Eastern Austria

25th - 31st May 2001

John Muddeman


Friday 25th May Arrival and Mörbisch.

We met up at Vienna airport and after some waiting for the vehicle made our way as rapidly as possible to the hotel in Illmitz. Once installed, we came straight down for a very late but excellent soup lunch, which set the standard of the cuisine for the week.

Although time was moving on, we used the rest of the afternoon on a mini 'tour' of the area by driving almost completely round the Austrian part of Lake Neuseidl to Mörbisch on the western side. Even this trip was punctuated on occasion by some superb male Marsh Harriers and a couple of hovering Common Kestrels hunting close to the road and a couple of Jackdaws in Mörbisch near some White Storks on nests.

Here we took a stroll down a track bordering the reedbeds, and to our delight, many species characteristic of the area plus several 'difficult' birds appeared readily. A narrow channel revealed a Little Grebe, and on our way back a Great Crested Grebe beyond a Great White Egret. Several Great Reed Warblers 'grunched' from the reed tops, while a couple of Eurasian Reed Warblers sang and flicked across in front. In shallower waters, a couple of waders included excellent close Wood Sandpipers but rather more nervous Common Redshanks and a Northern Lapwing flew over. A pair of Garganey, almost as difficult as the Wood Sandpipers to pick out amongst the reed stubble thankfully sat out for all to admire, though fly-over Ferruginous Duck and Common Pochard were less confiding. A Purple Heron flew by providing comparison with a Grey Heron noted later. A couple of smart male Reed Buntings sang 'desolately' from the reeds to complete the picture.

Suddenly, an unfamiliar song cut reached us and after a quick search, a fine male white-spotted Bluethroat was found sat up on reed-top for all to admire! This bird we watched on several occasions as he moved round his territory, while a female was also briefly noted moving low through the reedbed by a small channel.

Another classic species, in the form of two Bearded Reedlings was also present, though only gave tantalisingly brief glimpses as we walked back, but a young White Wagtail was some recompense, being reluctant to leave our company.

Even back in the minibus, we couldn't just leave, with a fine Eurasian Tree Sparrow on someone's back fence at short range! An excellent start!

Saturday 26th May East fringe of Neusiedler See & adjacent lakes.

No early morning walk to help allow our American party members time to shift their clocks, and after an excellent breakfast, we headed out for an introductory day's birding in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park.

We turned towards one of the permanent smaller saline lakes in the region, the Oberstinkersee, pausing to look at more Northern Lapwings and a Common Buzzard en route.

Although few birds were really close on the lake, there were plenty visible with the scope, and Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Pied Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Greylag Goose, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler were all noted, while single immature Little and Common Gulls required a bit more faith to identify at range. The numerous Common Terns bounced over the reedbeds, diving occasionally to feed. A singing Sedge Warbler remained rather elusive, though a male Yellow Wagtail was rather more confiding and a singing Common Cuckoo rounded off this flush of new birds.

By the edge of Lake Neusiedl near Podersdorf-am-See, we came across a wealth of birds sheltering from the stiff wind on the landward side of the fringing reedbed. While attention was mainly drawn to the larger species such as occasional fly-by Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Grey and Purple Herons, fishing Great White Egret, masses of Greylag Geese, and a smattering of duck including gaudy Red-crested Pochard males, striking Ferruginous Duck and dainty Garganey, smaller species also provided a wealth of interest. Several Red-backed Shrike graced the bushes, a few European Turtle Doves flew past or 'purred' from the bushes, and a couple of Black-winged Stilts stalked around on their ludicrously long pink legs, towering over a small group of Little Stints further ahead. Gulls were also notable by their presence, including several 'nosy' Caspian Gulls, one of which did its characteristic wings-open display, larger numbers of Yellow-legged Gulls and remarkably, c. 15 immature Common Gulls loafing on the shore.

Finally, we stopped in a more wooded area to look for the singing Golden Oriole, adjacent to reedbed and meadow where singing Marsh Warbler and calling Barred and Icterine Warblers refused to show! A fine Blackcap did appear however, beside a bright Greenfinch, with a couple of Linnet in some bushes. There was other interest here too though, with several butterflies, our first Marsh Frogs and a variety of plants, including Bog Orchids in the meadow.

As the temperature had risen, so we moved back towards tree cover by the Oberstinkersee woods to have lunch. Who would believe that as we tucked into our sandwiches we watched a pair of Barred Warblers scolding a pair of Red-backed Shrikes in full views for over 5 minutes, while a Hoopoe or two flew past on a couple of occasions!

A stroll to the local woods was not too productive, though occasional glimpses of singing Icterine Warbler, Blackcap, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, fly-over Golden Oriole, a close group of Long-tailed Tits and a singing Common Nightingale provided interest. The heat was enough though, so we adjourned to the hotel for a short break, Dolores finding that the pool was easily warm enough for a refreshing swim.

Out again in the heat, but down to a local lake, Zicklacke, where despite the haze making viewing complicated, a number of new birds were noted. At our first stop, a male Stonechat scanned from its various viewpoints, while a Eurasian Curlew wandering around on the bare mud seemed a little lost, as did two Syrian Woodpeckers in the only trees for 100s of yards! From a nearby tower hide, a pair of Little Terns, apparently nesting, were a great find, and careful scanning of the shallow edges revealed more Little Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Curlew Sandpiper, a lone Dunlin and c. 15 Ruff. Even a flock of large gulls proved interesting with a fine adult Lesser Black-backed Gull resting amongst them.

Another short journey took us to our final stop near Illmitz Marina and the extensive reedbeds bordering Lake Neusiedl. Although viewing was tricky, several Great Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings made their presence heard, while a patchwork of open pools and dense reed boded well for an early morning visit.

