This is the first trip report from the Bee-eater Bonanza 2015
I am at the moment leading the summer trip, the Bee-eater Bonanza, in Hungary. We are a group of four people, excluding the guides and we are here with the purpose of working with three species for a start.
Those three species are the European Bee-eater, the Hoopoe and the European Roller. Of these three the main is of course the European Bee-eater.
We arrived this Saturday after a really pleasant and smooth time together with the Brussels Airlines. We arrived midday in Budapest where our guide Zoltán picked us up and drove us to the accommodation in Kisújszállás.
Hungary greeted us with hot warm weather something we haven´t seen since last summer. We are coping with the high temperatures and it would have been nice to have milder temperatures as that means less sweat for our part, but also that the animals are coping better and are more active.
Our first evening was spent in the presence of the Great Bustard, the heaviest flying bird in Europe. And, to top this we got interviewed by a Hungarian Television team that was present at the conservation site that we visited. It was a fun start to the trip even if Tony had an accident with his teleconverter.
My guests spent their first full day on the Bee-eater Bonanza in a tower hide where the first target species, the European Roller was present as well as Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon and a couple of other species. The tower hide was fit for three people which meant I spent time at another hide nearby trying to capture water birds. The sessions for the guest went really well which of course was the priority and I also had some success with my mission which can be seen in the gallery.
After the morning session we took a workshop siesta, before we headed out to a marsh in the Hortobágy National Park where the target was the Purple Heron. It was a pleasant ending to our first day and it was great that the guest could tick the first target species from the list.
The second morning session has just been spent in the company of the Bee-eaters. We did succeed, but also felt that the activity was a little low. The reason for this is that the Bee-eater actually are nesting. It is uncommon for them to nest this early, but it is something we have to live with and find a way around which means we are going to check another Bee-eater site nearby.
Still I think it was a good start as the guest now are familiar with the Bee-eater and have gotten a better grasp of how difficult they are to work with, especially when the sun is shining a bright. It is hard to make a correct exposure, but I am sure we all will succeed with this before we leave Hungary on Sunday this week.
All in all it has been a good start and I think it will pick up speed this afternoon when we are going to Lake Tisza to take photos from a boat. The main target are the Whiskered Tern, but also different Herons that can be seen around the lake and who knows even a Western Marsh-harrier might say “Hello” to us.
Please enjoy the first gallery from the Bee-eater Bonanza 2015