TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Eastern Austria

24th- 31st May 2003


Leaders:
Keith Grant
Dave Holman

Daily Diary:

Saturday 24th May Arrival

Bright, sunny and warm

Heathrow was exceptionally busy with Bank Holiday queues at the check-in desks, and the flight was delayed about a half-hour. We arrived at Vienna, collected our baggage and hire mini-buses and were on our way with little trouble, except that our planned day in Hungary was not possible due to insurance restrictions with the hire company.

Our first stop, at the service area on the autobahn at Gottlesbrun, provided us with cold drinks, ice-cream, and our only Crested Larks of the trip. The second bus spotted a White Stork circling over some fields outside Neusiedl and another standing on its nest in the town. We arrived at the Hotel Wende mid-afternoon and settled in to our rooms. A walk round the block an hour later was most productive. A Wryneck appeared outside the hotel, perching briefly in the top of a tree before flying off over our heads. We found several Black Redstarts and Serins around the houses and then a nice Syrian Woodpecker feeding on the grass near a skateboard park. The bird then flew to a nearby tree and back several times. We did not investigate the food source, nor indeed the presumed nest hole on the other side of the tree. We walked on to the reed cutting area, to overview the reed beds. A Great Reed Warbler was singing and then climbed up a reed stem to show beautifully in the telescopes. Both Reed and Sedge Warblers were also singing. A nice Marsh Harrier male quartered the reeds in front of us, then two Hobbies flew across. We walked on until the railway, where a Marsh Warbler was singing loudly.

Sunday 25th May North & east of Neusiedler See

Sunny & warm

We met before breakfast at 6:30 and drove the short distance to Jois, parking near a boating centre in the reeds. A pair of Red-backed Shrikes were immediately seen, then as we walked out along the track, we flushed our first Great White Egret and found our first Red-crested Pochard and Shoveler. A Savi's Warbler showed well in the reeds and Marsh Harriers, Common Buzzard and a distant Red-footed Falcon flew overhead. Time passed quickly and, all too soon, it was time to get back to the hotel for our 8am breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed off towards Podersdorf, to explore to the south of the village. Most obvious were the great many Greylag Geese with goslings. These all had pink bills and therefore seemed to be the Eastern race, A. a. rubrirostris, unlike the birds in Britain which have a more orange-tinged bill. Many of the Lapwings were with chicks, and Little Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank were obviously on territory. A Spoonbill was feeding along the reed edge, and this proved to be our only sighting of the species. We found Garganey, Gadwall and further Red-crested Pochards and Shoveler, all either swimming along the water's edge or loafing on the shore. A pair of Golden Orioles flew in front of us and we found Large Copper and Grizzled Skipper butterflies near the Woolly Pigs (which are an ancient breed from the Hungarian steppes). A distant Yellow Wagtail was a male of the Scandinavian race, Grey-headed Wagtail M. f. thunbergi, others were the local breeding Blue-headed Wagtails M. f. flava. Careful searching through the telescopes revealed two Little Stints feeding along the reed edge, and seven Wood Sandpipers were also there.

We took a welcome light lunch and drinks at a cafe-restaurant, watching a pair of Starlings feeding young in the nest and listening to Golden Oriole somewhere in the trees. Then we moved on to Oberstinkersee where we found some very close Avocets, including birds on nests, and nice numbers of Black Terns. On the drying mud, pairs of Little Ringed Plovers were arguing with a pair of Kentish Plovers; and Lapwing and Redshank chicks were being watched over by their parents. Shelduck and Curlew were new species. We drove on a short way, then walked out along another track to find several Black-winged Stilts and a Curlew Sandpiper just coming into breeding plumage.

To the south of Illmitz, we stopped to overlook Zick Lacke. Several breeding pairs of Black-winged Stilts were sitting on nests close to the road and there was another pair of Kentish Plovers. "What's that bird?" revealed a Temminck's Stint skulking in the short vegetation quite close to us, and reasonable views were obtained when a Ruff disturbed it from its hiding place. Many more Ruffs were feeding on the far shore across the bay, and towards the other end of the lake, good numbers of Black Terns were hawking insects. We drove the short distance to get closer views and seven Whiskered Terns were also found, and were eventually seen loafing along the shore. A Grey Plover in nice breeding plumage was also here and a very confiding pair of Red-backed Shrikes kept us interested. Three Little Gulls were then found out in the middle of the lake amongst the Black-headed Gulls, and as we were watching these through the telescopes, two Ferruginous Ducks were noticed upending amongst the Coots. The brilliant light conditions meant we could see the deep velvet-red plumage tones, despite the distance.

Then back in the buses to head for home. Just near Weiden, we stopped to view the sand quarry on the far side of the vines and, in brilliant light conditions, five or six Bee-eaters looked superb through the telescopes - an excellent end to the day.

Monday 26th May Tadten Plain

Sunny & hot, thunder clouds building late pm

Our pre-breakfast walk took us just down the road towards the new marina. A Marsh Warbler was singing very obligingly at the crossroads and gave good views for some, then an Icterine Warbler was found singing further on and gave excellent views for others. There were Golden Orioles and a Syrian Woodpecker in the small copse by the marina, and a Wryneck showed well by the canal. Although it wasn't agitated, we realised that it had a nest-hole in a tree stump beside us, so we retreated and left it in peace. Walking a little way along another track, we found a Penduline Tit showing very well on the end of some branches.

