Autumn Migration in Hungary: Aug 30—Sep 11, 2014
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Attila SteinerAttila Steiner is a keen birdwatcher and naturalist. He worked for WWF on species conservati...
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White-tailed Eagles— Photo: Ecotours Wildlife Holidays
A late summer tour to scenic Hungary focuses on resident birds and the tremendous migration spectacle of Eastern Europe; includes visits to national parks, namely the famed Hortobágy, and some cultural highlights.
Boasting timeless landscapes and a marvelous capital city in Budapest, Hungary is a traveler’s dream come true. For the birder and naturalist, the opportunity to witness spectacular birds on the great Hungarian plains cements Hungary as a premier destination. For the culturally inclined, Hungary’s allure resides in the magnificent architecture, history, and culinary delights of one of the world’s most remarkable cities.
On this end-of-summer tour, we’ll discover the Eastern European country of Hungary, a place unknown to many travelers, but one that boasts some of the finest birding and natural history prowess on the European continent. From Budapest, we’ll travel counterclockwise through a network of national parks and preserves at one of the most dynamic times of the year: autumn migration, when resident birds are joined by thousands of southbound waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds. The mix of common and widespread birds with rare and spectacular species can have a dazzling effect.
Among the tour’s many attractions are raptors: Saker and Red-footed falcons, and White-tailed, Imperial, Short-toed, and Lesser Spotted eagles, to name a few; up to eight species of woodpeckers; and concentrations of Black Storks with a few lingering White Storks.
VIDEO: Autumn Birding Tour in Hungary, by Ecotours Wildlife Holidays
Our travels will center on three famous national parks where multiple nights at each location lend an even pace to the tour. We’ll spend three full days exploring the steppes, alkaline lakes, and ponds of Kiskunság National Park, home to Ferruginous Ducks, Great Bustards, White-tailed Eagles, and a superb diversity of shorebirds and waders. To the east, we’ll have three nights at legendary Hortobágy National Park, where vast expanses of native grassland hold Common Cranes, European Rollers, European Bee-eaters, more birds of prey, and, for a very special treat, flocks of staging Eurasian Dotterels. We’ll then make our way north to Bükk National Park, where undulating hills support beech woodlands interspersed with open meadows and karst limestone formations. We’ll spend four nights in this vitally important reserve. We’ll stroll through picturesque valleys and undisturbed woodlands seeking such favorites as Ural Owl and Hawfinch.
VIDEO: Birding in Hungary in Late Summer, by Ecotours Wildlife Holidays
For a touch of cultural infusion, we’ll journey to the historical town of Eger to visit a centuries-old castle and a Baroque city center with churches and grandiose buildings. On one evening we will have a traditional dinner in a wine cellar with tasting of local wines, while our trip culminates with a grand finale tour of Budapest.
Accommodations and cuisine good to very good; physical demands moderate; fair amount of walking; weather warm to hot with precipitation unlikely.