Spring birding in Hungary & Romania with Terry and Lajos, Apr 27-May 13

December 31st, 2018 by Field Guides· Add a Comment

Some of finest spring birding in the whole of Europe is in Hungary and Romania, where guide Terry Stevenson and local expert Lajos Nemeth-Boka have co-led full and successful Field Guides tours for the past four years. If you’re calendar is free for our Apr 27-May 13 departure, this would make an ideal birding break at peak birding time.

Landscape at Cheile Dobrodgei in Romania by participant David Woods

One highlight of our itinerary is a three-night stay on a comfortable boat in the Danube Delta. Each cabin has a private bathroom, large windows in the dining room allow for great birding while we enjoy delicious meals, and a roof viewing terrace works perfectly for scanning over the reedtops. We’ll be towing a shallow-hulled smaller boat which will give us access to the narrower channels and lagoons where larger vessels cannot go. In previous years, many participants have said this is the perfect way to start the tour, as we enjoy up to 15 species of waterfowl including Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, and Ferruginous Duck. Displaying Red-necked and Great Crested grebes are common, while flights of Pygmy Cormorants and Great White and Dalmatian pelicans frequently pass overhead. The reedbeds are home to Purple and Squacco herons, Eurasian Penduline-Tit, Bearded Reedling, and Savi’s Warbler, while the shores provide feeding grounds for Eurasian Spoonbill, and a large variety of migrant shorebirds, which may include Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, and Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage. Eurasian Marsh-Harrier or White-tailed Eagle could pass over at any time, sending hundreds of startled birds into a swirling mass of zig-zagging flying shapes.

European Scops-Owl by participant Jean Perata

Other tour highlights include the Carpathian Mountains, where we’ll search for Western Capercaillie, Eurasian Pygmy-Owl, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Nutcracker, Goldcrest, Firecrest,  Ring Ousel, White-throated Dipper, and the unique Wallcreeper! In the gorgeous countryside of Transylvania (where many people still practice traditional strip farming), it’s like stepping back in time one hundred years. With the forests, grasslands, and traditional hedgerows still intact, it’s wonderful to bird this mosaic landscape where seven species of woodpeckers occur, as well as Woodlark, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Nightingale, Collared Flycatcher, Yellowhammer, and Hawfinch. Three of Europe’s most colorful birds — Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater and European Roller — are still common, and migrants include a variety of flycatchers, wheatears, warblers, shrikes, and buntings, which differ in number and species from year to year but always make for exciting birding. Finally, we’ll visit the famous ‘puszta’ grasslands, home to Imperial Eagle, Red-footed and Saker falcons, and breeding grounds of the magnificent Great Bustard. 

Our home on the Danube Delta by participant Jan Shaw

History and Culture: For those with an interest in historical and cultural sights, included in the main tour are short visits to the city of Brasov, Dracula’s Castle, a Transylvanian village (for the Szekler Gates), Viscri (for a Fortified Church), and the medieval city of Sighisoara. Additionally, you may wish to add a few extra days to the tour and join our optional city tours in both Bucharest and/or Budapest.

If it sounds like fun — and it will be, with Terry and Lajos — contact our office to hold a space or two. There are still a few openings available for this tour departing in late April.

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