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Hungarian Bird Photography Tour, Kondor Ecolodge - 7 Days

Hungarian Bird Photography Tour, Kondor Ecolodge
1390

Kondor Ecolodge Bird Photo Tour in Hungary

A 7-day Hungarian bird photography tour that offers a special, unique place as a base to photograph the most colourful birds of Europe living at the Westernmost edge of the steppe habitat, the famous "Hungarian Puszta". Traditional thatched-roofed houses with en-suite rooms, home-made food, wine cellar, tranquil forest and garden with attractive species and professional bird photography hides make Kondor EcoLodge a perfect base for a great bird photography holiday.

We are located just one hour drive from Budapest, the capital city of Hungary still in the middle of the Kiskunsag National Park which protects a huge variety of habitats from orchid rich grassland through alkaline lakes, riverine forests, oxbow lakes, channels and all these bordered by the 2 largest rivers, River Danube and River Tisza.

We run the tour with a concept of alternating days spent locally in fixed and mobile hides with other days when we venture out to different corners of the protected area to find and photograph other species. The maximum driving distance from one location to another is just about an hour.

We use several different areas and habitats with different specialized hides. Our basic programme offer is 7 days with one arrival and orientation day, spending at each different areas and hides a minimum 1 full day and on departure day an optional extra half-day photography if time permits. Each hide offers comfortable space for 2 photographers. Photographers will spend time at each hide in a rotating system.

A friendly, relaxing atmosphere and professional guiding is guaranteed by a birder-photographer guide-couple who lives and guides half year here in Hungary and other Eastern European destinations, another half year in Latin America! Surely once you visit this place you definitely want to return soon!

Top Highlights

  • Hide Photography of the most colourful birds of Europe which are all around in good numbers including European Bee-eaters, Eurasian Hoopoes, European Rollers, perhaps Golden Orioles
  • Visiting a huge oxbow lake of River Tisza with a large number of attractive bird species
  • Hide photography of Little Owl
  • Visiting channels, alkaline lakes, ponds and rivers for Penduline Tit, Bearded Tit, Moustached Warbler, Ferruginous Duck, Squacco Heron, Purple heron and many more
  • Using specially designed Bird Photography hides eye-level with water-level at ponds and feeders with Hawfinch, Turtle Dove, Tree Sparrow, Sparrowhawk, Jay and several other species
  • Searching East European raptor specialities such as Saker Falcon, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, White-tailed Eagle
  • Photography at a Red-footed Falcon colony
  • Sipping your coffee, tee or a famous Hungarian wine while checking the daily photos during the evenings

Official Information and Business Report of Ecotours-Kondor EcoLodge

Alternative Tour Name: Bird Photography Tour at Kondor Ecolodge, Kiskunsag Hungary
Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival and Orientation

After arrival to Budapest Airport either a quick 1-1,5-hour-long transfer to Kondor EcoLodge or checking out habitats and photographing birds as we go in the Kiskunsag National Park, arriving in the evening to the accommodation. Depending on arrival time checking the nearby areas & hides. Every evening we discuss what we should concentrate on next day. Please note that the following itinerary is a sample, depending on the interest of the group we can exchange days and/or spend more time either with Hide Photography or with Bird Photography As We Go.

Day 2
Day 2 - Bird Hide Photography

Spending full day in a rotating system in mobile hides concentrating on photographing European Roller and European Bee-eater.

We have the largest, densest population of European Roller around the area of our Kondor Ecolodge. Almost all of them nesting in one of the nestboxes out of more than 400 what our friends and us put out in the region during the years. Some of them made out of tree-trunks providing a perfect natural setting for photography. Most of the European Bee-eaters in our area nesting alongside sandy roads, not in large sand walls. We use for both species mobile hides usually.

Day 3
Day 3 - Bird Photography As We Go - Great Bustard, Collared Pratincole & Raptors

Today we venture out and try to get some pictures with drive to excellent habitats and locations, walk, point & shoot. According to many bird-photographers who visited us from different countries it is quite amazing that several species easy to photograph at our area even without using a professional hide, especially if you have a 300mm lens or above. Many times it is enough carefully walking around or sit patiently at a good spot or drive and use the vehicle as a hide. With this method you can visit more areas, more habitats and find more species within shorter period of time, however it is hard or rare to take such close-ups like from hides. We have excellent local knowledge regarding where to find different sought-after species with a high chance of good photography possibility.

