TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Eastern Austria

29th May - 4th June 2000


Leaders:
Keith Grant
John Muddeman

DIARY:

Monday 29th May Arrival.

An early departure from Heathrow enabled us to be at our hotel in Neusiedl-am-See in time for a late lunch, after which we ambled out along a cycle path through the adjacent wetlands. Good views had of Black Redstarts and Serin, with brief glimpses of Hobby, and all this in front of the hotel! A little way down the road and a pair of Syrian Woodpeckers were also briefly located in the trees, while several Marsh Harriers flying over were the first of many.

As we walked out through the marsh areas, snatches of song were heard allowing comparison of both Grasshopper and Savi's Warblers, and also of that other classic species pair - Reed & Sedge Warblers. Other warblers included good views of a male Blackcap. One of the specialities of the area, Penduline Tit, at first provided brief glimpses in the numerous willows, but culminated in good views of one around its nest, while at a different angle, but from the same spot a Turtle Dove purring allowed prolonged views through the telescopes. A fine start!

Tuesday 30th May North and east fringes of Neusiedler See

Out at 6 am for a pre-breakfast walk down to the lake shore providing more chances to listen to several species, including Great Reed Warbler, one of which obligingly sat up in the reed tops for us to watch. More acrobatic Penduline Tits provided distraction, while a Wryneck, playing hide-and-seek in the roadside willows, finally gave fine views.

After breakfast we explored the east side of the lake around Podersdorf. Here we slowly and carefully worked our way south, checking the shallow lagoons and muddy banks along the lake shore and adjacent trees and scrub in grassy fields. Numerous duck were evident, including Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, and one or two late Common Teal and Eurasian Wigeon. Shorebirds included Black-winged Stilts, Little Ringed Plover and Ruff, while two Little Terns appeared very briefly. The poplar trees here also provided interest, with Golden Orioles singing loudly and finally a male showed well. While waiting for them to appear, movement on the edge of the wood produced a pair of Icterine Warblers scolding a Red-backed Shrike, while another pair of these lovely shrikes graced a bush in the field behind.

Further on, we (re-)found a major rarity for the area, a Terek Sandpiper (about the 15th for Austria!), and numerous Black-tailed Godwits, including one on a telegraph pole, provided a splash of colour. However, waterbirds till vied for attention with some fine Ferruginous Ducks loafing in the sun, Great Crested Grebes played hide-and-seek along the edge of the reeds, and a couple of Great White Egrets stalked in and out of the vegetation. Several Common Terns looked slightly out of place fishing among the reedbeds. The open fields here also produced one or two jingling Corn Buntings and more Red-backed Shrikes, while several Norfolk Hawker dragonflies provided interest in the lee of some bushes along the road.

During lunch in the shade of false acacias, we were serenaded by a Nightingale and another Golden Oriole, while Red-backed Shrike and several Spotted Flycatchers were also present. We walked parallel to the reeds in the shelter of the trees, noting more Penduline Tits, while a tantalisingly brief Kentish Plover flew over and two Grass Snakes were remarkably evasive.

Back in the vehicles and almost immediately, the open muddy areas on the Ober-stinkersee looked too good to pass. A quick stop revealed a number of birds, including superb Kentish Plovers, young Redshanks, several Pied Avocet, and a Little Egret dropped in for good measure. An atypically brief fly-by Hoopoe added colour.

We rounded off the first afternoon further south near the town of Illmitz, where the first White Storks were tending young on nests. On the large lagoon at Zicklacke, we found more Kentish Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers with young, family groups of Black-winged Stilt, Redshank and Lapwing, and a notable flock of Mute Swans as well as a selection of other waterfowl.

Wednesday 31st May Tadten Plain

The day dawned dull and overcast, with rain quickly coming in after breakfast, so a quick change from the planned visit to the mountains. Instead, we headed for the autobahn, a most unlikely-sounding habitat, but two male and two female Red-footed Falcons were perched obligingly alongside the road on the fence beside one of the exits - these birds having arrived in good numbers this year after a prolonged period of south-easterly winds.

Near Wieden-am-See we stopped to look at the Bee-eater colony. Unfortunately, the cool weather probably resulted in most of the birds moving well off to feed, but we had superb views of at least three in the tree tops, and listened to them 'prooping', while the flora provided interest, including Lesser Honeywort along the trackside.

Heading for the extreme SE corner of the country, we explored the Tadten Plain, lying between Andau and the Hungarian border. A stop at a tower hide gave fine views out over the plain, where numerous Marsh Harriers quartered the crops, and several fine male Montagu's Harriers later appeared. The antics of the local Corn Buntings, Yellow Wagtails and Stonechats, a (vibrating) singing Grasshopper Warbler, several furtive Marsh Warblers and two frustratingly distant flying Great Bustards showed the quality of the area, despite light rain.

