Saturday, May 29, 2010

Poland Tour Finished

Just finished a week-long tour of Poland. Lots of water about, some rivers have burst their banks and a few towns are in trouble. But we were lucky, being in the NE away from the main problem areas. Though we met a fair bit of mud! On the bird front we saw many of the very special birds of NE Poland... Great Snipe, Greater Spotted Eagle, Aquatic Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and 8 species of woodpecker. We also came across Elk and European Bison. And some great sounding places, too! Look at this one! More later.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poland Next!

So now it is off to Poland... yes, another great birding destination. I have been going there for over 20 years and things have changed quite a bit, but still very good indeed. We will be mostly in the north-east, in the vast wetlands and woodlands, and the likes of Hazel Grouse, Greater Spotted Eagle,Pygmy Owl, all 10 Euro woodpeckers, Great Snipe, Corncrake, Citrine Wagtail and Collared Flycatcher (as in photo here) etc, etc, are all on the cards... watch this space.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weather This Year

Terrible year for weather. I have written about the long winter, the snow, about Estonia and the frozen sea, and now we have heavy rain and high winds in Hungary... now in May. What is going on ? I just finished another tour, with a group of great folks from Sweden, and we "lost" a day and a half because of the weather. No one complained though and we still got the main targets... Great Bustards, lots of Red-footed Falcons, Saker, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Middle Spotted and White-backed Woodpeckers (both feeding young), Rock Bunting, Bee-eaters, Rollers, and Moustached Warbler. Out-door pursuits are always at the mercy of the elements, but this year is at times tough.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pond Terrapin

It is not all about birds. When on trips we find all kinds of things. For example, here is a European Pond Terrapin Emys orbicularis that was crossing, slowly, a road in the Kiskunsag in Hungary. I picked it up and moved it as it was in real danger of getting hit. Of course, it thanked me, as they do, by withdrawing into its shell.

Monday, May 10, 2010

All Go... Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry for not up-dating my blogs as regularly as I usually do... just very busy. Guiding birding trips and trying to finish my Black Woodpecker manuscript. Anyway, last week with a group from England we saw some great birds in eastern Hungary... Great Bustards displaying, Aquatic Warblers singing, Ural Owls seen and calling, White-backed Woodpeckers feeding young, etc, etc, etc. Of course, we saw and heard a few Black Woodpeckers, too!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Black Woodpeckers in action

I went up to the beech and oak wood above Budapest where there are a few pairs of Black Woodpecker. I have been watching these birds, and their ancestors, for many years now. So far this year I have not been able to find the nest hole of one pair as the undergrowth has really shot up. Usually the birds nest in one of the large beech trees in a clearing, but the scrub in that clearing is getting higher and thicker and it is hard to get through it. The birds are there alright, doing everything they do in spring, drumming, calling, flying about, but I just cannot get to the trees where I think the hole is.