raise their chicks here. There arebirds that are wintering here, which gives an opportunity for ecotourism in the coldmonths of the year too. One of Bulgaria’s biggest heron colonies is here.
OTHER ATRACTIONS IN KALIMOKBRUSHLEN REGIONEthnographical open-air museum Fishermen Village,Tutrakan- The "Fishermen’s village" in Tutrakan is a naturallyformed fishermen’s hamlet dating back to the years ofthe National Revival. It is located next to the church St.Nicolas at the Danube waterside in the northeasternpart of the town.- Here the visitors may learn about the development ofthe fishing in Tutrakan and will see the typicalarchitecture of the fishermen houses, some of thatbuilt before 150 - 200 years.- The most typical for the fisherman’s houses is the lack of yard - the family of thefisherman’s is not occupied with farming. In every house, on the east wall, there is anicon of St. Nicholas (the saint of the fishermen) and in the past a candle was lit everytime the fisherman went to fishing.
The Ethnographic Museum "Danubefishing and boat-building" - located intown of Tutrakan.-It was opened in 1974 and is the onlyone along the Danube river.- The museum preserves the rich materialand spiritual culture, social structure andlifestyle of the Bulgarians from theDanube-situated fishing villages.- There are exhibited original artifacts,tools and objects which were used in thepast and modern instruments andequipment which is use nowadays.-There is other exposition related to theboat-building which has been developedin the region since the Roman period.
Srebarna Nature ReserveA lake of international importance,situated in North-Eastern Bulgaria.Included in :-Ramsar Convention-World Natural Heritage List of UNESCOSrebarna Lake is most famous for itscolony of Dalmatian Pelicans. 223 birdspecies are found in the reserve.During migration and winter (if thelake is not covered by ice) manywaterfowl like geese, ducks rest here,accompanied by White-tailed Eagles andRough-legged Buzzards.
TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES INSREBARNA NATURE RESERVEHikers nature lovers who want todiscover the special beauty of thearea, found arrownd the lake theeco-trails and observation sitesbeyond the high hills in the east,south and west. Footpaths follow the boundariesof protected areas in thesurrounding, offering a wonderfulview for tourists who wander onthese roads. Information boards, observationtowers and wooden benches andshelters can be found on the touristpaths.
TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES INSREBARNA NATURE RESERVE In the southwest of the reservethere is the Museum of NaturalHistory with a rich collection of stuffedbirds and mammals. The museum has a vantage pointfrom where, using telescopes andbinoculars, live bird-watching isavailable. In the heart of the lake is puta camera, near the places wherepelicans nest. By video signal picturesand sounds are broadcast on a screenin the museum.The Srebarna lake is really animpressive natural object and isincluded in the 100 National TouristSites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union.
Rusenski Lom Nature Park Rusenski Lom Natural Park is situated innortheast Bulgaria, along the canyon shapedvalley of the Rusenski Lom river – the lastright tributary of the Danube has an andarea of 3,408 hectares. The park is preserving beautiful riversideterraces, meanders, high vertical rocks,areas of rich variety of species, caves, rockformations, historical monuments ofnational and international nationalimportance. There are excellent possibilities formodern environment-friendly tourism.People of various interests can find placeto practice their hobby there as the areais attractive for botanists and zoologists,especially birdwatchers, for naturephotographers, and the ones passionateof archeology, history and art.
The park is real paradise for birds. Onecan see here a lot of birds that are endangeredthroughout Europe - this is the reason forLomovete being announced ornithologicallysignificant site. The numerous rock holes, niches andterraces, the cave spots and sites creatcircumstances that are ideal for the rocknesting birds like Imperial eagle, the Egyptianvulture, buzzards, hawks, owls, etc. 110 species of birds nest here and thetotal number of bird species found in the parkexceeds 190 - birds here are migrators, winterguests and random visitors. The black stork also nests here. What isinteresting about it in the park is that inBulgaria in nests mainly in the rocks, while inthe middle of Europe it usually nests on oldtrees in the forests.
