Before I show the photographs from the session, I want to change topic slightly and mention frogs. Throughout our stay on the Delta the air was filled with the constant chorus of singing frogs. They are everywhere you go in very large numbers and a key component of the food chain for the larger water birds such as herons and egrets. During quieter spells when we were waiting for birds to come close to the hide boat, I often found myself taking a few frog photos to pass time. A small selection are below:
We had no sooner entered the lake and we came across a Night Heron, standing statue like in the soft dawn light.
The boat was skill-fully manoeuvred once again back into position to photograph the Black-necked Grebes. These attractive small water birds seemed less approachable on this particular morning than they had during our first session and the reason soon became obvious.
Note in this last one there is more than one 'passenger'. In fact there were three on board.
The Danube Delta has left an indelible mark in my memory. Never I have a been to a place where the raw beauty and productivity of nature has been so evident. The sights, sounds and smells of the Delta invokes a sensory overload and you find yourself quickly drawn-in and then completely immersed in the place. I could have happily spent a month there drifting in a happy daze around the waterways and lakes. The visit also reinforced to me why the preservation of these large natural wetland sites is not just important but essential.
In the early afternoon we left Mila 23 to head upstream back to some 'terra firma' at Tulcea. It felt like we had been in the hide boat for weeks rather than just a couple of days. The 90 minute journey into the Delta turned into a 5 hour boat ride out as we had to battle against the swift flows of the irrepressible River Danube. En route we passed several floating hotels that were being towed upstream by small tug boats whose engines were straining to pull that floating mass against the flow and bellowed clouds of exhaust fumes from their funnels. The tourists on the upper deck seemed oblivious to this trail of diesel fumes that seemed to envelope them as they sipped long cold drinks. We were returning back to 'civilisation'.
We arrived in a bustling Tulcea in the early evening and checked into a rather in-personal hotel for our one night stay. I certainly thought that the person who had picked the hotel decoration did the place many favours. The grey net material for the windows gave the freshly decorated rooms a rather drab and tired feeling. It all felt rather oppressive after the light airy feeling of the Mila 23 accommodation. After the meal everyone disappeared quickly back to the rooms to catch some rest after the long journey and an early night was definitely in order as we would be checking out early the next morning to head into the Macin Mountains for the next couple of days.