Sunday 27th May Illmitz Marina, Tadten Plain, Weiden-am-See, etc!

A quick pre-breakfast trip down to Illmitz Marina revealed a completely different appearance early morning, despite several photographers and birders beating us to it. A group of fishing Great White Egrets provided immediate attention, among which stalked a few Little Egrets and Eurasian Spoonbills. A reeling song came from a vibrating Savi's Warbler clinging precariously to the top of a reed stem, providing perfect and prolonged scope views for all, and we had to walk away from it in the end! Small numbers of duck included further Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck and Garganey, while Great Bittern thumped out its song. A 'pinging' call lead to the discovery of a small group of Bearded Reedlings, two juveniles of which generously sat out in full view at close range for several minutes, to the delight of all, while on the other side, a small warbler sang in the open for several minutes, the penny suddenly dropping when repeated whistles at the start of the song signified Moustached Warbler - a very special bird of the area!

After breakfast we headed towards the Hungarian border, to the Tadten Plain, an area of largely 'arablised' flat steppe. The already warm conditions and breeze were not perfect, but our luck was in when not only did we almost immediately find the lone Great Bustard male still patrolling the area, but he was IN FULL DISPLAY! Head and shoulders above the grass, he was proudly showing-off to at least one female nearby, though only her head was occasionally visible as she walked through the tall grasses. The height was also clear when we tried to watch several Roe Deer, even their heads at times disappearing below the grass tops!

In the bushes and vegetation in front, several Marsh Warbler sang in full view, a few Yellow Wagtail flicked from bush-top to bush-top and Stonechat and Whinchat perched in the swaying grasses. Looking further, a Corn Bunting sang from a bush-top, and even further away a couple of pairs of Montagu's Harrier floated gracefully over the steppe and two Eurasian Curlew flew up and around, their 'bubbling' song a delight. As we tried to leave, a Common Whitethroat played a great game of hide-and-seek with Jim and Dolores in the small trees by the roadside, and nearly won!

We moved on a short distance again, ostensibly to look for another warbler, though the warm, sunny and windy conditions were totally inappropriate. However, a Common Cuckoo flew past and a small figure loping down a track directly towards us required attention. We stood stock-still by the vehicle and watched as it got closer and closer, more and more detail gradually becoming visible - the small beady eyes, surprisingly large ears, long fluffy tail and pale patch on the chest - a Pine Marten! Only the sound of a few words gave away our presence when it was c. 20 yds away, at which point it halted, unsure of what to do, then turned to find another way past us. A squeak from pursed lips brought it to a halt, though not for long, and it slipped off into the grass. Simply amazing!

At the end of the road, the famous Einser Kanal forms the boundary with Hungary, and at the spot where spy-swaps once occurred, so a commemorative wooden bridge has been built. Walking up on this is now perfectly acceptable and gives a great view along the canal and the forest edges. A Mute Swan soon caught our eye, along with a Moorhen paddling across and several Banded Demoiselle damselflies fluttering over the water. A call by Jim of a yellow bird revealed a fine male Yellowhammer, though as we were about to leave, a superb Black Stork came out from over the forest and passed overhead. A dot way up was a smart Honey Buzzard passing over, but was too small for most. More accessible and singing from the wooden railings of an old border post now converted into a mini-museum was a Tree Pipit, one of several in the area.

The scrub here is usually good for warblers, so we took a brief walk along towards a small copse. The heat was keeping everything down though, and apart from a Spotted Flycatcher posing for all, very little was even heard.

We continued towards another tower hide, stopping to scope a 'reeling' Grasshopper Warbler en route, where we took an early lunch, enjoying views out over this remaining fragment of steppe to the sound of singing Marsh Warblers and calling Yellow Wagtails.

It was still too early to consider taking a break, so we headed towards Halbturn, stopping en route when we found a nice patch of deciduous woodland. Almost by the minibus, a chorus of 'feed-me' calls was emanating from a woodpecker hole, so we waited until an adult Great Spotted Woodpecker came in to feed the young. The wait also produced a couple of Great Tits, the first for the trip! Walking into some grounds and quiet woodland, we found a nice selection of woodland species. A male Golden Oriole perched in the sun on a dead branch, a couple of Nuthatches appeared in front, a Stock Dove sang 'mournfully' nearby and a singing Chiffchaff belied the presence of its mate collecting insects at eye-level. Hopes of other woodpeckers were thwarted though, and as we moved on, we were stopped at one point by a swarm of Honey Bees coming down an old oak. A small flock of birds in the trees were mostly Blue Tits, also new for the trip!

Pushing on along a dirt road, so we were pulled up for a quick and friendly passport check, before heading across the Parndorfer Platte and ending-up at Weiden-am-See. Despite the walk up the hill in the heat (it wasn't so bad!), the final result of several breathtaking Bee-eaters at short range almost overhead was just reward, and the daily siesta earned!

We finished off the day with a quick drive towards Lange Lacke, though a detour in Apetlon to look for a special bird appeared to be in vain. However, a small group of Eurasian Spoonbills passing overhead revived spirits somewhat and after we'd turned to come back, a bird was spotted at distance in a dead tree. Getting the scope out in dull conditions as a few spots of rain started to fall still didn't leave me convinced, but we all got out, and thankfully so, as an adult male Red-footed Falcon lifted off from the tree before passing directly overhead in flight!

We got to Lange Lacke rather later than hoped, but with just enough time to walk down to the first hide· before the rain started!!! The slatted floor of the tower hide provided some shelter, but eventually couldn't stop the build-up and the resulting stream mostly came down on Sheila, who was fortunately wearing a waterproof hat...

The warm, humid conditions were also great for the local mosquitoes, so we beat a tactical retreat, Jim at the head of the group, both in terms of getting to the bus and the number of bites received...

