September 2016: Wildlife photography project in the Danube delta in Romania
In September 2016, we went to the heart of the Danube Delta to photograph wetland birds. This photography project is a continuation of a larger project on wetland birds.
September is a transitional period in the Danube delta because many species of migratory birds are leaving for Africa to find warmer temperatures. Several species have already left the delta during the month of August. However, we were still able to photograph over thirty species, including purple herons, gray herons, night herons, whiskered terns, cormorants, great egrets, mute swans, etc.
During that first trip to the Danube Delta, we were surprised to find the reed beds, ponds and woods in perfect condition. They made beautiful backgrounds. The lighting, especially in the morning, was exceptional, because it made the birds’ feathers look soft and radiant.
During our stay, we lived on a small island inhabited by a few hundred people who traveled only on foot or by boat. We did not see a single car. The calm and the serenity of this place were great assets in the realization of our project.
Every morning we boarded a small boat at 6 am to cross the winding little streams of the delta. When the sun rose, we were ready to photograph the birds’ morning behaviors. We were very surprised not only by the number of bird species that we observed but also by how many birds there were. We will remember the ponds covered by hundreds of white pelicans and mute swans for a long time.
As always, we used a local guide. He is a former professional fisherman who has become an ornithologist. His knowledge of the Danube Delta and of birds helped us create some very interesting pictures.
The greatest challenge of the Danube Delta is its area. With an area of around 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles), it offers birds many places to hide. Without the expertise of our guide, we would certainly have spent hours vainly seeking some species, such as purple herons.