The birdlife around the Lake Neusiedl National Park is often referred to as the No. 1 hotspot in Austria and Hungary. The highlights of the year are certainly the migration of birds in spring and autumn, the courtship display of the Great Bustards and the breeding season at the "Seewinkellacken" and in the reed belt with many songs and courtship displays.
In many areas there are observation platforms, towers and hides. Entering forests, meadows, reeds and water areas is forbidden. Respecting escape distances should be onnored of course, the protection of animals, plants and habitats has highest priority.
Getting up early was mandatory, during our vacation the light was very bright at 9.30 a.m. at the latest and the best photos were taken early in the morning.
Both in Neusiedel and in Hansag, Hungary, we had the opportunity to observe and photograph the popular bee-eaters.
Particularly interesting we found the sightings with several specimens in the area "hell" between Illmitz and Podersdorf. Outside the mating season there were certainly predominantly male specimens, which were to be seen there also in the vineyards again and again.
The encounter with young long-eared owls at the edge of a swimming pool was certainly one of the most impressive of all. The birds were not at all impressed by us, but were mostly in an unfavourable position for the photographers.
Kestrels were relatively numerous to see in the area, we had a really great sighting on a parking lot of an excursion restaurant near the "Langen Lacke". There a pair of kestrels had settled in a stork's nest and defended the nest against arriving prospective tenants. The storks had already started to look the other way and the falcons had apparently started with the brood (difficult to observe from below because of the height of the nesting aid). In a tree beside it, forest-ear-owls brooded by the way .
At the Lake Zick near Sankt Andrae we saw greylag geese and black-headed gulls, as well as avocets and black-winged stilts in the most beautiful morning light.
The lapwings had just had offspring and defended them against everything and everyone.
Skylarks were everywhere around the agricultural areas and next to the vineyards. The singing was already audible from afar, in the National Park Lake Neusiedl there were the species that have been threatened for a long time, if not extinct: Skylarks, lapwings, pheasants, partridges and also many hares.
Haymaking in the preservation zone does not take place until early summer, the surface water is returned to old drainage ditches. As a result of this and also through special cultivation of fields in organic farming, some species were brought back to the "Seewinkel".
One could see a male red-backed shrike with guarantee at the observation hut at the Lettengrube, presumably his nest was to be found here somewhere in the bushes. But also elsewhere the red-backed shrike seem to have found an ideal habitat.
The wagtails were very common on the meadows around Apetlon, some were already on their way with their offspring.
White storks breed in early summer in several villages in the national park on both sides of the border. Especially on the Hungarian side you can see many nests along the main roads, one after the other between the roofs of houses and the power lines above.
Herons were also quite numerously represented in several places. Besides grey, silver, silk and purple herons there was a unique sighting of a night heron in the center of Apetlon.
More than 350 bird species have been recorded in the Lake Neusiedl region, almost half of which breed in the area.