After breakfast, we headed for the extreme south-east of Austria to explore the Tadten Plain, lying between Andau and the Hungarian border. A stop at the tower hide gave fine views of various Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and Kestrels hunting over the fields. Corn Bunting, Yellow Wagtails, Whinchats and Stonechats all vied with each other to perch at favoured positions on dead thistle heads or elder bushes. A Grasshopper Warbler was found singing in the long grass - well, though we could hear nothing, at least we could see its mouth was open! The head of a male Great Bustard could be seen across the other side of the fields, disappearing and reappearing as it slowly walked first one way then the other. Ultimately, the whole bird was seen in full view as it came up on a slight rise with shorter vegetation. A short way further on, a female was found quite close to the road and we all watched it as it slowly walked off.

We headed back towards Andau, stopping to view some of the monuments to victims of the Second World War and Iron Curtain. I think we all found them very thought-provoking and quite grizzly in some instances. We had a light lunch at a cafe-bar with a Black Redstart carrying food for young into a nest near our table. Then a quick visit to the Spar supermarket to replenish our stock of chilled water, and we returned to the Plain, again finding the female Bustard, this time even closer to the road. We searched several locations with bushes and trees alongside the fields and tracks. Nightingales and Marsh Warblers were singing loudly, but unfortunately no sign of the hoped-for Barred Warblers. Azure Damselflies were numerous at several spots. A Honey-Buzzard flew over, circling nicely right overhead and giving everyone good views. We ultimately got to the Einserkanal, marking the border with Hungary and what was once part of the Iron Curtain. Here one of the old watch-towers has been converted to a mini-museum with information boards and a Tree Pipit using it as a song post. Here also, one can walk out over the footbridge across the canal and into Hungary (just), but keep within the notices marking the 'memorial area' and carry your passport just in case! Great Reed Warblers and Yellowhammers were immediately obvious. A marten, with hindsight probably a Pine Marten, suddenly ran across the bridge, actually running over Mac's feet! Glanville Fritillary and Chestnut Heath butterflies were feeding on the same Wild Sage plant and were quite lethargic, allowing close-up photographs and ultimately to perch on Dave's finger. A Hobby, several Cuckoos including a red-brown female, a Penduline Tit making a nest and a River Warbler singing beyond the tree line completed our bird list here. We eventually had to head back towards Tadten village itself. A lovely male Montagu's Harrier flew right by the second bus, and we all saw Grey Partridge in a roadside field. We stopped briefly to watch the cutting of a hay field with a White Stork wandering around searching the mown strips, and this made an excellent end to a day with plenty of Roe Deer, Kestrels, Harriers and of course two Great Bustards.

Tuesday 27th May Puchberg and Schneeberg

Windy & humid, some low cloud on mountain

An earlier breakfast at 7:30 than usual enabled us to be away by 8:30, for the quite long drive west to Puchberg am Schneeberg. A steady drive and some excellent map-reading meant we arrived at Puchberg with an hour to spare. We collected and paid for our reserved tickets, and loaded back into the vehicles to explore the river below Puchberg itself. The first vehicle pulled off and stopped after a few kilometres and as we walked slowly upstream, we flushed a Dipper ahead of us. Both Grizzled and Chequered Skippers were seen, together with the very dark Woodland Ringlet butterflies. Meanwhile, the second vehicle had stopped about a kilometre upstream from us and was watching an adult Dipper with a juvenile. We went back to rejoin them and all had views of the birds before we had to return to the town to board the Salamander to take us to the summit of the Schneeberg. Stepping out at the summit to broken cloud and cold air, we quickly warmed up as we walked slowly along the trail. Dunnock is a mountain bird here in summer and this, with Ring Ouzels, Water Pipits and Mealy Redpolls, were soon vying for attention with masses of Spring Gentians, Moss Campion, Alpine Snowbells and Auricula. Alpine Chough was flying around the nearby restaurant, and a Raven was found perched on a nearby crag. Several Chamois were found on the slope opposite, including particularly close individuals. We had a snack lunch at the cafe, sitting out on the veranda watching Ring Ouzels on the dwarf pines. Walking on, we climbed up through the dwarf forest to view over the precipice where the mountain literally fell away from us A single Alpine Accentor was quickly found and gave us reasonable views through bins and scopes. We wandered back to the railway station in good time for our return journey. Interestingly, Carrion Crows were found around Puchberg and en route, yet by the time we were back near Neuseidl, we were back in mainly Hoodie country, though a hybrid bird was seen around the hotel this morning.

The Salamander train journey provided rather frustratingly brief glimpses of lots of interesting plants, including Bastard Balm, White Helleborine, Whorled and Scentless Solomon's Seal, Bird's Nest Orchid, and two Lady's Slipper Orchids seen by one lucky person.

Wednesday 28th May Marchauen Reserve at Marchegg

Sunny & humid, quite windy

We drove just down the road before breakfast, which enabled us to walk out further along the bicycle path. A Golden Oriole was calling from the small copse, but we failed again to see it! Good views though of Penduline Tits, and an Icterine Warbler was singing as we walked on down the path. The orchids may have been Southern Marsh Orchid (or Early Marsh), and it was while some of us were photographing these, that a Water Rail called from just off the path. On our return to the vehicles, the Wryneck appeared on its stump, allowing further views through the telescopes.

