Sunday, June 28, 2009

Back from Eastern Romania

I am back from eastern Romania after guiding another successful birding tour there. We spent most of our time in the Danube Delta and along the Black Sea coast, seeing around 150 species. Highlights included lots of White Pelicans, daily Dalmatian Pelicans, many Collared Pratincoles, more herons and egrets than we could count, Common and Little Bitterns, many Rollers and Bee-eaters, all 3 Marsh Terns, Paddyfield Warblers, Long-legged Buzzards, Levant Sparrowhawk, White-tailed Eagles and a colony of Rose-coloured Starlings. All in all, superb birding everyday. Here we are watching a Collared Pratincole colony at Letea, deep in the delta.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Butterflies in Abundance

Well, we've just left Aggtelek, up in north-east Hungary. In two days in the valleys and meadows there we identified over 70 species! Now, by any standards, that is a great list for one area in a European country. Appropriately, here is a Hungarian Glider...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Butterfly Lovers at Aggtelek

Guiding butterfly lovers is different from guiding bird lovers. For example, butterfly lovers spend much more time on the ground, lying down, taking photos... as in this photo taken today here at Aggtelek. And today we saw some great species... Sloe and White-letter Hairstreaks, 2nd Brood Map, Purple-shot, Scarce and Large Coppers, High Brown and Lesser Spotted Fritillaries, Berger's Clouded Yellow, Woodland and Great Banded Graylings, Hungarian Glider and Woodland Brown, one of the most endangered species in Europe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We visited the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia last week. Now this is a beautiful place with old forests, hand-mown meadows, waterfalls and stunning, clear blue lakes. But this is not an easy place to observe wildlife... there are just too many people around, meaning tourists, and much of the the wildlife (Wolf, Lynx and Brown Bear are here) is hidden away in the dense forests. It is a beautiful place but one needs to get out early and then off the beaten track...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Butterflies in Croatia

I am in the Northern Velebit Mountains and just about finished my week in Croatia guiding a group of butterfly fanatics... well, some were more fanatical than others! We have visited some great places, explored fine habitats and seen and identified around 90 species including this fine Cleopatra and some Balkan specialities like Little Tiger Blue.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Plitvicka Jezera Nat Park

I spent today taking a group of folks around the Plivicka Jezera Nat Park in Croatia. The focus was butterflies but we also saw dragonflies and some great birds including singing Black-headed Buntings behind our hotel. And, of course, the spectacular landscapes and waterscapes were highlights. The clear blue waters and falls at Plitvicka are fantastic.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Butterflies in Croatia

No rest for the wicked! After trips to Estonia, around Hungary and hosting the Urban Birder I am now preparing for my next tour... to some of Croatia's best places for butterflies, such as the Plitvice Lakes, the Paklenica National Park, the Velebit Mountains and places in-between. I took this photo of a Southern Festoon when in Croatia in April. As usual I will try to up-date this blog whilst there. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More Urban Birding

As already mentioned David the Urban Birder and Malka the Camera Girl spent a few days here in Budapest. I took them to my local patch, the woods at Normfa in the Buda Hills (Middle Spotted Woodopeckers, fly-thru Black Woodpecker and Collared Flycatchers feeding chicks), around the Farkasret Cemetery (Tawny Owl being mobbed by Blackbirds) and along the Danube on Csepel Island (Syrian Woodpeckers feeding chicks). They got a fair few shots on Margit-Island, too, of Common Nightingales and Red-backed Shrikes etc... Once their film is edited and out, I will post the link.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Urban Birder in Budapest

I had the pleasure of showing The Urban Birder (David Lindo from London) around today. He is in Budapest to do some urban birding and so I thought I'd start with a site that has what is, for me, the ultimate urban bird... Syrian Woodpecker. Adults feeding a large chick at a nest in the south of the city on Csepel Island obliged.