While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Birding in eastern Austria: Neusiedlersee, Lange Lacke and others

Last weekend, on our way back in from Hungary, Martin Riesing took me on a whirlwind tour of Burgenland / eastern Austria's best birding spots. We went in search of hawks and saw tons of Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus, Kornweihen), an immature White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla, Seeadler), an Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca, Östlicher Kaiseradler) and a few Kestrels (Turmfalken) but no sign of the Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug, Sakerfalke).

A quick detour to find Great Bustards (Otis tarda, Großtrappe) produced a healthy flock of individuals flying together - I had never seen anything like it: 18kg birds flying. Sure, I had seen a good number of Kori Bustards (Ardeotis kori) in southern Africa, but they very rarely take to the skies and I had only ever seen them in pairs - never in a whole flock of scores of them!

The climax of the day was spending a few hours bracing against the bitterly cold wind along the shore of Lange Lacke, where we saw thousands of Greylag and White-fronted Geese (Anser anser and Anser albifrons), a good few Bean Geese (Anser fabilis, Saatgans), a couple of Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis, Weißwangengans), and - the highlight for me - a single Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis, Rothalsgans) moving about with the White-fronted Geese. We tried our best, but could not find a single Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus, Zwerggans).

Birding in eastern Austria is obviously quite different from birding here in the Alpine region of western Austria - and there are certainly lots more species to be seen - but I must admit that by the end of the weekend I was itching to get back to the mountains to see some of our alpine birds again - Alpine Accentors, Snow Finches, Golden Eagles...

Happy birding

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