Friday, 6 April 2012

Clayheads on Tour - Hungary 2012 (31 March)

Day 3 - Hotel Villa Völgy – Up early to meet Roy at 06-00hrs again. The resident ♂ Black Redstart was again singing from the hotel roof.

Omya Quarry, Felnémet – Our first stop was at a working quarry just to the north of Eger. We parked up by the entrance and started scanning the cliff faces. A quick blast of the phone and I spotted a ♂ Rock Bunting, but it soon flew out of view. We had 3+ Black Redstarts, including a ♂ singing from the building. We wandered back towards the car again, and I played the tape one more time. Roy spotted another ♂ Rock Bunting in the bush right in front of us. It was so close, neither me nor GAS could see it at first, but we enjoyed stunning views as it sat literally yards away from us. We also had Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Hawfinches over, Jay, Nuthatch, Starling and Green Woodpecker. We tried for GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER again without success. We drove a short distance to view a wet woodland area, another spot for LSW and GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER. Neither were seen, although a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was calling. We had two Green Woodpeckers, Marsh Tit and several Hawfinches. Then we returned for breakfast.
Rock Bunting digi-binned!

Bükk National Park - Our first visit after breakfast for one of our target birds was to the Bükk National Park for WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER. On the way up we saw two pairs of Grey Wagtails feeding on the road. We pulled in at a carpark by the 18KM marker, another site for LSW and GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER. We had a Northern Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff and Hawfinches again. I saw a Black Woodpecker on the trees opposite us, but it soon disappeared. We drove a short distance up the road and pulled over again, and had cracking views of ♂♀ Middle Spotted Woodpecker and heard another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
GAS standing by a notice board
You've never seen so many trees in all your life. 15KM of this for scenary

We continued driving the 15KM stretch of road through the Bükk National Park. The road was extremely winding with frequent hair pin bends, and we were passing thousands of trees. I was glad to finally reach our destination.
The White-backed Wood site

We parked up and soon were watching a ♀ Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Roy could hear the contact call of the WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER, and eventually found a ♀ White-backed Woodpecker perched on a tree only feet off the ground. We then had a ♂ White-backed Woodpecker on the opposite side of the road, soon followed by a ♂ Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Treecreeper and many White Wagtails (miles away from the nearest water) were also seen. We headed back down, stopping several times for LSW and GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER. We added Heron, Wren (a northern European bird and so only found high up in Hungary), Great Spotted Woodpecker and Marsh Tit.

Female White-backed Woodpecker

We drove through Miskolc, a vast industrial town and then checked a few sites out on the way south. We had good views of a Syrian Woodpecker in Sajószsōged, and two Long-eared Owls were roosting in a town centre.

Syrian Woodpecker

Perfect LEO roosting trees in a town centre

Showing Parkhall style!
GAS takes a break after dipping the reported White Stork

The day finished at Gelej Fish Ponds. Some excellent birding here, with two Black Storks, c50 Ferruginous Ducks, loads of Garganey and a White-tailed Eagle amongst the highlights. Unfortunately, the wind was quite strong by now, as it had been all day.

We went out in the evening for our end of trip celebration meal with Roy and his wife. It was an excellent evening, starting off in the wine cellars for a few glasses of Hungarian wine, costing only a few pence.

Then onto an authentic Hungarian restaurant. I had venison and wild boar - the only problem was I didn't know which was which. That's a Clayhead for you!