This area has much historicalinterest with several groups of "rockmonasteries" built into the rock wallsof the gorges.The greatest attractions are theIvanovo Rock Churches, which areincluded in the UNESCO List of GlobalCultural Heritage. The mural paintingsin the rock churches near Ivanovo - anarchaelogical reserve - represent apeak of the medieval Bulgarian art.The only active rock monastery inBulgaria – Basarbovski Monastery islocated within the park territory.
The contact with the beauty of nature and spiritual heritage that reveals before one’seyes in the rock monasteries, promise unforgettable moments to the guests of the Parkpossibilities for practicing bike riding, as well as speleology- and hiking, rock climbingand canoe.Lodging and board for holiday is provided in the villages of Pissanets, Nissovo, Chervenand Ivanovo.
DANUBE DELTA BIOSPHERE RESERVEDanube Delta was declared abiosphere reserve in 1990 by theromanian government.Single delta of the whole world,entirely declared a biospherereserve, with a total surface of 5,800square km.One of the worldwide largestwetland, especially a waterfowlhabitat.The greatest reedbed expansesworldwide.
The international recognition:The universal value of thereserve was recognized by theMan and Biosphere (MAB)Programme of UNESCO in1990, through its inclusion inthe international network ofbiosphere reserves The DDBR is listed as awetland of internationalimportance especially aswaterfowl habitat under theRamsar Convention (1991) Inclusion of the strictlyprotected areas in the WorldHeritage List under the WorldCultural and Natural HeritageConvention (1990).
TOURISTIC POTENTIAL OFDANUBE DELTA BIOSPHERE RESERVELandscape components (400 lakes,channels, forests, sand dunes, beaches,etc. )Biodiversity (30 types of ecosystems,More than 5500 flora and fauna species)Natural resources (eg. fishing)Climate (Continental-temperate: 11.0- 11.6°C, Annual sunshine: 2,300-2,400hours/ year, Annual rainfall: 350-450mm)Culture and history (archaeologicaltraces, Ethnography and folklore)Human settlements (Ruralsettlements: 25, urban settlements: 1(Sulina), Ethnical structure: about 20nationalities )
DANUBE DELTA BIOSPHERE RESERVEParadise of BirdsMost of the European population of White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)and Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus); 60% from world population of Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocoraxpygmaeus) 50% from world population of Red- breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis),during winter season
Danube Delta Biosphere ReserveBirdwatchers paradiseBirds offer to the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve the world –wide known fame.Out of 331 species there are estimated:-Nesting birds: 172 species-Migratory or partial migratory birds: 284 species- Species of birds are declared monuments of nature12: Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna),Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferugineea), Raven (Corvus corax ), White Pelican (Pelecanusonocrotalus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Great Bustard (Otis tarda), BlackWinged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Great White Egret(Egretta alba), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
SPECIFIC TOURISM PROGRAMMES INDANUBE DELTA• LEISURE TOURSone day trip in large groups (60-80 persons), withmodern transport ships, or in smaller groups (6-8persons), with small ships• ITINERANT DISCOVERY TOURISMVisitors who want to spend more time in the DanubeDelta can also choose between itinerary trips of 6-12days, on modern and comfortable floating hotels, andstationary holidays, with accommodation in hotelsand pensions from villages or resorts in the DanubeDelta.• SPECIALIZED TRIPS AND SCIENTIFICTOURISM (E.G. ORNITHOLOGISTS,SPECIALISTS, RESEARCHERS, STUDENTS)
• RURAL TOURISMTourists are hosted in local people houses orpensions, who offers them full board and guidedby them on trips with small boats.• BALNEARY TOURISM (HELIO-MARINE CURE ONTHE BEACHES OF SULINA, ST. GHEORGHE)•SPECIAL YOUTH PROGRAMS (for discovery,understanding and appreciation of nature);•SPORT FISHING•EXPLORING THE DELTA ON KAYCS•VISITING LOCALITIES, TRADITIONAL MEALS, etc.
