Northern Serbia January 2022
Long-eared Owl Spectacle & Winter Specialties
Long-eared Owl Spectacle & Winter Specialties
Serbia has rapidly become the most talked about birding destinations in Eastern Europe. Why? Because it is the best place in the world to see Long-eared Owls in incredible numbers right in the town square of a village in northern Serbia! Join us to experience the spectacle of the Long-eared Owl winter gathering in the now world famous town of Kikinda. The town’s main square holds huge gatherings of Long-eared Owls – upwards of 800 in some years, and has been declared by the local government as a nature reserve.
Our itinerary features wintering Long-eared, Short-eared, Barn and Little Owls, waterfowl, passerines, flocks of thousands of Common Crane, White-fronted Goose and the odd Lesser White-fronted and Red-breasted Goose that might mingle among them. Other expected birds include Bearded Tit, Caspian Gull, Crested Lark, Ferruginous Duck, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Marsh Tit, Penduline Tit, Pygmy Cormorant, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Syrian Woodpecker and White-tailed Eagle to name a few.
Adding to the experience will be the celebrated hospitality and cuisine of northern Serbia. Despite the cold of winter, this trip is relatively easy, with little walking and we will never be too far away from a cup of coffee as most of our birding will be urban based.
This tour will begin in Belgrade, Serbia. Most flights go overnight from the US to Serbia. Plan to arrive on Day 1, January 15, 2022 to begin the tour. The international airport in Belgrade is Nikola Tesla Airport (Airport code: BEG). Airlines servicing BEG include Air Serbia direct from United States. Other airlines with connecting flights to Belgrade include Lufthansa, Virgin, Delta, Air France, Air Canada, United, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, Alitalia, Iberia & KLM and others. Night aloft.
Arrive in Belgrade today. Transfer to the hotel in Belgrade. Overnight Belgrade.
Today will see us birding at the Rivers Sava and Danube confluence in the very heart of Belgrade. Some of the birds we expect to see include: Great Crested Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Grey Heron, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-headed Gull, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Tree Sparrow and Chaffinch. This day will include a tour of Belgrade. Evening dinner in Skadarlija. Overnight Belgrade.
Leaving Belgrade, we will travel north to Vojvodina. We will visit Pertovaradin Fortress, where the Austrian rulers hid their treasures during the time of Napoleon’s conquests. The fortress still stands as the city of Pertovaradin’s art center and its many underground tunnels continue to intrigue explorers from around the world. We’ll also stop across the Danube in Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city situated on the Carpathian basin.
Continuing on to Kikinda, we will arrive in the afternoon and have dinner at our hotel followed by an optional night walk around the grounds looking for owl species. Expected birds today include Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Owl, Long-eared Owl, Little Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, White Wagtail, Eurasian Robin, Black Redstart, Common Blackbird, Fieldfare, Rook, European Goldfinch, and European Greenfinch. Overnight Kikinda.
Today we will bird our way around Kikinda – the Owl Capital of the World, where we expect to see many Long-eared Owls. The phenomenon of wintering Long-eared Owls has put Kikinda on the map as arguably the best place to see this species and the spectacle of the number of birds is astounding. Up to 150 Long-eareds have been counted in one tree in the city center and the total number of roosting owls in the town square in winter can be upwards of 800! The birds can be anywhere and everywhere – in the churchyard, in the trees along the main street, and in the trees around cafes. The spectacle is incredible and should offer excellent owl watching and photographic opportunities. Once we’ve seen the owls, we will also take in some of the cultural delights, architecture, and cuisine that the town has to offer. Overnight Kikinda.
Today we will spend some time at back at Gradište village with yet more Long-eared Owls. On the way to Fantast Castle, we will look for other owl species including Short-eared and Little Owls. We will make a stop at one of the largest carp fish ponds in the country for Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Eagle, assorted egrets and gulls.
In the afternoon we will spend a few hours birding at Slano Kopovo Nature Reserve and hope to see up to 20,000 Common Cranes coming into roost plus numerous Greylag and White-fronted Geese among the hordes of assembled Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Eurasian Wigeon. If conditions cooperate this will all be against the backdrop of a glowing sunset.
White-tailed Eagle by Gina Nichol.Other expected birds include Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, possibly Red-breasted Goose or Lesser White-fronted Goose, Common Shelduck, Common Pochard, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harriers, Caspian Gull, Great Grey Shrike, and Hawfinch to name a few. Overnight Kikinda.
Today we will travel from Kikinda south to Western Serbia on our way to the conifer forests of Mt. Zlatibor. A part of the Dinaric Alps, “Zlatibor” means “Golden Pine” referring to the many pine trees in the area. It is a beautiful area and we will make several stops for birds and nature watching as we make our way to “Golden Pine Mountain”. Expected birds today include Grey Heron, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Lapwing, Golden Plover, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew plus others.
Today we will take a short drive to Uvac National Reserve to observe Serbia’s only Griffon Vulture colony. The Griffon is the symbol of Uvac Canyon and once faced extinction. A special fund for bird protection enabled the creation of feeding grounds for the birds and they now number around 300. In the nearby gorge surrounded by forests of spruce and birch, we can also look for Golden Eagles, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, and possibly more owls. We’ll also visit a local forest to look for some woodland birds such as Black Woodpecker, Fieldfare, Marsh Tit, Common Treecreeper, Hawfinch and Yellowhammer. Later in the day, we will return to Zlatibor. Overnight at Mt. Zlatibor.
Today we will return to Belgrade traveling along the river Drina. We will make stops on the way to observe more wildlife and get our last looks at the wintering birds of Serbia. Overnight Belgrade.
Departures from Belgrade.
Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.
Boots are essential for the Slano Kopovo Nature Reserve visit otherwise robust walking shoes will suffice.
Also, any and all costs arising from pandemic or Covid-19 related issues are not included in the tour cost and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. These include, among others, the costs of Covid treatment, hospitalization, medical fees, transport, meals and accommodation in case of illness or quarantine, and the costs of any Covid tests needed before, during and after the tour.
Please review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download) prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.
There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.
Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more.