Thursday 30 May 2024

Hungary Day 2 - 19th May 2024 for Bird's Wildlife & Nature Tours

Pre-dawn at Kondor Tanya came with Golden Orioles, Cuckoos, Hoopoes, Quails and Thrushes and were joined by invisible Black Woodpeckers and both Redstarts.  I never knew that Orioles started in the dark! The Hoopoes were popping in to feed their young that were hanging out of the next box and a Tree Pipit parachuted on the other side of the road.  

I had Clara the dog with me and she pointed down a track at another Golden Jackal

my buddy Clara

Dawn Roller


During breakfast it began to rain hard but we headed back north to escape it in the Kiskunság but despite the thunder, lightning, weird threatening skies and short showers we persisted and were rewarded with flying Great Bustards, Saker, floaty male Montagu's Harrier and our first Lesser Grey Shrikes and closer but still tricky Great Reed Warblers. 

Roe Deer

Lesser Grey Shrike - Neil Colgate

Lesser Grey Shrike - Neil Colgate

Montagu's Harrier  - Neil Colgate

Montagu's Harrier - Neil Colgate

Great Bustards

There were many day flying moths again which I need to identify along with both Chestnut and Small Heaths and a couple of dazzling Adonis Blues.

Adonis Blue - Neil Colgate

White Plumes

Names to be added - happy for input please!

Anchusa officianalis

Asparagus trefoil - Lotus maritimus

Austrian Sage - Salvia austriaca

Balkan Clary - Salvia nemorosa

Meadowsweet - Filipendula ulmaria

Meadow Clary - Salvia pratensis

Sulphur Cinquefoil - Potentilla recta 

Verbascum phoeniceum

Verbascum phoeniceum

With rain again falling we headed to a traditional Bee-eater nest bank - rather than the ground - and sat while the birds came and went around us; their soft pruukking only interrupted by the whistles of Golden Orioles, power ballarding Nightingales and even the brief refrain from a rather late Siberian Chiffchaff but we were in the van by the bank and could not get out and search.

Bee-eater - Neil Colgate


Bee-eater - Neil Colgate

Collared Pratincoles just about obliged (the Brown Hares certainly did!) and several Blue-headed Wagtails (not quite sussed the racial status of these yet) and three male Northern Wheatears were on territories across the fields before a cake stop in Bugyi where the sun came out.

Roe Deer

Still frisky Brown Hares - she was slightly out numbered

Blue-headed Wagtail - Neil Colgate

Blue-headed Wagtail

We offered to help Bruce but he said he would struggle on

Afterwards we were tempted back to the tower where 12 more Great Bustards were found including a full fizzed up puff ball of a male. Magnificent whatever the range! A Common Crane made Gabor smile as they are recolonising before we headed off to the huge lake complex nearby.

Tree Sparrow

strutting Great Bustards

Great Bustard - I know it may look much but this was superb in the scope

Common Crane in landscape

Common Crane

Bee-eaters - Nick Baelz

We spent the rest of the day around the Apaj fishponds finding a host of wetland birds with Whiskered and White Winged Black Terns dipping down around us, a barking male and flying female Little Bittern, breeding Spoonbills and a single Glossy Ibis while Great Reed Warblers gurked, Bearded Tits pinged and Penduline Tits wheezed. A few Yellow-legged Gulls were loafing around and we picked up a 2cy Little Gull feeding over one of the lakes which was a good local record.

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern - Neil Colgate

Water Frog - got to sus what one!

Water Buffalo

Great Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler - Neil Colgate
Little Gull - Neil Colgate

There were Red-crested Pochards and Ferruginous Ducks, displaying White Spot Bluethroats flashing bibs and tail rusty tail patches and reeling Savi's Warblers as well as both Shrikes and Turtle Doves.  A Wryneck even posed at the top of a dead tree for us.

Savi's Warbler

Ferruginous Duck

Red-crested Pochards

Red-crested Pochard


Lesser Grey Shrike

Up above Honey Buzzards, five White-tailed and an Eastern Imperial Eagle were seen and a first year Steppe Eagle was scoped in the distance - a real rarity that rang alarm bells before being identified.

Honey Buzzard

Honey Buzzard

White-tailed Eagle - wow

There were ludicrously bright Large Coppers, Lesser Emperors (both dragon and butter), Green Eyed Hawkers and Chestnut Heaths while Red Bellied Toads sounded like Bewick's Swans having a chat. The imposing Hungarian Grey Cattle were one of the highlights of the day.

Common Blue Damselfly

White-legged Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Large Copper

Large Skipper

Small Skipper

Large Skipper

Large Copper landing on Large Skipper - Neil Colgate

Violet Carpenter Bee

Green eyed Flower Bee - Anthophora sp

Painted Lady

Small White

Yellow Flag

All bulls are called ROOOOMMMEEEEOOOO.... 

Hungarian Grey Cattle - one of the most impressive cattle I have seen

A pylon perched Saker gave excellent views on the way back and the number of Lesser Grey Shrikes approached 30 and Rollers easily the same.  It was exhausting and exhilarating.

Saker - a monster

The males of both Common and Black Redstart greeted our return and another fine traditional dinner with the Scops Owl and warming up Nightjars in the distance rounding up the day. The moth trap was put on...

Black Redstart

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