Birding trip Hungary (+ Eastern Austria) 4-16 May 2005

report by John van der Woude at www.jvanderw.nl 
See also other parts of this report: photos, species list.

Private trip, by car, 2 persons, mainly camping.
Relatively cool weather (good for birding).
Used maps: Shell map Hungary 1:350.000; detailed map of Bükk NP provided by Farm Lator.

Visited areas:
Hansag area (grassy plains, marshy borders, woods) both in Austria and Hungary, East of the Neusiedler See (+ a bit of Neusiedler See itself); 5+6 May. Done from campsite at St. Andrä.

Bükk NP forested hills (between Eger and Miskolc) + Hortobagy NP + areas in between; 7-12 May. Mainly done from Farm Lator (www.farmlator.hu), a nice lodge+campsite run by Dutch naturalist (birds + butterflies) and his wife, at border of Bükk NP.
Hortobagy NP puszta and fish ponds done from basic campsite at Hortobagy village (2 nights).
Zemplen forested hills + bordering lowlands West and especially East; 12-14 May.
Done from Abaujszanto (pension; no campsite, but good location for whole area).


 











GPS Waypoints (in WGS84):

GPS235 N47°47'38,55" E016°54'53,41" (campsite Zicksee)
GPS236 N47°45'35,14" E016°59'49,11" (start of best birding road Hansag, starts just outside Tadten)
GPS237 N47°44'17,61" E017°01'13,28" (good spot along same road)
GPS238 N47°40'46,62" E017°07'51,47" (halfway good birding road Hungarian Hansag)
GPS239 N47°39'37,04" E017°08'25,50" (start of same)
GPS241 N47°58'51,45" E020°38'05,08" (Farm Lator; www.farmlator.hu)
GPS242 N47°48'59,97" E020°53'37,75" (at border of Mezöcsát; Red-f Falcons)
GPS243 N47°37'15,02" E021°04'35,47" (best watchtower Halasto fish ponds)
GPS245 N48°13'18,42" E021°29'30,73" (nice spot for lunch + birding in Bodrogköz)

Species highlights
(see also full species list)

Great Bustard - displaying group Hansag Austria (see map).
Short-eared Owl -  4 hunting together Hansag Austria (at GPS237).
River Warbler - several Hansag Hungary + Bodrogköz.
Penduline Tit - gathering nest material Hansag Hungary; several heard along Tisza river (esp. near Aroktö).
Pygmy Cormorant - together on dead tree with Cormorant Hortobagy (N of GPS243).
Little Bittern - flying below watchtower Hortobagy (GPS243).
Black Stork - once soaring together with 2 Buzzards.
Ferruginous Duck - several Hortobagy; close views! Esp. near hide of Ohat fish ponds.
Imperial Eagle - 1 near nest Borsod Mesozeg (thanks Farm Lator), 2 hunting nearby W of Zemplen, near Fony.
Red-footed Falcon - many in Hortobagy, always in groups (except 1 stray juv. inside Zemplen). Best spot: where road to Nagyivan splits from main road in Hortobagy.
Saker Falcon - 2 next to their nest box in power pylon (thanks EcoTours).
Whiskered Tern and White-winged Black Tern - together with Black Tern in Borsod Mesozeg; Whiskered also in Bodrogköz E of Zemplen.
Bee-eater - several, just arriving.
Roller - on two occasions, just arriving?
Hoopoe - several, one foraging closeby in Bodrogköz E of Zemplen (at Zalkod).
Wryneck - many heard, several seen; e.g. on campsite Farm Lator.
Syrian Woodpecker - finally one, during field lunch in Bodrogköz E of Zemplen (GPS245).
Middle Spotted Woodpecker - near nesting tree (thanks Michael B) behind Farm Lator.
White-backed Woodpecker - we found a nest (thanks Farm Lator for pointing out best valley).
Grey-headed Woodpecker - several heard, finally seen a pair at Zemplen.
Tawny Pipit - 3 times in pusztas (once also at arable field).
Barred Warbler - several heard, often with brief views, twice with good views. Both in Bükk and in Zemplen (e.g. road to Basko).
Red-breasted Flycatcher - 3 singing in valley SE of Repashuta, 1 seen closeby
Collared Flycatcher - commonly heard and several seen, once a pair at nest hole. Also at campsite of Farm Lator.
Red-backed Shrike - just arriving, last day many (Zemplen)
Lesser Grey Shrike - a pair along Northern W-E road of Hortobagy

Abundant passerines e.g.: Golden Oriole, Tree Sparrow, Hawfinch (in Zemplen also often on the ground!), Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtail. 
In Bükk NP forests Hawfinch is probably the most abundant breeding bird!
Good numbers of e.g. Whinchat (in Hansag and pusztas), Great Reed Warblers (wherever there is some old reed), Bearded Tit (Halasto fish ponds).