Monday 28th May Puchberg-am-Schneeberg & Schneeberg.

A relatively long drive to reach our destination (1 hr 50 mins) although we made good time, noting just a few Great White Egret, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, and European Turtle Dove on the way. We arrived in Puchberg-am-Schneeberg at the easternmost end of the Austrian Alps with plenty of time to take the 'feuersalamander' rack-and-pinion train up to near the top of the Schneeberg mountain.

A Chiffchaff sang from beside the carpark and there was enough time for a quick wander into the local park, where a surprising selection of 'dodgy ducks' were present, though 'real' birds included two Collared Doves, three Nuthatch and a singing Lesser Whitethroat.

Boarding the 'fire salamander' train on the rack-and-pinion railway we began the slow, but at least now smooth in the modern train, ascent of the mountain, seeing flower and butterfly-rich meadows en route and a section of the pine forest clothing the flanks of the mountain. The short stop at the Baumgartner Station en route provided opportunity to grab a piece of the famous cake and listen to a Willow Warbler in a nearby tree, though a singing male Blackcap moving around tried to confuse the issue. The last section, with stunted pines mixed with Dwarf Mountain Pine was particularly rich in butterflies, and a number of Alpine Pasque Flowers were blooming.

We reached the top in fine, but rather windy conditions, which made moving around less easy, but actually concentrated more birds near the station. First, a couple of Ring Ouzels foraged over grass studded with brilliant blue Spring and Trumpet Gentians. Another small bird singing in a bush was a Dunnock, the first of several we noted, while a third bird song-flighting was a Water Pipit. We moved round to the shelter of a gasthof/hotel and despite attempts to start lunch, a strange twittering call from below attracted our attention, and in the updraughts of the cliff below, several Alpine Choughs played in the wind, stopping occasionally to rest and feed on the grass-topped outcrops. A larger black impostor was also present in the form of a Common Raven, which 'cronked' its way across to its mate.

Walking towards the other gasthof (!) on a small plateau, the wind was directly in our faces and making the going tough at times, though with heads down we could see more flowers, including a few Auricula, Least and Entire-leaved Primroses, Moss Campion and a few Alpine Snowbells. However, we noted a few more Water Pipits and Ring Ouzels by the path, the odd Raven passing by and finally, after much searching, a Chamois, lying in the middle of a snow patch! A small bird flying and feeding amongst the edge of the dwarf pines was a Common Redpoll, only being visible at distance and briefly, and it wasn't until we were by the gasthof later on that a superb male came down to feed right in front, even perching for a while on the wooden railings leading to the main doorway!

Apart from this, a 'splinter group' came up with me to search the higher tops for other species, though despite no new birds, some fine specimens (albeit small!) of Alpine Butterwort and Alpine Pansy were noted, and a shaggy Chamois was seen down to close range.

Returning well in time for the train down, we passed small numbers of Alpine Choughs and Common Ravens, Ring Ouzels and Water pipits, though even more gentians had opened since we'd arrived.

All was not finished though, since with another chance for further flowers on the way down, we picked out good numbers of Bastard-Balm, Lily of the Valley, Whorled Solomon's Seal and numbers of one of the species of Columbine.

As we walked to the carpark, Ron having finally cajoled the receptionist in the station to sell him the only Fire Salamander peaked cap remaining in the showcase, a couple of European Robins sang from scrub, one obligingly perching on a post on the carpark.

Finally, as if on cue, a group of Carrion and Hooded Crows (and their hybrids) were noted in a field below Puchberg-am-Schneeberg itself.

Tuesday 29th May Marchauen Reserve at Marchegg.

The week was marching by, so we took a pre-breakfast walk out along a track by the hotel, that Sheila had found. I caught up with the group who were watching small passerines in the scrub just in time to point out a Hawfinch perched on top of a dead tree in front! A flash of yellow alerted us to the presence of a Golden Oriole, though two males then appeared on open branches for all to admire. Common Nightingale still hadn't been seen, so when one sang in bursts from the undergrowth, we stopped quietly for some time and we were justly rewarded with views as they came out on the edge of the track. A pair of Icterine Warblers also showed themselves, but only briefly within thick cover, though some thin high calls in a willow resulted in excellent prolonged views of a male Penduline Tit collecting nesting material.

A Black Redstart sang from the hotel roof as we left, this time to go north onto the Slovakian border in the Marchauen WWF reserve at Marchegg - 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. Unfortunately, despite the largely fine day, a stiff breeze had stirred up the mosquitoes, and we started our battle with them from the start.

A fine way to start though was to walk into a grassy square within the building complex and watch the pair of Collared Flycatcher feeding their young in a box! Birds in the forest though were difficult in the hot windy conditions, and though we heard and saw a number of species, including numbers of Chaffinches, our first Song Thrush feeding on the edge of a woodland pond and flocks of tits plus a couple of Short-toed Treecreepers, it was hard work, even with frequent top-ups of 'bug-juice'.

We gladly took an opportunity arose to sit on a wooden platform overlooking a pond in a clearing. Though nothing seemed to be stirring, a slight movement on the far side revealed two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and then a male and afterwards a female Collared Flycatcher. A further movement, and a Middle Spotted Woodpecker flew out towards us, landed at close range, but then promptly disappeared. However, persistence again paid off, and an adult and fledgling came out and fed for some time on the bare bases of the trees opposite.

We continued down to another hide overlooking an oxbow lake, and took the opportunity to have lunch. As hoped, despite a good wait, a 'peeep' call signalled the appearance of a Kingfisher, which promptly disappeared into branches overhanging the water. However, it soon reappeared, and another later appeared in the open, though didn't stay for long either.