We moved on a short distance, and taking advantage of a break in the precipitation, stopped near some bushes. Almost immediately, a pair of Barred Warblers were located feeding young in a nest alongside the road, while a Yellowhammer sang overhead. The rain started again, but a quick walk back to the minibuses to find tissues to dry the telescope revealed a River Warbler, showing well in a nearby field while giving its rhythmic song reminiscent of an old-fashioned sewing machine. I missed two fly-over Hoopoes because of this, but several singing Sedge and Marsh Warblers provided further interest in this 'simple' hay meadow! Numerous Red-backed Shrikes continued to be seen along the roadsides.

We carried on down to the Einser Kanal, marking the border with Hungary, and after a few words with the military there, walked out onto the famous bridge. Here Great Reed Warblers were 'grinding' away in the reeds, Common Whitethroats sang from the bushes and another River Warbler 'sewed' from the opposite side. A couple of Tree Pipits provided an interesting sight as they parachuted down in their display flights from a recently mown field, best seen from the converted border post, now a mini-museum. A rash entry into the narrow strip of woodland revealed the extraordinarily diverse and large mosquito population and brought a rapid end to lunch, though a nice stand of tall Birthwort plants provided distraction for a few seconds.

We then moved round towards another tower hide, but a stop en route revealed a beautiful Short-eared Owl plus several Whinchats, while another owl soon appeared and spent some time chasing and beating-up one of the many Marsh Harriers which had strayed too close.

Although a few birds, including a close singing Marsh Warbler were evident from the hide, good numbers of Marsh Frogs and Fire-bellied Toads in the channel provided a great attraction. John gave us a demonstration on catching toads using a reed stem, a strip of leaf and a poppy petal - and it worked too! [and proud I am too for having tried it, since I saw it on TV in a bar in Spain during one of the Travelling Naturalist trips to Extremadura earlier in the spring! (JM)].

Retracing our steps, although energy levels were flagging, we stopped to watch the cutting of the final strip of hay in a field, where a White Stork strode around almost oblivious of the tractor, and a Hobby flew overhead. We went up into the first tower hide again, and persistence paid off as about half-an-hour before rain returned, we finally found a fine male Great Bustard walking across a field. It even went into the first stages of display before disappearing into the sea of vegetation, which was tall enough to hide plenty of Roe Deer!

Thursday 1st June Schneeberg.

Sunny and clear weather conditions enabled us to go to the Schneeberg massif. A prompt start after breakfast and a one and a half hours' drive to Puchberg-am-Schneeberg to pick up the rack-and-pinion railway for the ascent to the top. With no time to stop, we noted just a few Buzzards en route, plus nearer the town roadside verges with notable quantities of Field Scabious and Sainfoin, but little else of note. We caught the 'Feuersalamander' train in its striking colours, and during the brief stop half way up at the Baumgartner station, we noted a Coal Tit feeding young in a nest, despite trying one of the local cakes... However, in the absence of birds, the plants seen from the train were of foremost interest and included good numbers of Bastard-Balm, Lily of the Valley, Whorled Solomon's Seal and Wood Cranesbill.

Stepping out at the summit to clearing broken cloud and cold air, we found various Dunnock (a mountain bird in summer in this region), Water Pipit, Ring Ouzel and Redpoll. However, the plants also grabbed our interest, with Moss Campion, and various 'Alpine' species, including Pasque Flower, Pansy, Snowbell, and Bellflower, and several primulas, including numerous Least and Entire-leaved Primroses and Auricula. Botanising all the way, we also picked up several Chamois on the distant slopes and while trying to get everybody on to these, we found more and more, including one very close just below us crossing a snow-patch.

Pushing on towards higher ground, several Alpine Accentors on the top of a steep bluff to one side caught our eyes and we slowly made our way up to try and view these excellent birds. However, the steep terrain led rapidly to mutiny and lunch was called overlooking some fabulous scenery. This, and the later ascent to watch a couple of accentors singing from rock bluffs where the mountain literally fell away below us also led to the discovery of more terrific plants, including Purple Colt's-foot, Alpine Butterwort, Yellow Wood Violet and Alpine Avens.

Returning well in time for the train down, we passed large groups of Spring and a few Trumpet Gentians, opening under the now warm sun, but were particularly delighted to find a flock of Alpine Choughs hanging around the buildings and viewpoint, hoping for scraps.

All was not finished though, since with another chance for further flowers on the way down, we picked out Aconite-leaved Buttercup, Greater Meadow Rue, White Helleborine and even several Bird's Nest Orchids, one of the species of Columbine, etc. Finally, a pair of Carrion Crows (rather than Hoodies) were noted in a field above Puchberg-am-Schneeberg itself.

Friday 2nd June Marchauen Reserve at Marchegg.

The early morning walk took us out along the railway line cycle track and though rather quiet, gave some good views of warblers, including a couple of singing Sedge and Marsh, plus singing Savi's and Icterine. The hunt for a couple of Penduline Tits in a willow led to the discovery of a surprisingly large flock of at least 21 Long-tailed Tits, including some white-headed birds. Returning behind the school, a Syrian Woodpecker collected food in some small willows, though disappeared rapidly before Barbara [where were you?!] could see it well. A Blue Tit (!) finally appeared just before we went in for another fine breakfast.

