In search for the Short-toed Eagle pair

In a hope to find the previously seen Short-toed Eagle pair in the northern part of the Gerecse Mountain (Süttő, Hungary), we climbed to the top of the Nagy-Teke Hill. A very talented birdgirl, Hanni, a professional and well experienced raptor expert, Peter, Dani and myself tried to overlook a large area from the hill.

The survey team on the way to the top of the hill. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The survey team on the way to the top of the hill. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The morning started slow allowed us to talk about birds and their future locally and globally. It is always nice to learn something from each other. In the meantime, a Tree Pipit was endlessly singing next to us. Despite we had a rather hot weather (34°C) birds didn’t show up before 9AM. The first Common Buzzards were followed by European Honey Buzzards, providing amazing views by flying just above us. We could enjoy seeing different plumage variations in perfect light conditions.

The working team. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The working team. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Unfortunately, the Short-toed Eagles didn’t show up, at least until we left the hill shortly after 12PM. However, I spotted a pair of Black Stork, showing territorial behaviour over the Great Gerecse Hill.

Compared to the previous years’ raptor-watch, the species richness was much lower. No Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle nor Northern Goshawk were seen. There could be multiple reasons, including the extreme weather during the breeding season, as well as the lack of food resources, but the increasing breeding population of Peregrine Falcon could also result ‘cleared space’ areas. We witnessed the local breeding pair of Peregrine Falcon chasing away every bird of any size around the Pisznice Hill.

The hill top is scattered by Downy Oak. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The hill top is scattered by Downy Oak. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Cow Parsley covered Mediterranean-style hilltop. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Cow Parsley covered Mediterranean-style hilltop. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Breeding habitat of Tree Pipits. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Breeding habitat of Tree Pipits. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Birds detected:

Black Stork 2
Gray Heron 1
European Honey-buzzard 3
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2
Common Buzzard 15
Stock Dove 2
European Turtle Dove 1
European Bee-eater 1
Middle Spotted Woodpecker 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Green Woodpecker 1
Eurasian Golden Oriole 3
Eurasian Jay 2
Common Raven 5
Common House Martin 1
Great Tit 3
Eurasian Blue Tit 6
Long-tailed Tit 3
Eurasian Nuthatch 2
Eurasian Wren 1
Blackcap 2
European Robin 2
Collared Flycatcher 1
Eurasian Blackbird 2
Song Thrush 1
Mistle Thrush 1
European Starling 4
Tree Pipit 1
Yellowhammer 3
Hawfinch 4

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