Archive for the Canaraua Fetii Category


Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Concedii, Plimbari, Specii rare on December 1, 2017 by maxpho

For some time now I’ve been waiting for the right moment to write a post about some of the reptiles I’ve met during my field trips in Romania.

I believe that the “right moment” is close, so I’m slowly starting to post a few shots of some of the vipers and other snakes.

The first one, showing perhaps the smallest of the viper individuals I’ve ever, a young Vipera berus, with an interesting “scale bar” near-by:)

It was found in the Retezat Mountains, near the “Pietrele” cabin.


And another Vipera berus individual, also from the Retezat Mountains, this time a fully-grown adult, of a very interesting coloration:


One of the first Vipera berus found in the Retezat Mountains, back in 2011. This specimen was again found in 2012 and 2013 at the same location.


A shot of my very first viper species ever found in Nature, back in 2010. This individual is of the species Vipera ammodytes mondandoni. It is found only in Bulgaria and South-Western Romania. I think that after meting this guy, handling it and take a few photographs, I was totally devoted to finding vipers and snakes in general wherever I went. “Thank you little one!”. It is also quite sad to find this shot, since, after 2011, I was not able to find any other vipers at the same location…I do suspect human activities were the main reason.


A few shots of a young Vipera ammodytes ammodytes, a species found in south-western Romania, and one of the most recognizable vipers in Europe due to that little horn on its nose. This individual was found in 2013 while basking in the Sun; when approached it remained perfectly still, playing dead. It took some time to have it move and be friendly enough for some closeups.



And another young of the same species, at almost the same location, but this time in 2016.


And this time a large, actually very large, individual of Vipera ammodytes ammodytes. This guy was found hiding under a large boulder; after persuading him to come out, I’ve noticed that it was badly injured. Apparently it did recover, at least partially, and now was preparing to molt.  This is the reason for its blue eyes:



Another viper species, one that made me travel a few hundreds of miles from home in order to find it. Rather difficult to observe due to its small size and perfect camouflage, so after two years only two individuals were found. One of them was spotted as it was rushing towards me in the grass. Its name: Vipera ursinii moldavica.




Spring butterflies and moths

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Comana on March 20, 2017 by maxpho

Spring is definitely here…these shots present some of the early butterfly and moth species that start to emerge in March-April.

Zerynthia polyxena:

Zerynthia polyxena March2017.jpg

Eudia pavoniella:




Eudia pavoniella – March 5, 2017

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Specii rare on March 5, 2017 by maxpho

Spring is here now, and the Microcosmos is once again opening up for exploration.

My very first moth species photographed this year is a not-so-frequently seen one: Eudia pavoniella (Scopoli, 1763). It is a smaller version of the giant peacock moth (Saturnia pyri), but with the males much more beautifully colored. The following shots confirm that:



This is the second time I’m photographing this species. The first session was a few years ago (link).

Some insect macrophotography – May 2016

Posted in Canaraua Fetii, Comana, Plimbari, Specii rare on May 21, 2016 by maxpho

During a few expeditions at the beginning of May, I’ve managed to get a few pictures of some beautiful butterflies and other insects, some of which are threatened with extinction in a few locations due to the “great human intervention”. I will not get in depth with the reasons why this happens more and more often in our country. I will, perhaps one day, write a more comprehensive article about this, but I already believe it will not have any impact…

And now the shots:

Parnassius mnemosine distincta:

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parnassius 3.jpg

parnassius 2.jpg

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Melitaea phoebe phoebe:

melithea 1.jpg

melithea 2.jpg

Glaucopsyche alexis alexis:

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licenid 2.jpg


Carcharodus orientalis orientalis:

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Saturnia pavonia pavonia (only eggs and larva):



Zerynthia polyxena polyxena (adult female and eggs):


And other insects:




Canaraua fetii 2014

Posted in Canaraua Fetii on February 6, 2015 by maxpho

This post is about four trips in the special area of the Canaraua Fetii region in Dobrogea, Romania, in July, August and September 2014.

