In the months of October / November, the Danube Delta is very busy. Birds that will winter in southern Europe or Africa prepare to leave, and those that choose to winter in the Danube Delta arrive at what we have called the International Bird Airport. In winter, the Danube Delta is visited by birds that come down from Northern Europe and by sedentary species that stay all year round. In winter, about 100 species of birds can be seen in the Danube Delta.
Bird species present in winter in the Danube Delta
Among the bird species present in the Danube Delta during the winter months, the red-necked goose (Branta ruficollis) stands out, a vulnerable species (even threatened with extinction), with a total population of up to 55,000 birds worldwide. In winter, around 50% of the world population of red-necked geese will stay in our country until March, when they will return to Northern Europe. In the Danube Delta, the red-necked goose can be seen together with grebes (large and small).
During the winter months, the winter swan (Cygnus cygnus) can be seen throughout the Danube Delta, even in Sfântu Gheorghe. It is distinguished from its sister, the summer swan (Cygnus olor), by its yellow bill without the protuberance at the base of the beak, typical of the summer swan (hence, it is also called the mute swan).
The common pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), the curly pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the velvet duck (Melanitta fusca) or the little grebe (Mergellus albellus), although they are migratory birds, can stay in the Danube Delta if it is a mild winter and the waterholes are preserved unfrozen.
The tufted duck (Netta rufina), the ruddy duck (Aythya nyroca), the great egret (Ardea alba), the gray heron (Ardea cinerea), the cute little grebes, the little cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus) and the great cormorant are sedentary species that do not leave Romania, and in winter they can be seen in the Danube Delta.
In winter, when all the trees are bare, these winged ones can be spotted much more easily, much to the delight of photographers and bird lovers.
The animals remaining in the Danube Delta will be able to be seen very easily, especially around waterholes. In winter, otters, raccoons, jackals, deer or wild boars have been recorded.
Excursions in the Danube Delta in winter
Boat trips are also possible in the winter season, only if the Danube is not frozen. Letea Forest, Caraorman Forest, Gârla Turceasca or Lakes Tătaru, Roșu, Puiu will also be able to be visited in the months of December – February. And a trip to the mouth of the Danube in the Black Sea is an activity to put on the list all year round.
In Sfântu Gheorghe, you can walk on the wild beach, visit the sleepy village or watch the birds that hide in the waterholes around the commune.
What do you need for trips to the Danube Delta in the dead of winter?
Equipment is very important. Whoever said: there is no wrong season, there are only wrong clothes for the weather, knew what he was talking about.
Even if you are at the sea or in the Delta, in winter you can dress for the mountains: ski pants or “soft shell” are a perfect choice, boots (these are also very good for walking on the beach: having a thicker and higher sole , protects the foot better from the cold ground), a very thick hat (maybe even one with ears), thick jacket, windbreaker and gloves.
It is advisable to have a thermos with hot tea, body and face cream at hand.