First song of the Song Thrush

It was hard to wake up at 6Am but the productive birding made it worth. I visited the Old Lake with Dani and Laci last time in the official winter season. One more day and ‘spring’ is here…


László Musicz, the local goose expert, birding mate and a very good friend of mine. © Gyorgy Szimuly


Blasting geese at Old Lake. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Goose numbers has further decreased probably by the long lasting frost what resulted very small area of open water. Spring was present even stronger in the lake-side forest with the first songs of Song Thrush. At least one bird was over-wintering nearby but I guess it was an early arrival. Another melancholic ‘first-caller‘ was a Common Wood Pigeon. Woodpeckers were again quite loud around the observation tower.

Mute Swan 2
Tundra Bean Goose 2,900
Greater White-fronted Goose 1,600
Greylag Goose 25
Barnacle Goose 1
Mallard 600
Eurasian Teal 210
Northern Pintail 4
Common Pochard 20
Common Goldeneye 15
Great Cormorant 8
Pygmy Cormorant 11
Eurasian Coot 9
Yellow-legged Gull 2
Mediterranean Gull 1 ad.

The single and lone Mediterranean Gull was a great surprise as being quite irregular here. The night roosting gulls had already left the lake before we arrived.


Malom and Szaz Valley is among the most beautiful part of the Gerecse Mountain. © Gyorgy Szimuly

From the Old Lake we moved to the mountains for an easy walk. The beautiful but, this time of the year, very grey Szaz Valley provided some nice view on chasing woodpeckers. There have been signs of White-backed Woodpecker feeding activity but any was spotted. Most of the forest was still quiet but birds were apparently returning and especially woodpeckers were busy in keeping territories. Stock Doves were calling and overflying almost everywhere.

Species seen:
Common Buzzard 1
Stock Dove 12
Middle Spotted Woodpecker 8
Great Spotted Woodpecker 6
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1
Black Woodpecker 1
Eurasian Nuthatch 10
Short-toed Treecreeper 1
Eurasian Blackbird 2
Fieldfare 3
Great Tit 20
Eurasian Blue Tit 9
Northern Raven 5
Hawfinch 7

On our way back home we drove along the Danube river where we had a short break. Around a small island of the river we found quite many waterbirds so I picked up the Swarovski scope and browsed that section.

Birds seen:
Great Crested Grebe 1
Great White Egret 6
Grey Heron 4
Tundra Bean Goose 40
Greater White-fronted Goose 25
Greylag Goose 60
Mallard 670
Eurasian Wigeon 1
Northern Pintail 2
Common Pochard 35
Tufted Duck 15
Common Goldeneye 120
Smew 8
Common Merganser 17
Great Cormorant 15
Eurasian Coot 20

Last stop was at the Ferencmajor fishponds where only a few ponds had open water. We had no time to make proper counts but saw 7 Red-crested Pochards (first for 2011) and a few Pygmy Cormorant. Wild geese were flying around. Approximate numbers were about 2,000 birds. I plan to come again in the coming days and make a proper count, especially when ice is melting away.


Large number of Grey Herons and Great White Egrets were feeding on the the small pools where fishes are wintered. © Gyorgy Szimuly


My traditional birding round trip is starting from Tata. Site names counter clockwise: Old Lake, Tata (bottom left icon), Szaz Valley, Gerecse Mountain, Danube River and Ferencmajor fishponds.

Year list moved to 105 by the 5 new additions today.


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