More nesting shorebirds around

May is one of the most interesting month in birding in Hungary. I love to be out and look for nesting birds as well as for rarities. Still most of the days of May I have to spend at home due to my pollen allergy. The strong reactions make birding almost impossible and noisy. However after a fews days of being restricted in the town I must go out for a few hours.

Today I decided to make a visit to the developing Common Tern colony to the fishponds. Number of birds increased to 28 and a few birds have already been incubating. My birding friend observed egg laying and found full clutches through his spotting scope. The reported Pied Avocet pair was not present at the time of my visit.

Over the ponds 11 Black Terns and 2 Whiskered Terns was seen. Shorebirds were completely missing from the fishponds.

My next stop was at a gravel pit which is an important breeding site for local shorebirds. Important for our region and not by numbers. The extraction of gravel has been stopped leaving the area free for waterbirds and water related songbirds to occupy.

As I entered the edge of the pond a defending Pied Avocet aggressively approached me. There was a small gravel islet in the middle of the pond which was occupied by Pied Avocets, couple of Black-winged Stilts, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and Common Tern. Sand Martins started to build their nesting holes on the wall of the pond. Approximately 150 birds were flying around. Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards were also present but they were quite shy and flushed off when I jumped off the car.


Territorial Black-winged Stilt. © György Szimuly


Some birds looked to be incubating while others were feeding on the shallow part of the pond. © György Szimuly

As I watched the birds I was thinking on some habitat management issues to make the pond even more suitable for more shorebirds and more Sand Martins. Just before I left the area 12 migrating Whiskered Terns were jumping down the pond.

Still no Red-backed Shrike was seen this year. This has never happened in the last 30 years.


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