Syrian Woodpecker is very much an "Eastern European" bird. For example, it is common and widespread in lowlands across Hungary, Slovakia, and through the Balkans, and also occurs further north and west in Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus.
Every autumn over 100,000 Common Cranes Grus grus pass through Hungary, mostly east of the River Tisza. We have been running trips to watch this spectacle for many years (once again, we were the first to do so) and it really is a magnificent avian event at dusk.
Just finished a very successful tour along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. The main focus was on seeing the masses of migrating birds - storks, raptors, waders, pelicans, songbirds - as well as some of the special residents found there. There were many, many, highlights, and here is one... a Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla that after being trapped and ringed (banded) in a camp near Bourgas was safely released.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dryobates minor is the smallest woodpecker in Europe. Absent from Ireland, rare in the UK, it is however quite common in many places we visit in Central and Eastern Europe. Here is one from a recent tour in Hungary.
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa. This magnificent bird was one of the main highlights of a recent trip in Belarus. Don't worry, we watched and photographed the bird on its nest high in the canopy from a safe distance and the bird was not disturbed.
Owls are always popular with birders. Here is a Tawny Owl in the woods of the Buda Hills, just above the city. It is a common owl in the region, often in urban environments, too, besides in forests proper.
The Black Woodpecker is Europe's largest member of the picid family. It is particularly popular with our guests from Great Britain, as it does not, and has never, occurred there. In Central and Eastern Europe it is, in fact not uncommon and we usually find a few on every trip. This male was photographed recently in the Budapest Hills, Hungary, as he fed low down near the ground.