Monday, December 24, 2012


Best Wishes for Christmas and New Year ! 
It is a white one here, as this Green Woodpecker found out!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Peru: Cock-of-the-Rock

Not quite home yet, but back in Europe. Got lots of woodpeckers, including 2 endemic species, lifers both. Many other birds, too, including this one, the famous Andean Cock-of-the-Rock.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So, after a busy autumn of guiding birders in Hungary, next up is Peru. Yes, and no prizes for guessing what my main targets will be there... that is right, a whole host of piculets and woodpeckers. Of course, there will be many, many other great birds as Peru is one of the world's top birding destinations..  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eight Woodpeckers

I am quite pleased with myself. A few days ago, whilst guiding a group of British birders in Hungary, I found 8 species of woodpecker between 7am and midday, in one morning. They were: Lesser Spotted, Middle Spotted, Great Spotted, Syrian, White-backed, Green, Grey-headed and Black. That is all the woodpeckers there are in Hungary in October. Here is one, the female Syrian we saw.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another tour done!

Another successful tour under my belt! Again, in eastern Hungary with LOTS of Common Cranes but also birds like Saker, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzards, wildfowl, waders, 8 species of woodpecker and roosts of Long-eared Owl. Here a Long-eared for you...  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cranes in numbers

Just back from a trip around eastern Hungary. The tour centred around the spectacular migration of Common Cranes Grus grus and they did not disappoint ! We saw these elegant birds feeding, calling, dancing and flying over in huge flocks at dusk.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quiet September

After a busy summer, September is quiet on the tour front. But lots of writing to do and preparation for a busy October in the field.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kiskunsag and bustards

Spent yesterday in the northern part of the Kiskunsag region in Hungary. Took 3 nice folks from Ohio, USA, around. Our main target was Great Bustard and we found 21, in 3 different groups, getting some great views, particularly of birds in flight. One female was with young in an alfalfa field and when she saw us coming she lay down. The crop was just around 10 inches high but the huge bird simply vanished into it, as did her chicks.  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Talk on Black Woodpecker

I will be giving a short illustrated talk at the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water, England, on Saturday August 18th at 2.30pm. My talk is entitled THE BLACK WOODPECKER. Maybe see you there ? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Signings

I will doing 2 book signings at the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water, England. On Friday August 17th at 2pm on the Lynx Edicions stand (publisher of my book THE BLACK WOODPECKER) and on Saturday August 18th at 3.15pm on the WildSounds stand (publisher of my BIRDING IN EASTERN EUROPE). Maybe see you there ?

Monday, July 9, 2012


A master of camouflage, the Privet Hawk Moth Sphinx ligustri. I photographed this one recently in Hungary.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My talk at Rutland Water

I will be giving a short talk on Saturday August 18th at the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water, England. From 2.40pm to 3pm. On the BLACK WOODPECKER, click here for more info...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another Tour Done!

Another tour, with butterfly and moth enthusiasts, successfully completed. Of course, we also took in birds, mammals and herps. Indeed, we spent a week in eastern Hungary seeing all kinds of goodies. A short break from tours now for me... but much writing to do.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Noble Crayfish

I snapped this Noble Crayfish Astacus astacus today in the Aggtelek NP in NE Hungary. This crayfish is in danger in many parts of Europe due to pollution of waterways and over-harvesting of populations for food.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Croatia again

Just finishing a great tour around Croatia. Around 100 species of butterflies seen and almost 100 birds though it was not a birding trip, also various herps and orchids. Spectacular scenery and wonderful wildlife, but Croatia is still an under-rated wildlife watching destination. I go every year... 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Poetic Tour Report

Here is a report, a poetic memoir rather, of Liverpool RSPB members' group trip to Hungary with me this spring. Nice one Laura! Enjoy ! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Little Owl

Another great trip! Took some nice ladies from the USA and Australia around Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary. All kinds of great upland, forest, wetland and lowland birds seen. Where to begin ? Well, this confiding Little Owl in a village in Hungary proved popular...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Morning in Austria

A good morning here in Austria... how about Grey-headed, Green, White-backed, Great Spotted and Black Woodpeckers, singing Wood and Bonelli's Warblers, Willow, Marsh and Crested Tits and a male Capercaillie exploding out of the forest ?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weather and Owls

Just finished a week's birding with two guys from England. But it was tough, as it rained and was windy, but we still hit our main targets in eastern Hungary. Namely Ural and Eagle Owls and Saker. The warblers are now in, too, River and Barred singing everywhere. Also Lesser Grey Shrike and Rollers and 8 species of woodpecker! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kiskunsag to Zemplen

Here is another Syrian Woodpecker pic from last week's lowland trip. We watched this one whilst sipping drinks and eating ice-creams! But now it's off again... this time to the hills. Main targets: Ural Owl, Eagle Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Eastern Imperial Eagle... watch this space. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Birding with Liverpudlians

That was another great trip, 4 days with a group of birding friends from Liverpool (Reds and Blues and some not bothered) in Hungary. Highlights were Great Bustards, Sakers, all 3 'marsh terns' on the same wetland, ducks and waders galore, Golden Orioles perched in the open, and a host of woodpeckers including a pair of Syrians at the nest. All great fun like...   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Great Trip in Estonia

Back from guiding a nice group of birders from the UK in Estonia. We recorded 158 species. Highlights were deemed to be a magnificent Short-eared Owl in display flight, a Nutcracker that posed in the open, prolonged views of a Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, a flock of Waxwings as we ate a picnic, Black Grouse and Capercaillies, bright male Citrine Wagtails and a singing Thrush Nightingale on the last day. Estonia is also a great place for signs, like this one!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Here in Estonia...

