Hortobágy Fish Ponds

Moustached Warbler!

by Martin

Day 2 in Hungary. Sad but true, but I only had one target bird. In the morning we visited the fabled Hortobágy Marshes. The places dripped with marshland avifauna. But I only really had eyes for the  Mustachioed Warbler (not that it has a moustache you understand). I had missed them twice before and it was late for singing. But we got one! A singing male at the back of the reed-bed. Worn, scruffy and to my eyes- just beautiful ; )- as it often is with new birds.

OK,  here’s where we went:

   Hortobágy (Hungarian pronunciation: ‘hortobaj’) is both the name of a village in Hajdú-Bihar county and an 800 km² national park in Eastern Hungary, rich with folklore and cultural history. The park, a part of the Alföld  (Great Plain), was designated as a national park in 1973 (the first in Hungary), and elected among the World Heritage Sites  in 1999.The Hortobágy is Hungary’s largest protected area, and the largest natural grassland in Europe (from the wikipedia article).

Shunting down the single line of a rickety small guage railway. Purple and Grey Herons, Great White and Little Egrets, Night Heron, Bittern, Spoonbill, and many Pygmy Cormorants were clocked, with glimpses of Penduline and Bearded Tits. Photo by Jeff Gordon.

Hortobágy Tower  by Jan Södersved

At the end of the line bespoke hides, tower and birds; everywhere. Song flighting White-spotted Bluethroat by the station. Overhead Ferruginous Duck, Whiskered, Black and White-winged Black Terns and more egrets and herons. Singing in the phragmites; Reed, Sedge, Great Reed, Savi’s and finally- the Moustached Warbler

Station at the end of the line. Photo: Jan Södersved

Watching the Moustached Warbler (all those other acro + Savi’s singing nearby too). Me in middle of pic with pale shirt. Photo by Jan Södersved

Caspian Gull colony

Short length of boardwalk from the Moustached Warbler, a Caspian Gull colony was in full swing. Several Yellow-legged Gulls were also present plus a superciliaris Black -headed Wagtail (we mostly saw BLue-headed).

Adult and juvenile Caspian Gulls

loafing subadult Caspian Gull


ah, there it is- the hoped for adult Caspian Gull primary pattern

male Ferruginous Duck. Overhead was good.

Always a buzz to share a new birds with others. ABA president Jeff Gordon was much chuffed with this smart juvenile male Bearded Tit.

Plenty Pygmy Cormorants

and this dapper ‘catalogue man’ was to be found on one of the outer boardwalks striking a marvelous pose with the new Swarovski gear… (photo: Jörg Kretzschmar )

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Gulls, Hungary, Uncategorized, Warblers. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hortobágy Fish Ponds

  1. Sounds fantastic. That tower hide would give me a serious attack of vertigo

  2. ALAN says:

    No moustached warbler for us last week, but the entire European flock of Lesser-White Fronted Geese. The tower hide sways gently if birders move around!

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