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Birding holidays

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Activity level:

easy/moderate walks

Photos © Csonka Péter

Europe/Birding tours Hungary

Spring in Hungary

Kiskunság, Hortobágy and Bükk National Parks, 8 days

Our spring Hungary birding tour visits the best places in the country, firstly the grasslands and salty lakes of Kiskunság then the world famous steppes of Hortobágy and finally the wooded Bükk Hills.

The scenic Kiskunság National Park hosts one of the biggest populations of Great Bustards in Europe, but has other highlights to offer as well. Alkaline lakes and seasonal flooded areas of grassland attract many ducks and waders. Species include Ferruginous Duck, White-winged Tern, Kentish Plover and many migrating shorebirds. We may be able to see Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Moustached Warbler, Red-throated Pipit and in May Lesser Grey Shrike, Roller, Golden Oriole and Bee Eater are common.

Hortobágy National Park still preserves part of the once continuous Eurasian steppe. Marshes and fishponds are home to ducks, herons and waders including Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, Squacco Heron, White-winged and Whiskered Tern. The colourful Red-footed Falcon has large colonies inside the park and it is easy to see them catching insect in small groups. The steppe grasslands are favourite hunting grounds for raptors including Saker, Long-legged Buzzard and Montague’s Harrier. Aquatic Warbler has its only breeding colonies here in Hungary. Reedbeds host booming Bitterns, Bearded and Penduline Tits.

The Bükk Hills are characterized by nice beech and oak woods and open limestone meadows with different karst formations. It is a perfect area for birding, where raptors soar above the valleys and woodlands provide home for owls, warblers and woodpeckers including Ural Owl, Black, White-backed, Grey-headed and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Collared and Red-breasted Flycatcher, River Warbler, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting.

Facts

  • 8 days in Hungary visiting three national parks
  • begin and end in Budapest
  • staying in small hotels located close to the birding sites

Highlights

  • 2 days in the Kiskunság visiting flat steppes, alkaline lakes, fishponds and the oxbow lakes of the River Tisza
  • 2 days in the Hortobágy: fishponds and steppes
  • 3 days in the Bükk Hills visiting attractive valleys and deciduous forests, limestone karst and quarries
  • great diversity of birds and habitats
  • numerous water birds, raptors, woodpeckers and other interesting species

Hotels

2 nights in a small family run hotel, built in a style typical of the area, in the Kiskunság countryside
2 nights in a small hotel on the edge of the Hortobágy national park
3 nights in a delightful family run hotel at the edge of the Bükk Hills, renowned across the region for its fine cuisine

Departure Dates

19-26 May 2024
Ask about possible dates

Price

from 1,920 € + 265 € (single room supplement)

Ask for the actual price

Itinerary

1-2

After you have been met at Budapest Airport by our English-speaking guide we head south towards the Kiskunság National Park. Great Bustard, Ferruginous Duck, Collared Pratincole, Stone Curlew and Moustached Warbler will be our main targets. Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike are fairly common in the park.

3-4

We travel east to Hortobágy visiting a wonderful site en route, where the oxbow lake has breeding Pygmy Cormorant, Spoonbill, Squacco, Night and Purple Heron and Ferruginous Duck. Black Stork and White-tailed Eagle nest in the nearby riverine forest. In the Hortobágy we explore Hortobágy Fishponds for more herons and ducks plus Bearded and Penduline Tit. We look for Saker, Long-legged Buzzard and Montague’s Harrier, while enjoying the sight of Hunting Red-footed Falcons. In the evening we visit the site of the elusive Aquatic Warbler.

5

We drive north passing through the Little Hortobágy, a great place for raptors including Eastern Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Saker.

6-7

We spend 2 days in the Bükk Hills searching for woodpeckers, Lesser Spotted Eagle, River and Barred Warbler, Coollared and Red-breasted Flycatcher, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting. If we are lucky we may even find Ural Owl.

8

Return to Budapest, birding en route.

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