9th Wild Goose Festival in Tata

I have been thinking wether I should launch iWeb application or jumping to my bed would be a more clever idea. However, I wanted to keep my dear readers up-to-date with birding related happenings.


Today we made a history!

The 9th Wild Geese Festival was a breakthrough birding event in Hungary. Not because it’s been the biggest birding related event in Central Europe but because we have broken some records in the history of our festival. But let me tell you something about the festival briefly.


Many visitors watched the different events. © Gyorgy Szimuly

You might have already read in my earlier blog entries that Tata, my home city, is famous by its lake located in the centre of the town. During winter thousands of geese are spending winter in the region and they use the Old Lake as a night roosting site. In the ‘70s more than 70,000 geese were reported but recently less than half of them returning. Anyway the lake is now under protection and is a Ramsar Site. 9 years ago a few of us from the local birding society decided to open towards the public and shows the city what birders and bird protectors are doing. We launched a bird race for the first time in winter season in Hungary. The participance was quite promising and so the acceptance of birding and our conservation efforts.


Growing crowd late afternoon. © Gyorgy Szimuly

This year our team made and incredible preparation which was worth every effort. Despite the all the morning fog and rain more than 5,000 people visited the event centre by midday. By the afternoon we had a beautiful sunny weather which doubled the number of visitors. Rough estimation resulted 10-12,000 visitors from 6AM till 5PM. It was amazing to see how many people are interested in such a green event. We achieved our goal and we were even beyond.


Before geese returned to the lake for night roosting huge number of people gathered at the festival centre. The event is narrated by Árpád Zsoldos. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The second record was related to birds. We have never ever had that many geese durning the day of the festival than this year. Finally 25 thousand wild geese landed on the lake at sunset. The crowd has been amazed by 10,000 birds’ arrival to the roosting site in one huge flock showing incredible descending.



Live painting is one of the main attractions during the event. Szabolcs Kokay, Márton Zsoldos and Stefan Boensch in action. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Other interesting birding results by the participants of the birding race:
        Red-breasted Goose 3
        Barnacle Goose 1
        Grey Plover 1
        Eurasian Woodcock 1 (first time seen on the race)
        Mediterranean Gull 1
        Grey-headed Woodpecker 1
        Blackcap 3 (overwintering)


My youngest daughter with an ‘old’ Festival visitor

Next year it will be the 10th Wild Goose Festival. A special event will open more to the international community in a hope that more international visitor will be attending the festival.


The mood of the closing event of the festival is always special.