I departed Gatwick, 11th May, at 11.15 hours to arrive at Budapest at 15.15 hours, promptly met by Arpad and travelled the 165 miles arriving 17.30 hours at the Solyomvar Panzio es Etterem, (the Falcon Castle Hotel), Komloska, a small village, population c300 in the Zemplen Hills of Hungary
Out for a wander round the village by 18.00 hours, perfect blue sky, the first bird heard, louder than all the other bird calls was a Golden Oriole, this is the first time I had a good view of a Golden Oriole. High in the trees about 100 metres away. Birds noted around the village were
Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Song Thrush
Great Tit, Blue Tit
Blackbird, Robin and Pied Wagtail
Jay, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Starling and Swallows
Evening meal at 19.30 hours and in bed by 20.30 hours.
I had requested Saker Tours to arrange this two day visit to be guided by Mr. Zolton Petrovics who I had given me such a superb time on my visit 3 weeks ago to see the 9 Woodpeckers of Hungary. (See my report 16th, 17th, 18th April)
Thursday, 12th, my guide for the two days was again Zoltan who picked me up at 07.30 hours.
25 minutes later at the first stop
Corncrake, heard calling, many,
Quail, 1, heard
Cuckoo, heard all day long,
Barred Warbler, several
Golden Oriole, 3
Common Buzzard, 2
Bee-eater, 4 flew over
Wryneck, heard, briefly seen
Whinchat, 4 +
Lesser Whitethroat, heard
A kilometer up the same road
Lesser Spotted Eagle
the sun is very hot, sweltering, temperature high !
turned into a vineyard track leading up to the forest to escape the heat seeing
Red-backed Shrike, a male
Wryneck, a glimpse of one
Then into the shade of the forest to escape the heat
In the forest, quiet, cool, stealth.
Zoltan found a tree with recent signs of a woodpecker activity, wood chippings on the forest floor below a woodpecker hole in this same tree, he scratched the tree trunk, then moved on. I was some 15 meters behind and saw the woodpecker look out of its nest hole. My immitation bird call alerted Zoltan who immediatly identified the woodpecker as a White-backed Woodpecker. Zoltan was very pleased with this find as he explained it was now a very rare woodpecker, needing a large teritory of exactly the correct mixed woodland.
Out of the forest, we visited a quarry to see
Then the last location of the day
Willow Tit, (bigger bib, window on wing and of course the call)
Day over, back at hotel at 19.00 hours
Friday, 13th, day started with Zoltan picking me up at 07.30 hours prompt.
Low cloud, very warm
A local destination to see first
Wood Lark, 1
Golden Oriole, several
Great White Egret, flew over
Then a visit to a quarry for second Eagle Owl sighting
Then a drive to another site some distance away
Great Reed Warbler
Cuckoo, 4 flew over together
Saker Falcon, 2, a male and female on adjoining pylons
moved back to another location
Ural Owl, 2, a male and female
Moved on to another quarry location to look for Rock Bunting, NONE, but saw
Eagle Owl, 3rd
Bee Eater, 6 distant
Once again the sun is now out and very hot, another quarry, another Eagle Owl, 4th, this time no matter how hard I looked I could not see it, to distant, to well camoflaged. Zoltan says there used to be Rock Thrush at this site but now none.
Rain clouds now threaten, temperature drops but no rain, we now visit another site of wasteland overlooking a river to see
Corncrake, 1, heard
Nightingales, 1 seen, heard many
Common Buzzard, flew over
Honey Buzzard, flew over
Great White Egret, flew up river
moved on stopping at a roadside bridge on another forest road to look for Dipper, None
Then to our final destination of the day to see
Returning back to the hotel at 19.00 hours.
Saturday 14th, my return flight was not until 20.15 hours.
Mr. Janos Olah had arranged that this day I would be left to look local myself and that I would be picked up at 15.00 hours for transfer to airport.
I passed the day on the road to the next village seeing
Golden Oriole, many
Black Stork, it circled round low and gave me superb views
Arpad picked me up at 15.15 hours, a drive to the airport, flight home arriving at Gatwick at 22.00 hours.
This was the most well organised trip you could ever plan. The weather was superb, the birds and nature was stunning, my gratefull thanks to Saker Tours and a big thank you to Mr. Zoltan Petrovics who gave me 'an extra special two days', Zoltan, I will come back next May to do the same again !