Tour Introduction : Birding in Hungary

Tour Description


Important Notice: This tour is a "Recce", and we have never personally visited  before most of the locations in this advertisement. All the information below has been supplied by third parties. We have selected and put together the information with great care for your convenience, but we cannot take any responsibility if things turn out to be different than stated.

Day 1 - 4

Day 1 - 4 
We will meet our guide at Budapest Airport. We will travel to the Hortobagy National Park which will take us about 3hrs. The Park is a World Heritage Site and is part of the Great Hungarian Plain. It covers 800sqkms and is rich in folk-lore and cultural history. It has vast areas of rolling grasslands and wetlands with many reed-lined ponds which will be alive with birdsong at this time of year. It is undoubtably amongst the finest birdwatching area in Europe with over 340 species being recorded.
 
During these days we will visit the following areas if they have better birding opportunities than equivalent areas within the park;
  • Lake Tisza with its surrounding floodplains as well as the River Tisza. Lake Tisza was created as part of the River Tisza flood control project and is 127 sqkms with a length of 27kms but with an average depth of just 1.3mtrs making it ideal for all types of water birds.
  • Heves Plain which is typical central european steppe land.
 During this part of the tour we can expect to see in the wetlands; Great, River, Savi's, Marsh and possibly the Moustached Warbler. Great Egret, Spoonbill, Purple, Night and Squacco Heron, Bittern and Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Pygmy Cormorant, Black and Whiskered Tern as well as the nomadic White-Winged Tern. Little Crake, Corncrake, Collared Flycatcher and Collared Pratincole are also present.
There are great flocks of migratory birds on the mud-flats and drained areas. These flocks are often disturbed by raptors including the White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine or Saker Falcon. Osprey is also present. Other common birds are Bearded and Penduline Tit and Bluethroat.
On the plains we can expect to see Great Bustard, Montagu"s Harrier and Stone Curlew. Amongst the grassy tussocks we will look for the Aquatic Warbler and on the dusty roads we will see Tawny Pipit. Sand Martin, Bee-eater, Hoopoe and Roller are also common.
At the fish-ponds amongst the myriad of shorebirds of terns, ducks, egrets and herons we will search for Black and Red Necked Grebe as well as for Ferriuginous Duck and Black and White Stork.
The small Robinia forest is a good place for Red-Footed Falcon, Lesser Grey and Red Backed Shrike. At the days end we hope to see Long-eared Owl.
The northern part of the Park is drier and the grassland is full of sousliks which are the favourite food of Eastern Imperial Eagle, ThermalBalmazHotelSaker and Long-legged Buzzard. We should see Northern Goshawk and with some luck a Lesser Spotted Eagle. This part is also good  for Little and Long-eared Owl. Common Crane will be found on the man-made wetland of Dinnyes-lapos.

We will stay 4 nights at the 4**** Balmaz Hotel in Balmazujvaros. This hotel has a thermal spa as well as a sauna and is set in its own extensive grounds in a beautiful small town on the edge of the Park.

Day 5 - 8

Day 5 - 7
Now we transit to the Zemplin Hills, another World Heritage Site sitting in the foothills of the Carpathians, birding the journey and looking for our first woodpeckers in the old wood of Debrecen and later the Greater Short-toed Lark. The most southern tip of the hills is the Tokaj region famous for its excellent white wines which we will have a chance to sample.
In this area we will not only bird the oak and beech woods but also the abandoned quarries where we hope to find 9 species of woodpecker. These include the Syrian,  Grey-Headed,  White Backed, Black, Great and Middle Spotted Woodpecker.
 UralOwl1
This is the main area for owls and we should expect to see Ural and Eagle Owl.

DegenfieldCastleHotelIn the clearings and around the woods we will see Collared Flycatchers, Serin and Hawfinch. Here we also look for the Honey Buzzard, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed and Eastern Imperial Eagles.
We will also bird the Bodrog River for Crakes, Barred and River Warbler and for species we may have missed earlier. Icterine and Grasshopper Warblers are also a possibility. Nightingales are abundant.
 
We will stay 3 nights in the magnificent 4**** Degenfield Castle Hotel, again set in its own lands and also with a sauna and heated outdoor swimming pool.
 
Day 8
Today we leave for Budapest where the tour ends at 12.00. Some of our party may decide to stay on to sample the splendour of this city and cultural guides can be organised.

Facts and Travel Tips

Tour Map of Hungary

Tour Description Hungary

Photo Gallery Hungary

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Hungary Main Tour Info

  • Tour dates
    1st May - 8th May 2017
  • Price
    € 1.595 p.p.
    € 350 Single supplement.
  • Deposit
    € 250 p.p.
  • Includes
    All accommodation, all meals including wine tasting and a special Hungarian dinner, transport, full-time guiding and airport transfers
  • Excludes
    International flights, insurance and personal costs.
  • Tour-party
    Minimum 4, maximum 8 fellow travellers
  • Your flight planning
    The tour starts at midday on 1st May and ends at midday on 8th May at Budapest Airport.
  • Extension
    For those who wish to arrive early or stay after the tour ends to explore Budapest hotel accommodation and cultural guide can be arranged

Hungary Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1 - Balmaz Hotel in Balmazujvaros - Arrival at Budapest Airport – Drive to Hortobagy N.P.
  • Day 2 - Balmaz Hotel in Balmazujvaros - All day birding in Hortobagy N.P.
  • Day 3 - Balmaz Hotel in Balmazujvaros - All day birding in Hortobagy N.P.
  • Day 4 - Balmaz Hotel in Balmazujvaros - All day birding in Hortobagy N.P.
  • Day 5 - Degenfield Castle Hotel - Transfer to Zamplin Hills
  • Day 6 - Degenfield Castle Hotel - All day birding in Zamplin Hills
  • Day 7 - Degenfield Castle Hotel - All day birding in Zamplin Hills
  • Day 8 - Transfer to Budapest Airport - Departure

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Meet your Tour Guide for Hungary

Janos-OlahJanos Oláh is a graduate of the University of Debrecen, Department of Ecology, and continues his PhD studies in Ecology.  He has published several scientific papers. He was a co-author of the handbook titled The Birds of the Hortobágy. Now he is working (together with Zoli) on an even larger scale handbook, The Birds of the Carpathians. The  He speaks and writes perfect English and is learning Spanish. He started birding when he was only 14 years old. In 1993 he spent six months in the Queens College, London, improving his English and studying the birds of the diverse habitats of the British Isles. He is fond of bird photography, and has travelled with a camera and a telescope in many countries of most continents.  János is married to Gabriella and has a young daughter named Enikő Júlia. They live in Debrecen.