After breakfast, we headed north to Marchegg. En route, a male Red-footed Falcon was spotted on some wires by the second vehicle, but had disappeared by the time we had both turned round and returned. However, this roadside stop enabled us to hear Quail. At the Marchauen reserve, we were soon watching the colony of tree-nesting White Storks from the raised platform. The first of many Lesser Purple Emperor butterflies were seen landing on the path for minerals. A River Warbler was 'reeling' and we soon found him sitting up in a distant bush giving us nice but distant views through the telescopes. A Honey-buzzard then flew over the Stork colony. We walked out along the path for about one and a half kilometres, finding another River Warbler, further Lesser Purple Emperors and various dragonflies and damselflies. At one of the bridges, we were watching the bright green male Marsh Frogs just below us. A Hawfinch appeared briefly and most people saw this bird through the telescopes. As we returned, a Collared Flycatcher tempted us with brief views and song, but again only a few of us managed good views. Then a Corn Crake suddenly called from the field, and Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, a Treecreeper species, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers completed out list here. We ate our picnic lunches in the shade before walking round to the front of the Schloss for ice creams. A nest-box here was occupied by a Collared Flycatcher and again most of us managed good views of the male at the nest-box or high in the tree later on. We had to move on, via a supermarket for chilled water, to the 'Eagle Monument'. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker flew past, then back again, and there were many Sand Martins hawking for insects over the river and really nice views of Serins. Distant views of Black Stork and Black Kites prompted us to drive to a smaller roadside monument on the other side of Marchegg. Scanning across the fields, we quickly picked up further Black Storks and Black Kites, and three Golden Orioles flew across from copse to copse.

Thursday 29th May Eisenstadt & Hohe Wand

Mainly sunny & warm, humid

An impressive thunder storm overnight thankfully had cleared by morning, and the Lesser Whitethroats near the hotel had newly fledged young on the wing. We didn't arrange a pre-breakfast walk, instead having a slightly earlier breakfast than normal at 7:30. We again headed south-west, this time to Eisenstadt itself, to walk around the wooded parkland behind the schloss. A Red Squirrel was seen, then a nice Middle Spotted Woodpecker flew into the trees overhead. We also found several Great Spots and we really pleased with the lovely flower meadows. We had a brief comfort- and photo-stop in town near the front of the schloss, then drove on to the Hohe Wand. Our first stop here was at the bottom of the hill where we quickly heard a Nutcracker calling. We walked up a trail, also hearing Bonelli's Warbler and finding a nice selection of plants and butterflies. Unfortunately, the Fritillary must remain a mystery, but the Nutcracker gave cracking views perching in the conifers in full view for several minutes. Apollo butterflies were on the wing, though it took us some time to see one closely on the ground. We had to move on for lunch, so drove up the hill to a cafe-bar. Sitting outside on the terrace provided us with three new species - Bullfinch, Coal Tits and Firecrests, and further Apollos were also present.

After lunch, we walked up a trail through the forest, heading for the tower hide on the summit. Views of Schneeberg in the distance and a Swallowtail butterfly high in the trees were the rewards for those who did get to the top. A brief stop halfway down the hill failed to find anything, then a further stop to walk out on to the 'Skywalk'. Large Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus and Apollo butterflies were all found catching the last of the sunshine on the slopes, and we made a final brief stop at the lower car-park before heading back to the hotel.

Friday 30th May Jois, Gols & east side of lake

Sunny & hot

A pre-breakfast drive to Jois where the Savi's Warbler was again seen well, singing from his reed top, and at least seven Purple Herons flew across the distant reeds and Great White Egrets were somewhat closer. As we walked back, a male Ferruginous Duck appeared but only allowed a few of us to view him through the telescope before he flew off.

After breakfast, we headed for Gols where a German couple had told us of another Bee-eater colony. We quickly discovered what was in fact two colonies in two small sand cliffs. Moving on, we headed south past Frauenkirchen to check several lakes between here and Illmitz. Stundlacke and Neubruchlacke were relatively quiet except for some nice finches and wagtails feeding in crops near Stundlacke. At Warmsee, we were delighted to find good numbers of Sousliks in the short grass. The only bird of note was an adult Mediterranean Gull which flew over, showing beautiful white wings in the bright sunshine. We had a light lunch at Illmitz Marina and had a quick look round, but it really was too crowded with 'grockles' so we walked back along the causeway, viewing out across the pools and reed beds on either side. Great Crested Grebes and Little Grebe were nice, as were some really close Great White Egrets. Red-crested Pochards were again much in evidence, and finally, there were several Lesser Emperor and Emperor dragonflies and Blue-tailed Damselflies along the reed edge. Zicklacke had filled slightly with water since last time, presumably after the recent thunderstorms. The Black-winged Stilt nests were now little islands surrounded by water, and although most of the migrant waders and 'marsh' terns had departed, we did find a drake Common Teal to add to our list. We then returned to Podersdorf to again check the shoreline to the south, ending at Oberstinkersee. The Lapwing and Redshank chicks were growing well, and most of us watched a pair of Little Ringed Plovers displaying around a very close nest-site. A final visit to Gols to view the Bee-eater colony was well worth the slight detour as the birds showed beautifully with the sun behind us. One bus departed to pay a visit to Weinhaus Freiderich in Weiden am See, while the rest of us stayed with the Bee-eaters for another quarter hour or so. We all met up again at Weiden, where some went shopping for t-shirts and other pressies. Back to the hotel in good time to pack suitcases and dinner.

