LABUDOVO OKNO Ramsar Site and an Important Bird Area represents a section of the Danube floodplain downriver from Belgrade, Serbia, and situated in the south of the Deliblato Sands Special Nature Reserve. It includes the flow of the Danube and the floodplains along the Danube’s banks, the flooded mouths of the rivers Karas (with its upstream meanders) and Nera, marshes of Dubovacki Rit, plains of Stevanove Ravnice and the islands of Zilava, Cibuklija and Zavojska ada. Natural Oak, Willow and Poplar forests as well as poplar plantations, wet meadows, marshes and dry grasslands are present. It is an important stopover site and wintering area that attracts the largest congregations of waterbirds anywhere in the country. Nature reserve since 2002.

Dubovacki Rit; photos (3) by Slobodan Puzovic

250 bird species recorded, among them Greater White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Pygmy Cormorant, Great Spotted Eagle (winter), White-tailed Eagle, Osprey (migration only), Caspian Gull (mostly winter), Whiskered Tern, European Turtle Dove, European Bee-eater, Sand Martin.

Dubovacki Rit, Labudovo okno

Dubovacki Rit (Dubovac Wetland) is a part of the Labudovo okno Ramsar Wetland and protected within the Deliblato Sands Reserve. It lies between the village of Dubovac and the Danube, is about 2.4 km / 1.5 mi across and consists of open water, reedbeds and Willow and Poplar riparian forest, with adjoining Junipers on sand dunes. Surrounding Danube shallows are a significant wintering area for waterbirds.

Little Egrets, Pygmy Cormorants and Black-crowned Night Herons

In winter you may scope the Danube for Greater White-fronted and Greylag Goose, Common Shelduck, Smew and Goosander, Ferruginous Duck, Black-throated Diver, Pygmy Cormorant and Caspian Gull; and check the tree crowns for Fieldfares, Redwings and Mistle Thrushes, also a rare Greater Spotted Eagle. From March onward focus on the Dubovacki Rit proper for Garganey, Black and White Stork, Black-crowned Night Heron; from April for Purple Heron and Little Bittern, Long-legged Buzzard and three marsh terns (Black, White-winged and Whiskered), also Osprey (mostly April and August). Water Rail and Spotted Crake were also recorded here, as well as the Pied Avocet, Dunlin and Little Stint. European Turtle Doves, European Bee-eaters, Red-backed Shrikes, Eurasian Hoopoes, Sand Martins and Great Reed Warblers breed here and are conspicuous in spring.

Getting there: From Belgrade through Pancevo, Kovin and Gaj. Access to the wetland is from the village of Dubovac. To reach the western section, turn right at the first cross junction (coming from the direction of the town of Kovin) and just follow the street until you climb the levee. For the eastern section, follow the first (potholed) or the second dirt track right (better), after the Dubovac village.

When to visit: good year-round, but especially from late August to June.

eBird list of the recorded species

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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