Another fine day with unbroken sunshine and a breeze to keep the insects at bay (well, almost!). We drove north to Marchegg, on the Slovakian border, to explore the WWF reserve of Marchauen - a lovely area of wet seasonally-flooded woodland beside the River March which includes a tree-nesting colony of White Storks, unique in central Europe.

We quickly found Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Treecreeper (interestingly, this turns out to be extremely unusual here in summer), Nuthatch and parties of Long-tailed Tits, which included some white-headed birds. At the first clearing we reached, we rapidly had excellent views of Honey-buzzards and Black Storks, and later on, also of both Black and Red Kites. We slowly ambled through the wood though were unlucky with the woodpeckers, which consistently stayed just out of sight, or turned into Great Spotted. However, a stop on a wooden walkway over a channel revealed a wealth of life, including excellent views of both Red-eyed Damselflies and Four-spotted Chaser dragonflies, while just under the surface several Pike lurking around the edges of the lilies were giving the numerous Roach something to think about.

The woodpeckers continued to make life difficult, so it was very pleasant to stop and watch two pairs of Collared Flycatchers bringing food to nests in natural holes by the path, one in a woodpecker hole c. 10 inches below another used by a pair of Tree Sparrows! We continued down a slightly more open track only to hear a call of 'Purple Emperor!', and there on the track just in front was a beautiful orangey emperor butterfly, with a fabulous purple sheen when the sun hit it at the right angle. This caused identification difficulties, though it repeatedly came down and sucked up liquid from the mud, allowing plenty of photo opportunities. Indeed, as suspected at the time, it was the clytie form of Lesser Purple Emperor, rather than anything rarer, and what an insect! Several superb Broad-bodied Chaser dragonflies tried to impress, but the numerous small White-legged Damselflies here too were too fast to photograph.

Lunch was then called at a hide overlooking open water, where a fly-by and briefly perched Kingfisher provided interest. A small clearing further on gave us views of a distant Red Kite and another 2 Lesser Purple Emperors, while more dragonflies here provided great interest, including a Norfolk Hawker, male and female Downy Emerald and Black-tailed Skimmer. Leaving the wood (and the odd mosquito) behind we then started the long, hot walk back along the flood-retaining bund, where repeated views of up to 6 (!) Black Storks, 3 Black and 3 Red Kites in the air at once caused us to stop frequently. However, the butterflies were also varied, giving us excellent views also of Pearly Heath, Wood White and Queen of Spain Fritillary, while a truly scarlet Scarlet Darter dragonfly was no less impressive. Although hot, a pair of Marsh Tits came out to feed on the edge of the wood, allowing another pause.

Returning to the entrance, the group suddenly split, most heading for the refreshments in the compound by the museum, instead of for the White Stork colony! However, this proved to be good when we then found a pair of Collared Flycatchers using a nest-box near the ice-cream stall! Those who then spent time watching the storks were treated to a fine display of head-tossing and bill-clapping by various pairs and even a half-grown chick threw its head back and tried clapping at one point as if the behaviour were simply infectious. A fine and relaxing end to the day.

Saturday 3rd June Fertö-Tavi Nemzeti Park, Hungary.

Another pre-breakfast walk, where a stroll down the same road as the first evening produced, amongst other things, superb views of both male and female Golden Orioles perched in a dead tree and a still torpid Large Copper butterfly.

Sunny and hot (again) today for our visit to Hungary, to the Nemzeti National Park near Fertöd. A slight delay at the border was simply due to the numbers of cars wishing to cross and with very little formality (even for our Caribbean-born, Glaswegian-accented, Canadian passport-holding member!!!), we were on our way.

The first tower platform overlooked the half-dry lagoons which were full of birds. Amongst the masses of Gadwall and Greylag Geese, we picked up a pair of noisy Whiskered Terns, several Garganey, two Spoonbill, a single Little Gull and summer-plumaged Mediterranean and, best of all, single immature Slender-billed Gull and adult Collared Pratincole. Although the pratincole was a delight and rare here, it turns out that the gull is actually a great rarity in the area, with e.g. just 2 records in Austria! With so many birds to check, we simply stood and scanned for a long time, gradually finding more and more. Several Shelduck were also present, plus Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Ruff and Avocets amongst masses of Redshank and Lapwing. A Great White Egret and two Purple Herons flew right over us, Common Whitethroat sang from almost underneath us, and numerous Marsh Harriers sailed over the surrounding fields.

Having exhausted the possibilities, we then walked down to a second, lower platform overlooking a different lagoon area to find masses of Avocets and Curlew amongst other species. During the walk, the sun had dragged out numerous butterflies including Holly Blue, Short-tailed Blue and a really bright Large Copper, while Marbled Whites were also much in evidence. An unusual call signalled the presence of the Collared Pratincole again, hawking insects with the numerous Black-headed Gulls.