Saturday 31st May Departure

Sunny & hot

An early breakfast enabled us to get down to Morbisch and Rust for the morning. Walking a track along the edge of the reed beds, Reed & Sedge Warblers were singing. Three ponies came up to investigate what we were about. We added the final new species for the week, a pair of Bearded Tits appearing all too briefly, though some did manage to get on to them. We tried the causeway towards the marina, but there was no parking area and no viewing point through the solid reed cover. We returned to Rust enabling everyone to briefly explore the centre of the old town with its many storks' nests on each building. We filled up with diesel and collected everyone at the allotted time and got back to the hotel to check out and load up.

Saying good-bye to the Hotel Wande, we paid a brief visit down the road to have a last look at the Wryneck. A brood of Willow Warblers were being fed, all lined up along a branch of a tree. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was very worn and grubby, and in need of a complete moult. Eventually it was time to move on to the autobahn, where we stopped for lunch at the service area and a final look at the Crested Larks. There was Lesser Whitethroat here also and White Wagtails feeding fledged young. We arrived at the airport in good time to check-in for our flight home.

Species Lists:

The various species lists below use the following references.

Birds: We use the suggested world-wide English names and systematic order as found in World Bird Species Checklist: with alternate English & scientific names (Wells, M.G., 1998).

Mammals: Collins Field Guide, Mammals of Britain & Europe (Macdonald, D. & Barrett, P., 1995).

Amphibians & Reptiles: Collins Field Guide, Reptiles & Amphibians, Britain & Europe, 2nd edition, (Arnold, N. & Ovenden, D., 2002).

Butterflies: Collins Field Guide, Butterflies of Britain & Europe (Tolman, T. & Lewington, R., 1997).

Dragonflies & Damselflies: The Dragonflies of Europe (Askew, R. R., 1988).

BIRDS:

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis : (2) Tadten Canal, 1 Illmitz

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus: (1) 4+ Illmitz

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo: (1) 3 flew over at Jois

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea: (5) 2 Neusiedl am See, several Holle area, 1 over Tadten Plain, several or many Marchegg, 1+ Illmitz

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea: (2) 8-10 Jois

Great White Egret Casmerodius alba: (6) Few over Neusiedl am See, several at Jois, couple Holle area, 1 over Tadten Canal, several Illmitz and a couple at Morbisch

Little Egret Egretta garzetta: (1) 1-2 Holle area, 1 Oberstinkersee

Black Stork Ciconia nigra: (1) 5+ Marchegg

White Stork Ciconia ciconia: (8) Couple Neusiedl am See including bird at nest, couple Zick Lacke, odd occupied nests in Andau area, 1 Tadten Plain, few Neusiedl am See-Eisenstadt, quite common Marchegg, 1 Oberstinkersee and several nests at Rust.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia: (1) 1 Holle area

Mute Swan Cygnus olor: (4) Several scattered around from Jois to Seewinkel. 1 Tadten Canal, 1 Marchegg

Greylag Goose Anser anser: (3) Few flew over at Jois and very numerous Holle-Zick Lacke including many goslings and several at Morbisch.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna: (2) 4 Oberstinkersee and 2 Zick Lacke

Gadwall Anas strepera: (2) several Oberstinkersee & Zick Lacke

Eurasian/Common Teal Anas crecca: (1) 1 Zick Lacke

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos: (7) Few around Neusiedl am See, scattering Holle-Zick Lacke, 1-2 near Puchberg, couple Marchegg

Garganey Anas querquedula: (2) 12+ Holle-Oberstinkersee-Zick Lacke

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata: (2) 1-2 Jois, several Holle-Zick Lacke, 2 Neubruch Lacke

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina: (3) Several Jois, numerous Holle-Oberstinkersee-Zick Lacke, pair Neusiedl am See, several Illmitz

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca: (2) 2 Zick Lacke, 1 Jois.

European Honey-Buzzard Pernis apivorus: (3) 1 dark bird over Tadten Plain, 2+ Marchegg, 1 Hohe Wand.

Black Kite Milvus migrans: (3) 1 at Vienna airport1 by motorway near Gottles Brunn services. 1 near Podersdorf. 7+ Marchegg

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus: (1) 1 male near Tadten and a ringtail that might well have been a Pallid Harrier over Tadten Plain.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus: (8) Several Neusiedl am See. plenty Jois - Zick Lacke, plenty Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See-Marchegg, couple Neusiedl am See-Hohe Wand, few Illmitz and a couple towards Morbisch.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo: (7) 2 Weiden am See-Podersdorf, ca 10 Tadten Plain, 1+ Neusiedl am See, 2+ Marchegg, 1 Marchegg-Neusiedl am See, several Eisenstadt-Hohe Wand, 1 Gols

Common/Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus: (8) Several Weiden am See-Zick Lacke, plenty Tadten Plain, several Neusiedl am See-Puchberg, several Neusiedl am See-Marchegg, few Neusiedl am

Hobby Falco subbuteo: (4) 2-3 Neusiedl am See, 1 Tadten Plain

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinous: (2) 1 male Holle, 1 male Engelhartstetten-Marchegg, 1 Neusiedl am See,

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix: (1) 1 near Tadten

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix: (3) 1 heard Holle, 1 heard Tadten Plain, 1 heard Engelhartstetten,

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus: (4) Few Jois-Zick Lacke, 20+ Tadten Plain, couple Puchberg-Neusiedl am See, couple Neusiedl am See-Hohe Wand and a couple towards Morbisch

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus: (1) 1 heard Neusiedl am See