We went back for a well-earned ice-cream, though only a couple of us saw a Eurasian Hobby as it dashed past overhead. From here we walked down the edge of the March river, getting brief views of a fly-by Sparrowhawk, to sit at the 'Eagle viewpoint', and from where we watched over the river into Slovakia to see what large birds were moving along the valley.

Apart from a few Sand Martins 'buzzing' in front, we quite soon saw our first raptor, a male Honey Buzzard moving low north into the wind, while a darker female followed it later. A Black Stork soared up over the trees upriver, where a Black Kite appeared at distance, later appearing almost alongside a Red Kite. Later up to three Black Storks circled together, before all dropped down out of sight again.

We slowly ambled back, checking as we went, though were unlucky to hear, but not see, a Green Woodpecker quite close.

We got back to the hotel reasonably early, and during log-call, a Great Cormorant flying over was the first for the trip!

However, it was still quite light after dinner, and I had an urge to go down to Illmitz Marina at dusk to see what was around. Despite the risk of more mosquitoes, the majority of us went, though the mention of the possibility of Night Herons was probably a reasonable temptation!

As we neared the upper limit of the marsh, two birds flying towards us off to one side were Black-crowned Night-herons which rapidly passed over, and within seconds a Eurasian Hobby made a sortie out of a copse ahead. We continued down into the area of reedbeds, where despite the warm and still conditions, insect life was restricted to non-biting midges around the lights once it had got dark. A Eurasian Spoonbill passed over, with a Black-crowned Night-heron shortly afterwards, three Gadwall flew past, a couple of Black-winged Stilts, Northern Lapwing and Common Redshank called incessantly, though as darkness fell and quietness tried to engulf the marsh, so a few 'squeals' of Water Rail were heard, and just a few faltering notes of the 'song' of Little Crake.

Wednesday 30th May Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park, Hungary.

Given the poor showing of River Warbler at Marchauen, we took an early breakfast and headed to the Tadten Plain for a second attempt, but unusually warm and breezy conditions rendered it hopeless. However, singing Sedge and Marsh Warblers, Tree Pipit and Corn Bunting and a couple of Stonechats provided interest, but we didn't delay too much and headed for the border.

Crossing quickly, we headed round towards the SE corner of Neusiedler See to a couple of pools and tower hide in the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park. However, it was evident that Wednesday was school-party outings day, and several coaches full of kids were sat in the carpark... We didn't have long to wait though before they'd gone up to have a quick look, and the sight of a number of Little Gulls close to the road boded well.

Once the 'coast' had cleared, we set about checking the birds, and an excellent variety was present. Amongst large numbers of Greylag Geese, Red-crested Pochard and Northern Shoveler, new species included a male Common Shelduck and a few Common Teal, and while waders included large numbers of Black-tailed Godwit and Common Redshank, a few other species were present, including a pristine summer-plumaged Ruddy Turnstone and a few Common Greenshank. It was while we were scanning the birds at the back of the pools though, when a swallow-like bird with a white rump flew into sight - a Collared Pratincole! Jim was finally happy... ;-)

Having spent enough time up on the tower hide, we moved a short distance to take a walk along a canal, where Great Reed Warblers sang, and various butterflies, including a bright Large Copper flitted across the track. As we neared the far end, a gap in the reeds allowed a quick look to the group of gulls at the back of the pools, in which were hidden 2 Sandwich Terns, a very scarce migrant in the area. A large group of c. 100 small waders were flushed when a pair of Eurasian Hobbies went across the marsh hunting, their black bellies revealing their identity as Dunlin. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls glowed white as they passed overhead, and an immature landed in amongst the Black-headed Gulls providing an interesting contrast. The small lake normally visible ahead from a raised platform was just dried mud, but a scan revealed the peculiar sight of at least 48 Eurasian Curlew resting in a flock.

We strolled back to the vehicle and sought shade and relief from the sun in the lee of a small building, enjoying a long relaxed lunch. Another fine spot by Jim revealed a Crested Lark collecting food nearby, which we were able to see on a couple of occasions. It was the Collared Pratincole which really starred here, though, suddenly appearing overhead, and foraging above and around us for c. 15 minutes, providing perfect views.

We can back via Fertöd where we spent about an hour at the local market, ice-creams again figuring highly, before heading back to the hotel, though Illmitz was actually our last stop, where we made a flying visit to the official National Park Information Centre.

Thursday 31st May Podersdorf and home

We took a leisurely breakfast and then headed via Apetlon, where a Eurasian Hobby perched out for all to enjoy, to Lange Lacke, parking in the small WWF centre carpark. Walking down towards the lake we passed a line of poplars where Golden Orioles and Icterine Warblers sang, though only the former were visible.

Yellow Wagtails were all over the grassland by the lake, including a number of recently fledged short-tailed youngsters, and Jim spotted a Souslik running by, unfortunately not to be repeated. The lake itself was alive with birds, the large colony of Black-headed Gulls making considerable noise, though the Yellow-legged Gulls added their part too. Here we took last looks at Grey Herons, Great White Egrets, Mute Swans, masses of Greylag Geese, at least 10 Common Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard and the odd Eurasian March Harrier passing over. A smart adult Mediterranean Gull was the first good view for many, just before we reached a tower hide from where a female Common Pochard escorted her ducklings around, and Northern Lapwings and Common Redshank kept an eye over their offspring.

A few of us continued to check some smaller pools ahead, noting Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers and good numbers of Sky Larks on the way, and where a huge flock of Red-crested Pochard were hauled-out on the bank, a German group chased a baby Pied Avocet around to return it to a 'safe' place instead of simply sticking to the path, and three Bearded Reedlings played hide-and-seek in some reeds.

