Tundra Swan Day

Well, 3 hours sleeping before an almost day long birding day doesn’t seem to be enough. Anyway I had a beautiful day with two of my kids. Kea stayed home this time with Andi.

We targeted the Danube river as some nice birds were reported during the whole week. Actually two hotspots have been visited. At Visegrád on a shelter harbor usually many waterbirds gathers. Today any uncommon species was observed at that place but was nice to see pairing Smews. Here I saw the first Little Grebe for this year. As light conditions were pretty bad we left for the 2nd hotspot we chose for today.

At the Bay of Pilismarót we meet two local birders. Ádám Selmeczi Kovács is an old birding buddy. We had some nice rarity hunting together in previous years. I haven’t seen him for a while (he is occasionally hunting for rarities now but rather photographing birds) so was nice to meet him again.

At our arrival some nice sea duck showed up including 5 Velvet Scoters and a male and female Black Scoter. Among the dozens of Mallard, Common Pochard and Eurasian Coot and some Tufted Ducks we saw 5 Greater Scaups as well.

Again I was impressed by the performance of the KOWA Prominar spotting scope. Thanks for Ádám for showing us those nice birds. I was still missing to see a Black-throated Loon and the White-tailed Eagle we moved to Esztergom where a Tundra Swan was reported a few days ago.

In Esztergom we tried to search the Tundra Swan around the bridge crossing Danube river to Slovakia. The swans are changing locations and moving where people are feeding them. This morning some birders ‘invited’ the swans to the Hungarian side of the river. They directed us to the right place where we found the flock of Mute Swans including the cute and elegant Tundra Swan. This is not a mega rarity and I have seen this species for some times in Hungary but always nice to see especially from this distance. They were just an arms away from us.

The Tundra Swan has been already ringed but due to to lack of natural food supply it stayed tame but looked to be careful. Since we met Ádám again and he was trying to photograph this beauty we let him alone to have better chances to take some nice shots.

Additionally we have visited the western tip of the island near Tát village where usually nice number of waterbirds occur but this time we had no luck. Numbers were solid and only a dozen of Common Merganser provided close and nice view. Szandra and Dani just loved the coloration of the males.

We followed our way through the Gerecse Mountain where nothing exciting were seen. At the end of our birding time we visited the Ferencmajor fishponds. At the entrance we saw 25 Stock Doves feeding on a corn field. Corn Buntings and Common Reed Buntings were feeding in good numbers on a weedy land.

Much of the lakes are frozen and the water surface will be heavily decreasing in the coming days as cold spells reached Central Europe from Siberia. Today it was -6 oC all day. On a few ponds Mainly Mallards were seen. An Eurasian Bittern provided the best view while walking on the dam. Still no Common Kingfisher and Bearded Reedling was found.

Anyway, it’s been a really nice day. Year list moved to 93.

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