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The Black Sea region is for the birds – literally! The Danube Delta, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and part of the great Eurasia-Africa migration route are located in this eastern boundary of Europe, along with a host of other fascinating plant and animal life.
Recognized as the world's third most biologically diverse area - after Australia's Great Coral Reef and Ecuador's Galapagos Archipelago – The Danube Delta in Romania forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands. You know this is heaven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts in general. Its passages are teaming with the highest concentration of bird colonies in all of Europe. The maze of canals bordered by thatch, willows and oaks entangled in lianas, offers the perfect breeding ground for countless species of birds, some of them from as far away as China and Africa. Millions of Egyptian white pelicans arrive here every spring to raise their young, while equal numbers of Arctic geese come here to escape the harsh winters of Northern Europe.
The Protected Area of Zlato Pole on the Martiza River Valley in Bulgaria is an oasis for a wide range of endangered species. The protected territory contains priceless riches from the plant and animal world: the pygmy cormorant, the little egret, the night heron, the squacco heron, the great bittern, the western marsh harrier and the bearded tit. The Collapsed Marsh Protected Zone in Golyamo Asenovo was formed after the mine beneath it collapsed. This has become a convenient winter habitat and food source for more than 120 endangered species of aquatic birds, as well as a family of European otters. The massive forest plantations contain centuries-old spruce forests, along with fir and beech trees.
Turkey is one big garden, with 10,000+ species of plants. The Black Sea coast is cool, humid and verdant, but the Mediterranean climate on the southern seaboard fosters banana trees and date palms. Sniff fragrant pine and cedar forests in the Taurus Mountains. Some 400 species of indigenous or migratory birds live in Turkey; the travelers are migrating between Africa, Asia and Europe. Spot them around the shores of Lake Manyas and at the Sultan Marshes near Kayseri, thought to be the only place where flamingos, cranes, herons and pelicans breed together. Sea turtles and seals play in the waters of the Mediterranean and the Aegean; you should, too.
Tourism is flourishing in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The wild and woolly Atlantic rolls ashore on many coasts.
Warm Mediterranean hospitality will linger in your memories.