We returned to the hotel, enjoying a fine lunch as rain came down outside! There before saying goodbye, first to Dolores, who was met by some of her relatives at the hotel, then to those in the hotel at Illmitz, and headed up to the main road. Given the extra time we had, we took a detour though, driving down towards Nicklesdorf in the search for a special bird of the area. A few roadside pools contained a couple of Little Grebes to our surprise, but no luck with anything else except for a surprise male Montagu's Harrier which passed overhead on the main road.

It was time to leave for good, so we made an about turn, and headed for the airport. We bade farewell to Jim and Denise and the rest of us departed for London.

In addition to the above species, we also saw a fine adult Eastern Imperial Eagle, first perched and then in flight. Given the sensitivity of the information it is not included here, but hope it remains a vivid memory.

The week was largely bright, sunny and warm to hot throughout, with the rain kindly only really coming during lunch on the last day! I have tried to highlight each day in the above diary, though I suspect the everyone probably has their own special memories of the trip.

Thanks to all in the field for your bird- and plant- finding abilities, but especially for bringing the fine weather with you to keep off the 'mozzies' at most places, and for not complaining too much when we did get mozzied at Marchauen... The fine views of many of the really special birds were a reflection of the effort put in by all, with the total of 151 spp. the highest to date for the trip.

I sincerely hope that you all enjoyed the trip and look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future.

John Muddeman,

C/ Los Alamillos 4, esc. 2, 3-F,

28260 Galapagar,

Madrid, Spain

June 2001.



Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted only on 3 days: 1 at Mörbisch on 25th, 1 at Podersdorf on 26th and 3 by main road on 31st.

Great Crested Grebe: Seen on 2 days, with 2 adults at Mörbisch on 25th, and 1 at Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Great Cormorant: Noted on 2 days, with 1 over the hotel during log-call on evening of the 29th and 2 over the hotel on the morning of 30th (Sheila).

Grey Heron: Noted on 6 days, max. 15+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Purple Heron: Seen on 4 days: 2 at Mörbisch on 25th, 2+ at Podersdorf on 26th, 2 Illmitz Marina on 27th and 2 Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Great [White] Egret: Noted all days except 29th, max. 15+ Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Little Egret: Just 3+ at Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Black-crowned Night-Heron: 2+ 1 flying N near Illmitz Marina on evening of 27th.

Little Bittern: Just one, calling from reedbeds at Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Great Bittern: Two, calling from reedbeds at Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Black Stork: One over the Einser Canal on 27th and a total of 5+ at Marchauen on 29th.

White Stork: Noted on all days in variable number, including in Illmitz, with max. 40+ at Marchauen on 29th.

Eurasian Spoonbill: Seen on 3 days: 4 adults reedbeds at Illmitz Marina, 4 at Apetlon and 2 Lange Lacke on 27th, 1 over Illmitz on 28th and 1 at Illmitz Marina on 29th.

Mute Swan: Only seen on 2 days: 1 on Einser Canal on 27th and 20+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Greylag Goose: Noted on 5 days, with large numbers at several sites including 200+ Podersdorf and Oberstinkersee on 26th and 300+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Common Shelduck: 1 at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 10+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Gadwall: Noted on 3 days: 15+ at Podersdorf and area on 26th, 3 at Illmitz Marina on 29th and 6+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Common Teal: Only seen at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park where 3 on 30th.

Mallard: Noted each day in moderate number except 28th.

Garganey: Very good numbers and seen on 5 days: a pair at Mörbisch on 25th, 10 at Podersdorf and 1 Zicklacke on 26th, 2+ Illmitz Marina on 27th, 6+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 3+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Northern Shoveler: Noted on 4 days, with max. 30+ Lange Lacke on 27th and 15+ there on 31st and 20+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Red-crested Pochard: Excellent numbers this year: 25+ at Podersdorf and 10 at Zicklacke on 26th, 5 at Illmitz Marina on 27th, 50+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 500+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Common Pochard: Typically scarce: a male in flight at Mörbisch on 25th and a female + 8 young at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Ferruginous Duck: Good numbers on the edge of Lake Neusiedl: 2+ at Mörbisch on 25th, 8+ Podersdorf on 26th and 3 at Illmitz Marina on 27th.

[European] Honey Buzzard: One very high over the Einser Kanal on 27th and 2 past the 'Eagle Viewpoint' at Marchauen on 29th.

Black Kite: Just 1 visible from the 'Eagle Viewpoint' at Marchauen on 29th.

Red Kite: Just 2 visible from the 'Eagle Viewpoint' at Marchauen on 29th.

Eastern Imperial Eagle: A fine adult on one day, first watched perched then in flight at close range.

Montagu's Harrier: Good numbers this year: 3 pairs on the Tadten Plain on 27th, a male near Illmitz on 29th and a male en route (Parndorfer Platte) to the airport on 31st.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted commonly and widely each day; most birds away from the reedbeds were hunting males, those over the reedbeds females.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Just 1 seen briefly nr the 'Eagle Viewpoint' at Marchauen on 29th.

Common Buzzard: Noted daily in small number: max. 6+ on 27th and 30th and 10+ on Marchauen on 29th.

Common Kestrel: Noted each day, with minima of 10 on 25th, 26th, 29th and 31st.

Red-footed Falcon: An obliging male near Apetlon on 27th which flew over our heads.

Eurasian Hobby: After 1 at Marchauen on 29th, 2 in the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 1 at Apetlon on 31st.

Grey Partridge: 2 briefly seen by Raymond on the Tadten Plain on 27th.

Common Quail: 1 heard singing at Lange Lacke on 27th.

[Common] Pheasant: Noted on 5 days with lots on 30th.

Water Rail: Singles 'sharming' (= squealing) near Illmitz Marina on 27th and 29th.

Little Crake: One heard singing briefly near Illmitz Marina on 29th.

Common Moorhen: Only seen on 1 day: 1+ on the Einser Kanal on 27th.

