Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Destinations: Haapsalu - Estonia

The small town of Haapsalu lies in NW Estonia in Laane County right on the Baltic Coast. Tallinn is 100km away to the NE by road. This is a comfortable place to bird, indeed a good range of wetland birds - wildfowl, waders, terns and gulls - can often be seen from the waterfront prom and waterside hotels. On the east side of town there is even a high observation tower from which to scan the bay, though it can be windy here. The northern part of the town is a tuning-fork shaped peninsula that juts into Haapsalu Bay. Some of this is a port and closed off, but there are places from where the water can be scanned. In spring grebes, swans and sea-duck flock here and White-tailed Eagles regularly drop in. In summer Haapsalu is packed with tourists and not the best for birding.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Birding Tours: Hungary Spring 2010

From 22 - 29 May (2010) the UK company Heatherlea are running a birdwatching tour to Hungary. Based at two centres in the east, in the forests of the Bukk Hills and then on the flatlands of the Hortobagy National Park, key species seen previously on this easy-going tour are Pygmy Cormorant, Black Stork, Ferruginous Duck (as in the photo here), Red-footed Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, Saker, White-tailed, Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles, Collared Pratincole, Stone Curlew, Ural Owl, Wryneck, Syrian, White-backed and Black Woodpeckers, Bee-eater, Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike, Icterine, Barred, River, Marsh and Aquatic Warblers, and many, many more. More info via this link: Hungary Heatherlea.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Hungary: A Birding Festival

From 2-9 May, 2010, the UK company WildWings are once again running the Hungarian Bird Festival. This is a different kind of birding holiday 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 Hortobagy area with excursions to nearby hills and forests, too, key species to be expected are Pygmy Cormorant, Red-footed Falcon, Saker, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Ural Owl, Barred, River and Aquatic Warblers, etc. For more info click this link to: http://www.wildwings.co.uk/hungary.html
Photo of a Saker in the Hortobagy National Park by Gabor Kovacs.