We regard eastern Hungary as one the premier sites for bird photography in Europe. This exciting trip offers keen wildlife photographers some superb opportunities to photograph a number of exciting and otherwise difficult-to-approach species by using a network of purpose built hides.


Roller

FHawfinch

Red-footed Falcon

Pygmy Cormorant

Roller

Collared Flycatcher

Bee-eater

Ferruginous Duck

Squacco Heron

Whiskered Tern

Red-backed Shrike

See the photo highlights from our 2011 and 2012 trips to Hungary.

As many bird photographers know only too well, the most critical issue in getting good photographs is how to get close to your subject. In modern-day photography, a hide is often necessary - if not essential - to achieve this, especially with shy and secretive species. Hide technology has evolved dramatically in recent years and the best ones are those that integrate into the natural setting of the environment in which they are situated and become accepted by the species one wishes to photograph. Look no further than those established by our good friends in Hungary, who have developed a superb network of hides in and around the Hortobágy National Park. Created exclusively for bird photography, the hides:

  • are designed to get us close to birds and we are able to photograph them in relative comfort.
  • are built from natural substances so sit in perfect harmony with the surroundings
  • have unique glass windows that is covered with a innovative special layer; this is not a one-way glass but it does reflect the photon spectrum of natural colours of the environment
  • offer large glass panorama windows making photography an unforgettable experience as you are integrated into nature and in the centre of all the bird action; movement behind the glass does not generally disturb the birds. this special glass layering does not interfere with the contrast and sharpness of the picture (even though you may lose around a stop of light) - so you can get perfect results!
  • most of our hides in the network are located in the world famous Hortobágy National Park, which is one of the most important sites in Europe for both breeding and migrating birds. The special atmosphere of this World Heritage Site can be experienced in a very different way in our hides.

ITINERARY

Day 1 Saturday 21 April 2018

We depart London Heathrow on a scheduled British Airways flight to Budapest. On arrival in Budapest we'll meet our local guide and drive for about three hours to our lodge at Balmazújváros, ideally placed on the eastern edge of the Hortobágy National Park for a seven-night stay.

Day 2 - 7 Sunday 22 April - Friday 27 April 2018

We will have six full days of bird photography allowing us to enjoy a variety of the hides on offer (see below). Our daily routine is to split into three or four groups and to take maximum advantage of morning and afternoon / evening light, we will have either full day or two half-day photo sessions each day. Full day sessions are the norm and last from around 0500 - 1800 hrs. On split days, the morning session usually start at around 0500hrs and finish at around 1130hrs, at which time we head back to the lodge to download, review work, recharge batteries and have lunch. We then head back into the field for an afternoon session from around 1430hrs to 1830hrs. Full days in the hides will depend on the subjects on offer and the weather forecast. Packed breakfast will be taken to the hides every morning (but tea and coffee and a few nibbles will be available before departure from the hotel) and packed lunches will be provided for full days. Dinner will be taken in the evening. We have run pho-tours annually to Hungary since 2010 and it is fair to say that we would hope to offer great (if not fantastic!) photographic opportunities for around 35 - 40 species.

Day 8 Saturday 28 April 2018

We sadly have to leave this remarkable area and head back to Budapest where we take a flight back to London Heathrow.

THE HIDES WE USE:

Pygmy Cormorant Hide (Click here to see this hide)

This hide is located in a fishpond system in the western part of the Hortobágy National Park and was installed in March 2008. The fishpond is used as a bird feeding pond and there is no fishery activity for most of the year. In summer most of the pond is covered with floating Yellow Floating Heart which serves as a lovely yellow background for photography. The hide is located at the edge of the reedbed and has a circular island in front of it which is used by birds for resting, preening, feeding etc. There are also several branches around the hide for birds to perch on.

It is about a 100m walk through reeds on a raised boardwalk to reach the hide which is comfortable for two photographers. Some of the more interesting species one may be able to photograph from this hide include Red-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night, and Squacco Herons, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck, Marsh Harrier, Little Crake, Water Rail, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Common Kingfisher, Yellow Wagtail, Bluethroat, Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler and both Bearded and Penduline Tits.

Egret & Stork Hide (Click here to see this hide)

This hide is located in the northern part of the Hortobágy National Park. It was installed in April 2012. There is a 25 m long and 5-10 m wide pool in front of the hide. This pond serves as a feeding place for fish-eating wading birds like Black Storks, Great White Egrets and sometimes Spoonbill. White-tailed Eagles often visit and it can also be good for passage waders like Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank.

Passerine Drinking Hides (Click here and here to see these hides)

These hides operate throughout the year. The hides were installed in the superb old oak forest of Debrecen in October 2008 and 2011. There is a drinking pool in front of the hides. It is a 300m gentle walk to the furthest hide, which is comfortable for three photographers. Some of the more interesting species one may be able to photograph from this hide include Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Northern Goshawk, Turtle Dove, Black, Green, Grey headed, Great Spotted, Middle Spotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Wryneck, Common Nightingale, Common Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Golden Oriole, Eurasian Siskin, European Serin and Hawfinch.

Red-footed Falcon Tower Hide (Click here to see this hide)

This hide is located in the eastern part of the Hortobágy National Park in a wood that is a regular breeding area for the falcons. It was installed in March 2008. Nest boxes are placed around the hide and there are several strategically placed branches (with good backgrounds) for the falcons to perch on in front of the hide. It is possible to drive to the hide which is 5m above ground level and has windows either side of the hide. It is comfortable for four photographers. Some of the more interesting species we may be able to photograph from this hide include Common Crane, Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Common Kestrel, Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, European Roller, Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Marsh Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroats and Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes.

Canopy Drinking Tower Hide (Click here to see this hide)

This unique hide is located in the garden of our lodge in Balmazújváros on the very edge of the Hortobágy National Park. It is placed in small woodland on the edge of the Nagy-szik soda lake. It is a 60m walk to the hide which was installed in October 2013. As far as we know this is the only and first-ever canopy drinking hide in the World. It is comfortable for three photographers. The main attraction is the rare opportunity to photograph drinking Golden Oriole. Other possible species include Black Redstart, Wood Warbler, Tree Sparrow, and Sparrowhawk.

Shorebird Hide (Click here to see this hide)

Usually located in shallow water in a temporary grazed wetland in the northern part of the Hortobágy National Park. It is usually enclosed by water so birds can go around, and usually requires a short walk of 10m in knee-deep water (rubber boots / waders will be provided). It is comfortable for two photographers. Obviously the species likely to be photographed depend upon the positioning of the hide, but include a variety of ducks, waders and other wetland species. Possible birds in this period include Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Yellow Wagtail.

Ad-hoc Hides

Our ground agents in Hungary have several mobile hides (eg. for Hoopoes) and we may use them for species presenting good photographic opportunities.

Holiday Information 2018 Operating Dates

Sat 21st April

-

Sat 28th April

 

COST

£2095

 

Single Supplement

£150

 

DEPOSIT

£500

Group Size - maximum 7 photographers


Need more Information?

No problem! We'd be delighted to discuss this holiday with you. Please call us on 01950 460939 or drop us an e mail.

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