eco
TOURS-EASTERN-EUROPE
Natural Leaders in Western Palearctic


Birds & Budapest in Winter - Wallcreeper on Mediaeval Walls

Wallcreeper on Mediaeval Walls - Perfect Nature & Culture combination in Winter Hungary, 6 days

plus Thousands of Geese, Great Bustard, Ural Owl & White-backed Woodpecker and more 

 

Winter in Hungary is really exciting. Not far from hte capital city of Budapest there are places within easy reach that hold wintering Red-breasted Goose, Wallcreeper and Alpine Accentor! You visit scenic Lake Tata, which is a significant wintering site for geese within the limits of a city and you can search for Black, Middle Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers in the forest surrounding the lake. A nearby quarry holds wintering Wallcreeper year by year and fish ponds offer further excellent birding opportunities. Kiskunság National Park is only an hour away from the bustling capital, holding the biggest population of Great Bustard in Hungary. In winter the birds gather in large flocks and are easy to spot on the agricultural fields. The Danube Bend offers scenic landscapes and a medieval castle with wintering Alpine Accentor.

We offer you the possibility of tailor made trips to Hungary in winter as well. If based in Budapest you can make day trips to any of the above destinations or you can spend a long weekend to enjoy nature and culture.

 

 

 

Fact File

  • 6 days in Hungary visiting sites close to Budapest
  • start and finish in Budapest
  • using 2 accommodations

Highlights

  • 3days at Kiskunság with Great Bustard, Red-breasted Goose, Saker
  • at the Danube Bend visiting a scenic castle, looking for wintering Alpine Accentors
  • visit to Tata to marvel at massive geese gathering on the lake
  • visiting a quarry for wintering Wallcreeper

Accommodation

  • 2 nights in Tata at a birdfull lake
  • 3 nights in the Kiskunság National Park

Departure Dates

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

Price


Ask for the actual price.
Our price includes:

  • all travel as noted in the itinerary;
  • all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);
  • 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);
  • services of the leader(s);
  • trip materials.


Not included:

  • flights to and from Budapest;
  • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
  • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
  • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
  • excess baggage charges;
  • telephone calls;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • compulsory personal insurance.


If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

Activity level

  • Generally easy to moderate walks

Optional programmes

    Based on the species you want to see we might visit other locations near Budapest e.g. the Buda Hills or Börzsöny Hills for woodpeckers (the latter for White-backed). Also we can add 2 days to visit Bukk Hills for Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Ural Owl, Eagle Owl, several different Woodpecker species including White-backed, Balck, Grey-headed, Middle-spotted and more. Also possible to add visit to Hortobágy NP for wintering Greater Spotted Eagle, large number of geese, Winter ducks, Common Cranes and other Winter specialities.


    Itinerary

     

    Day 1

    After arrival to Budapest we drive directly to Tata or first have a Budapest sightseeing tour. 

    Day 2

    We visit Tata Old Lake an important wintering place for geese. The forest around the lake is good for Green, Black, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers and Hawfinch. We visit a quarry to look for Wallcreeper. The nearby fishpond system is a good place to see White-tailed Eagle, Smew, Red Crested Pochard and Bearded Tit

    Day 3

    We visit Visegrád castle in the Danube Bend, a wintering site for Alpine Accentors. Then we drive to the Kiskunság NP birding on the way. 

    Days 4-5

    We spend 2 days in the Kiskunság National Park to explore the steppes for Great Bustards and Saker Falcons. Depending on the bird news we might travel further South to search for Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Geese

    Day 6

    We drive to Budapest airport birding en route.

    Please note it is also possible to do a different type of itinerary to add Bukk Hills for Ural and Eagle Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Imperial Eagle and some more species.

    Autumn Crane Spectacular–Kiskunság, Hortobágy & Bükk NPs

     

    Kiskunsag, Hortobágy and Bükk Hills, 8 days

     

    Autumn is a very special season on the Great Hungarian Plains, the famous Hortobágy 'Puszta'. Enjoy fantastic views of tens of thousands of trumpeting Common Cranes flying low overhead!

    The grasslands offer plenty of other superb species, Dotterels and Stone Curlews are still around, Great Bustards can be found in small flocks as well. Raptors hunt everywhere, among them we might find Long-legged and Rough-legged Buzzard, Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon. 

