Peregrine Bird Tours
Bird Tours
Peregrine Bird Tours

Hungary Birdwatching Tour

Hungary Birdwatching Tour
When: Fri 1 Nov - Thu 14 Nov 2019
Leaders: Chris Doughty and Zoltan Ecsedi
Hungary Birdwatching Tour
Melbourne/Melbourne (14 Days) $6,778
Single Room Supplement $550
Ground Content (ex Budapest) $5,271
Hungary is situated in the Carpathian Basin, in the very heart of Europe. It is a flat, undulating land, dominated by the Great Plain, a southwestern projection of the Russian Steppes. At this time of year, huge numbers of birds have no alternative but to fly south and seek out a winter refuge, in order to escape from the big freeze that envelops northern Europe and the vast Russian tundra. At the beginning of autumn, huge flocks of geese, ducks and Common Cranes, on their way to wintering grounds in the Mediterranean Basin and the Nile Valley, transform Hortobagy National Park, on the Great Plain, into one of the foremost migration staging posts of Europe. The Hortobagy is Hungary's largest protected area and the largest area of natural grassland in Europe. It is a wild landscape of wide open grasslands and marshes and offers some of the finest and most undisturbed birding in Europe today. The immense flocks of geese and cranes are one of the most exciting birding spectacles in the whole of Europe. The main focus of our tour will be the tens of thousands of geese that spend the autumn here. Although numbers fluctuate from year to year, it is estimated that up to 50,000 Greater White-fronted Geese and up to 2,000 spectacular Red-breasted Geese are concentrated here; along with much smaller numbers of Taiga Bean and Greylag Geese and the critically endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose. Foremost among them is the rare Red-breasted Goose, one of nature's great triumphs; the striking combination of black, white and chestnut-red plumage, makes it by far the most attractive of all of Europe's wildfowl. Several other notable birds also occur here at this time of year, they include the huge Greater Spotted Eagle, Rough-legged Buzzard and Merlin. The powerful Saker Falcon, Europe's rarest and most sought-after falcon still sweeps across the skies, Long-eared Owls are present at their winter roosts and there are also small flocks of delightful Snow Buntings. The park's most notable avian inhabitant, the majestic Great Bustard, can still be seen here in good numbers. We will also enjoy a few days of forest birding in the picturesque Zemplen and Bukk Hills, close to the border with Slovakia. The hills are cloaked in deciduous forest, and a staggering eight species of woodpeckers can be found here. Other birds that would be of particular interest, include the beautiful European Honey Buzzard, the elusive Eastern Imperial Eagle and Lesser Spotted and Short-toed Eagles, all can be observed soaring above the more open areas of forest. Both the localised Ural Owl and the huge Eurasian Eagle-Owl are still reasonably common here. Winter visitors which frequent the stubble fields and sheltered valleys, include Grey Wagtail, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Eurasian Treecreeper, Great Grey Shrike, Brambling, Hawfinch, Lapland Bunting and Yellowhammer.

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