Spring birding

I spent a beautiful birding morning with my son at the Ferencmajor fishponds. The absolutely peaceful weather made this morning enjoyable despite the 8 km long and never-ending walk. I haven’t been out for ages as my office work made it impossible but I’m going to spend as much spring days out there as possible.

We started our trip at the northern part of the fishponds where the first Common Chiffchaff were seen. Soon after I spotted a Dunnock, the first Bearded Reedlings and a female Western Marsh Harrier for this year. On the filled ponds quite a lot of Mute Swans, Eurasian Coots, Mallards and Common Pochards were seen. Lovely Pygmy Cormorants flew off the reedbeds quite often.

The lake number 2 was drained offering perfect source of food for migrating shorebirds. During our stay Ruffs, Common Snipes, Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Little Ringed Plovers and a single Pied Avocet shared the mudflat with a lots of gull and Northern Shoveler. I have seen the first Garganeys and by luck two stunning Ferruginous Ducks for this year.

As walked on the dike suddenly all the waterfowl blasted off by a closing immature White-tailed Eagle.

Some details of species seen and counted:
Ferruginous Duck 2
Red-crested Pochard 15
Pygmy Cormorant 13
White-tailed Eagle 1 imm
Pied Avocet 1
Northern Lapwing 45
Little Ringed Plover 2
Common Snipe 9
Spotted Redshank 2
Common Redshank 12
Green Sandpiper 8
Ruff 70

On the southern edge of the ponds we left the area and followed our way back home. We crossed some lovely wet pasture where 12 Common Snipes were feeding. A Great Grey Shrike and many singing European Stonechats and Common Reed Buntings coloured the overall grey habitat. Here the first blooms of Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara and a lovely European Tree Frog Hyla arborea was a nice sign of the warming up spring weather.

As we closed our home town, Tata we crossed a beautiful alder swamp forest. The fabulous view of this forest made our day. We have heard and seen mainly woodpeckers (mainly Lesser and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers) but I saw my first Common Kingfisher and a singing Willow Warbler. Common Chaffinches, Common Blackcaps and Song Thrushes were singing everywhere.

I saw 14 new species today for 2010. My life list jumped to 125. I was surprised not being able to find a single Common Kingfisher till today.

2 days ago I saw 4 Common Cranes flying over the Old Lake of Tata. I didn’t entered a blog post just for this nice record. Common Cranes are not so regular migrants here while there are tens of thousands in the eastern part of the country.


Busy times


Ruff on the mudflat of Ferencmajor fishponds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I have been quite busy in the last few weeks which is forcing me to reschedule everything I had planned earlier. Birding wise nothing exciting happening here as a result of unusual long cold weather. Only a few birds have arrived from the wintering grounds and I could see some of them. Northern Lapwings and Ruffs are here since two weeks. I saw European Stonechat, Eurasian Skylark and White Wagtails lots of migrating Common Starlings and a nice flock of Stock Dove containing 130 birds.

Hopefully I will be able to make some nice birding in a few days as the weather is warming up bringing more species. It is quite unusual not being able to find a single Black Redstart. I have travelled a lot in the last few weeks but nowhere I could find them.

I was told about the arrival of Western Marsh Harriers and an incredible number of Pygmy Cormorants were counted at the Ferencmajor fishponds (my local site). 105 birds were feeding in the reedbeds!!!

Will be back to you soon.