Saturday, 31 January 2009
Destinations: Lake Balaton - Hungary
At about 77km long Balaton is the largest lake in Hungary and indeed in Central Europe. In summer it is the playground of 1000s of tourists and not the best wetland for birding in Hungary, though quiet spots and areas of reeds do host some good species such as Little Bittern, Common Bittern, Penduline and Bearded Tits, Savi's and Great Reed Warblers and Bluethroat. But from September there is a decent passage of divers, wildfowl and terns and in winter the likes of Bean Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Velvet Scoter, Smew and Long-tailed Duck occur. In winter the lake often freezes over and then unfrozen bays where birds congregate should be sought. The eastern end of Balaton lies about 100km southwest of Budapest via the M7 motorway.