Kiskunsag grassland is the typical habitat for Great Bustard with the largest population not just in Hungary, but second largest in all Europe as well! Today we travel to the grassland area where we have a good chance of enjoying the view of the enormous males which is quite an unforgettable experience! We also will look around from the top of an ancient man-made hill to check a perfect hunting area for some great raptors such as Imperial Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Saker Falcon or Booted Eagle. Certain species adapted to the agricultural fields and nest at the edge of these areas. Long-eared and Little Owl usually can be found at farm houses.

During the way we will stop at a large, fantastic colony of European Bee-eaters which gives a different feeling and possibility of photography then yesterday. Not too far we can also search Collared Pratincole.

Finally we stop at an attractive Red-footed Falcon colony which offers very good photography possibility. White Stork has a huge nest here as well.

Day 4
Day 4 - Bird Hide Photography - Garden Hides & Little Owl

This day we will spend in the garden and in the nearby areas of the lodge. In the garden, we have some small ponds with feeding stations and several hides where you can sit and shoot with your camera eye-level just above the water level which gives a special perspective. The following species can be seen and photographed in the garden of Kondor EcoLodge either from one of the hides or just waiting/walking silently around: Sparrowhawk, Honey Buzzard, Common Cuckoo, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, European Hoopoe, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff,Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit Northern form, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Wren, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer.

Seasonally, usually during a short period of time Black Woodpecker, Scops Owl, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, Wryneck, Icterine Warbler, Goldcrest, Siskin also can occur. We usually also know a nearby pair of Little Owls which you can photograph from a hide.

Day 5
Day 5 - Bird Photography As We Go - Oxbow Lakes & old floodplain forests

Floodplains of River Tisza and its several oxbow lakes are perfect birding & photography spots. Alongside the river and its oxbow lakes, we will visit a so-called “gallery forest” or riparian forest where the old trees provide a perfect Woodpecker Paradise. We should find Lesser, Middle, Great Spotted Woodpecker, but will look for Grey-headed & Black Woodpecker as well. The forest is a nesting site for Black Storks and Tawny Owls as well.

We will look down from the top of an ancient earth-fortress to the surrounding vast area with meandering oxbow lakes full of birds. It is a paradise for Great White & Little Egret, Great & Pygmy Cormorant, Black-necked & Little Grebe, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Spoonbill, Common Snipe, Kingfisher and of course plenty of ducks, including Ferruginous Duck, Shoveler, Garganey. We always see a couple of raptors hunting around, sometimes even White-tailed Eagle or Saker Falcon. With a short walk, we can visit the edge of a little lake and a marshy area. We have a good chance here for Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling, Great Reed Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Sedge and Reed Warbler. Night Heron and Kingfisher are usually here as well.

If we still have time we might visit another, smaller oxbow lake which offers a second chance for closer views of some of the above-mentioned species. Plus the gardens of weekend houses are perfect habitats for Wryneck & Syrian Woodpecker.

Day 6
Day 6 - Bird Hide Photography & Bird Photography As We Go

Today's programme will depend on the previous days' success. So we can focus on species what you still would like to try. We can either spend more time in hides with previously tried species or find new or missed species at Freshwater & Alkaline Lakes, channels and fishponds. If we do the latter then we can photograph Penduline Tit, Nightingale and perhaps Bearded Reedling/Bearded Tit, Pygmy Cormorant, Common and Whiskered Tern, Black and White-winged Black Terns.

You can try a Red-footed Falcon Tower Hide which can be good for European Kestrel, Jackdow, Red-footed Falcon, Turtle Dove, European Roller and Lesser Grey Shrike or a Lake Shore Hide which can work for Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Grebes, Terns & Ducks.

Day 7
Day 7 - Farewell Day

After breakfast final morning Photography session at Kondor EcoLodge and/or vicinity depending on your flight schedule. Transfer back to Budapest Airport.

Some of the wildlife species expected to see on this trip are:

Floating Hide & Lakeside hides & blinds

Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great White Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, White-winged Black Tern,

Tower Hide

Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Kestrel, European Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike

Garden Hides

Turtle Dove, European Kingfisher,  Black Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers, Common Nightingale, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit ssp. caudatus, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Tree Sparrow

Mobile Hides

European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Roller, Little Owl, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike and some species listed below at photography as we possible species during driving outs, bird photography as we go.

Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Pygmy Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great White Egret, Eurasian Spoonbill, Black Stork, White Stork, Ferruginous Duck, Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Montague’s Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Saker Falcon, Goshawk, Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Spotted Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Little Crake, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, White-winged Black Tern, Turtle Dove,  Common Cuckoo, Scops Owl, Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Common Nightjar, European Kingfisher,  European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Roller, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian, Middle- and Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers, Wryneck, Crested Lark, Wood Lark, Short-toed Lark, Tree Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Savi’s Warbler, River Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Common Redstart, Collared Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit ssp. caudatus, Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling/Bearded Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Golden Oriole, Corn Bunting, Hawfinch, Tree Sparrow

What is included?

  • All lodging based on double/twin occupancy
  • All meals from dinner on arrival day and breakfast on leaving day. Generally buffet breakfast, packed/picnic lunch, 2 or 3 courses dinners
  • Water when we are out in the fields
  • Entrances to parks and reserves
  • Local professional licenced guide(s)
  • Airport pickup
  • All internal transfers
  • Airport drop-off
  • Visits of garden photography hides and wildlife watching hides
  • One night walk for Nightjars and Owls
  • One Moth trapping session
  • Bat detecting possibility
  • Wifi at accomodation

What is not included?

  • Airfare to/from Hungary
  • Alcoholic beverages and drinks during evenings
  • Insurance
  • Laundry
  • Any personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 2  reviews
  1. Great birds, great photo opps and great people!
    Stu Elsom27 Nov 2020
    5
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    Value

    I've led many photographic tours and workshops including numerous birding tours with Gabor and Andi in Belarus, Poland and this one in Hungary. This photographic tour gets you close to the birds! Using purpose built hides to put you in the best possible position as a photographer. Hard to photograph species like Bee-eater, Roller, Lesser Grey Shrike and Hawfinch are combined with time spent at a Red-footed Falcon colony, and a boat trip out onto the marshes and lakes, thronged with gulls and terns, Purple Herons and White-tailed Eagles galore. All this followed by an extended period in the Bukk hills where Ural Owls and Rock Buntings await us. After a hot day in the field what better way to spend the evening than home cooked meals and a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the lodge. Highly recommended! Stu www.stuartelsom.co.uk
  2. Great photography location
    Kim de Buiteleir01 Jun 2019
    5
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    I stayed at Kondor Ecolodge in June 2019, spending some days photographing from the garden hides and other days touring the area photographing other species. Andrea and Gabor are excellent hosts and made sure I got the best out of my stay. At the lodge I photographed frogs, dragonflies, a water snake, a sparrowhawk and plenty of other birds, including a hoopoe and chick. Within walking distance of the lodge I photographed ground squirrels and butterflies. On day trips I photographed little owls, bee eaters, rollers and red footed falcons. I got some great photos but found my 300mm lens a bit short for some of the species- recommend 400mm plus ideally teleconverter. Highly recommend.

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Why should I book with Hungarian Bird Photography Tour, Kondor Ecolodge?

We are the only fully licenced professional photographer and tour guide couples in Hungary who are also owners and hosts at their own home, Kondor EcoLodge. Our life is sharing the knowledge and ethusiasm we accumulated about wildlife, history & culture of our homeland since our childhood. Several of our returning guests became our friends during the years. We spend our free time and profit on protecting habitats and species locally and also discovering new areas where we also lead tours, especially Latin America. We have more than 25+ years experience of organizing & leading tours not just locally but internationally.

Accommodation

On any of our tours we choose accommodation on the basis that it should be surrounded by birds and wildlife with plenty of on site possibilities. We prefer family run small lodges or mini hotels with personal attention, always en-suite clean rooms and local food what you will surely remember. Details of our Kondor EcoLodge can be seen at www.kondorecolodge.hu

Vehicle

Depending on the size of the group we use different size and types of vehicle. For private tours for a couple we use large size cars or 4x4 if that is needed. For small groups we use elongated and elevated 9 seater minivans - Ford, Mercedes, etc. For larger groups we use 19 seater bus with a driver - Ford, Mercedes, etc.

Travel

We start with airport pickup, all internal travel is by land with vehicles specified above and we finish with a drop off at the airport. Price includes a collective pick up and drop off. If you need a separate timing we can arrange that but please note that is for extra cost.

Changing tour leader and/or itinerary

We stick to both until it is possible so we change anything which is written just if there is a situation not possible to control by us like sudden illness, extreme weather situation, et. On the other hand we can change the order of the days within a tour if bird news or weather forecast suggest that. In any case if we are aware of a possible change we communicate that asap.

