A White-winged Snowfinch tick for Hungary

So I gave the first mega of this year, the White-winged Snowfinch, another chance to see. This morning I was kindly offered to join by a young local birder and we again visited the Fort of Somoskő. The trip wasn’t free of worry as there was a massive snowfall all the night and which continued in the daytime. Despite the long and challenging travel we climbed the fort in a hope the bird was still presented. Based on the previous day’s reports it was seen every day since my unfortunate visit.

When we entered the fort yard the Snowfinch immediately flew away. We saw it just for a flash. 2 Alpine Accentors was feeding in the tower. They allowed us to approach them to 3 meters. As walked to the eastern tower the bird appeared soon but was really skittish. That was not a surprise anymore. We saw many times the Snowfinch making huge circles around the fort crossing many times the border. Finally Gellért and my son, Dani relocated it in the northern corner where it started to feed on seeds. It allowed us to watch for a couple of minutes providing a perfect and close view.

It was funny to see a Grey-headed Woodpecker feeding on the wall of the main tower. Later when Gellért entered the main tower another Grey-headed Woodpecker flew out the window.

We decided not to stay long in the village as the snow was falling in the same intensity as in the morning. Our plan was to make some birding along the Danube River at the Dunakanyar. Sadly the best areas has been frozen so we had to leave the area without seeing anything. At the the upper part of the river, at Neszmély, there is a traditionally good wintering site for wildfowl. This time we saw the following species:

Great Crested Grebe 1
Mallard 700
Tufted Duck 55
Velvet Scoter 1
Common Goldeneye 120
Smew 35
Common Merganser 1
Grey Heron 2
Great Cormorant 40
Eurasian Coot 22

After this successful rarity birding the White-winged Snowfinch became my 343th bird species recorded in Hungary. Just for a reference, the Hungarian birder who have seen the most species for Hungary have recorded 362 bird species so far. It wasn’t a lifer to me as I have already seen it in Turkey.


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