HUNGARY ALBUM

HUNGARY IN SPRING 2017

Roger led a tailor-made tour for a group to the Hortobagy and Zemplen Hills; here are photographs by Janos Olah (Sakertour guide) of some of the very birds we saw

White-backed Woodpecker, Red-footed Falcons at their colony and male Collared Flycatcher...fabulous!

 

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The photos below were taken during a tour especially arranged for a group from Cambridge in spring 2015

 

flying over Budapest as we arrived

 

traditional farming maintains the habitat on the Hortobagy. This includes woolly pigs

Penduline Tit is common here

 

Black Stork

Spoonbills

We were fortunate to witness a spectacular courtship flight by two Bitterns

You can see the male's inflated neck feathers and blue facial skin

 

 

The two birds circled above us at low level several times

 

 

 

 

the female (above)

the male (above) has much brighter blue skin on the face in spring

 

Bearded Tits

 

 

A Little Owl sits on the roof of an old farmers cottage

 

The landscape of the Hortobagy is unique and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

We saw a flock of 14 Great Bustards

 

 

 

Nightingales were everywhere. We even had 5 singing by our hotel!

Night Heron

 

Ferruginous Duck is a rare bird in Europe these days, but we still saw plenty on trips to fish ponds managed specially for birds

 

White-winged Tern

 

Black Tern

White-tailed Eagle (above & below)

 

Pygmy Cormorant

Hundreds of cranes fed in fields by the fish ponds

Festoon Butterfly

 

Squacco Heron

Geese over the Hortobagy

Red-Footed Falcons breed in old crows nests

Montagu's Harrier

 

 

 

Syrian Woodpecker

 

an ancient breed of Hungarian sheep

 

Middle-spotted Woodpecker, one of nine species seen on this trip !

Black Redstart

Ural Owl

Cuckoo

a castle in the Zemplen Hills

 

White-backed Woodpecker

Collared Flycatcher

Black Redstart

the Zemplen Hills are home to many raptors, as well as numerous forest birds

 

 

This Long-eared owl chick was sat on Mum' back

 

Eastern Imperial Eagle

This Eagle Owl nested above a vineyard

This area is renown for Tokai Wine

we visited a wine cellar before dinner one evening

 

 

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This magnificent Ural Owl in the Zemplen Hills was photographed by Chrys Mellor on our 2013 Autumn tour, and here are some more of her lovely shots:

 

Big skies are a feature of the lowlands

Common Cranes , there were about 70,000 resting and feeding in the Hortobagy during our visit. This is an ancient migration stop-over area.

 

Serin and juvenile White-tailed Eagles.

 

Long-eared Owl, Greater Horse-shoe Bat and Green Tree Frog, all seen at close quarters in the daytime.

 

 

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Below are some photos taken during our 2012 trip.

Cranes (Janos Olah)

 

Hungarian Grey Cattle (Janos Olah)

 

Long-eared owl (Janos Olah)

 

Peregrine (Janos Olah) 

 

 

 


Saker (Janos Olah)


 

       

                       Ural Owl in the Zemplens (Janos Olah)                                                                                                         Common Cranes by tour member Barbara Murphy

 

 

 

Dotterel on the Hortobagy (Janos Olah)

 

 

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HUNGARY 2009

Pictures taken on our Autumn tour

 

Cranes over a traditional well on the puszta.

We ran two tours here in Autumn 2009; one was an RSPB members group special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional old farming methods are used in this UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Hortobagy.

 

 

 

Even the dog kennels are made in the age-old way. This tall structure made of reeds keeps the dogs cool in the hot sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A stop to take pictures of this castle in the Zemplen Hills allowed us to see Syrian Woodpecker, Merlin and a pair of Raven.

 

 

 

White-tailed Eagles were common on this trip. After this one had glanced down at us, it took off after an Imperial Eagle.

 

 

This Imperial Eagle was eyeing up the 100+ Dotterel on the plain below.

 

 

About 41,000 Cranes gathered to feed on the plains before migrating south for the winter.

 

 

The cranes would fly in to roost with thousands of Starlings

 

 

 

Skein after skein of cranes would fly over us at dusk each night.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Bustards feed in a specially protected area on the puszta. Their Hungarian warden took us to see them. He ensures there is plenty of food for them and they are free from disturbance as birds that leave Hungary have been shot in Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The old carts gave this place a wonderful peaceful feel. The glorious landscape makes birding a real pleasure. No checking rubbish tips or sewage farms on this trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn't tire of the thousands of cranes we saw each day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Little Owl was sat beside an old drain where it would roost when the day heated up.

 

 

 

 

Hares & Roe Deer are common here.

 

 

 

More cranes!

 

 

This Imperial Eagle was being mobbed by Rooks. A close look revealed that a shrike had joined them!

 

 

and more cranes!

 

 

 

 

and more!

 

 

40,001, 40,002, 40,003, 40004...........

 

 

 

The first Huns to arrive in Europe from Asia brought old breeds of sheep, cattle, pigs and water buffalo.

 

 

 

 

Sunset was always a joy as the cranes settled to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of Long-eared Owls breed on the puszta, which used to be almost treeless. As a result the birds would gather to roost in the few villages.

As they were not disturbed, they still use these ancient sites and massive numbers can move into the villages. We counted 36 in one tree!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Black Woodpecker in the garden each morning was a nice way to start the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long-tailed Tits here are the gorgeous white-headed race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White-backed Woodpecker is rare but we managed a couple, as well as Middle-spotted, Grey-headed, Syrian, Great-spotted, Green and Black.

 

 

 

The Zemplen Hills were the place to see the woodpeckers & Ural Owl, as well as sampling local wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick city tour of Budapest on the way to the airport meant that we did not have time to kill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40,097, 40,098, 40,099........

 

all pictures by Phil Palmer

 

click here for details of our next tour to this destination

 

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