The mid-conference excursion is a traditional element of EOU meetings. The excursion is included in the conference fee. A choice of five excursions is offered. Excursions are organised in cooperation with ‘Milvus Group’ Association and Romanian Ornithological Society (BirdLife Romania). Excursion names are in English and Romanian (EN | RO).
1. Băișoara Mountains | Muntele Băișorii
Muntele Băișorii is at a distance of 60 km from Cluj. It is a tourist site with two small ski resorts, situated above 1000 m altitude and hence characterised by coniferous forests dominated by spruce. Breeding species include honey buzzard, pygmy owl, Tengmalm’s owl, ural owl, capercaillie, hazel grouse, black woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker, ring ouzel, dunnock, firecrest and crested tit.
The hiking route will climb up to the Buscat peak (1676 m) with a beautiful panorama about the surrounding mountains in good weather conditions. The hike is easy, has 6.7 km with 358 m positive elevation, and with an estimated time at easy walking speed of 3–4 hours. Hiking boots are recommended, hiking poles are useful.
2. Trascău Mountains | Munții Trascăului
Trascău Mountains are famous for their picturesque landscape with a diverse matrix of traditionally used and managed grasslands and agricultural fields, forests and rocky outbreaks. It is protected under the Nature2000 network because it holds a considerable habitat and bird diversity.
2.1. Turda Gorge | Cheile Turzii
Turda Gorge is at a distance of 20 km from Cluj and is a popular touristic region owing to its picturesque karst landscape. It is a canyon in Jurassic limestone of almost 1.5 km in length and with walls of 200 m in height. It is part of a Natura2000 nature reserve network because it hosts a surprisingly high biodiversity both in terms of species richness (flora and fauna) and habitat richness, despite of the relatively small area of the reserve (300 ha). More than 1000 plant species have been recorded here, and among these several are endangered. The canyon is also famous for its avian fauna with golden eagle, short-toed eagle, honey buzzard, peregrine falcon, alpine swift, crag martin, black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, middle spotted woodpecker, woodlark, dipper, rock thrush and rock bunting.
The excursion will start with a short stop at the salt mine in Turda. The hike at Turda Gorge is of moderate difficulty, has 6.2 km with 510 m positive elevation, and with an estimated time at easy walking speed of 4–5 hours. Hiking boots are recommended, hiking poles are useful.
2.2. Sălciua de Jos – Huda lui Papara cave
Sălciua de Jos is at a distance of 75 km from Cluj. This is a rocky region with limestone in which several renowned caves have been formed over geological time. People living here have special farm houses built of wood and covered by grass and moss. These are built close to hay meadows where farmers stay during the harvesting season to manage their grasslands or care for the grazing livestock. Breeding birds include golden eagle, honey buzzard, peregrine falcon, corn crake, alpine swift, crag martin, black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, woodlark, dipper and rock bunting.
The hike is of easy to moderate difficulty, has 6.4 km climbing 590 m elevation, and with an estimated time at easy walking speed of 3–4 hours. Hiking boots are recommended, hiking poles are useful.
2.3. Rimetea village, Piatra Secuiului Peak
Rimetea is 60 km from Cluj. Rimetea is a leading touristic attraction in the region because of its pretty traditional houses and the beautiful nature surrounding the village. The village is located between two rocky ridges, the eastern one being the renowned for the Piatra Secuiului peak (1128 m). Due to this peak, the Sun rises two times a day, once over the horizon and once again above the ridge. The karst reliefs and the surrounding grasslands are protected under the Natura2000 network both for habitats and birds. Breeding species include golden eagle, peregrine falcon, honey buzzard, corncrake, eagle owl, scops owl, ural owl, nightjar, alpine swift, black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, middle spotted woodpecker, woodlark, crag martin, red-rumped swallow, tawny pipit, rock thrush, river warbler, sombre tit, ortolan bunting and rock bunting.
The hike is of easy to moderate difficulty, has 7 km climbing 631 m elevation, and with an estimated time at easy walking speed of 3–4 hours. Hiking boots are recommended, hiking poles are useful.
2.4. Rimetea village, Colțești Castle
Rimetea is 60 km from Cluj. The region is the same as the previous excursion but this excursion is an easier hike both in terms of length and difficulty. Almost the same habitats and birds are expected to be seen during the hike.
The hike is easy, has 6.2 km climbing 55 m elevation, and with an estimated time at easy walking speed of 2–3 hours.