Our comprehensive Central and Eastern European birding tour takes in several unique areas situated in four countries: the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Though the focus is essentially upon the region’s birds, we will certainly not neglect the many cultural and historical sites and old towns that we will encounter. Indeed, this is a region steeped in history, both ancient and recent, and there will be opportunities to opt out of some of the birding excursions for those who wish to take in a little history instead.
Central and Eastern Europe are quite simply superb for birds and birdwatchers. There are plenty of ‘eastern’ specialties that rarely, if ever, venture into the western regions of the continent; in fact, many species are far more abundant and easier to find in the east, no doubt due to its lack of development compared to the more affluent west. The likes of Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Saker Falcon, Little Crake, Syrian, Grey-headed and White-backed Woodpeckers (in fact, all 10 European woodpecker species are possible on this tour!), River Warbler and Lesser Grey Shrike are some of the species that come to mind. We also spend some time near the Mediterranean, taking in the delights of Croatia for Rock Partridge, Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sombre Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch and Black-headed Bunting. Other more widespread but no less spectacular birds include Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Great Bustard, Common Crane, Eurasian and Little Bittern, Black Woodpecker and the beautiful Bluethroat.
We will stay in small guesthouses in good birding locations throughout this tour, and food will always consist of local cuisine. Several of the areas we visit are also wine-growing regions and we will no doubt sample a few!
Our Austria and Hungary – Birds, Wine and Music tour travels to the former Austro-Hungarian empire, and the two countries are filled with historical landmarks and cultural significance befitting such a history. On this tour we will visit the centuries-old wine region of Tokaj, enjoy performances of classical and traditional gypsy music and visit the immaculate and history-filled cities of Vienna and Budapest. Both countries also have numerous natural and semi-natural areas that hold typical Palearctic species such as Bearded Reedling and Eurasian Penduline Tit, European Bee-eater, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Nuthatch and Eurasian Jay. Permanent and temporary wetlands teem with herons, ducks, raptors and shorebirds including Western Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Common Crane, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard and Spotted Redshank, while the largest grasslands in Europe house the massive Great Bustard and Eurasian Dotterel. There’s no better way to explore Europe’s birdlife, culture and cuisine!