... it is going well. Highlights so far include a flock of 45 Waxwings, a confiding Nutcracker, great views of female Capercaillies and male Black Grouse, 7 species of woodpecker, and a superb Lesser Spotted Eagle that was found by our driver!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Next up... Estonia ! Yes, after recent trips to Spain and Austria, not to mention Uganda, I am now off to this bird-rich 'Baltic State'. Main targets for my group ? Well, the likes of Greater Spotted Eagle, Hazel Grouse, Great Snipe, Citrine Wagtail and Thrush Nightingale. Not to mention thousands of wildfowl moving north along the coast. Watch this space!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Austria - More Woodpeckers

As I have already blogged, my Austrian Alps woodpecker weekend was wonderful. As further proof, my friend and fellow picid enthusiast Thomas Hochebner just sent me this shot of a female White-backed (bottom) and female Eurasian Three-toed (top) in the same tree. I later got recordings of both of these birds.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alpine Woodpecker Weekend

Well, what a great weekend that was! Spent three days in the eastern Alps of Austria and, with the expert local help of my friends Thomas and Gerhard, explored some wonderful habitats and saw all kinds of species. My highlight was seeing and getting photos of up to 10, yes ten, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers. At one point we had a Three-toed in the same tree as a White-backed Woodpecker! Here is a snap of a female Three-toed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dupont's Lark

Out before dawn this morning here in the steppes of Navarra, Spain, to try for Dupont's Lark. They were singing in the dark and proved hard to see but then, at around 8am, we got one. Brilliantly!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Northern Spanish Raptors

What a great raptor area northern Spain is ! Yesterday on route to the Pyrennes in Navarra Region, we saw dozens of Red and Black Kites, several Common Buzzard, a light-phase Booted Eagle, Common Kestrels, a few Egyptian Vultures and 100s of Griffon Vultures, soaring, flying, perched. And we hardly left the main road!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Woodpecker photos needed... again

As many of you will know, I am currently working on a new book, provisionally entitled Woodpeckers of the World: a photographic guide (for the publisher Christopher Helm in London. Now I have blogged this before, but think it worth another go. The project editor is Jim Martin who is looking forward to submissions of top-class photos of woodpeckers from anyone who would like to be involved. So, if you have photos of woodpeckers from anywhere in the world, then contact Jim who'll tell you what is needed. His address:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How many names can a wryneck have ?

Of course, my main targets in Uganda were woodpeckers. Here is one I snapped in the south-west, the non-woodpecker-like Rufous-necked Wryneck Jynx ruficollis.  Also known as Rufous-throated, Red-throated, Red-breasted, Rufous-breasted and even African Wryneck. Take your pick !

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Uganda: Rock Python

Another photo from my recent trip around Uganda. We came across this African Rock Python Python sabae in the Lake Mburo National Park. It was about 12 foot long (they can reach 20 foot) and was quite fat in the middle (had probably eaten recently). Apparently warthogs and impalas and other antelopes are no problem to get down! It is non-venonmous.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Uganda: Black-headed Weaver

Another photo from Uganda. Black-headed Weaver Ploceus cucullatus. This common and widespread bird is also known as Village Weaver.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back from Uganda

Well, what a trip to Uganda that was! But very little time to get on-line to up-date the blog... was too busy birding and mammal watching. And when I had a little time, there was often no connection. Anyway, here is a photo, the first of several I will post in the coming days. A Hippo in Lake Mburo.   

Friday, March 2, 2012


So, next destination up is... Uganda. I fly there tomorrow, all sorts of avian and other wildlife delights in store. I will try to up-date this blog from there, internet connections willing ! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brown Bear Prints ?

Anyone out there help with a paw-print ID ? I think it is a double-print, one paw over another, of Brown Bear. But I am not 100% sure. Any views ? Click here:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring on the way ?

Is spring on the way ? The snow is melting, it's muddy under foot. And the local woodpeckers are drumming !

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Serious Snow

Serious snow here in Hungary, as in many parts of Europe. I have put out seed for the birds but not many takers! Where are they all ?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Critically Endangered Birds

If you do not already know of this Facebook page, then take a look: Critically Endangered Birds. Excellent and important stuff from my Swedish pal Erik.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tracks and Signs

Yes, I know I post a lot of stuff on woodpeckers, but there is another subject that fascinates me... tracking. Being out and about birding one sees all kinds of tracks and signs left by animals. Some of them stare you in the face, others need searching for. Anyway, I have a blog on this subject, too, with photos of my own and those of friends. If you have any snaps you'd like to contribute, then please send them to me. Take a look: TRACKS & SIGNS.

Monday, January 2, 2012

British and American names

Went out today, around the Kiskunsag region, with 2 guys from the USA. First up were 17 Great Bustards, great views in good light. Later a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards (Rough-legged Hawks to the Americans), a few superb male Hen Harriers (Northern Harriers to the Americans), then Great Grey Shrikes (Northern Shrikes to the Americans), Great White Egrets (Great Egrets to the Americans) and so on. What did Churchill say? Two nations separated by a common language?