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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Neusiedl

Neusiedl lies on the border between Austria and Hungary and is the second largest steppe lake in Central Europe. It is about 20 miles long by 5 miles wide, but is nowhere more than six feet deep (indeed, it occasionally dries out). The lake is fringed with a belt of huge reed-beds of enormous ecological productivity. A great variety of wetland birds breed in the area in huge numbers, the main concentration being in the Seewinkel National Park, based near Illmitz.
Storm clouds gathering over Neusiedl
Here the surrounding fields (interspersed with vineyards) are managed as wetlands for breeding wading birds, like Ruff, Avocet, Black-winged Stilts, and waterfowl like Red-crested Pochard, Gargany and Greylag Goose. White Storks arrive from their nests in surrounding villages to look for frogs and insects in the wetland. The area is also a haven for migratory birds as a feeding-up stopover on their route to breeding grounds in the Arctic - I saw Common and Wood Sandpipers and Spotted Redshank, to name just a couple.

Vast area of reed beds stretch to the horizon

A Marsh Harrier hunts over the reed beds surrounding the shores of Neusiedl

Here are a few memories of my afternoon in the National Park









Visitor Centre









Picnic lunch




A mosaic of wetland areas provide a haven for waterfowl and wading birds

A pair of Avocets feeds on plankton

An Avocet feeds in the rain, skimming plankton through its specially adapted up-turned bill. Can you see the stream of water falling from its bill?

Patches of open water provide a habitat for waterfowl like Gargany and Greylag Geese

White Storks nesting in surrounding villages fly to the Neusiedl to feed

A Spoonbill flies in at dusk to roost in the trees
It was possible to visit only a small portion of the National Park on this occasion. I have no doubt that I shall return. I recorded 73 bird species during my visit to Austria, the highlights being Nightingale, White Stork, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Great White Egret, Ruff (in breeding plumage), Red-crested Pochard, Wood Sandpiper, Great Reed Warbler, Gargany, Spoonbill, Savi's Warbler, and Serin.

11 Comments:

Blogger simon said...

we have spoon bills in Australia

7:22 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Simon, yes, yours has the more majestic name of Royal Spoonbill. Fit for a King. We will look for them in December!

7:31 am  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Amazing pictures. I'm not sure which is my favorite, but I think the one that starts out with the word "mosaic", just due to the wonderful rich colors!

My daughter's boyfriend is an avid biologist (the chemistry teacher) and loves marshes, thought he is looking down as well as up! I think he would adore this!

1:04 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Halfmom, yes, Neusiedl is a veritable paradise for biologists. I'm sure I will be back sooner than later.

2:45 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, I love birds, too. I like to hear their sounds and singing as well as see them.

Great pictures, too!

12:20 am  
Blogger Merisi said...

I hope you did get to eat your meal before the spoonbill caught up with you!

8:25 am  
Blogger Angel... said...

What a lovely pictures Maalie.. thanks for sharing dear

3:03 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Greetings from Wales!

Ted: Yes, what would we do without birds?

Merisi: It had its beady eye n the strawberry cake but I managed to beat it off.

Angel: Thank you.

8:38 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Wales is a place I'd love to visit along with Scotland and Ireland. Okay, the UK is okay as well, I mean England I guess when I said that. So all of your isle is quite nice.

I like the variety in Europe in culture. And good natural sites, nature- as well.

I wonder Maalie, if you've ever been to the United States and looked at any of the sites here. I want to visit many places over here, which is a regret I have so far. Especially out west like Yosemite, etc.

6:55 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Ted, yes, I have been to the Everglades national Park twice, it is a beutiful place. I must return some day.

8:43 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I think I was there with my family in 1969. We basically drove through it as I recall, not seeing all that much. But it is surely a fascinating place, for sure. Just don't get too close to the gators, I suppose.

11:43 pm  

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