    There are always many interesting birds at the fishponds such as Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant and vast numbers of waders, herons, egrets and ducks.

    Most of the Bükk Hills is characterized by vast beech woods and open limestone meadows with different karst forms produced by erosion. It is a perfect area for birding, where raptors soar above the valleys and dense deciduous woodlands provide home for woodland species including Ural Owl and perhaps Eagle Owl as well.

    There should be a good number of other forest species as well such as Hawfinch for example. But we will also look for several Woodpecker species as well  possible species include such attractive ones as Black, White-backed, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted and Syrian Woodpecker.

     

     

     

    Fact File

    • 8 days in Hungary visiting the famous Hortobágy and Bükk National Parks
    • start and finish in Budapest
    • using 2 accommodations located close to the sites

    Highlights

    • 4 days in the Hortobágy puszta visiting huge flat steppes, fishponds and experiencing the mass migration of cranes
    • 3 days in the Bükk hills visiting dense deciduous forests, limestone rock formations and quarries
    • wide variety of birds and habitats
    • plenty of herons, raptors, woodpeckers and other interesting bird species

    Accommodation

    • 4 nights in a hotel close to Hortobágy National Park
    • 3 nights in an excellent family run hotel by the foot of the Bükk hills with the best cuisine in the region

    Departure Dates

    http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

    Price


    Ask for the actual price.
    Our price includes:

    • all travel as noted in the itinerary;
    • all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);
    • 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);
    • services of the leader(s);
    • trip materials.


    Not included:

    • flights to and from Budapest;
    • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
    • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
    • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
    • excess baggage charges;
    • telephone calls;
    • alcoholic beverages;
    • compulsory personal insurance.


    If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

    Activity level

    • Generally easy to moderate walks
    • Lots of onsite wildlife observing possibilities
    • Weather generally favourable

    Itinerary

    hun1

    Days 1-2

    After arriving in Budapest we travel towards Kiskunság National Park, birding en route, concentrating on Great Bustards, Stone Curlews and other grassland species. During a full day discovery of the lakes and marshy areas we hope to find many different migrating species.

    Days 3-4

    On the way from Kiskunsag to Hortobagy we will visit fantastic oxbow lake areas with thousands of birds. At the Hortobagy we will explore the fishponds, including the famous Hortobágy Halastó. We visit Northern Hortobagy, the typical Puszta habitat to experience masses of Cranes flying overhead and raptors including Rough-legged Buzzard and White-tailed Eagle. We will visit day roosts of hundreds of Long-eared Owls. The fishponds attract many waterbirds including Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Lesser White-fronted Goose, ducks and waders. The reedbeds are home to Penduline and Bearded Tits.

    Day 5

    We head towards the Bükk hills and en route we stop at suitable places to search for Saker Falcon and Imperial Eagle.

    Days 6-7

    We spend 2 full days in the Bükk National Park visiting beech woods, scenic valleys, old quarries and limestone meadows for raptors, woodpeckers, owls and woodland passerines.
    Pre-breakfast walks around our hotel are always productive. 6 species of woodpecker, Treecreper, Hawfinch were all found in this area of orchards and oak forests.
    We spend some time in the scenic Hór Valley searching for Rock Bunting, Grey-headed and Black Woodpecker, Common Crossbill and raptors such as Imperial Eagle and Goshawk. We might also visit Lillafüred, a popular place with tourists where sometimes Wallcreeper can be found on the walls of the palace.
    One day we drive up to the Bükk Plateau to explore extensive oak and beech woods, an excellent area for Hawfinch, Treecreeper and woodpeckers, including the elusive White-backed. Even Ural Owl has been seen here.

    Day 8

    Travel to Budapest Airport stopping en route to look for some extra species.

    Raptor & Migration Special

     

    Kiskunság, Hortobágy and Zemplén Hills end of Summer, beginning of Autumn, 8 days

     

    The main attractions of this tour to see around 20 raptor species of Hungary at their breeding habitat or at their typical hunting areas. Saker and Red-footed Falcon, White-tailed, Imperial, Golden, Short-toed and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Long-legged and Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Hobby, Marsh and Montagu's Harrier and with a good timing and some luck even Pallid and Hen Harrier can be on our list. by the end of the tour. 

     

    Add to this some sought after Owls such as Ural and Eagle Owl which we have a good chance to find as well. Other extras to add will be 8 woodpecker species including White-backed and Black Woodpecker.

