Judy Dawes and David Whaley, Cyprus Breeding Bird Atlas
Our visit to Hungary was on the occasion of the 15th International Conference of the European Bird Census Council at Nyiregyhaza from 26th - 31st March 2001.
The conference arranged pre- and post-conference tours organised by Ecotours, that we felt we could not miss. The quoted prices included all transport, accommodation, food and guiding and were very reasonable, especially as we later realised that we were to be accompanied by two leaders and sometimes by a national park guide in addition.
From our experience of other birding tours we were a little apprehensive that the emphasis would be on 'ticking' and we had made it clear that our main interest was to watch birds and behaviour rather than to see as many species - or 'firsts' - as possible in a short time. We need not have worried. Our small group was like minded and our guides were able to tailor their tour to the group's pace and needs.
We left our home in Cyprus soon after midnight on Saturday 24th and with a full days birding ahead of us we were somewhat apprehensive of our condition by the evening. After a delayed flight we were met at Budapest airport by Gabor Orban, co-founder of Ecotours, and left our bags at our tourist apartment in central Budapest. Within minutes we were on the road for our first destination, Ocsa Landscape Protection Reserve some 30km to the south.
In addition to the for three day pre and four day post Conference tours we stayed on for another three days to visit the Balaton area. Accommodation was usually in small places of character and the local menus provided interesting food. In some areas Judy, as a non-meat eater, had problems in finding suitable alternatives when fish was not available. The driver was excellent!