New comers: Tringa sandpipers and terns

I woke up quite early this morning to check the night roosting gulls at the Old Lake before they fly off to fields. I missed to check the time of sunrise so I spent some time at the lake still in the dark. Anyway it was nice to ‘hear’ and see the awakening nature. Wind was incredibly strong so I had to sit on a lakeside bench for reducing tripod shake. I thought I might find the Pallas’s Gull and other local birders would also see this rarity.

Laci Musicz was also coming to the lake. In the meantime lights turned good enough to identify birds in the dawn. The Swarovski spotting scope worked really well au to 30x magnification on the zoom eyepiece. It was incredibly sharp and crisp. There were about 1,000 Black-headed Gulls a single Mew Gull and I again could pick three adult and 3 joining immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls. They soon left the lake towards the Ferencmajor fishponds. Pallas’s Gull was not appearing during our half an hour stay. We didn’t want to stay too long as we were driving to northwest Hungary to participate a specific workshop on geese, cranes and swans.

Before the workshop kicked off we made some birding despite wind was even stronger on the plains. The site we stopped at was an important bird area. At Mekszikópuszta, where a wetland restoration project was completed more than a decade ago, hundreds of birds were seen. The shallow water provided perfect feeding habitat for migrating birds. View was not really enjoyable by shaking scope due to the wind storm. Luckily the sun was shining and lights were perfect.


Restorated wetland at Fertőújlak. © György Szimuly

We saw several new comers for the year. First Spotted Redshanks, Marsh Sandpipers and Wood Sandpipers were seen at the lake shore. Among Dunlins we found two Little Stints. At the drier mudflats beautiful Kentish Plovers were seen among Little Ringed Plovers. Among the roosting Black-headed Gulls I found a Caspian Tern in full breeding plumage. Later the first Common Terns was seen. Another new for this year was a few passing by Red-throated Pipit.


Marsh Sandpiper is one of the finest Tringa sandpipers in Europe. © György Szimuly

List of some birds recorded with estimated numbers:
Common Shelduck 1
White-tailed Eagle 1
Black-winged Stilt 9
Pied Avocet 245
Little Ringed Plover 20
Kentish Plover 10
Northern Lapwing 20
Eurasian Curlew 15
Black-tailed Godwit 90
Spotted Redshank 17
Common Redshank 10
Marsh Sandpiper 4
Wood Sandpiper 4
Green Sandpiper 1
Ruff 1,000
Dunlin 250
Little Stint 2
Caspian Tern 1
Common Tern 4


Some Kentish Plovers were in full breeding plumage while many were still grey. © György Szimuly  

The workshop went really well. It was nice to meet some good birders of Hungary and we were listening some excellent and instructive talks on population dynamics and migration of goose species. A presentation about Common Crane migration in Hungary showed an interesting migration route and wintering pattern. We enjoyed the day including the delicious and spicy pizza a la Hungarian Style.

On our way back home I found the first Bank Swallow over the main road.

At home I found an e-mail by a local birder. They saw the Pallas’s Gull 2 times at the Old Lake in the afternoon but it was not landing on the water.


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