     

    We should not miss the largest birds of the Hungarian grasslands, the Great Bustards and this is the habitat where we will look for Stone-Curlews and trip of Dotterels in all plumages as well. It is also the peak migration time for warblers and many interesting waders! The trip is designed as a well paced holiday, including many extras in terms of birds, food, culture and of course the possibility of tasting the famous local wines and refreshing beers!

     

     

     

    Fact File

    • 8 days in Hungary visiting the famous Kiskunság and Hortobágy National Parks as well as the Zemplén Hills, which belongs to the Bukk National Park
    • start and finish in Budapest
    • using 3 accommodations located close to the sites, 1 is our own Kondor EcoLodge

    Highlights

    • 3 days in the Kiskunság National Park visiting huge flat steppes and alkaline lakes
    • 3 days in the Hortobágy National Park exploring fish ponds and steppes of the endless Puszta
    • 2 days in the Zemplén Hills visiting dense deciduous forests & the famous Tokaj Hill
    • wide variety of birds and habitats
    • plenty of raptors, woodpeckers and other interesting bird species

    Accommodation

    • 3 nights in the heart of Kiskunsag NP at Kondor EcoLodge
    • 2 nights in a small hotel on the edge of Hortobágy
    • 2 nights in a small hotel in Tokaj

    Departure Dates

    http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

    Price


    Ask for the actual price.
    Our price includes:

    all travel as noted in the itinerary;

    all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);

    3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);

    • services of the leader(s);
    • trip materials.


    Not included:

    • flight to and from Budapest;
    • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
    • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
    • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
    • excess baggage charges;
    • telephone calls;
    • alcoholic beverages;
    • compulsory personal insurance.


    If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

    Activity level

    Generally easy to moderate walks

    Optional programmes

    Visit to the "Little Hortobágy" in the Borsodi Mezőség area

    Itinerary

    hun3

    Day 1

    After arrival at Budapest Airport within half an hour we will be already at Kiskunság National Park area. The Northern part is home to the strongest populations of Great Bustards and it also has several fishponds and grassland with various species ranging from Collared Pratincole through Stone Curlew till Purple Heron and many more.

    At the end of the day we arrive to our own wonderful, traditional Kondor Ecolodge where you can enjoy garden and near garden species such as Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Roller, Tawny Pipit, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Tree Sparrow, Montagu's Harrier, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike.

    Days 2-3

    During wet years Lake Kondor in front of us, once the best bird ringing station during the last couple of years started to get back its great species such as Bittern, Black-necked Grebe, Ferruginous Duck, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt and many more.

    We spend the days with discovering the grassland areas of the Kiskunsag Puszta with various species including Stone Curlew, Lesser & Red-backed Grey Shrikes, Tawny Pipit and much more. Among the raptors we should find Red-footed Falcon, Montague's Harrier. Honey Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Hobby. Really common birds should be Kestrels and Common Buzzards. We also can spend some time at alkaline and freshwater lakes to look for various Herons, Egrets, waders and waterfowl.

    Days 4-5

    Today we leave Kondor EcoLodge, our favourite base and start to travel further East, first stopping at a fantastic oxbow-lake system full with birds, including Ferruginous Ducks, Pygmy Cormorants, Purple Herons, Squacco Herons, Spoonbills and many more. No wonder that White-tailed Eagle regularly hunts the area and sometimes Saker Falcon also checking it for food.

    Later in the day we travel to the famous Hortobágy National Park, where we stay for 2 nights. We visit the best sites of the Hortobágy. In the Northern part we look for raptors including Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted and Short-toed Eagle. This is the best time of the year for migrating Pallid Harrier and with a bit of luck beside Montague's Harrier we might see one of these rare birds as well. We search the Southern steppes for flocks of Dotterel and Stone-Curlew. The fishponds are ideal for Pygmy Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Ferruginous Duck, White-tailed Eagle, Penduline and Bearded Tits, as well as for migrating waders, warblers and flycatchers including Marsh Sandpiper, Icterine Warbler among others. We also visit a roosting site of Red-footed Falcons, where sometimes several hundreds or thousands are present at this time of the year.

    We leave the Hortobágy National Park and head north to the Zemplén Hills. En route we stop to look for Saker and Imperial Eagle in the Borsodi Mezőség area.

