Birds and wine of eastern Slovakia

Sunday – Tuesday, May 6 – 8, 2012

We met early in the morning in Bratislava to start our trip to eastern Slovakia. On the way there we made a stop at Perínske rybníky fishponds to ease of the long trip. During this time a week-long monitoring of birds took place there. Various groups of birds – waders, raptors, song birds – were caught in nets and ringed. We saw many bird species around the fishponds like Great Crested Grebes, Little Grebes and Black-necked Grebes. Whiskered and Black Terns flew over the water surface and way above horizon an Imperial Eagle and Saker Falcon were circling around. After this break we went on our journey to Streda nad Bodrogom, where we had our accommodation. Right before evenfall we went to watch a colony of Grey Herons where we could see also Night Herons hunting on the old river branch. From there we moved on to Kráľovský Chlmec to observe a colony of Night Herons and Little Egrets. After our return we had our dinner and than went straight to bed, because of full day of excitement we were too tired to go to listen to the sounds of night birds.

We woke up early in the morning and before breakfast we went to the floodplain forest to listen to singing of the birds. There were many mosquitos but it was worth it, we experienced a beautiful „bird concert“. We could hear beautiful voices of Common Nightingale, Blackcap, Robin or Golden Oriole.

After breakfast we went to the Senianske rybníky fishponds. Our first stop was at Ostrovík meadow where we could see various waders but mainly Common Redshanks and Wood Sandpipers commonly found in marshes. During our stay many Whiskered Terns flew relatively close to us which was very amusing. We were also happy to see Spoonbills from rather close distance. After short time spent on an observation tower we went to the other side of the ponds where we saw our first Purple Heron. After lunch we moved to Iňačovce village to go to the National Nature Reserve Senianske rybníky. The move itself was not long, but it was hard as we made our way through wet grass. On our way we disturbed one Little Bittern and a group of Great Reed Warblers and saw many other song birds. In the area of the reserve we saw terns, Purple Herons and Night Herons. We were also able to hear Little Crake. After such a successful „watching hunt“ we had to get back to the car. On our way to the car we stopped at one  drained pond, where we saw Black-tailed Godwits as well as Pied Avocets, Dunlins and Ruffs.

We had wine tasting with Mr. Szekely after dinner. The wine cellar was all covered in thick layer of famous Tokay mould with its typical aroma. At first we tasted four brands of wine. The passion of the wine maker could be sensed from the taste of it. Mr. Szekely was very friendly and talkative when we asked him about his cellar. It took him only two weeks to dig it and yet it stands for more than 25 years.

On our last day we went to see two sites, one of which is a breeding ground for the European Bee-eater. They were not there yet as they still did not return from their wintering grounds. The second area was a floodplain forest, where we saw many different species among which was also Collared Flycatcher. On the edge of the forest we saw Barred Warbler. After these short stops we went back to Bratislava. On our way back we had a beautiful sight of one of our mightiest birds the Imperial Eagle.

The weather during our trip was rainy but we definitely enjoy it, as we saw many different bird species. We were also able to taste good Tokay wine and explore one of hidden parts of Slovakia that is not visited very often.

List of observed species (94):

Common Quail (Coturnix coturnix)
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata / Spatula clypeata)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis / Podiceps ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Great Egret (Ardea alba / Egretta alba)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus / Phalacrocorax pygmeus)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug)
Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)
Little Crake (Porzana parva)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus / Larus ridibundus)
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major / Picoides major)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)
Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
Common Magpie (Pica pica)
Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula / Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Common Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum / Delichon urbica)
Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)
Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)
Savi’s Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola / Saxicola torquata)
Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris / Chloris chloris)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra / Miliaria calandra)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Comments are closed.