On the way back, despite the heat, small birds were much more evident, with first a male Penduline Tit performing extremely well on the reed tops, followed in similar fashion by Great Reed, Sedge and Marsh Warblers. As if not to be outdone, a Purple Heron was fishing in full view just across the canal. The heat was too much though, so we sat in the shade of a building for a late lunch, after which and after a little effort we found a Crested Lark around the nearby farmyard.

Returning via the small market at Fertöd, where ice-creams again figured highly and presents for spouses were snapped up, we came back into Austria (quicker through customs this time, despite both Hungarian and Austrian authorities checking them) to make just one last stop. Working our way into and (eventually!) through Apetlon, we ended up near the Seewinkel Lakes National Park again, in some vineyards. After a few minutes searching, there, on a tree behind us and right by where we'd passed (of course!), was a fine male, calling and singing, Lesser Grey Shrike! Apparently the only one left in Austria of this (sadly) generally declining species, though known just here since 1985! An excellent end to the day, though we stopped for the obligatory but fine 'White Storks on nest on house' photo before heading to the hotel.

Sunday 4th June Podersdorf and home

Another very hot day for our return home. First we revisited the lagoons near Podersdorf for an hour and a half before breakfast. Our first stop at Oberstinkersee produced four pairs of Avocets on nests together with Redshank and Lapwing, while a hen Pheasant caused great consternation when she landed too close to the Avocet nests! Two smoky-bellied Whiskered Terns flew over, heading north.

We then stopped again just a little way further on, finding a young Lapwing walking along the road beside us, another Avocet nest and several Kentish & Little Ringed Plovers. A Golden Oriole kept flying up from a nearby wood to chase away Black-headed Gulls which were hawking insects too close for comfort!

Ahead, looking again over the edge of the lake where we'd been on the first day, among an assorted array of birds, the numbers of Ferruginous Ducks had increased to six, and Red-crested Pochards showed particularly well. A Little Tern flew over the reed-bed in the distance, satisfying Bill at last, and just before we left, we found a Dabchick diving actively in the lagoon. The hoped-for Hoopoe however was calling persistently from somewhere well behind us, refusing to show.

Back for a leisurely breakfast and remarkably, a final new bird for the trip in the form of a male Grey-headed Woodpecker which flew over the front of the hotel as we were loading the buses. Very few of us, including the leaders (!), had binoculars readily available - there's a moral there somewhere!

Departure for the airport and home.

SPECIES LISTS:

BIRDS: (using suggested and/or alternate worldwide English names)

Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Podersdorf on 4th.

Great Crested Grebe: Noted on 2 days with 3 adults & a young one on 30th, 1 at Podersdorf on 4th.

Great Cormorant: Noted only on 1 day, 1 over Einserkanal on 31st.

Grey Heron: Noted most days.

Purple Heron: Noted on 2 days with at least 6 on 30th, at least 6 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Great [White] Egret: Noted on 5 days, at least 6 on 30th was the max. counted.

Little Egret: Noted on 2 days with at least 1 on 30th, at least 5 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Black Stork: Noted only on 1 day, a total of at least 12 at Marchegg on 2nd.

White Stork: Noted most days with at least 10 birds on 30th, roof-top nests seen in several towns and villages including Neusiedl itself, and a tree-nesting colony at Marchegg (30+ birds) on 2nd.

Eurasian Spoonbill: Noted only on 1 day, 2 adults at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Mute Swan: Noted on 3 days with at least 30 on 30th, at least 10 at Nemzeti on 3rd, 1 on 4th.

Greylag Goose: Noted on 3 days, probably several hundred in total including young birds.

Common Shelduck: Noted only on 1 day, 3 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Gadwall: Noted on 3 days with at least 4 pairs on 30th, and good numbers on 3rd & 4th.

Common Teal: Noted on 2 days with at least a pair on 30th, 3 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Mallard: Noted each day.

Garganey: Noted on 3 days with c.30 throughout the day on 30th, at least 5 on 3rd, at least 10 at Podersdorf on 4th.

Eurasian Wigeon: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 30th.

Northern Shoveler: Noted on 3 days with at least 40 on 30th, at least 10 at Nemzeti on 3rd & 4th.

Red-crested Pochard: Noted on 2 days with at least 50 on 30th, at least 10 at Podersdorf on 4th.

Common Pochard: Noted only on 1 day, 3 males at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Ferruginous Duck: Noted on 2 days with 2 males on 30th, 6 at Podersdorf on 4th.

[European] Honey-Buzzard: Noted only on 1 day, at least 4 at Marchegg on 2nd.

Red Kite: Noted only on 1 day, at least 6 at Marchegg on 2nd.

Black Kite: Noted only on 1 day, at least 10 at Marchegg on 2nd.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted commonly each day.