During these trips I was accompanied by my wife, her brother and my uncle. All of us remember these excursions vividly, since all of them had something special: from new species to strange weather conditions, and, unfortunately, to direct contact with the destruction of Nature by man.

Like in all Nature-related posts, I will list some of the species I’ve observed through photographs.

First trip – July 6

One of our firsts, a snake, Elaphe longissima:









IMG_9690And now an insect species, again a first for us, and one of the larger beetles in Europe: Cerambyx velutinus. Only one female was found alive, but different body parts from other individuals were scattered around their home trees (an oak species- Quercus pubescens) in a wide area, making this a good sign for their good-sized population in Canaraua Fetii.


IMG_9710July is a good period of the year when you can see one of the yellowest butterfly in Romania: Gonepteryx rhamni.



IMG_9747 bAnd also in July, the adults of Bradyporus dasypus make some of the loudest insect sounds at Canaraua Fetii. We’ve found some of them only by listening from tens of meters away. And they are also some of the largest insects found in Romania, with some females reaching more than 80mm in body length, including their ovipositor.



IMG_9781And since no trip to Dobrogea is truly a trip to Dobrogea untill you meet one of the region’s icons (Testudo graeca):

IMG_9784Other insects were of course present, but some were flying too fast, some were nocturnal, while others were lurking in the trees. like this Cerambyx cerdo female:

IMG_9805Due to the high temperatures and associated drought, large gatherings of blue butterflies (Fam. Lycaenidae) were all over the  roads inside the Canaraua Fetii area, feeding and drinking minerals from the very few still-wet places.






And since the frenzy activity was a joy to watch, a few short Full-Hd videos:

Second trip – August 23

This was the first time when we’ve decided to get inside the Canaraua Fetii area on a different route. We were glad we did so…(Warning: large image below!)

mic IMG_4637_stitchSome of the attractions in the Canaraua Fetii area are not alive anymore. They don’t even have a true body left, but only impressions (fossils) of their existence are to be found in the calcareous walls exposed in a few locations. Below is just such an example of a calcareous formation, which I’ve named (for this post) “The Tower”.


And some fossils:

fosileThese locations are also habitats for many stranger-looking species, like this centipede (Scutigera coleoptrata):

IMG_4559This expedition was planned for observing some of the crepuscular/nocturnal insects found in Canaraua Fetii, but due to winds and a rapidly advancing cloud front, we left quite early. Still we did found one dragonfly (not quite nocturnal, I know) almost dead in the grass (Aeshna mixta)…

IMG_4649…and enjoyed for a few moments the artificially-illuminated area (from the head-lamps of our car), plus a starry background, with the constellation of Cassiopeia rising:


pano 1

Third trip – September 6

Some of the first butterflies you notice in September are the Lycaenids. Some of them are fast fliers, like this Lycaena phlaeas phlaeas male:


IMG_4965Other insects wait their pray on the ground or small grass, like this praying mantis from the species Ameles decolor:

IMG_5002And there are other invertebrates that wait their pray at an even lower level, in small burrows in the ground, like this young Geolycosa vultuosa male:




IMG_5023Against predators, some insects display defensive mechanisms like warning colors and positions. One such case are caterpillars. Two examples:

Acronicta psi



Acronicta rumicis

omida 2

Fourth trip – September 20

Our last trip into Canaraua Fetii in 2014. We did meet a lot of insect species, but we were looking for specific ones, so not so much photographs this time.

Still, a large number of lycaenids was present, so at least one shot was mandatory.

Polyommatus icarus icarus

IMG_5071And a larger version of the above; look at the scales on the wings.IMG_5072A lot of wolf spider burrows were present on the rural roads, so a lot of spiders from the species Geolycosa vultuosa were found. Only two were photographed.

A male:



IMG_5091And a female:




IMG_5077And a “true” closeup:

IMG_5080 bFor this year I plan to make a lot more photographs of the species and views that Canaraua Fetii has to offer.


