eco
TOURS-KONDOR EcoLodge
Wildlife & Photography Centre
Kiskunság National Park, Hungary


Birds & Wildlife at Kondor EcoLodge, Kiskunság NP, Hungary

BIRDS, MAMMALS, BUTTERFLIES, MOTH, DRAGONFLIES, WILDFLOWERS

We offer an unique place as a base to stay to discover the special birds, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botanical and other natural values of the "Hungarian Puszta". Traditional thatched-roofed houses, home-made food, wine cellar, tranquil forest and garden with attractive species makes Kondor EcoLodge a perfect base for a great wildlife holiday. A friendly, relaxing atmosphere and professional guiding is guaranteed by a guide-couple who lives and guides half year here in Hungary and other Eastern European destinations, other half year in Latin America! Surely once you visit this place you definitely want to return soon!

Similarly to Hortobágy, the scenic Kiskunság National Park still preserves parts of the once continuous Eurasian steppe, the so called "puszta". Bird species found here reflect this special habitat, which is really different to other regions of Europe. The Kiskunság NP hosts one of the biggest populations of Great Bustards in Europe, but has other highlights to offer as well. Alkaline lakes and temporary flooded areas of grassland attract huge numbers of ducks, geese and waders. Species include Ferruginous Duck, Garganey, White-winged Black Tern, thousands of Ruff, Golden Plovers and other migrating shorebirds. We might be able to see Stone-Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Tawny Pipit, Red-throated Pipit and later in May Lesser Grey Shrike, Roller, Golden Oriole and Bee-Eater.

 

  • 8 days in Hungary visiting all the best parts of Kiskunsag National Park having rare birds, mammals & other wildlife
  • perfect tour for wildlife photography; possible to use portable hides as well
  • start and finish in Budapest
  • using only 1 accommodations located on site, our own lovely Kondor EcoLodge

  • spending time in the heart of a the great visiting great Kiskunsag National Park
  • wide variety of birds, mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, moths at different habitats
  • plenty of raptors, herons, egrets, several woodpeckers, most colourful European birds such as Roller, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe in or around the garden
  • unique scenery of the Westernmost edge of the Asiatic steppes
  • very easy trails, short driving distances through well preserved landscapes
  • relaxing, rural lifestyle, great food and wine at charming Kondor Ecolodge

  • 7nights at our own charming, bird-rich family-style hotel, Kondor EcoLodge at Kiskunság NP
  • Address: Szabadszallas, Balazspuszta 90. , 6080 HUNGARY

April-Oct

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar

Ask for the actual price.Our price includes:

  • all travel as noted in the itinerary;
  • all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);
  • 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);
  • services of the leader(s);
  • trip materials.

Not included:

  • flights to and from Budapest;
  • optional programmes to places of interest and entrance fees involved;
  • airport and other departure taxes, tips;
  • food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries;
  • excess baggage charges;
  • telephone calls;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • compulsory personal insurance.

If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us.

  • Generally easy to moderate walks
  • Lots of onsite wildlife observing possibilities
  • Weather generally favourable


Day 1

After arriving at Budapest airport, we will be met by our Ecotours guide who also will be our host at Kondor Eco-Lodge. We could reach our accommodation within 1-1,5 hour drive from the airport, but it would be hard to miss stopping at some of the Upper Kiskunsag habitats on the way. Depending on your flight schedule we either stop at a wetland forest with several woodpecker species including Black, Middle- and Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers, Collared Flycatcher, Black Stork and some nice butterfly species should be around as well such as Map, Short-tailed & Eastern Short-tailed Blue, Essex Skipper. Or we drive through a typical grassland habitat with our first songbirds such as Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Whinchat with a great variety of raptors around as well. During the way at our stops you will be treated by coffee, cappuchino, tea and some other goodies.

We arrive to our hotel in the middle of the Kiskunsag National Park to leave enough time to look around in the garden, rest a bit and prepare for a great dinner.

Day 2-8

Our first full day will be spent at and around our accommodation, leisurely discovering the wildlife surrounding us. The air is full with thrills and songs of nesting Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Swallows, Chiffchaffs, Black Redstrarts, Stonechats, Blackcaps, Mistle Thrushes, Willow Warblers. Tree Sparrow and Common Redstart is also a possibility, both have been breeding species in the garden recently. You won’t be bored by the flute of Golden Orioles or bubbling sounds of Bee-eaters or female Cuckoos around. Various resident woodpeckers in or nearby the garden include Lesser and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck and Green Woodpecker, but even Black Woodpecker is possible.

Most of the above mentioned species are at or around the garden, but with different walks we can find many more interesting things around even without using a vehicle! Trails and rural, sandy dirt-roads meander through a flat area dotted by small forest patches, grasslands and a lake. The surrounding area is very good for Rollers and Bee-eaters, in fact they are one of the most common birds around! Nearby Syrian & Black Woodpecker is around & Turtle Dove occurs as well. We should find Tawny Pipit, Red-backed & Lesser Grey Shrike as well. Hoopoe, Tree Pipit, Corn Bunting, Whinchat, Nightingale, Crested Lark and Yellow Wagtail all has good populations here as well. It is not uncommon to hear and see Hawfinch, Garden Warbler, Linnet or Spotted Flycatcher either. The nearby extensive sand dunes covered with different Stipa species in the central part of the National Park are ideal for Wood Lark populations.