Common Coot: Noted on 4 days, max. 6+ Mörbisch on 25th.

Great Bustard: A displaying male and a female on the Tadten Plain on 27th.

Black-winged Stilt: 3 pairs Podersdorf and 2 pairs Zicklacke ono 26th, and 2+ at Illmitz Marina on 27th and 29th.

[Pied] Avocet: Two pairs Oberstinkersee, 1 at Podersdorf and 1 pair at Zicklacke on 26th, 10+ at Lange Lacke on 27th and 50+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Collared Pratincole: One at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

[Northern] Lapwing: Noted daily in variable number, max. 50+ on 26th and 40+ on 31st.

Little Ringed Plover: Two at both Oberstinkersee and Zicklacke on 26th, 1+ at the Illmitz Marina on 29th and 5+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Kentish Plover: One at Oberstinkersee and 2+ Zicklacke on 26th, 10+ at Lange Lacke on 27th and 5+ there on 31st.

Black-tailed Godwit: Three at Oberstinkersee and 6+ at Podersdorf on 26th, 10+ at Lange Lacke on 27th and 25+ there on 31st and 50+ at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

[Eurasian] Curlew: One at Zicklacke on 26th, 2 on the Tadten Plain on 27th, 49+ at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 1+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Common Redshank: Noted on 6 days, max. 30+ on 26th, 20+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 30+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Common Greenshank: Three were at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Wood Sandpiper: Two at Mörbisch on 25th, 2 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 2 at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Ruddy Turnstone: A fine summer-plumaged bird at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Little Stint: Three at Podersdorf and 6+ Zicklacke on 26th.

Dunlin: One at Zicklacke on 26th but c. 100 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Curlew Sandpiper: Three, one in full summer plumage at Zicklacke on 26th.

Ruff: About 15 at Zicklacke on 26th.

Common Gull: A distant 2nd-summer bird at Oberstinkersee, but c. 15 more along the lake edge at Podersdorf on 26th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: An adult among Yellow-legged Gulls at Zicklacke on 26th.

Yellow-legged Gull: A flock of 21 over Mörbisch on 25th, 30+ at Podersdorf on 26th, 3+ at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and large numbers at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Caspian Gull: 20+ at Podersdorf along the edge of Lake Neusiedl on 26th, including a displaying immature and 1+ on the lake edge at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Mediterranean Gull: One imm. and 3 adults at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 2+ adults at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Black-headed Gull: Noted each day in variable number, max. 500+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Little Gull: One imm. at Oberstinkersee on 26th and c.15 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Whiskered Tern: Two very briefly over the reeds at Podersdorf on 26th.

Sandwich Tern: Two adults at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Common Tern: Noted on 4 days: 1 at Mörbisch on 25th, 15+ at various sites on 26th, 2+ at Lange Lacke on 27th and 1 at Illmitz on 30th.

Little Tern: Two + nest (first breeding attempt in the area since 1962!) at Zicklacke on 26th.

Rock Dove [Feral Pigeon]: Noted on 5 days, all were feral pigeons.

Stock Dove: One heard singing in the Halbturn woods on 27th.

Wood Pigeon: Noted daily in ones and twos at various sites.

European Turtle Dove: Common and noted each day, max. 15+ on 26th.

[Eurasian] Collared Dove: Noted in small number each day in various towns and villages.

Common [Eurasian] Cuckoo: Noted from 26th - 30th, with most heard, but singles seen on the Tadten plain on 27th, en route to Schneeberg on 28th, and at Marchauen on 29th.

Common Swift: Surprisingly scarce: only noted on 3 days, with 6 Podersdorf on 26th, 2+ Illmitz on 27th and 3+ on 29th.

Common Kingfisher: Noted only on 1 day, 2 at Marchauen on 29th.

European Bee-eater: Three seen at the colony near Weiden-am-See on 27th.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Only seen on one day, with 1-2 near Oberstinkersee on 26th.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Two watched well at Marchauen on 29th.

Syrian Woodpecker: Two briefly at Zicklacke on 26th and 2 very well near the hotel at Illmitz on 30th.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: One in the Oberstinkersee woods on 26th, 1 on the Tadten Plain and 2 at a nest in Halbturn on 27th, and 6+ at Marchauen on 29th.

Green Woodpecker: Singles calling at Oberstinkersee on 26th and at Marchauen on 29th.

Crested Lark: Noted on 2 days: 1 from bus on 25th and 2 at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

[Eurasian] Sky Lark: Two at Oberstinkersee on 26th, lots, especially at Lange Lacke on 27th, 10+ at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and lots at Lange Lacke on 31st.

[European] Sand Martin: Three at Podersdorf on 26th, 10+ at Marchauen on 29th, 1 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 2+ at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Barn Swallow: Noted commonly and widely each day.

[Common] House Martin: Seen commonly and widely each day.

Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 4 days, with 1 on 26th, 10+ on 27th, 5+ on 30th and 20+ at Lange Lacke on 31st where several recently fledged juveniles were present.

White Wagtail: Noted daily and widely in moderate number.

Tree Pipit: Five+ on the Tadten Plain on 27th and 1 heard there on 30th.

Meadow Pipit: Two seen by Raymond at Schneeberg on 28th.

Water Pipit: At least 5 at Schneeberg on 28th.

Red-backed Shrike: 10+ in the Oberstinkersee / Podersdorf area on 26th, 5+ on the Tadten Plain on 27th, 1 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park and 2+ at Illmitz on 30th and 2+ en route on 31st.

Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: 6+ at Schneeberg on 28th.

Ring Ouzel: 10+ at Schneeberg on 28th.

[Common] Blackbird: Noted widely each full day in moderate number.

Song Thrush: Very scarce: 3+ at Marchauen on 29th.

[European] Robin: One seen and two heard singing at Puchberg-am-Schneeberg on 28th.