Corn Crake Crex crex: (1) 1 heard Marchegg

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus: (3) 3+ Tadten Canal, family party Eisenstadt, 1 Jois

Eurasian/Common Coot Fulica atra: (5) Plenty Jois-Zick lacke, very numerous at the latter site, 1+ Neusiedl am See

Great Bustard Otis tarda: (1) 2 a male and a female on the Tadten Plain

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus: (2) Numerous Holle - Zick Lacke, few Stundlacke and Warmsee

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta: (2) Numerous Holle - Zick Lacke, few Stundlacke and Warmsee

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus: (5) Quite plentiful Holle -Zick Lacke, Tadten Plain, Neusiedl-Puchberg, couple Marchegg

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola: (1) 1 Zick Lacke

[Greater] Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula: (1) 1-2 Zick Lacke

Little [Ringed] Plover Charadrius dubius: (2) 1 Jois, plenty Holle-Zicke Lacke, several Stundlacke and Warmsee, 1 Illmitz

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus: (2) 6+ Oberstinkersee area, 5+ Zick Lacke

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa: (2) Widespread in moderate numbers Holle-Zick Lacke

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata: (2) 2 Oberstinkersee, 2 Tadten Plain

Common Redshank Tringa totanus: (3) Widespread Holle-Zick Lacke and 1 Morbisch

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola: (1) 7 Holle area

Little Stint Calidris minuta: (1) 2 Holle

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii: (1) 1 Zick Lacke

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea: (1) 1Oberstinkersee

Ruff Philomachus pugnax: (2) Couple Holle area, couple Oberstinkersee and ca. 20 Zick Lacke

Common Gull Larus canus: (2) Couple Neusiedl Am See, 1 Jois

Yellow-legged Gull Larus [cachinnans] michahellis: (6) Many Holle-Oberstinkersee-Zick Lacke, few over Neusiedl am See, few Jois and a couple over Morbisch

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus: (2) 1 second summer Holle area (DJH only), 1 adult over Warmsee

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus: (8) Couple Neusiedl am See, plenty Jois-Zick Lacke, several towards Tadten Plain, several Neusiedl am See-Eisenstadt, few Neusiedl am See-Marchegg, several Neusiedl am See-Eisenstadt, few towards Morbisch

Little Gull Larus minutus: (2) Up to 5 First summer birds at Zick Lacke

Common Tern Sterna hirundo: (2) Several Oberstinkersee & Zick Lacke

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus: (1) 7 Zick Lacke

Black Tern Chlidonias niger: (2) 6+ Holle area, ca 15 Oberstinkersee and up to 20+ Zick Lacke.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon Columba livia: (8) Scattering.

Stock Dove Columba oenas: (3) 2+ Neusiedl am See,

[Common] Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus: (5) Few Seewinkel area, few Neusiedl am See-Puchberg/Hohe Wand, 1 Neusiedl am See-Marchegg

European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur: (6) Few Podersdorf-Illmitz, few Tadten Plain, couple Neusiedl am See, 1 Eisenstadt

Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto: (8) Widespread frequently seen.

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus: (6) 3+ Jois, few Seewinkel area, few Tadten Plain including one red-brown bird, couple Neusiedl am See, couple Marchegg, 1+ Eisenstadt.

Common Swift Apus apus: (8) Several Neusiedl am See, few Weiden, few Eisenstadt

European Bee-eater Merops apiaster: (5) 5+ Weiden am See Quarry, 2+ heard over hotel, 12+ around quarries at Gols.

Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla: (4) 1 by hotel entrance at Neusiedl am See, 2 near new Marina at Neusiedl am See

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Picoides minor: (1) 1 Marchegg

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Picoides medius: (1) 2 Eisenstadt.

Syrian Woodpecker Picoides syriacus: (5) 1 collecting food on the ground at Neusiedl am See, pair Podersdorf, 1 Eisenstadt

Great Spotted Woodpecker Picoides major: (2) 3 Neusiedl am See, several Marchegg, few Eisenstadt

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis: (2) 1+ Neusiedl am See, 1 heard Marchegg

Crested Lark Galerida cristata: (2) 3+ Gottles Brunn Services.

[Eurasian/Common] Sky Lark Alauda arvensis: (7) Plenty Seewinkel area, plenty Tadten Plain, few Neusiedl am See-Puchberg, few Neusiedl am See-Marchegg, several Neusiedl am See-Hohe Wand and a couple heard at Gottles Brunn Services

[European] Sand Martin Riparia riparia: (2) 1 Oberstinkersee DJH only, 1 Weiden Yvonne only, 2 near Tadten DJH only, couple Neusiedl am See, many Marchegg,

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica: (8) Widespread frequently seen

[Common] House Martin Delichon urbica: (8) Widespread frequently seen

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava: (5) 1 very distantly at Neusiedl am See, few Holle area including a fine male Grey-headed, plenty Tadten Plain, 1 Marchegg, several Stundlacke-Warmsee

White Wagtail Motacilla alba: (8) Widespread and frequently seen from the plains to Schneeberg

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis: (1) Pair by bridge over Tadten Canal

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta: (1) Several Schneeberg

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio: (5) 1 Jois, several Holle-Zick Lacke, several Tadten Plain, 1+ Neusiedl am See-Puchberg, 1 Hohe Wand-Neusiedl am See, 1+ Gols

White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus: (1) 1+ adult and 1 large young near Puchberg

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris: (1) 1 Schneeberg

Dunnock / Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis: (1) Plenty at Schneeberg