Kiskunsag has an unusual mixture of habitats with sanddunes, special forest steppes, mainly oak and juniper and sand steppes or sand ‘puszta’ plus alkaline, salt lakes. Thus it is an endemic hotspot for plant and wildflower species. During our visit, second half of May we can discover these various habitats and try to find a wide variety of different interesting members of the local flora, most of the following species will in flowers: Endemics: Onosma arenaria, Plantago schwarzenbergiana; Near endemics: Festuca vaginata, Stipa borysthenica; Some of the other species: Alkanna tinctoria, Artemisia santonicum, Astragalus dasyanthus, Cephalantera rubra, Dactylorhiza incarnata, Pseudovina-Festuca pseudovina, Festuca rubra, Filipendula vulgaris, Fumana procumbens, Gymnadenia conopsea, Iris spuria, Iris sibirica, Matricaria recutita, Ophrys insectifera, Ophrys scolopax ssp. cornuta, Orhcis militaris, Green-winged Orchid-Orchis morio, Potentilla arenaria, Pulsatilla pratensis ssp. hungarica, Thymus pannonicus/ Thymus glabrescens.

During the evenings we offer short night walks to listen Scops Owl and Tawny Owl. Little Owl usually can be found at nearby farms during the day as well. But the highlight of the after dinner programs is surely the Nightjar-walk when you can hear and with some luck also witness up-close the display flight of these fascinating birds.

Regarding garden butterfly species depending on how advanced is the Spring we can see some late Southern Festoons with some luck or the first Common Gliders as specialities. Cardinal, Swallowtail, Scarce Swallowtail, Comma, Peacock, Painted Lady all common species. But during our daily trips there are many other species possible to find, ranging from various blues Short-tailed, Eastern Short-tailed & Common Blue through fritillaries, such as Queen of Spain or Silver-washed Fritillary till Lesser even Freyer’s Purple Emperor.

Those who interested in further Lepidoptera species would be delighted to see that during the evenings our lights in front of the large white walls of our buildings attract several different species of moth. Plus during our daily outings we can find some further species. Kiskunsag has several specialities, some are very localised, others relatively common. Depending on location and timing some of the possibilities are: Narrage tessularia pannonicus, Semiothisa/Diastictis artesiaria, Eucrostes Indigenatus, Rhyparioides Metelkana, Orthosia Schmidti, Aspilates formosarios pannonicus, Coleophora eupepla, Coleophora pilicornis, Metzneria ehikeella, Opropsamma wertheimsteini, Zygaena laeta, Porphyrina pannonica, Oxytripia orbiculosa, Staurophara celsia, Peppered Moth (Biston betularius), Tephronia sepiaria, Cucullia tanaceti, Spurge Hawk, Bedstraw Hawk, Goat Moth (Cossus cossus).

Close to the Kondor Eco-Hotel it is easy to observe different mammal species as well, such as Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Eastern Hedgehog, Red Fox and funny-looking European Souslik, which looks like as a ground squirrel.

Other mammal species are either a bit further away or much harder to get a glimpse, such as Russian/Eversmann's Polecat, Southern Birch Mouse, Root Vole, Pond Bat, Otter and Badger.

Next days will be spent by visiting different types of habitats finding various sought-after bird species, find attractive wildflowers, colourful butterflies and rare dragonflies.

One of the typical habitats of Kiskunsag is the flat, perfect plain of the “puszta” which has several different types ranging from dry grassland till marshy meadows. Kiskunsag grassland is the typical habitat for Great Bustard with the largest population not just in Hungary, but all Europe! On one of the days we can travel to the grassland area where we have a good chance of enjoying the view of the enormous males which is quite an unforgettable experience! This area is also home for Stone Curlew, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Wheatear, and a perfect hunting area for some great raptors such as Imperial Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Saker Falcon. Certain species adapted to the agricultural fields and nest at the edge of these areas. This is where we can search for an occasional Black-winged Pratincole among the Collared ones. Long-eared and Little Owl usually can be found at farm houses.

During the days we will check the most important natural alkaline lakes which generally have very high salt and other mineral concentration. Different species can be found at gravel pits filled with water and alongside the canals connecting River Tisza or River Danube with drier areas. Floodplains of River Tisza and its several oxbow lakes are also perfect birding spots.

This is where we will look for the following breeding birds: Avocet, Redshank, Black Winged Stilt, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Kentish Plover, Pygmy Cormorant, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Spoonbill, Common Snipe, Kingfisher.

It is usually easier to hear than to see Bittern, Corncrake, Spotted Crake and Little Crake, but we should be able to get a glimpse of some of these species as well.

Beside the numerous Marsh Harriers we should find Montague's Harrier as well, but White-tailed Eagle or Saker Falcon cause much bigger alarm amongst the flocks of Ferruginous Duck, Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard. Terns will be represented by Common and Whiskered Tern and during “wet years" Black and White-winged Black Terns are present as well. Alongside Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls there are nice colonies of Mediterranean Gulls. Reedbeds are teeming with Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling, Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Sedge and Reed Warbler. Alongside the rivers at the so called “gallery forests” or riparian forests we should find Lesser and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker and Black Storks, plus plenty of Golden Orioles.

Depending on timing alongside the rivers and lakes there are always different really great dragonfly species to find such as Migrant Spreadwing/Southern Emerald Damselfly, Lesser Emperor and Emperor Dragonfly, Lilypad Whiteface, Common, Spotted & Ruddy Darter, Norfolk Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, White & Black-tailed Skimmer.

We cross once again the Upper Kiskunsag area, stopping at the best habitats to say goodbye to the Puszta before reaching the airport.