Montagu's Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males on Tadten Plain on 31st.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted only on 1 day, a male carrying prey at Marchauen on 2nd.

Northern Goshawk: Noted only on 1 day, a male at Marchauen on 2nd.

Common Buzzard: Noted on 5 days with 2 on 30th, at least 8 on 31st, at least 8 from bus on 1st, several on 2nd & 3rd.

Common / Eurasian Kestrel: Noted each day, max at least 6 on 30th.

Red-footed Falcon: Noted only on 1 day, 4 alongside the road on 31st.

Eurasian Hobby: Noted on 4 days with singles around the hotel on 29th, 30th & 2nd, also a large female over the Tadten Plain on 31st.

Common Quail: Noted only on 1 day, at least 3 heard on Tadten Plain on 31st.

Common Pheasant: Noted most days.

Water Rail: Noted only on 1 day, heard near Podersdorf on 30th.

Common Moorhen: Noted on 3 days with heard on 29th, 2 on 30th, 2 on canal on 31st.

Common Coot: Noted on 2 days, several at Podersdorf including juveniles on 30th & 4th.

Great Bustard: Noted only on 1 day, 2 seen briefly with a large male seen well on 31st.

Black-winged Stilt: Noted on 2 days with at least 9 including half-grown young on 30th, 3+ pairs at Podersdorf on 4th.

Pied Avocet: Noted on 3 days with at least 20 on 30th, c.20 at Nemzeti on 3rd, at least 5 pairs on nests at Oberstinkersee on 4th.

Collared Pratincole: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Northern Lapwing: Noted most days, including young birds.

Little (Ringed) Plover: Noted on 3 days with at least 15 including half-grown young on 30th, at least 3 on 3rd & 4th.

Kentish Plover: Noted on 3 days with 5 on 30th, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd, an adult with 2 young at Oberstinkersee on 4th.

Black-tailed Godwit: Noted on 2 days at Podersdorf, with at least 35 on 30th and 8 on 4th.

Eurasian Curlew: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 31st, at least 20 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Common Redshank: Noted on 3 days including half-grown young, also at least 50 on 3rd.

Common Greenshank: Noted only on 1 day, heard near Podersdorf on 30th.

Terek Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 near Podersdorf on 30th.

Ruff: Noted on 2 days with a female on 30th, at least 5 on 3rd.

Yellow-legged Gull: Noted most days, all non-breeding immatures.

Common Gull: Noted on 1 day, 2 immatures near Podersdorf on 30th.

Black-headed Gull: Noted each day.

Slender-billed Gull: Noted on 1 day, a first-summer bird at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Mediterranean Gull: Noted only on 1 day, an adult at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Little Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Whiskered Tern: Noted on 2 days with 3 at Nemzeti on 3rd, 2 at Oberstinkersee on 4th.

Common Tern: Noted on 5 days with at least 10 on 30th, at least 2 on 31st, 2 over hotel on 2nd, a few on 3rd, 1 distantly at Podersdorf on 4th.

Little Tern: Noted on 2 days with 2 at Podersdorf & 1 at Zicklacke on 30th, 1 distantly at Podersdorf on 4th.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.

[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted most days.

[European] Turtle Dove: Noted each day with birds seen and heard purring.

[Eurasian] Collared Dove: Noted each day.

Common Cuckoo: Noted most days with 1 good view flying past on 29th, 2 on 30th, at least 2 on 31st, 2 near hotel and 1 at Marchegg on 2nd, heard on 3rd & 4th.

Short-eared Owl: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on Tadten Plain on 31st.

Common Swift: Noted each day.

Common Kingfisher: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Marchegg on 2nd.

European Bee-eater: Noted on 2 days with a few at the colony at Weiden-am-See on 31st, 1 near colony in passing on 3rd.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted on 3 days with 1 at Oberstinkersee on 30th, 2 on 31st, heard distantly at Podersdorf on 4th.

Eurasian Wryneck: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Neuseidl on 30th.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Noted only on 1 day, at least 4 at Marchegg on 2nd.

Syrian Woodpecker: Noted on 3 days with 2 pairs on 29th, singles around the hotel on 30th & 31st.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 5 days, seen or heard regularly.

Grey-headed Woodpecker: Noted only on 1 day, a male briefly at the hotel on 4th.

Crested Lark: Noted on 2 days with 1 from bus on 30th, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

[Eurasian] Sky Lark: Noted most days.

[European] Sand Martin: Noted on 2 days with 1 at Neusiedl on 29th, 4 at Marchegg on 2nd.

Barn Swallow: Noted each day.

[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.

Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 4 days with several on 30th, 31st, 3rd & 4th.

White Wagtail: Noted most days.

Tree Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, at least 3 on 31st.

Water Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, at least 5 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Lesser Grey Shrike: Noted only on 1 day, a male near Apetlon on 3rd.

Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 4 days, seen regularly throughout 30th, 31st, 3rd & 4th.

