Burton Expeditions, 2000. 308 pages, Octavo, paperback, colour photographs, maps.
The communist regime which put so much of eastern Europe off-limits to wandering birders was paradoxically good for the birds and other forms of wildlife – that is the inescapable conclusion from reading this book. The prevention of development of agricultural practice, and preservation of forests and many wetlands have resulted in eastern Europe being disproportionately important for wildife. The world’s most extensive reedbeds are in Romania, in the Danube Delta. From a pan-European point of view, the most important populations of Pygmy Cormorants, White Pelicans, Red-backed Shrikes, Wolves, Bears and many other species are all here. This book is the key to going about finding these and every other species. There are 56 numbered sites described in detail but in practice around twice this number. This is a highly readable work; a huge amount of information is presented in a structured and palatable way. The result of a vast amount of wide-ranging field research in every corner of the country, plus access to Romanian texts over a period of eight years, many of the sites described are hitherto unheard of beyond the country’s borders. The guide provides information on Romania and Moldova’s mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibia, butterflies and botany, also details of accommodation near every bird site. With a species by species survey of all vertebrates occurring in Romania, including vagrant birds. It contains over sixty detailed birdwatcher’s site maps with specific information on entry into the Danube Delta. Even if you had not thought of visiting Romania, this may well persuade you. And even if you never go, this is an important work on the ecology and conservation of one of Europe’s greenest countries, with an importance far beyond its boundaries.