Testing a new raptor watch spot

Yesterday I decided to try a new location where there is a brilliant 360˚ view to the hills and the valley of the Danube River. The spot is at the backyard of the Hilltop Winery, one of the most productive winery in Hungary. Weather was more than pleasant on the last day of August. It was peaking at 32 C˚ and no clouds were visible most of the day.

Before we moved up to hills we visited the Ferencmajor fishponds where one pond started to be drained for fishing. The increasing mudflat attracted many birds including some shorebirds. I made two visits there today, one in the morning and also in the evening.

Here are the results of some interesting birds seen on the drained pond:

Common Shelduck 1 ad female
Northern Lapwing 9
Little Ringed Plover 6
Common Ringed Plover 1
Common Snipe 3
Eurasian Curlew 6
Spotted Redshank 15
Common Redshank 1
Wood Sandpiper 8
Green Sandpiper 3
Common Sandpiper 3
Broad-billed Sandpiper 1 ad + 1 juv
Little Stint 2
Dunlin 3
Curlew Sandpiper 2
Ruff 7


Green Sandpiper is a regular migrant at the fishponds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

I also spotted a Spotted Crake which is not often seen here. 2011 Year List changed to 228.

We arrived to the northern part of the Gertecse Mountains beofre 9AM and started to watch and count birds of prey and storks moving around. It was surprisingly productive but birds showed up in very low numbers. This place is not lieing along a tyipcal migration route. It would be awesome to see so large numbers as fellow birdwatchers have been counting in Batumi, Georgia. Anyway it was nice to see some nice raptors.


Evening view to the hills from the observation spot. Vineyard is visible in the bottom left corner. Taken by iPhone. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Here is the list of birds seen:

Black Stork 1
Eurasian Honey Buzzard 6
Common Buzzard 12
Western Marsh Harrier 1
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Short-toed Snake Eagle 1
Eastern Imperial Eagle 1 subad (yesterday evening 1 adult on the same place)
Lesser Spotted Eagle 1 juv
Common Kestrel 1
Common Raven 12
Barn Swallow 140
Common House Martin 55 

Lesser Spotted Eagle was a great surprise as it was a very scarce raptor here. I decided to go there again in a week when other species could start/peak migration, like Booted Eagle.


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