Alpine Accentor: Noted only on 1 day, at least 4 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: Noted only on 1 day, at least 10 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Ring Ouzel: Noted only on 1 day, at least 5 at Schneeberg on 1st.

[Common] Blackbird: Noted each day.

Song Thrush: Noted on 4 days with at least 6 on 30th, 2 on 31st, also on 2nd & 3rd.

Common Nightingale: Noted on 5 days with song heard regularly and birds seen occasionally.

Black Redstart: Noted each day.

[Common] Stonechat: Noted on 4 days with a pair on 30th, at least 6 pairs on 31st, 2 males on 3rd, a pair from bus on 4th.

Whinchat: Noted only on 1 day, 2 pairs on 31st.

[Common] Grasshopper Warbler: Noted on 3 days with the 'reeling' song heard on 29th, good view of one reeling plus others heard on 31st, heard reeling on 4th.

[Eurasian] River Warbler: Noted on 2 days with good views of reeling bird plus another heard on the Tadten Plain on 31st, 3 heard at Marchegg on 2nd.

Savi's Warbler: Noted on 4 days with the 'reeling' song heard on 29th & 30th, and again near hotel on 2nd & 3rd.

Sedge Warbler: Noted on 5 days with heard & seen on 29th, at least 4 on 31st, 2 singing near hotel on 2nd, good views on 3rd, several heard on 4th.

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted on 3 days with heard on 29th, at least 3 heard on 30th, at least 1 at canal on 31st.

Marsh Warbler: Noted on 3 days with several seen and heard on 31st, at least seen well plus others on 2nd, good views on 3rd.

Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 5 days with at least 4 on 30th, good views of one plus others heard on 31st, 1 seen near hotel plus others heard at Marchegg on 2nd, good views on 3rd, several heard on 4th.

Icterine Warbler: Noted on 4 days with at least 3 on 30th, 1 on 31st, on 2nd, heard on 3rd.

Blackcap: Noted most days, with several heard & male seen well on 29th, also on 30th & 31st, 2nd - 4th.

Common Whitethroat: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 31st, good views of a male at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 3 days with 4 at hotel on 31st, 1 at hotel on 1st, 1 singing near hotel on 2nd.

Barred Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, pair feeding young on 31st.

Willow Warbler: Noted on 3 days with heard on 29th, 1 singing on 31st, good views of singing male on 3rd.

Common / Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted on 5 days with heard singing & adult feeding 2 juvs on 29th, 1 near hotel on 30th and singing birds heard on 31st, 2nd & 3rd.

Spotted Flycatcher: Noted on 5 days, usually around the hotel, but also elsewhere.

[European] Pied Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, a male briefly on Tadten Plain on 31st.

Collared Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, 3 pairs feeding young plus another female at Marchegg on 2nd.

Long-tailed Tit: Noted on 2 days with 21 near hotel plus at least 10 at Marchegg on 2nd, 5 near hotel on 3rd.

[Eurasian] Penduline Tit: Noted on 5 days with several seen including nice views around a nest on 29th, at least 4 including one with nest on 30th, 2nd, excellent views of male at Nemzeti on 3rd, at least 1 on 4th.

Marsh Tit: Noted only on 1 day, 2 seen well at Marchegg on 2nd.

Coal Tit: Noted only on 1 day, pair feeding young halfway up the mountain railway on 1st.

Great Tit: Noted regularly each day with family groups now fledged.

Blue Tit: Noted on 2 days, numerous birds on 2nd & 3rd.

Eurasian / Wood Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days, numerous birds in the forest on 2nd, 1 at Fertöd market on 3rd.

Eurasian Treecreeper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen well at Marchegg on 2nd.

Short-toed Treecreeper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 heard at Marchegg on 2nd.

Eurasian Jay: Noted only on 1 day, 1 from bus below Puchberg on 1st.

[Black-billed] Magpie: Noted each day.

Alpine Chough: Noted only on 1 day, at least 15 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Eurasian / Western Jackdaw: Noted only on 1 day, c.12 from bus on 1st.

Rook: Noted on 2 days with c.20 from bus on 1st, small numbers near airport on 4th.

Carrion Crow: Noted on 2 days with 2 in fields above Puchberg on 1st, and a mixed pair (Carrion paired with a Hooded Crow) near Nemzeti on 3rd.

Hooded Crow: Noted most days.

Common Raven: Noted only on 1 day, 3 at Schneeberg on 1st.

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted on 5 days with at least 4 on 30th, heard briefly on 31st, 3 near hotel on 2nd, 3 males 2 females gave excellent views near hotel on 3rd, excellent views of male chasing Black-headed Gulls at Oberstinkersee on 4th.

Common Starling: Noted each day.

Yellowhammer: Noted on 4 days with at least 6 on 31st, also on 1st - 3rd.

Reed Bunting: Noted most days.

Corn Bunting: Noted on 5 days.

[Common] Chaffinch: Noted on 5 days.

European Serin: Noted each day, excellent views of birds around the hotel.

European Greenfinch: Noted most days.