    Days 6-7

    Based close to Tokaj we visit the Zemplén Hills for most of the country's raptor and woodpecker species. Beech and oak forests are home to woodpeckers including Black, Grey-headed, White-backed and Middle Spotted. Syrian Woodpecker inhabits orchards in scenic villages. Golden, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed and Imperial Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Goshawk are all present in the Zemplén Hills. We look for Eagle Owl in abandoned quarries and Ural Owl in old beech woods. Rock Bunting, Dipper, Hawfinch and the white-headed race of Long-tailed Tit will also be on our menu in this untouched part of Hungary.

    Day 8

    Travel to Budapest with more opportunities for birding en route. Afternoon flight back home.

    Best birding in Hungary - Kiskunsag Steppe & Bukk Hills

    9 woodpecker species including White-backed, Black, Grey-headed, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, as well as Saker Falcon, Imperial Eagle, Great Bustard, Ural Owl, Red-throated Pipit, Collared Pratincole, Moustached Warbler, Penduline Tit, Stone Curlew, Hawfinch await you during this holiday.Our Hungary trip takes you to the best places in the country, first to the famous "puszta" of Kiskunság and then to the Bükk Hills. Both areas are protected as national parks and are partly or entirely World Heritage sites.

    Similarly to Hortobágy, the scenic Kiskunság National Park still preserves parts of the once continuous Eurasian steppe, the so called "puszta". Bird species found here reflect this special habitat, which is really different to other regions of Europe. The Kiskunság NP hosts one of the biggest populations of Great Bustards in Europe, but has other highlights to offer as well. Alkaline lakes and temporary flooded areas of grassland attract huge numbers of ducks, geese and waders. Species include Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, White-winged Black Tern, thousands of Ruff, Golden Plovers and other migrating shorebirds. We might be able to see Stone-Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit and later in May Lesser Grey Shrike, Roller, Golden Oriole and Bee-Eater.

    Most of the Bükk Hills is characterized by vast beech woods and open limestone meadows with all the different karst forms produced by erosion such as fissures, sinkholes, underground streams and caverns. It is a perfect area for birding, where raptors soar above the valleys and dense deciduous woodlands provide home for species such as owls, warblers, woodpeckers including Black, White-backed, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted & Syrian.

     

    Fact File

    • 8 days in Hungary visiting all the best parts of Kiskunsag & Bukk National Parks having rare birds, mammals & other wildlife
    • perfect tour for wildlife photography; possible to use portable hides as well
    • start and finish in Budapest
    • using only 2 accommodations located on site, one is our own lovely Kondor EcoLodge and the other is a family style guesthouse or small hotel in the Bukk Hills

    Highlights

    • visiting great National Parks and protected areas such as Kiskunsag & Bukk NP
    • wide variety of birds, mammals, butterflies and habitats
    • plenty of raptor and several owl species, 9 woodpeckers of Europe
    • unique scenery of the Westernmost edge of the Asiatic steppes & a limestone hilly region covered with dense woods
    • rather easy trails, short driving distances through well preserved landscapes
    • rural lifestyle & wide variety of wildlife; birds, mammals, butterflies, flowers & amphibians

    Accommodation

    • 3nights at our charming, bird-rich family-style hotel, Kondor EcoLodge at Kiskunság NP
    • 3 nights in the Bukk Hills

    Departure Dates

    April-June

    http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

    Price


    Ask for the actual price.
    Our price includes:

    • all travel as noted in the itinerary;
    • all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);
    • 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);
    • services of the leader(s);
    • trip materials.


    Not included:

    • flights to and from Budapest;
    • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
    • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
    • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
    • excess baggage charges;
    • telephone calls;
    • alcoholic beverages;
    • compulsory personal insurance.


    If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

    Activity level

    • Generally easy to moderate walks
    • Lots of onsite wildlife observing possibilities
    • Weather generally favourable


    Itinerary

     

    hun2

    Days 1-4

    Our Kondor EcoLodge is less than 60 miles from the Budapest airport in the heart of the Kiskunsag National Park, so we cross some of the attractive parts of it after your arrival. The lodge grounds itself can yield some of the birds that could become easily the highlight of our day in the field. Bee-eaters abound in the National park and a few breed nearby as well as Rollers and Red-footed Falcons. Other birds that can postpone our morning departures from the lodge are Golden Oriole and Hoopoe. Common and Black Redstart both breeding in the garden, Spotted Flycatcher as well. Mammals are also noteworthy – Eastern Hedgehog, Steppe Polecat, Red Squirrel, Otter, European Souslik – but with the exception of Souslik they are usually more difficult to be located.