TOURISM FACILITIES INDANUBE DELTAACCOMMODATIONalmost4500 places-Hotels-Floating hotels-Small houses-Small hotels-Rural pensions-Bungalows, villas-Camping- Camps for children
• RESTAURANTSTOURISM FACILITIES INDANUBE DELTA (continue)• PUBLIC AND PRIVAT TRANSPORT• TOURIST INFORMATION- DDBRA Information centers:(Tulcea, Crisan, Sulina, Murighiol, Sf, Gheorghe).– Brochures;– Folders;– Tourist guides;– Documentary films, etc.
Bird watching in Danube Delta Biosphere ReserveThe main bird watching season begins in April and lasts until late November. Tours during thebest period of bird migration (April-June and August-September) are very much in demandand understandably so since birdwatchers could easily see more than 180 species in just sevendays.Every season contain interest points:Spring: the most representative species comes in passage and stop in delta for breedingover summer. March, April and May are periods with serious aerial traffic.Summer: the bird activity continues, among the previous species, we could find almost alldelta species.Autumn: late september means the beginning of migrations; also passage species fly overthis deltas territory in October-November: Greebe species, Heron species, some raptors, mostof gull species, a.s.o.Winter: there are a few birds seeing in this season. Mostly are coming from N Europe forwintering: Red breasted goose (from Siberia), Whooper swan, White-fronted Goose, etc. Aslocation Razelm-Sinoe lagoon complex represent the best destination for the trips.
HOW TO EXPLORE DANUBE DELTA ?The vast complex of reed beds, willowforest, and wetland, can be explored aswide a variety as possible of thesehabitats, both on foot and using adifferent types of boats. There are trips for organized groups:with floating hotels which canaccommodate max 20 people for cruisesof up to 10 days in the Danube Delta incombination with small motorboats. The passionate ones who want todiscover themselves the beauty of thedelta, can craft their own boat or those oflocal people that are authorized fortourist activities.
TOURIST ROUTES IN THE DANUBEDELTA BIOSPHERE RESERVEOnce declared a biosphere reserve, theReserve Authority established its ownrules for carrying out tourism activities, inorder to protect the natural heritage. For this purpose, 24 tourist routes havebeen established within the reserve:- 15 routes only by naval transportation- 9 trails that can be done by hiking or roadtransport (hiking trails). Boat routes start from the main entrypoints in reserve: Tulcea, Murighiol,Jurilovca or from the localities situated inthe reserve: Chilia Veche, Crişan, Sulina, St.Gheorghe. Hiking trails start from Tulcea,Murighiol, Uzlina, Sulina, Sf. Gheorghe,Chilia Veche.
DANUBE DELTA BIOSPHERE RESERVEAUTHORITY RESPONSABILITIES ON TOURISMIt organize and controls the tourist activities on the Danube Delta territory according tothe Biosphere Reserve types of areas (strictly protected, buffer and economic areas) andthe management objectives:Identifies and approves the tourists routes Identifies and approves the areas for angling Coordinates the programmes of sign posting the DDBR territory, including the touristroutes and areas Establishes regulations and visiting codes for DDBR visitors and tourists Establishes regulations and authorizes the tourism activities and business on theDDBR territory Coordinates the programmes for Ecological Education and Information through itsVisitor and Information Centres (5 Centres for now) Facilitates the tourists activities through the civil works for chanells dredging andecological restoration Provides information and facilitates the tourist activities through informationmaterials, guides, maps, birdwatching towers or visiting paths
THANK YOU FOR ATTENTION!Photos from: www.delta-project.eu, www.visit.guide-bulgaria,www.icpdr.org, www.kalimok.eu,www.lomea.org, www.wayfaring.info, www.delta-project.eu, www.chettusia.com, www.panoramia.comDaniel Petrescu, Alina Codreanu, Cristian Mititelu.Speaker Name: Alina CodreanuDanube Nature & Culture Tourism ConferenceNovember 8th, Vienna