European Goldfinch: Noted each day.

Common Redpoll: Noted only on 1 day, at least 5 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Common Linnet: Noted most days.

Hawfinch: Noted only on 1 day, 3 flew over us on Tadten Plain on 31st.

House Sparrow: Noted each day.

[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow: Noted each day.

MAMMALS:

Western Hedgehog: Noted on 3 days with 1 in hotel grounds on 29th, 1 dead on 2nd, 2 dead on road on 3rd.

Common Mole: Noted on 2 days with 'hills' at Schneeberg on 1st, 'hills' at Marchegg on 2nd.

Roe Deer: Noted on 2 days with at least 10 on 31st, 1 at Nemzeti plus another near Apetlon on 3rd.

Chamois: Noted only on 1 day, 16 at Schneeberg on 1st.

Wild Boar: Noted only on 1 day, spoor and 'rootlings' at Marchegg on 2nd.

Muskrat: Noted on 2 days with one dead beside track Neusiedl on 29th, and good views of 1 plus 2 others at Marchegg on 2nd.

Stoat: Noted only on 1 day, one dead on road on 1st.

Weasel: Noted only on 1 day, a family plus others on 3rd near Nemzeti Park.

Brown Rat: Noted only on 1 day, one dead on road on 1st.

Brown Hare: Noted on 5 days, max at least 10 on 31st.

AMPHIBIANS, REPTILES & FISH:

Fire-bellied Toad: Noted on 3 days with 1 dead on road near Oberstinkerse on 30th, several including one caught Tadten Plain on 31st, and heard Marchauen on 2nd.

Common Toad: One dead on road near Obersinkersee.

Common Tree Frog: Noted only on 1 day, heard on 31st.

Common Frog: Noted only on 1 day, on 2nd.

Marsh Frog: Noted on 4 days, on 30th, 31st, 2nd and 3rd.

Grass Snake: Two seen near Oberstinkersee on 30th.

Sand Lizard: One near Oberstinkersee on 30th and a dead male near Nemzeti on 3rd.

Pike: Noted only on 1 day, 4 seen on 2nd.

Roach: Noted only on 1 day, very numerous on 2nd.

BUTTERFLIES:

Southern Festoon: Noted only on 1 day, at least 6 larvae on grassy path and on Birthwort at Marchegg on 2nd.

Large White: Noted on 2 days with on 30th, on 3rd.

Green-veined White: Noted on 2 days with on 1st, on 2nd.

Orange-tip: Noted only on 1 day, on 1st.

Clouded Yellow: Noted only S of Podersdorf on 30th.

Berger's Clouded Yellow: Noted on 3 days with a male on 2nd, at least 2 on 3rd, on 4th

Wood White: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 2nd.

Ilex Hairstreak: Noted only on 1 day, at least 4 on 2nd.

Common Blue: Noted on 2 days with common on 2nd, common on 3rd.

Holly Blue: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Short-tailed Blue: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Large Copper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 near hotel plus another good specimen at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Lesser Purple Emperor: Noted only on 1 day, 3+ of the form clytie at Marchauen on 2nd.

Red Admiral: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 2nd.

Small Tortoiseshell: Noted only on 1 day, on 1st.

Comma: Noted only on 1 day, on 2nd.

Queen of Spain Fritillary: Noted only on 1 day, many on 2nd.

Speckled Wood: Noted on 2 days with on 1st, on 2nd.

Marbled White: Noted on 2 days with many at Nemzeti on 3rd, on 4th.

Meadow Brown: Noted on 2 days with on 2nd, on 3rd.

Small Heath: Noted on 3 days with on 2nd, on 3rd, on 4th.

Pearly Heath: Noted only on 1 day, on 2nd.

Large Skipper: Noted only on 1 day, 2 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES:

White-legged Damselfly: Noted only on 1 day, very numerous on 2nd.

Variable Damselfly: Noted only on 1 day, on 30th.

Common Blue Damselfly: Noted on 2 days with on 30th, on 2nd.

Blue-tailed Damselfly: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 29th.

Red-eyed Damselfly: Noted only on 1 day, several on lily pads on 2nd.

Banded Demoiselle: Noted only on 1 day, a female plus others on 2nd.

Emperor Dragonfly: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 2nd.

Norfolk Hawker: Noted only on 2 days, on 30th and 2nd.

Downy Emerald: Noted only on 1 day, at least a pair on 2nd.

Black-tailed Skimmer: Noted on 2 days with at least 3 on 2nd, several at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Broad-bodied Chaser: Noted on 2 days, 6+ at Marchegg on 2nd, 1 at Nemzeti on 3rd.

Four-spotted Chaser: Noted only on 1 day, at least 3 on 2nd.

Scarlet Darter Crocothemis erythraea: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 2nd.

MOTHS:

6-spot Burnet: Noted on 2 days, on 30th near Podersdorf and on 3rd at Nemzeti.

an Emerald Moth sp.: One on 4th.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth: Noted on 3 days with 1 on 31st, 1 on 2nd, 1 at hotel on 3rd.