Canaraua Fetii – 29 Aprilie 2012

Posted in Canaraua Fetii on January 27, 2013 by maxpho

Continui cu posturi cu tematica “naturista”.

De data asta o sa ma refer pe scurt la o excursie in Canaraua Fetii, Dobrogea.

Motivatia personala pentru aceasta drumetie a fost sa regasesc vipera-cu-corn si sa realizez cateva fotografii mai…speciale.

Din pacate, in pofida a cateva ore bune de cautari, nu m-am ales decat cu orgoliul ranit, si asta pentru ca singurul exemplar gasit, un juvenil de aprox 20 cm lungime, a “scapat atentiei” ascunzandu-se intr-o crevasa a peretilor calcarosi.

Totusi, cateva fotografii ale Faunei locale tot am reusit.

Primele prezinta starea generala “la fata locului”, cu albinareii omni-prezenti si peisajul primavaratic “de Canara”:

peisaj 2

peisaj 1

pano cfapr12

Primele necuvantatoare intalnite au fost cateva omizi.

Unele apartinand genului Melitaea:

omizi melithaea

Alta, genului Catocala.

Acest superb exemplar l-am gasit cu totul intamplator uitandu-ma pe scoarta unui copac dupa urme de cerambicizi, fiind perfect camuflata pe scoarta. Doar miscarea ei a dat-o de gol.

omida cato 2

omida cato 1

omida cato 3

Cum de vipere nu am avut noroc, macar a doua “tinta” pe ziua respectiva a fost prezenta si “a si stat la fotografie”.

Ma refer la cativa salticizi (paianjeni-saritori).

Primul exemplar, este o femela de Carrhotus xanthogramma, ai carei masculi i-am gasit la ceva departare, insa nu am mai avut rabdarea de a-i fotografia (fiind foarte…agitati).

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pai sar 2

A doua specie este motivul secundar pentru care am ales ca destinatie Canaraua Fetii in ziua respectiva: Philaeus chrysopus. In opinia mea este cel mai frumos paianjen-saritor de la noi din tara.

pai sar 3

pai sar 4

pai sar 5

Pe langa speciile de primavara, ce “activeaza” si pe timpul verii, mai sunt prezente si unele cu forma sezonierea diferita, cum ar fi Arachnia levana levana, ce primavara prezinta coloritul din imaginea de mai jos (forma levana), pe cand vara-toamana are un colorit negru-cu-alb (forma prorsa).

arach lev

Mergand spre Nord, ajungem la o locatie ce pana in 2011 oferea privirii un peisaj salbatic (in afara de campurile cultivate, bineanteles).

Din pacate, incepand din 2012 o constructie “mirifica” se inalta pe dealul cu vedere spre grotele din peretii de calcar: o biserica ce a uitat probabil ca “locatarii de drept” din rezervatia “Canaraua Fetii” nu au auzit de Dumnezeu, iar slujba de Duminica nu face decat sa le “streseze” timpanele si implicit modul de viata.

Deh, Homo sapiens destructivus a ajuns si aici, la Canara.


“Vizavi” de locasul religios, adevaratele “cladiri” de credinta (pentru alte specii de pe acest Pamant) privesc intristate spre dealul vecin.

peisaj 3

La baza acestor pereti de calcar, testoasele dobrogene (Testudo graeca) isi fac planuri pentru viitoarele case:

testoase 1

testoase 2

testoase 3

E posibil ca nici “in gaura de vipera” sa nu mai fie scapare pentru ele in urmatorii ani, cand asa zisii “credinciosi” cu lanturi de aur si SUV-uri or sa vina sa petreaca “vizavi” jumatate de ora la biserica si 3 ore la gratare si mult alcool…

Sa vedem ce gasim la Canaraua Fetii in 2013…


(27 Ianuarie 2013)

Canaraua Fetii – 3 Mai 2010

Posted in Canaraua Fetii on February 8, 2012 by maxpho

Inca o plimbare pana la Canara. In luna mai de data asta. Tot 2010. Tot amintire….

