Hungary and Slovakia - easy birding and autumn wildlife

A week spent in the hills and plains of Slovakia and Hungary searching out resident and migrant birdlife, including Great Bustard, woodpeckers and owls, geese and cranes, while enjoying the other local wildlife.
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This holiday is timed to catch the best of the south-bound bird migration. On the plains of the Hortobagy, thousands of Common Cranes gather to feed up before they continue south. A highlight of the trip is sure to be the bugling of impressive flocks of these stately birds flying overhead on their way to their roosts. The wetlands are also filling up with large numbers of ducks and geese, including tens of thousands of White-fronted Geese, joined occasionally by their smaller, rarer cousin, Lesser White-fronted Goose.

As well as the southbound migrants, we will also look for some of the impressive resident birds of the area: Great Bustard, Europe’s heaviest bird, strut out on the plains where Saker and Eastern Imperial Eagle hunt around the busy Souslik colonies.

On the limestone hills of Slovakia, the forests of the Volovske are wearing the rich colours of autumn. Old beech and spruce forests provide home for countless woodpeckers, including White-backed and Black. In the evenings, we will listen out for calling owls, hopefully including the ghostly Ural Owl, while young Pygmy Owls are particularly vocal as they search for new territories.

There will be more to see than just birds, with late summer butterflies and dragonflies, mammals including Roe Deer and Souslik: we may even be lucky enough to hear the local wolf pack proclaiming their territory.