Northern Serbia

Owls & Raptors Spring Tour

  • Duration

    19 May 2018 to 26 May 2018

  • Location

    Serbia

  • Led by

    David Lindo with Milan Ružić

  • Group size

    up to 13 participants

  • Price

    £1,500 per person excludes flights

  • Single supplement

    £145

  • Deposit

    £300 per person

  • Remaining balance due

    60 days before travel start date

Free loan of Leica Ultravid binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

About Serbia

Serbia is a landlocked Balkan country in southeastern Europe that was part of the former Yugoslavia. Situated on the southern edge of the Pannonian Plain it is bordered to the north by Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to the east, Macedonia to the south and Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro to the west. Serbia’s capital is Belgrade one of the largest cities in Southeast Europe.

The local currency is the Serbian Dinar.

Tour overview

This tour promises be a great and completely unexpected wildlife experience. During the course of this holiday we will explore the wide range of habitats within the Pannonian Plain – one of Serbia best birding regions. Not only will we be enjoying a host of great birds but we will also get the chance to sample the very hearty Serbian hospitality.

Expect to see scenic wooded hills, farmland, grassland, lakes, rivers and marshes. The urban habitats are pretty interesting too as the parks are filled with the sight and sounds of Golden Orioles, Common Nightingales and breeding Long-eared Owls.

We will discover birds and other wildlife that reside in the small towns, villages and surrounding countryside that encircle Ečka (pronounced: Ech-ka). Birds like Syrian Woodpecker and Saker Falcon will be our targets. We will pay a visit to Lake Rusanda, a highly saline, shallow wetland in the Vojvodina region. The lake is surrounded by agricultural and pasture land plus there are orchards and vineyards that are perfect for Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike and Turtle Dove.

The wooded hills of Vrsac (pronounced: Versich) are not to be missed. The hills are covered with mixed oak, beech, hornbeam and lime woodlands along with vineyards and farmland situated some 25km northeast of the Deliblato Sands. As we wander around the woodlands we will listen to the continuous buzzing produced by millions of beating insect wings. We will also look for woodland denizens like the stunning Fire Salamander and birds like Northern Goshawk, Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Ural Owl.

Whiskered Terns, Eurasian Spoonbills and Pygmy Cormorants will be our quarry around the vast areas of marsh, riverine forest, wetlands and fishponds that we will visit around the slow flowing Tamis River. This area is among the best for birding in the whole of Serbia with Squacco Heron, Ferruginous Duck and Penduline Tit amongst its inhabitants. Plus, we will also spend time wandering the Deliblato Sands. At 33,000 hectares it is Europe’s largest sand dune system. Although we will be looking at the many nesting Sand Martins and Bee-eaters, the area also consists of grassland, farmland and mixed forest. It will be in those habitats that we will also be on the look out for Long-legged Buzzard, Tawny Pipit and Susliks – a curious ground squirrel. The Deliblato Sands are also home to European and Marbled Polecats, Golden Jackal and at least three packs of Grey Wolves.

But it’s not just about the wildlife. Having a laugh will be high on our agenda. We will visit a host of good local eateries some with good wineries with wine tasting opportunities. Transportation will be in the form of a comfortable minibus.

Serbia is a country that many will not immediately associate with great birding and wildlife watching opportunities. It has to be said that it is one of those places where seeing really is believing!

Expected birds

  • Barn Owl
  • Barred Warbler
  • Black Stork
  • Black-necked Grebe
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Collared Flycatcher
  • Crested Lark
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • European Bee-eater
  • European Honey Buzzard
  • European Roller
  • Ferruginous Duck
  • Garganey
  • Golden Oriole
  • Great Egret
  • Hawfinch
  • Hoopoe
  • Lesser Grey Shrike
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle
  • Little Owl
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Long-legged Buzzard
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Ortolan Bunting
  • Penduline Tit
  • Purple Heron
  • Pygmy Cormorant
  • Red-backed Shrike
  • Red-footed Falcon
  • Saker Falcon
  • Savi’s Warbler
  • Short-toed Eagle
  • Spanish Sparrow
  • Squacco Heron
  • Syrian Woodpecker
  • Tawny Pipit
  • Ural Owl
  • Whiskered Tern
  • White Stork
  • White-tailed Eagle
  • Wood Warbler

Itinerary

May 19

Arrive in Belgrade. Transfer from airport to Ečka and our hotel, Kastel Ečka – a 90 minute minibus drive north. We will dine at the hotel then take a nocturnal stroll around the hotel grounds looking for breeding Long-eared, Little and Barn Owls.

Overnight stay and dinner at Kastel Ečka.

May 20

After breakfast we will journey to Rusanda Park to walk through the small wooded parkland and witness a large multi-species colony of breeding Red-footed Falcon, Common Kestrel, Rook and Long-eared Owls. It is the densest breeding colony of raptors anywhere in the world. Thereafter, we will scan the adjoining Rusanda Lake for White-tailed Eagle, waders, waterfowl like Garganey and egrets. We will be paying a visit to nearby Slano Kopovo Nature Reserve for the possibility of more waders like Ruff and Wood Sandpiper plus signs of visible migration.

Finally, we will visit to the town square of Kikinda – the Long-eared Owl Capital of the World – for a bit of culture and to see where the multitudes of the aforementioned famous owls roost in the winter.

Overnight stay and dinner at Kastel Ečka.

May 21

We will spend more time discovering Red-footed Falcons, owls and looking for migrants at various sites near Ečka.

Overnight stay and dinner at Kastel Ečka.

May 22

We will travel to the Vrsac area and make it our base for the remainder of the trip. This region is great for raptors, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-backed Shrike, Barred Warbler and Ortolan Bunting. A visit to the wetlands and carp fishponds around the Tamis River will come next for waders, egrets, Black and Whiskered Terns.

Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight stay in Hotel Srbija, Vrsac.

May 23

We will spend the whole day exploring the Vrsac Hills looking for the enigmatic Fire Salamander, woodland birds and nesting Ural Owl.

Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight stay in Hotel Srbija, Vrsac.

May 24

A full day will be spent in the fascinating Deliblato Sands on the look out for Long-legged Buzzard, Tawny Pipit and Susliks.

Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight stay in Hotel Srbija, Vrsac.

May 25

Our last full day and it will be once again spent in the remarkable Deliblato Sands looking for migrants, Hoopoe, Eurasian Bee-eater and more raptors.

Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight stay in Hotel Srbija, Vrsac.

May 26

Transfer to Belgrade airport for the flight home.

Special trip notes

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

A moderate amount of walking is involved with upwards of 5km involved on the Deliblato Sands visits. Also, there may be some undulations in the woodland terrain at the Vrsac Hills that may be tricky for those with walking difficulties, especially if there has been rain and the conditions underfoot are muddy and slippy.

The weather can range from being mild to pretty hot. It can also be wet so bring waterproof attire and walking boots

Recommended field guide

Collins Bird Guide – Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterström

Book now

  • Price: £1,500 per person excludes flights
  • Group size: up to 13 participants
  • Single supplement: £145
  • Deposit: £300 per person
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date
  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

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Price includes

  • Bed & breakfast accommodation
  • All meals and drinks
  • Transport in a comfortable minibus
  • Entrance fees to reserves and national parks
  • The services of David Lindo – The Urban Birder along with Milan Ružić and his Serbian wildlife associates.
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • Lunch and incidental refreshments at cafes and bars: note that this will be relatively inexpensive.
  • Items of a personal nature
  • All alcoholic beverages
  • Personal travel insurance