The Neusiedler See and the area to the east of the lake the “Seewinkel” is an internationally important breeding, resting and wintering ground for many bird species and is home to some large populations of bird species that are rare in other parts of Europe. Especially the numerous so-called “Lacken” are characteristic of the Seewinkel. “Lacken” are salty pans and ponds. Shallow standing waters with increased salinity, which regularly dry out in drought periods especially to the end of summer.
On a trip to the Carpathians to the east, I organized the trip in a way that I could do some birding in and around the Neusiedler See in advance. Maybe to discover something in one way or the other.
Various places in the area were visited. Reed beds, wet meadows, salt lakes, freshwater lakes or even the gravel pits in the northern vicinity of the lake. A highlight of the trip is the Waasen – or HANSÁG. This area on the Hungarian border is worthwhile mainly because of the Great Bustard (Otis tarda) found there, but also, inter alia, because of Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus). To discover the area it is recommended to take the road from Neusiedl Lake south-east to Andau or Tadten. Then take a dirt road to south-east which is signposted. This is a concrete road, which you can go so far until you reach one of the public towers. Here it is to climb the observation tower, build up the spotting scope and scan the grounds patiently. The rocking low-level flight of the Short-eared Owl is unmistakable. Sometimes the Short-eared Owl is sitting also quietly on a bush tip or a fence post. Also for the Great Bustard is true: build the spotting scope and patiently scan the meadows. Sometimes you can only detect a moving head because of the high grass.
A special bird of the lacken, which is otherwise quite rare in central Europe is the Crested Lark (Galerida cristata). On the sandy shores of the lacken, you still can find this lark, if you look carefully.
In the attached gallery of Lake Neusiedl birds you will find a few pictures from my trip to the Lake Neusiedl National Park in the Seewinkel in Austria. My trip was less focused on the birds that can not be overlooked, but rather to the “specialties”. Thanks to the long lasting National Parks conservation efforts, birds generally are not very shy and can therefore be observed in part from a short distance.
The Seewinkel is located east of Lake Neusiedl on the Austrian side. Not to despise the often neglected area on the Hungarian side. Strongly recommended is a good topographic map at a scale of 1:50,000, for example, the WK 271 (Lake Neusiedl, Eisenstadt • • • Leitha Mountains Rust • • Sopron Seewinkel National Park) by Freytag & Berndt (http://www.freytagberndt.de/ rtc-freytagberndt/761/DETAIL/8366901/center). I used the may both for general orientation, as well as to hike around the area. In order to keep the individual names of the Lacken apart, the card is also very suitable.
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