We went for a short winter birding trip and a quick mooch around Budapest where we met up with our friend Gerard Gorman for a beer or two and got some guidance for our days of birding. Rather than target species, which I did have two - red-breasted goose and lesser white-fronted goose, it was the 'birding spectacles we were interested in.
The first of these spectacles was the great bustards in Kiskunsag National Park, where we saw a group of over 60 in one field.
|Some of the great bustards in Kiskunsag|
|white-fronted geese at Hortobagy|
|Greylags and a great egret at Hortobagy|
Finally, the surreal experience of an urban long-eared owl roost in trees in a residential cul-de-sac int he middle of a large town. We counted at at least 30 individuals in a handful of trees.
|One of at least 30 roosting long-eared owls|
Raptors were good with plenty of hen harriers and white-tailed eagle, an adult imperial eagle and a couple of saker falcons were great to see.
Anyhoo - back to the patch.
Yesterday (Saturday) I had a quick wander out before the football. Gary Wren had reported a snow bunting on the haul road so I headed for that and met Gary who was watching the very-confiding bird on the northern boundary of the patch.
|Snow bunting on the haul road|
When I was nearly in to Newcastle on the bus to the match, a report came through of nine waxwings moving south towards tot he Budge screen. I've still not seen waxwing on the patch so was more than a bit gutted but at least the toon managed a win.
Janet and I went for a walk this morning in the vain hope that the waxers might have hung about but as I suspected they'd just been fly-throughs.
There was a group of barnacle geese, maybe 14, with about 300 pinks on the front field, the bushes were quiet however - a few long-tailed tits. We met up with David Elliott and got on to a finch flock which included a bullfinch and a lesser redpoll.
|Some of the pinks in the front field|
Full list here