Bike trip to White Stork colony in Marchegg

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On first Sunday of June we planned bike trip to nearby Austrian town Marchegg. Our target was largest White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) tree colony in Central Europe. Beside birdwatchers and nature lovers the bike trip was joined by the fans of geocaching.

Weather forecast for the weekend didn´t look well and it was changing every hour. Those who came to Devínska Nová Ves by car or by bus didn´t get wet as the rain stopped shortly before 9:00. Group of 13 bikers started the trip under cloudy sky. First stop was on the bridge over Morava River where we checked the nest of local White Stork pair. In few hundreds of metres we stopped again to observe the fields and meadows next to the Schlosshof. Red Kite (Milvus milvus) and White Stork flew over our heads. Female Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) was flying low over the reeds, very probably close to its nest. Then we rode longer distance to Marchegg. Over the embankment behind the manor house man can find largest White Stork nesting colony in Central Europe. Several tens of Stork pairs are nesting in the canopies of the old trees in the floodplain forest next to the Morava River. Rising river flooded the path to the observation tower so we made our observation point on the dry part of the path. Some of us waded through the water to the tower. It was rewarded with closer view on the nests, almost tame Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), but mostly by short sighting of White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) that flew out of the forest just 20 metres from the tower. Banks of flooded meadow were full of blooming Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) and Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum). We observed White Stork parents as they were taking care about their nestlings, some of the nests had up to 4 cute chicks with short black bills. In the same time we had an opportunity to spot several flyovers of Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) and soaring Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Our next stop was on the bank of Morava River, next to the “Austrian Eagle” memorial, where we took team photo. Those luckier have observed Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) flying low across the river and Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) high in the distance. After that we continued to Breitensee, where we observed few Mute Swans (Cygnus olor), hunting Great Egrets (Egretta alba) and sleeping pair of Greylag Geese (Anser anser). Our following ride went through the fields back to the Schlosshof. We heard two different warblers in the reed next to the narrow channel. Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) was singing in the reed while Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris) was singing in the bush just 5 metres away. As we were observing Rabbits and Red Fox geocachers found their treasure under Marchegg railroad bridge.

After 6 hours was our bike trip in the end. White Storks showed theirselves in the full beauty. Bikers were satisfied with new natural experiences and thankful to weather that was pretty pleasant. (This trip wouldn’t be possible on the next day as the rising water of Danube and Morava Rivers flooded several sites of our interest.)

List of observed bird species:

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret (Ardea alba / Egretta alba)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus / Larus ridibundus)
large gull (Larus cachinnans/michahellis)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major / Picoides major)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula / Corvus monedula)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Common Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbicum / Delichon urbica)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Serin (Serinus serinus)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris / Chloris chloris)
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)

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