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus: (1) 6+ Schneeberg

Common Blackbird Turdus merula: (8) Few Neusiedl am See, several Holle - Zick Lacke, Marchegg, several Eisenstadt

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos: (6) 3 Podersdorf, 1 Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See, couple Marchegg, 1+ heard Eisenstadt

European Robin Erithacus rubecula: (2) Couple heard near Puchberg, 1 Eisenstadt, 1 heard Hohe Wand

Common/Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos: (8) Few Heard Neusiedl am See, odd birds heard Holle area, few heard Tadten Plain, 1 seen just in to Hungary, heard Marchegg, 1 heard Eisenstadt

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros: (8) 1 heard at airport, few around Neusiedl am See, few Holle-Zick Lacke, couple Andau, couple Puchberg and Schneeberg, several Marchegg

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra: (2) 6+ Tadten Plain, 1 Schneeberg

Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata: (5) 1 Neusiedl am See, 3+ Holle-Zick Lacke, few Tadten Plain, 1 Engelhartstettan-Marchegg

Bearded Tit / Reedling Panurus biarmicus: (1) A pair briefly at Morbisch

[Common] Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia: (1) 1 Tadten Plain

[Eurasian] River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis: (2) 1 heard just in to Hungary, 2 gave prolonged views at Marchegg

Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides: (4) 1 seen two more heard at Jois, 1 seen and heard very distantly at Holle, 1 heard Neusiedl am See, 1 heard Illmitz and 1 heard at Morbisch

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus: (5) 3+ Neusiedl Am See, couple Oberstinkersee, 1 Tadten Plain, 1+ Jois

Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris: (7) 1 heard and 2 seen Neussiedl am See, 1 Jois, 1 heard Oberstinkersee, three heard Tadten Plain one of them showing well, 1 near Puchberg, 1 heard Holle

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus: (6) 1+ heard Neusiedl am See, several heard odd bird glimpsed Holle - Zick Lacke-Illmitz and several at Morbisch

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus: (7) 2+ giving super views at neusiedl am See, heard at Jois and Holle-Zick Lacke, few seen Tadten Canal and a couple heard at Morbisch.

Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina: (3) 3+ seen and heard around Neusiedl am See, 1+Marchegg

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus: (3) Family party at Neusiedl am See

Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita: (3) 1+ Neusiedl am See, 1 heard Puchberg, 1 heard Hohe Wand

Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli: (1) 2+ singing invisibly at Hohe Wand

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla: (6) Few Neusiedl am See-Zick Lacke, 1 just in to Hungary, couple Marchegg, 1+ Eisenstadt, few Hohe Wand

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin: (1) Flew from Hungary in to Austria at Tadten Canal

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis: (1) 1 near Jois

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca: (8) Family party around hotel at Neusiedl am See and 1 at Gottles Brunn Services

Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus: (1) 2 Hohe Wand

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata: (7) Few around Neusiedl am See, 1 Holle by restaurant, 1 Tadten Plain, 1 Marchegg, 1+ Eisenstadt

Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis: (1) 2-3 males Marchegg

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus: (2) Family party by Tadten Canal, heard near Puchberg

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus: (5) 5-6 Neusiedl am See, 1 nest building by Tadten Canal on Hungary side, 1 heard at Jois

Marsh Tit Parus palustris: (1) 1+ Eisenstadt

Coal Tit Parus ater: (1) Numerous at Hohe Wand

Great Tit Parus major: (8) Few Neusiedl am See, Couple Holle - Zick Lacke, few Marchegg, few Eisenstadt, few Jois

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus: (4) 1+ Neusiedl am See, 1 by Tadten Canal, few Marchegg, few Eisenstadt

Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea: (2) Couple Marchegg, several Eisenstadt

Treecreeper sp. Certhia sp.: (1) 2 unidentified at Marchegg

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius: (3) 1 near Puchberg, 1 Neusiedl am See, 1 Eisenstadt, 1+ Hohe Wand

Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie Pica pica: (7) Few Neusiedl am See, few Holle -Zick Lacke, few Neusiedl am See-Hohe Wand and 1+ Morbisch

Spotted/Eurasian Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes: (1) 1 seen well at Hohe Wand and at least one more heard.

Yellow-billed/Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus: (1) Ca 4 Schneeberg

Western/Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula: (4) Several around quarry at Weiden, few Puchberg, few Eisenstadt, few Hohe Wand

Rook Corvus frugilegus: (2) 1 Neusiedl am See, 5 at Gols

Carrion Crow Corvus corone: (3) 2 Neusiedl am See, couple near Puchberg, few Eisenstadt-Hohe Wand also a few hybrid Hooded×Carrion Crows

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix: (8) Widespread in small numbers, frequently seen

Common Raven Corvus corax: (2) 1-2 Schneeberg, ca 4 Hohe Wand

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus: (7) Few singing usually invisibly at Neusiedl am See giving odd tantalising glimpses, 2 Holle briefly in flight and one singing invisibly by restaurant, odd brief sightings around Tadten Plain and Canal, 3 briefly in flight at Marchegg, 1 briefly at Eisenstadt

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris: (8) Widespread, frequently seen

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra: (5) 1+ Neusiedl am See. few mainly heard Holle-Zick Lacke, several Tadten Plain, couple Jois

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella: (5) Few Tadten Plain, heard Eisenstadt-Puchberg, heard between Neusiedl am See and Marchegg, few Hohe Wand, few Gols-Illmitz