Pana sa ajungem la Canara insa (in formatie de patru: eu, sotia, unchiu si cumnatu) o pauza de la condus, pe langa Dunare…

Ajunsi in rezervatie, ma duc hotarat spre locurile unde gasisem in aprilie viperele cu corn. Nici o urma insa. Nimic. Nici macar o piele naparlita…

Ma opresc totusi sa fotografiez cateva fosile…Un melc, doua scoici si inca…ceva:

Si inca o scoica. Scoica care a vazut Dunarea (canionul Canaraua Fetii fiind candva un fost curs al Dunarii), a vazut disparitia apei, si acum a ajuns ascunzatoare pentru o omida de fluture. In imagine se vede crisalida parasita.

Ne indreaptam apoi spre alti pereti de calcar. O zona care in curand (2012?) o sa devina din ce in ce mai aglomerata…

In imaginea de mai sus, undeva in dreapta, a inceput in 2011 constructia unei manastiri…(am vorbit de ea si in postul “Canaraua Fetii – 17 aprilie 2010”).

“Vizavi” de campul de mai sus, grotele reprezentative ale zonei:

O imagine in lumina naturala si una realizata in infrarosu, doar asa…de joaca:

Si la linkul urmator am postat si un film-panorama (de 180 grade) cu vedere spre grotele mai sus prezentate.

FILM Canaraua Fetii 3 Mai 2010

Mergand pe langa peretii de calcar din imaginile de mai sus, gasim cativa subiecti fotogenici:

Cateva exemplare de Podarcis muralis (Soparla de ziduri):

Si un frumos si mic paianjen saritor (inca neidentificat):

Si o prima “noua specie” (pentru mine) pe ziua respectiva: un gandac “Forfecar”. Pe numele sau stiintific Lethrus apterus. Un scarabeid cu “falci” imense raportate la corp. In Romania, doar Radasca (Lucanus cervus) il depaseste la raportul falci/corp.

Lasam in urma grotele, si urcam incet dealul “de vizavi”.

Pe cateva fire de iarba gasim omizi de Malacosoma castrensis.

Printre firele de iarba, si cateva gauri de Geolycosa vultuosa, cu un exemplar “asteptand la intrare”:

Si o a doua  “noua” specie pentru mine, de data asta o broasca testoasa: testoasa de uscat dobrogeana (Testudo graeca). Un exemplar trecut prin multe, dupa cum sugera carapacea sparta in dreptul capului…

Exemplarul de mai sus a fost primul din cele trei gasite in ziua respectiva.

Al doilea exemplar l-am gasit la un perete de calcar. Un exemplar tanar, initial blocat intre cateva pietre.

Dupa acest ultim subiect din interiorul rezervatiei, ma orientez spre cateva peisaje.

Clorofila cat vezi cu ochii…

La iesirea din rezervatie, un ultim exemplar de testoasa dobrogeana alerga (cu 1km/h cred) pe camp. Un exemplar mare de data asta;

Prin preajma, cateva gauri in pamant semnalau prezenta unor  popandai (Spermophilus citellus):

Si o ultima “prima” specie pe ziua in cauza:  Codalbul (Haliaeetus albicilla). Am avut parte de o adevarata lupta aeriana, cu doua exemplare “fugarindu-l” pe al treilea. Din pacate spectacolul m-a luat pe neasteptate, si mai toate fotografiile sunt procesate destul de mult pentru a putea “scoate” ceva din ele. Distanta pana la subiecti: intre 150 si 300 de metrii.

O vedere spre localitatea Baneasa, aflata in imediata apropiere a rezervatiei Canaraua Fetii.

Si ultimul subiect fotografiat/filmat: o barza (Ciconia ciconia). Cocotata la 5 metrii pe un stalp.

Exemplarul se curata de puful “extra”. Un mic filmulet aici.

Asa a luat sfarsit si a doua excursie la Canaraua Fetii. O zona superba in felul ei, cu insecte si animale care inca traiesc relativ neperturbate de OM. Deocamdata…


(7 ianuarie 2012)