Late Autumn-early Winter is the perfect time to observe migrating Common Cranes and Waterfowl on the Great Plain's vast mosaic of various wetlands, steppes and agricultural areas.
First flocks of Cranes arrive to East Hungary in late summer and by the end of October they aggregate in immense numbers at their traditional roosting sites, eg. at the Hortobágy fishpond. The number estimated are rising each year, reaching appr. 193.000 individuals in Autumn 2023. When colder days arrive these flocks start their massive southward migration and rest for weeks in the protected areas of Central and Southern Hungary. One of te main goal of the trip is to visit these locations where 10.000-40.000 birds are regularly registered.
Geese and ducks are also easy to see in this period especially around bigger wetlands of the Kiskunság National Park. There is a range of fishponds, lakes, sodic lakes, canals and oxbows we plan to visit in order to search through huge flocks of Greyleg Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese in hope to find the charismatic Red-breasted Goose and Lesser White-fronted Goose.
Finding wintering birds of prey is always the easiest at the feeding grounds, so while looking for big flocks of geese and ducks it's easy to see White-tailed Eagles and even the emblematic steppe species like the resident Eastern Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon. Hen Harriers are typically found at grasslands, in harsh Winters Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzards, Merlin are also possible to see. As Long-eared Owls are gathering in communal daytime roosts, they are well showing even in our village.
For some rare Winter visitors like Wallcreeper and Alpine Accentor we offer a 1-2 days long extension to the Bükk National Park, with the guidance of our local experts. Bükk Mountains are a very diverse mountain system consisting of vast beech woods and open limestone meadows with different karst forms. Oak forest, scrub and rocky grassland on the southern slopes experience a more continental micro-climate. The varied habitats are also home for Ural Owl, Eagle Owl, White-backed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Rock Bunting, Golden Eagle, etc. We plan to stay in this area in a nice family run guesthouse.
The lowland trip is based in Oriole Lodge, Tiszaalpár and we do daytrips to various habitats suitable for these birds in the Kiskunság area. Staying so central allows us to drive less than an hour to most of the locations with our comfortable 9 seater van. We make flexible plans and taylor the itinerary according to your preferences and weather conditions. We recommend booking at least a 5 nights long period to maximize the chances to observe your desired bird species.