Common Nightingale: Heard singing on 5 days birds seen at Illmitz on 29th and 30th.

Bluethroat: Two+ in reedbeds at Mörbisch on 25th.

Black Redstart: Noted widely and daily from 27th to 31st in small number.

Whinchat: Three on the Tadten Plain on 27th.

[Common] Stonechat: Noted in small number on 5 days, max. 5+ on 27th.

Northern Wheatear: Just one, a male on migration at Andau on 27th.

Bearded Reedling [Tit]: Two at Mörbisch on 25th, 4 at Illmitz Marina on 27th and 3 at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Grasshopper Warbler: Two 'reeling' on the Tadten Plain on 27th.

[Eurasian] River Warbler: Just one heard reeling at Marchauen on 29th.

Savi's Warbler: One watched 'reeling' near Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Moustached Warbler: One watched singing near Illmitz Marina on 27th.

Sedge Warbler: Noted widely in small number on 5 days, at Oberstinkersee, Illmitz Marina, Tadten Plain, Marchauen and Lange Lacke.

[European] Marsh Warbler: Two heard at Podersdorf on 26th, 10+ on Tadten Plain on 27th, 1 at Illmitz on 29th and 3+ on Tadten Plain and 2+ at Illmitz on 30th.

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Very scarce, with 2 very briefly on 25th and 1 heard at Illmitz Marina on 29th.

Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 5 days: 6+ Mörbisch on 25th, 6+ Illmitz Marina on 27th, 1 heard Illmitz Marina on 29th, 2+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th and 3+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Icterine Warbler: 4 in the Oberstinkersee woods on 26th, 2+ Halbturn woods on 27th, 2 Illmitz on 29th, 1 heard there on 30th and 3+ heard at Lange Lacke on 31st.

Willow Warbler: Just one singing at the Baumgartner Station by the rack-and-pinion railway on 28th.

[Common / Eurasian] Chiffchaff: Two at Halbturn on 27th, 1 heard at Puchberg-am-Schneeberg on 28th, and 1+ Marchauen on 29th.

Blackcap: Seen and/or heard on all full days, max. 6+ Oberstinkersee woods on 26th.

Common Whitethroat: One on Tadten Plain on 27th and 1 heard Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Lesser Whitethroat: Just one heard singing at Puchberg-am-Schneeberg on 28th.

Barred Warbler: Excellent! 4+ Oberstinkersee area on 26th and 2 on Tadten plain on 27th.

Spotted Flycatcher: One Tadten plain on 27th, 1 at Marchauen on 29th and 1 Illmitz on 30th.

Collared Flycatcher: Two pairs watched in the Marchauen woods on 29th.

Long-tailed Tit: Eight on the Oberstinkersee woods on 26th and 1 at Halbturn on 27th.

[Eurasian] Penduline Tit: One passing high over Illmitz Marina on 27th and a fine male at Illmitz on 29th.

Great Tit: Noted only in small number on 27th, 29th and 30th.

Blue Tit: Noted on 2 days: 6+ at Halbturn woods on 27th and plenty Marchauen on 29th.

[Eurasian] Nuthatch: One at Halbturn on 27th, 3+ Puchberg-am-Schneeberg on 28th and 10+ at Marchauen on 29th.

Short-toed Treecreeper: 3+ at Marchauen on 29th.

Eurasian Jay: One from bus below Puchberg on 28th and 1 heard at Marchauen on 29th.

[Black-billed] Magpie: Noted widely in small number on 5 days.

Alpine [Yellow-billed] Chough: At least 5 on the Schneeberg on 28th.

[Eurasian] Jackdaw: Three+ Mörbisch on 25th.

Hooded Crow (sometimes considered a different species to Carrion Crow): Noted daily and widely around Lake Neusiedl.

Carrion Crow: Noted on 2 days: 15+ in fields below Puchberg on 28th and one Weiden-am-See on 31st.

Common Raven: Three+ at Schneeberg on 28th.

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted on 5 days, with 1 on 26th, 4 on 27th, 3 on 29th, 2 on 30th and 1+ heard on 31st.

Common Starling: Noted each day except 28th.

Yellowhammer: Noted in small number on 27th - 30th.

Reed Bunting: Noted most days, max. 4+ on 30th and 5+ Lange Lacke on 31st.

Corn Bunting: Only seen on 2 days: 2 on Tadten Plain on 27th and 1 there and 1 at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

[Common] Chaffinch: Noted on all 5 full days.

European Serin: A pair at Podersdorf on 26th, 6 at various sites on 27th and singles at Marchauen and at Illmitz on 29th.

[European] Greenfinch: Small numbers on 4 days, max. 6+ on 26th and 27th.

[European] Siskin: A fine male on Schneeberg on 28th.

[European] Goldfinch: Noted on 6 days: especially good views near hotel and at Apetlon.

Common [Mealy] Redpoll: 5+ (including an excellent male) at Schneeberg on 28th.

[Common] Linnet: 4+ Podersdorf on 26th, 2 at Illmitz Marina and 1 male at Apetlon on 27th and seen on 31st.

Hawfinch: Singles at Illmitz and at Marchauen on 29th.

House Sparrow: Noted widely and daily.

[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow: Noted 25th - 27th and 29th and 30th.


Common Mole: One dead at Marchauen on 29th.

Pine Marten: One of the trip highlights. One loping towards us on the Tadten plain on 27th.

Wild Boar: Spoor and 'rootlings' at Marchauen on 29th.

Roe Deer: At least 3 on Tadten Plain on 27th, 1 en route on 28th and 2 at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park plus another two at Illmitz on 30th.

Chamois: Just 2, though one close on Schneeberg on 28th.

European Souslik: One noted by Jim at Lange Lacke on 31st.

