Sunday, 29 March 2009

Special Birds: Yellowhammer

Though Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella has declined badly in some countries (e.g. the UK) it is still a quite common and widespread bird in Eastern Europe. This fine photo was taken by Phil Hardwick at Soutok, Czech Republic in March 2009.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Hungarian Bird Festival

From 3-10 May,  2009, the UK company WildWings are running a birding tour to Hungary. But this is a tour with a difference, called the Hungarian Bird Festival, where once in place participants choose each day whether to join guided excusions, short or long, or do their own birding. Based in the east by the fabulous Hortobagy area key species are Pygmy Cormorant, Red-footed Falcon, Saker, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Ural Owl, River and Aquatic Warblers, etc, etc. Here is the link:

Monday, 16 March 2009

Special Birds: Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor (aka Northern Shrike) breeds in the more northern countries of the region and is a common winter visitor to the south. The shot of a bird in typical pose was taken in Soutok, Czech Republic, by Mike Crutch. March 2009.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Special Birds: Marsh Tit

The dainty little Marsh Tit Parus palustris is common and widespread in the region. Despite its name it rarely inhabits marshes proper but rather damp woodlands, parks, orchards and even gardens. This is the paler, northern European race palustris photographed in Lithuania by Juozas Miskinis.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Birding Tours: Romania

From 20-27 June 2009 the UK company Heatherlea are running a tour to Romania. Based mainly in the fabulous Danube Delta the Black Sea Coast and steppes and woods in Dobrudja are also taken in. Key species are Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Ruddy Shelduck, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Pied Wheatear, Paddyfield Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Sombre Tit and many more. Pygmy Cormorant (in photo here) is in it's world stronghold. Here is the link:

Monday, 2 March 2009

Destinations: Lake Cerknica - Slovenia

Cerknica is a seasonally flooded area, a lake that lies on a karst depression (polje) and appears in spring and autumn but which dries out in summer. The area has reedbeds, peatbog, hayfields and arable land.  Passage and breeding birds include White Stork, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck, Spotted and Little Crakes, White-winged and Black Terns, Common Quail, Corncrake, Yellow Wagtail, Common Rosefinch and Marsh, Savi's and Great Reed Warblers. A range of waders also drop in when on migration. Cerknica lies near the villages of Dolenje Jezero, Grahovo and Zerovniva, about 45km SSW of Ljubljana.