What a contrast: Spring is here!

Two days ago I have whined about the lack of migrants. We were not sure whether they were at the corner, or we should completely forget the 2013 spring migration. Today, by the company of a very good friend, the spring migration witnessed. There was at least one bird in almost every bush. As the weather allowed the birds to move further north, they were spreading immediately.

This morning Döme (Ferenc Dömsödi, who is a Hungarian nature enthusiast and has been living in the UK) and I visited the two main local birding sites of the region, the Ferencmajor fishponds and the riparian forest southwest of the Old Lake in Tata. Obviously the migration is going to be very short and massive this year. I have never seen visible migration of Song Thrushes but today they were flying from bush to bush and we saw them even higher in the sky as well, like Fieldfares or Redwings do. At the Old Lake their density was unusually high, while only a few territorial singing bird was seen or heard.

At the Ferencmajor fishpond three species were new for 2013. We saw the first Eurasian Reed WarblerBlackcap and Purple Heron. Compared to the observations from two days ago everything was quite the same although Water Pipits have disappeared. We saw two different thunbergi ssp. of Western Yellow Wagtail but no feldegg ssp. The observation of three swimming European Otters in the pond 10 definitely was the highlight of the day. We don’t see them every day however several paths were found in other ponds as well.

The riparian forest, which embraces the Old Lake at the southern side, offered a very nice birding experience with the arriving migrants while we still found a large flock of Bohemian Waxwing. Over 400 birds were feeding on the mistletoe berries along the Által River until two Eurasian Sparrowhawks chased them away. Eurasian Blackcap and Icterine Warbler were already singing in the forest and all the woodpeckers (mainly Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker) were very active and territorial. The migration of Common Chiffchaff should be peaking. Similarly to the fishponds we saw plenty of them.

Watching large flock of Bohemian Waxwing is not an everyday birding experience in April. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Watching large flock of Bohemian Waxwing is not an everyday birding experience in April. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Like last year, I wanted to visit the habitat reconstruction site which was established last year. It was more exciting than a year ago. Pygmy and Great Cormorants, a very nice male Western Marsh HarrierGreen Sandpipers and the first Common Sandpiper were seen around the islands, created for terns and gulls to breed. Some habitat management is needed to avoid the growth of the vegetation in case we want to give the terns a chance to breed. One of the biggest challenges is the erosion of the islands by the ongoing attack of water. Stones on the northwest side are needed to break the waves. All in all the reconstruction looks promising and once the Common Reed is spreading around the edge of the sub-lake the diversity of the habitat will be way better.

Some vegetation has appeared at the wind-proof side of the islands. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Some vegetation has appeared at the wind-proof side of the islands. © Gyorgy Szimuly

This isolated island should be cleaned for the arriving Common Terns. © Gyorgy Szimuly

This isolated island should be cleaned for the arriving Common Terns. © Gyorgy Szimuly

At least 10 meters wide reedbed would be nice to attract more songbirds to breed. © Gyorgy Szimuly

At least 10 meters wide reed bed would be nice to attract more songbirds to breed. © Gyorgy Szimuly

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