SELECTED PLANTS:

At the end of each line is a code referring to where the plant was seen: EK = Einser Kanal; M = Marchauen reserve; N = Neusiedl area; P = Podersdorf area; S = Puchberg am Schneeberg & Schneeberg area; W = Weiden am See.

Pinaceae: Pinus mugo Dwarf Mountain Pine S

Salicaceae: Salix sp. a dwarf Willow sp. S

Loranthaceae: Loranthus europaeus Mistletoe sp. M

Aristolochiaceae: Aristolochia clematitis Birthwort EK, M

Caryophyllaceae: Silene viscosa White Sticky Catchfly P

Silene acaulis Moss Campion S

Dianthus deltoides Maiden Pink P

Nymphacaea: Nuphar lutea Yellow Water Lily M

Ranunculaceae: Trollius europaea Globeflower S

Pulsatilla alpina Alpine Pasque Flower S

Clematis integrifolia Simple-leaved Clematis M

Thalictrum aquilegifolium Great Meadow Rue S

Aquilegia sp. Columbine sp. S

Ranunculus aconitifolius Aconite-leaved Buttercup S

Papaveraceae: Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy various

Rosaceae: Potentilla reptans Silverweed N

Potentilla argentea Hoary Cinquefoil P, N

Geum alpinum Alpine Avens S

Dryas octopetala Mountain Avens S

Leguminosae: Astragalus danicus Purple Milk-vetch P, N

Medicago sativa sativa Lucerne N

Medicago sativa spp. falcata 'Sickle Medick' N

Tetragonolobus maritimus Dragonâs Teeth N

Onobrychis viciifolia Sainfoin S

Geraniaceae: Geranium pratense Meadow Cranesbill S

Geranium sylvaticum Wood Cranesbill S

Euphorbiaceae: Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge P

Violaceae: Viola alpina Alpine Pansy / Violet S

Viola canina Common Dog Violet S

Viola biflora Yellow Wood Violet S

Primulaceae: Androsace chamaejasmine Ciliate Rock-jasmine S

Primula auricula Auricula / Bear's-ear S

Primula elatior Oxlip S

Primula minima Least Primrose S

Primula integrifolia Entire-leaved Primrose S

Soldanella alpina Alpine Snowbell S

Gentianaceae: Gentiana acaulis Trumpet Gentian S

Gentiana verna Spring Gentian S

Rubiaceae: Cruciata laevipes Crosswort S

Convolvulaceae: Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed P

Boraginaceae: Cerinthe minor Lesser Honeywort W

Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss various

Symphytum sp. Comfrey sp. various

Cynoglossum officinale Hound's Tongue (in seed)

Labiatae: Melittis melissophyllum Bastard Balm S

Acinos alpinus Alpine Basil-thyme S

Thymus sp. Thyme sp. P, etc.

Salvia pratensis Meadow Clary S

Salvia sp. Clary sp. (the small-flowered, very

dark one at several sites).

Scrophulariaceae: Gratiola officinalis Gratiole M

Verbascum phoeniceum Purple Mullein M

Verbascum blattaria Moth Mullein M

Pedicularis sp. Lousewort sp. S

Lentibulariaceae: Pinguicula alpina Alpine Butterwort S

Utricularia sp. Bladderwort sp. N

Valerianaceae: Knautia arvensis Field Scabious S

Campanulaceae: Campanula alpina Alpine Bellflower S

Asteraceae: Carlina acaulis Stemless Carline Thistle S

Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot S

Homogyne alpina Purple Colt's-foot S

Liliaceae: Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley S

Polygonatum latifolium Scentless Solomon's-seal P

Polygonatum verticillatum Whorled Solomon's-seal P

Asparagus officinalis Common Asparagus P

Muscari comosum Tasselled Hyacinth P

Orchidaceae: Anacamptis pyramidalis Pyramidal Orchid S

Orchis palustris Bog Orchid P

Cephalanthera damasonium White Helleborine S

Neottia nidus-avis Bird's-nest Orchid S

Cyperaceae: Cladium mariscus Saw-sedge P

Apart from Wednesday, which was overcast with prolonged showers, the week was bright and sunny throughout. We have tried to highlight each day in the above diary, though I suspect that everyone probably has their own special memories of the trip.

We would sincerely like to thank you all for your excellent bird- and plant-finding abilities, but especially for bringing the fine weather with you to keep off the 'mossies' and for not complaining TOO much on the day it did rain, nor during the hot walk back along the bund at Marchauen! The fine views of many of the really special birds were a reflection of the effort put in by all and free use of the telescopes and optics by all. [I would also like to thank you all for keeping me going during the couple of days I was feeling really unwell (KG)!]

We hope that you all enjoyed the trip and we both look forward to seeing you again in the not-too-distant future.

John Muddeman & Keith Grant, June 2000.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2000