Here along the banks of the Danube, with Central Europe at one and the Balkans at the other bank, mid-summer is a tricky part of the year if you are a birder. The sun rises a few minutes before 5 a.m. and the crack of dawn starts by 4:15 a.m. already, so I am waking up at 3:30 a.m. to be out there on time.

That early, the air temperature is still close to 20°C/68°F, but in only a few short hours it will be close to thirty, to reach more than 35°C/95°F by mid-day. And the birds will be hiding in some shade.

For the majority of species – unless they have a second brood or live higher up in the mountains – by the end of June the breeding season is over and very few birds still sing or bother to defend a territory. It’s too hot for that.

This morning we drove through the fields by still sleepy Common Pheasants and ever-amorous Common Woodpigeons. Then there was a Syrian Woodpecker, practically a species of almond orchards and open savannas, as well as the ubiquitous Common Kestrel, Common Magpies and Hooded Crows. Every other bush had its own Great Tit or Eurasian Blackcap, but the most abundant bush master was the ever extrovert Common Whitethroat. And the sun went up and the birds become almost silent.

In school, I learned that Belgrade belongs to temperate continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Yet, the other day I was checking something on Wikipedia, only to discover that it is no longer the case? Nowadays, according to Köppen climate classification, Belgrade has humid subtropical climate (Cfa), with four seasons and uniformly spread precipitation!! A humid subtropical climate sounds like a very good description of what we experience in warm part of the year, but is it true?

Or is it someone’s practical Wiki-joke? I mean, Belgrade is as far north as Seattle, Portland or Minneapolis-St. Paul. Hence I asked the experts at the Belgrade University.

Professor Vladimir Djurdjevic said that, based on the data measured in the period 1981-2010, Belgrade does have a subtropical climate, according to Köppen’s classification: there is not a single month with the average temperature below 0°C/32°F, there is a month with the average temperature above 22°C/72°F, there are four months with the average temperature above 10°C/50°F and there is no significant difference in monthly precipitation.

So, I am in the humid subtropics?? Tomorrow morning I will be searching for the Greater Painted Snipe and the Palestine Sunbird. Come birding Serbia – the country of limitless birdscapes.

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Written by Dragan
Dragan Simic is obsessively passionate about two things – birding and travelling in search of birds, and that has taken him from his native Balkans to the far shores of Europe and the Mediterranean, southern Africa, India and Central America. His 10,000 Birds blog posts were Highly Commended in the International Category of the 2015 BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards. Birder by passion and environmental scientist by education, he is an ecotourism consultant, a field researcher and a bird blogger who always thinks that birding must be better behind that next bend in the road, and that the best bird ever is – the next lifer. He tweets as @albicilla66