[Common] Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus: (4) Few Oberstinkersee, 1 Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See, 1 Marchegg, 1+Stundlacke and 2 MOrbisch

Common/European Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs: (5) Couple heard at Holle, several Tadten Plain, few Neusiedl am See-Puchberg, several Marchegg, few at Eisenstadt, few Hohe Wand

European Serin Serinus serinus: (8) Few around Neusiedl am See, well scattered Holle - Zick Lacke, several Tadten Plain, Andau etc, several Neusiedl am See-Puchberg, several Marchegg, several Neusiedl am See-Hohe Wand

European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris: (8) Couple Neusiedl am See, few Holle-Zick Lacke, several Marchegg, few Stundlacke and a few Morbisch

European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis: (7) Couple Neusiedl am See, few Holle-Zick Lacke, few Tadten Plain, couple Marchegg, few Stundlacke area

Common/Mealy Redpoll Carduelis flammea: (1) Several Schneeberg

Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina: (6) Few Gottles Brunn services, few Neusiedl am See, few Holle-Zick Lacke, few Tadten Plain, couple Marchegg, couple Eisenstadt-Hohe Wand, couple Stundlacke

Common/Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula: (1) 1 seen and 1 heard at Hohe Wand

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes: (2) 1 heard Tadten Plain, 3 Marchegg

House Sparrow Passer domesticus: (8) Widepread in small numbers

[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow Passer montanus: (8) Widespread in smallish numbers, often seen. Nice nesting "colony" in sand quarry at Weiden and Gols

MAMMALS:

Western Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus: Odd road casualty, 1 alive by hotel at Neusiedl am See

Water Shrew Neomys fodiens: 1 dead at Neusiedl am See

Shrew Sp.: 1 unidentified, dead at Marchegg

Stoat Mustela ermina: 1 Holle

Beech/Pine Marten Martes sp.: 1 seen by lucky few at Tadten Canal and another seen by one of the same observers near Puchberg were probably Pine Martens. 1 road casualty near Donnerskirchen was probably Beech Marten

Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus: Few Holle-Zick lacke, several Tadten Plain, 1 Marchegg, 1 Warmsee

Chamois Rupicapra rupicapra: Ca 12 Schneeberg

Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris: (2) 1 Marchegg, 1 Eisenstadt both very brief sightings

European Souslik Spermophilus citellus: 10+ Warmsee-Xixsee

European Beaver Castor fiber: (-) Signs of the species' presence at Marchegg

Brown Hare Lepus europaeus: 1 Holle-Zick Lacke, several Tadten Plain

AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:

Fire-bellied Toad Bombina bombina: Heard at Neusiedl am See

Marsh Frog Rana ridibunda: Probables heard at Tadten Canal, several at Marchegg.

Viviparous/Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara: 1 halfway up Schneeberg

Grass Snake Natrix natrix: 1 Illmitz

BUTTERFLIES:

Swallowtail Papilio machaon: 1-2 Hohe Wand

Apollo Parnassius apollo: 10+ Hohe Wand

Small White Artogeia rapae: 1 Hohe Wand

Green-veined White Artogeia napi: 1 Eisenstadt

Eastern Dappled White Euchloe ausonia: 1Tadten Plain

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines: Plenty Puchberg-Schneeberg, few Marchegg, few Hohe Wand

Clouded Yellow sp. Colias sp,: Odd scattered sightings, mainly very pale individuals which may have been Berger's Clouded Yellow

Wood White Leptidea sinapsis: Few Hohe Wand

Large Copper Lycaena dispar: 1 Oberstinkersee, 1 Tadten Plain

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus: Few Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus: 2+ Neusiedl am See, Few Holle-Zick Lacke, few Hohe Wand

Lesser Purple Emperor Apatura ilia: Ca 20 Marchegg

Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloris: 1 at the 'Skywalk' Hohe Wand

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta: Couple Marchegg, couple Hohe Wand

Painted Lady Cynthia cardui: 1 Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See and 1 Gottles Brunn Services.

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae: Widespread in small numbers, few Marchegg, plenty Hohe Wand

Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia: 1 superb views by Tadten Canal (finger tame)!

Woodland Ringlet Erebia medusa: Few near Puchberg, few Hohe Wand

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus: Small numbers in grassy areas

Chestnut Heath Coenonympha glycerion: 1 Tadten Canal

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria: Few Hohe Wand

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera: Few Holle - Zick Lacke, few Tadten Plain, 1 Neusiedl am See, several Hohe Wand

Grizzled Skipper sp. Pyrgus sp.: 1-2 Holle

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae: Several near Puchberg

Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon: 1 near Puchberg

MOTHS:

Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae: 1 Zick Lacke

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum: 2+ Hohe Wand

DAMSELFLIES & DRAGONFLIES:

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens: 1 Neusiedl am See, 1 Oberstinkersee,

Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella: Few Tadten Plain, several Marchegg

Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas: 1+ Marchegg

Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum: 1 female Neusiedl am See

Blue-tailed Damselfly Iscnura elegans: several at Marchegg

Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator: 1 Illmitz

Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope: 3 Illmitz and 1 Neusiedl am See

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata: 1 Hohe Wand

Scarce Chaser Libellula fulva: 1-2 Tadten Canal

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa: 1-2 Marchegg

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum: Few Illmitz

Other Insects:

Hornet : Few scattered sightings

PLANTS:

A formal plant list was not produced but here is a selection of the most obvious plants that we found:

Code letters on the right refer as follows:

EK = Einser Kanal;

ES = Eisenstadt;

HW = Hohe Wand;

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

Loranthaceae: Loranthus europaeus Mistletoe sp. M

Aristolochiaceae: Aristolochia clematitis Birthwort EK, M

Caryophyllaceae: Lychnis flos-cuculi Ragged Robin S

Silene viscosa White Sticky Catchfly P

Silene vulgaris Bladder Campion S

Silene acaulis Moss Campion S

Dianthus carthusianorum Carthusan Pink P

Dianthus deltoides Maiden Pink P

Nymphacaea: Nuphar lutea Yellow Water Lily M

Ranunculaceae: Trollius europaea Globeflower S

Delphinium elatum Alpine Larkspur S

Pulsatilla alpina Alpine Pasque Flower S

Clematis integrifolia Simple-leaved Clematis M

Clematis alpina Alpine Clematis S

Thalictrum aquilegifolium Great Meadow Rue S

Aquilegia sp. Columbine sp. S

Papaveraceae: Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy

Cruciferae: Draba azoides Yellow Whitlow-grass S

Saxifragaceae: Saxifraga pedemontana Piedmont Saxifrage S

Rosaceae: Potentilla reptans Silverweed N

Dryas octopetala Mountain Avens S

Geum rivale Water Avens S

Alchemilla sp. Lady's Mantle sp. S

Leguminosae: Tetragonolobus maritimus Dragon's Teeth P, N

Lathyrus tuberosus Tuberous Pea P, N

Onobrychis viciifolia Sainfoin S

Oxalidaceae: Oxalis acetosella Wood-Sorrel ES

Geraniaceae: Geranium pratense Meadow Cranesbill S

Geranium sylvaticum Wood Cranesbill S

Euphorbiaceae: Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge P

Linaceae: Linum perenne Perennial Flax P, N

Thymelaeaceae: Daphne mezereum Mezereon HW

Violaceae: Viola canina Common Dog Violet S

Viola biflora Yellow Wood Violet S

Viola alpina Alpine Pansy/Violet S

Viola tricolor Heartsease ES

Cornaceae: Cornus sanguinea Common Dogwood

Umbelliferae: Sanicula europaea Sanicle HW

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

Cyclamen purpurascens European Cyclamen ES

Plumbaginaceae: Armeria maritima ssp. alpina Mountain Thrift S

Gentianaceae: Gentiana acaulis Trumpet Gentian S

Gentiana verna Spring Gentian S

Boraginaceae: Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss various

Pulmonaria officinalis Common Lungwort ES

Symphytum officinale Common Comfrey S

Cynoglossum officinale Hound's Tongue (in seed)

Labiatae: Ajuga pyramidalis Pyramidal Bugle

Melittis melissophyllum Bastard Balm S

Salvia pratensis Meadow Clary P, S

Salvia nemorosa Wild Sage EK

Lamiastrum galeobdolon Yellow Archangel ES

Thymus sp. Thyme sp. ES

Scrophulariaceae: Veronica prostrata Prostrate Speedwell

or V. spicata or Spiked Speedwell HW

Solanaceae: Atropa belladonna Deadly Nightshade

Orobanchaceae: Orobanche sp. Broomrape sp. ES

Rubiaceae: Galium odoratum Woodruff

Campanulaceae: Campanula rotundifolia Harebell S

Legousia hybrida Venus's Looking Glass M

Dipsacaceae: Knautia arvensis Field Scabious S

Knautia dipsacifolia Wood Scabious ES

Asteraceae: Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot S

Carduus nutans Musk Thistle P

Tragopogon pratensis Goatsbeard ES

Liliaceae: Lilium martagon Martagon Lily HW

Allium ursinum Ramsons ES

Convallaria majalis Lily-of-the-Valley S

Polygonatum latifolium Scentless Solomon's-seal P

Polygonatum verticillatum Whorled Solomon's-seal P

Paris quadrifolia Herb Paris HW

Amaryllidaceae: Leucojum aestivum Summer Snowflake

Orchidaceae: Cypripedium calceolus Lady's Slipper Orchid S

Orchis palustris Bog Orchid P

Dactylorhiza ?praetermissa ?Southern Marsh Orchid N

Cephalanthera damasonium White Helleborine S

Neottia nidus-avis Bird's-nest Orchid S

And finally: The very numerous greyish tree with fragrant yellow flowers appears to be Elaeagnus commutata, the Silver Berry, introduced from North America.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip and have returned home with your own special memories. The weather was kind to us with the thunderstorms occurring overnight and the temperatures usually comfortably warm. We had great views of some great birds such as Penduline Tits, Syrian & Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Wryneck, Nutcracker, River, Savi's & Great Reed Warblers, Collared Flycatcher and Hawfinch. We mustn't forget the Great Bustards and various harriers over the Tadten Plain, nor the rather sobering sculptures along the roadside here. Other creatures must not be forgotten, with Glanville Fritillary, Chestnut Heath and Apollo butterflies vying for attention with dragonflies and damselflies, and Mac, of course, won't forget the marten running over his foot at the Einser Kanal.

Our thanks must go to the various map-readers for their skills and of course to Eva for her great help with translating and ordering our lunch menus. Well done to all of you who made this trip the success it was, and we hope to see you all on another trip sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Keith Grant & Dave Holman, June 2003


© The Travelling Naturalist 2003