European Beaver: Several small dams noted at Marchauen on 29th.

Muskrat: One at the Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Brown Hare: 20+ on Tadten Plain on 27th and 14+ various sites on 30th.

Rabbit: One at Mörbisch on 25th, 2 ('somewhere' - per Ron) on 27th and 1+ Illmitz on 30th.


Fire-bellied Toad: One heard at Illmitz Marina on 27th, and lots there on 29th and a few heard Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Common Toad: One on road on Tadten plain on 30th.

Common Tree Frog: One at the hotel on 30th.

Common Frog: Two at Marchauen on 29th.

Marsh Frog: Noted on 4 days, on 26th, 27th, 29th and 30th.


Southern Festoon: A very late-flying adult at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Large White: Several at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Small White: Two at Weiden-am-See on 27th and 2 at Illmitz on 30th.

Green-veined White: One at Marchauen on 29th.

Orange-tip: Several at Puchberg-am-Schneeberg on 28th.

Large Copper: One at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Common Blue: One at Podersdorf on 26th and sev. at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Red Admiral: One at Illmitz on 30th.

Painted Lady: Two on 27th and one at Illmitz on 30th.

Small Tortoiseshell: Two at Illmitz on 30th.

Comma: One at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Meadow Brown: Two at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Small Heath: Lots at Podersdorf on 26th and several at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Wall Brown: Two+ at Podersdorf on 26th and 2+ on 27th.


6-spot Burnet: Three+ at Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.


Black-tailed Skimmer: Noted on 4 days, max. 20+ Mörbisch on 25th and 10+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Four-spotted Chaser: Noted only on 1 day, at least 3 Marchauen on 29th.

Broad-bodied Chaser: Just one male at Podersdorf on 26th.

Downy Emerald: One at Oberstinkersee woods on 26th and 1 over the Einser Kanal on 27th.

Brilliant Emerald: One on the edge of a copse at Illmitz on 29th.

Banded Demoiselle: Two+ over the Einser Kanal on 27th.

White-legged Damselfly: A few in the Marchauen reserve on 29th.

Common Blue Damselfly: One+ in the Marchauen reserve on 29th and 10+ Fertö-Hanság Nemzeti Park on 30th.

Blue-tailed Damselfly: One+ on 26th and 1+ Einser Kanal on 27th.


At the end of each line is a code referring to where the plant was seen: EK = Einser Kanal; I = Illmitz; LL = Lange Lacke; M = Marchauen reserve; O = Oberstinkersee area; P = Podersdorf area; S = Puchberg-am-Schneeberg & Schneeberg area; W = Weiden-am-See.

Equisetaceae: Equisetum ramosissimum Branched Horsetail P

Pinaceae: Pinus mugo Dwarf Mountain Pine S

Salicaceae: Salix sp. a dwarf Willow sp. S

Moraceae: Maclura pomifera 'Milk-orange' I

Loranthaceae: Loranthus europaeus Mistletoe sp. M

Aristolochiaceae: Aristolochia clematitis Birthwort EK

Caryophyllaceae: Silene viscosa White Sticky Catchfly P, LL

Silene acaulis Moss Campion S

Dianthus deltoides Maiden Pink P

Nymphacaea: Nuphar lutea Yellow Water Lily M

Ranunculaceae: Pulsatilla alpina Alpine Pasque Flower S

Clematis integrifolia Simple-leaved Clematis P

Aquilegia sp. Columbine sp. S

Papaveraceae: Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy various

Cruciferae: Lepidium cartilagineum Pepperwort sp. O, P

Leguminosae: Robinia pseudoacacia False Acacia O, P+

Tetragonolobus maritimus Dragon's Teeth P

Gleditsia triacanthos Honey Locust various

Geraniaceae: Geranium pratense Meadow Cranesbill S

Geranium sylvaticum Wood Cranesbill S

Euphorbiaceae: Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge P

Euphorbia glareosa Spurge sp. O

Elaeagnaceae: Elaeagnus angustifolia Oleaster P, LL+

Violaceae: Viola alpina Alpine Pansy / Violet S

Viola canina Common Dog Violet S

Umbelliferae: Eryngium campestre Field Eryngo P+

Daucus carota Wild Carrot O, P+

Primulaceae: Androsace chamaejasmine Ciliate Rock-jasmine S

Primula auricula Auricula / Bearâs-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

Caprifoliaceae: Viburnum lantana Way-faring Tree S

Convolvulaceae: Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed P

Boraginaceae: Cerinthe minor Lesser Honeywort W

Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss various

Symphytum sp. Comfrey sp. various

Labiatae: Melittis melissophyllum Bastard Balm S

Acinos alpinus Alpine Basil-thyme S

Thymus sp. Thyme sp. P, etc.

Salvia pratensis Meadow Clary S

Salvia austriaca 'Austrian' Clary various

Salvia nemorosa Balkan Clary various

Scrophulariaceae: Rhinanthus borbasii Yellow-rattle sp. P

Pedicularis sp. Lousewort sp. S

Lentibulariaceae: Pinguicula alpina Alpine Butterwort S

Valerianaceae: Knautia arvensis Field Scabious S

Asteraceae: Ambrosia artemisiifolia Ragweed ?

Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot S

Juncaginaceae: Triglochin maritimum Sea Arrow-grass P

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

Polygonatum latifolium Scentless Solomon's-seal P

Asparagus officinalis Common Asparagus P

Muscari comosum Tasselled Hyacinth P

Leucojum aestivum Summer Snowflake M

Orchidaceae: Orchis palustris Bog Orchid P

Cephalanthera damasonium White Helleborine S

Poaceae: Stipa pennata Needle-grass LL

Cyperaceae: Cladium mariscus Saw-sedge P

© The Travelling Naturalist 2001