At the heart of Europe, in the Carpathian Basin, Hungary is one of Europe’s most exciting birding destinations. It is the land of the Magyars (including Attila the Hun and Tony Curtis) and goulash. Hungary’s national bird, the magnificent Great Bustard is a local specialty and often requires some local knowledge to find; check the lowland Kiskunság region between the Danube and Tisza rivers. Indeed, many of Hungary’s speciality birds are found among these grasslands, the so-called “puszta,” which resemble prairie habitat. Two superb raptors, the Saker Falcon and Eastern Imperial Eagle, have their European strongholds on these plains. Late April sees heavy shorebird passage, with Ruff in smart breeding plumage. Fall brings return migration, with over 100,000 Common Cranes passing through in October. Summer breeders in these lowlands include Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Roller, and Lesser Grey Shrike, and most wetlands come to life with wildfowl, grebes, and herons, plus Savi's Warbler, Bearded Reedling, and Penduline Tit. The hill forests of Aggtelek, Borzsöny, Bükk and Zemplén in the north host nine woodpecker species including Europe’s rarest, the White-backed Woodpecker. Hungary also hosts a tempting range of owls, including breeding Eurasian Eagle-, Tawny, and Ural Owls. On the northwest border with Austria, a mosaic of salt-lakes, reed-beds and pastures around Lake Fertó cross a famous national frontier; breeding and migrant shorebirds and wintering geese can be found where the Iron Curtain once stood. As you pass through Budapest, taste your token goulash, but seek out the other elements of the country’s diverse cuisine. Sample the hot springs and architecture in this historic capitol city, and then head for the country to find your Carpathian Blue Slug. Contributor: Gerard Gorman/ PROBIRDER:www.probirder.com
Bats represent around 20% of mammal species, terrestrial mammals include:
Contributor: Gerard Gorman/PROBIRDER: www.probirder.com
The spring is a very productive time as woodpeckers begin activity in early March while the first migrants are starting to appear. From mid-April on, migratory birds of prey begin to arrive. By the end of May all breeding birds are present.
The summer months support many heron, egret and other wading species moving south in groups.
Come Autumn the first cranes and storks arrive and by mid-October can be seen in tens of thousands! Many birds of prey pass through during this season.
The best time to see waterfowl is from October-February as they roost in lakes and alond water bodies as long as the winter is not too harsh.