    One of the typical habitats of Kiskunsag is the flat, perfect plain of the "puszta" which has several different types ranging from dry grassland to marshy meadows. Kiskunsag grassland is the typical habitat for population of Great Bustard. This is also a home to Stone Curlew, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Wheatear, and a set table for foraging Imperial Eagle, Red-footed and Saker Falcon. If we want to see Collared Pratincoles we should go where puszta meets arable land. Occasionally a Black-winged Pratincole can be spotted there too.

    If we should choose the flag species of this area we would go for Roller and Great Bustard. The best Hungarian populations for both are at Kiskunsag. To see the Great Bustard we have to drive to vast plains of north Kiskunsag while Roller core breeding area can be found right where our hotel is. Sightings of displaying bustards or roadside feeding Rollers are truly an unforgettable experience. Red-footed Falcons are also numerous and they add to the colour range of local birds. Indeed, the most colourful species seem to abound here.

    During our stay we will check the most important natural alkaline lakes which generally have very high salt concentration. They are rather flat and rich in nutrients and thus very suitable for thousands of birds that stop by, namely large flocks of Ruff and Dunlin. Different species can be found at gravel pits and alongside the canals connecting Tisza and Danube rivers with drier areas. Floodplains of River Tisza and its several oxbow lakes are also perfect birding spots. This group of breeding water birds are include Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Pygmy Cormorant, Black-necked Grebe, Squacco and Purple Heron or Spoonbill. Reedbeds are teeming with Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling, Great Reed, Savi's and Moustached Warbler. It is usually more common to hear than to see Bittern, Corncrake, Spotted Crake and Little Crake, but we should be able to catch a glimpse of some of these. Marsh and Montagu´s Harriers hover over the fields and sometimes a Short-toed Eagle turns up.

    A panic in the flocks of Ferruginous Duck, Shoveler, Garganey and Red-crested Pochard announces a presence of White-tailed Eagle or Saker Falcon. Whiskered Tern breeds in a common way while Black and White-winged Black Terns do so in favourable years only. Alongside Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls there are a few colonies of Mediterranean Gulls as well.

    We shall visit one of the seasonal farms on puszta and observe livestock and birds like Tawny Pipit, Crested Lark, Little Owl or Lesser Grey Shrike. We will also try to go out at night to watch and listen to some of the local Scops Owls and Nightjars. The hotel surroundings may offer a chance to see a display flight of the latter.

    Days 4-7

    On the way towards the Bukk Hills we will visit a fantastic wetland, breeding site of Pygmy Cormorant and Glossy Ibis. Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron are here in good numbers along with Ferruginous Ducks. We have good chances to see all 3 marsh terns. Black Stork and White-tailed Eagle breed in the gallery forest of the River Tisza and Spotted and Little Crake calls from the reeds this time of the year. Later in the day we travel towards the Eastern part of the country where we will spend 3 nights in an excellent family run hotel, by the foot of the Bükk Hills. It has probably the best cuisine in the region. On our way we check some good sites for Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon.

    It is a good place to search for Middle-spotted and Syrian Woodpecker in the orchards of the village where Wryneck, Hawfinch and Golden Oriole is also possible. We visit the entrance of a valley where several pairs of Rock Bunting breed in an abandoned quarry. We enter the old beech forests of the hill searching for Grey-headed, Black and the elusive White-backed Woodpecker. The wet mountain meadows hold Corncrake, River Warbler and the dry scrub is inhabited by Barred Warbler. From mid May several pairs of Red-breasted Flycatcher are found here, but Collared Flycatcher and Wood Warbler is singing from earlier on. If time permits we can try to see Ural Owl in appropriate habitats. We also check the Southern slopes of the hills for Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon. Here we often see Goshawk and Lesser Spotted Eagle too. Depending on time we might have opportunity to visit the nearby Borsodi Mezőség or so called "Little Hortobágy". It is a wonderful area of wetland and grassland habitats with a healthy population of Imperial Eagle, Saker, Roller, Red-footed Falcon and Lesser Grey Shrike. Finally on the last day we travel to Budapest, birding en route.