Group sizes

Private or customized tours can be arranged with any number of travellers starting with 1. General set programme and set departure tour group size starts at 6 person. Maximum group size is 12, except if it is a group of friends or a birdclub where people all know each other and there are 2 leaders of the group.

Meals & Drinks

Breakfast Our "Full Kondor Kiskunsag Breakfast" generally includes juice, coffee or tea, local whole-meal bread, toast, cold cuts, cheese, yoghurt, muesli, vegetables, fruits, Hungarian pastry or scrambled eggs / ham&eggs / Frankfurter/Sausage. Lunch For our nature-lover groups we offer usually a nice picnic either at a butterfly & wildflower-rich meadow or at a birdfull forest, nice riverbank or shore of an alkaline lake. Or we put out even more food at breakfast, so you can make your lunch of your own style & amount of food, according to your needs. Snacks & drinks during the day When you are on a tour with us we try to pamper you with coffee/tea/cappuccino, salty and sweet bisquits, fruits and water. Dinner At the end of the day we offer local Hungarian food which range from the famous Gulyas Soup or the Catcher of the Guy Soup through substantial portion of main dishes till local desserts. Drinks at dinner are not included. BAR In our small, but attractive bar we serve juices and beverages, local and international beer, a great selection of local wine from Bull's Blood till Tokaj Aszu originating from different famous wine-regions, local fruit brandy which is called palinka and many more. WINECELLAR Our wine cellar offers a cool place to check the birdlist while enjoying a variety of our great wines. If we know in advance then we can cater vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free and any other dietary needs. Some of the above might force us to ask an extra fee since it is difficult and/or very expensive to provide.

Best time for the tour

April-May-June-July But please note each months offer a bit different chance for most of the species. Also we offer similar tours during Autumn/Fall and Winter but with different highlights, like 10 of thousands of trumpeting Common Cranes, masses of Geese or Winter specialities.

Age, fitness, mobility

We have had returning guests with 80+ years without difficulty. Kiskunsag is a perfectly flat area, here we refer a molehill as a mountain. :-) Most of our trails are sandy. In the Bukk Hills there are some trails which have a little elevation difference but it is always possible to split the group or even rest closer to the van/bus if you feel tired.

Communication before and during the tour

We should discuss any doubts, questions before the tour, the best to use emails, but you can call us as well. Durig the tour the most important for us that please tell us immediately if you do not understand something, if you need help or there is any smaller or larger issues to be solved. We will try our best and we strongly believe in open, honest communication. Wifi will be available at each accommodation. Phone coverage at rural areas during the day can be zero but should work at the accommodations.

Health & insurance

Please provide in written any important relevant health issues you have what we should know so in case of a health situation we are aware. Also please travel with necessary travel and health insurance. In Hungary at certain areas including some of the areas like Bukk Hills tick-carried diseases are possible to encounter (Lyme, Encephalitis, etc). At certain time of year and areas mosquitoes can be a minor issue. Other areas with loads of farm animals can have horseflies and other bugs. Otherwise Hungary is a safe and pleasant country to visit.

Terms & Conditions: Reservations & Payments and Cancellations & Refunds

Reservations If you wish register for a tour or trip you should complete a Reservation Form and send it to our address. https://www.ecotours-worldwide.com/booking-form Upon received the completely filled out booking form we send out a deposit invoice with full bank details. Reservations for tours require a deposit of 50% of the total price per person of which 25% is non-refundable upon receipt. Travellers will be notified of the amount which they must deposit and the deadline by which they register. We accept reservations with deposits in order of their receipt. Telephoned reservations are accepted provided they are followed by the appropriate deposit within 10 days. Payments Invoices for the balance of trip costs will be mailed about 10 weeks (70 days) before departure date. Payment is due on receipt of our invoice. We adjust the prices to the changes of the exchange rates if these exceed 0.05. Sorry, but we can not accept credit card or cheque payments. But you do not need to bring Gold Bars either :-) , neither to see Golden Oriole, nor to pay the Bar bill, partly because our prices are really affordable and also because we prefer bank transfers in advance. During your days in Hungary generally you can pay with credit card or local cash, HUF. Bar bills you can pay by cash, Ł, $, EUR and HUF are accepted. Cancellations & Refunds If notice of cancellation is received in writing more than 10 weeks (70 days) before departure of a tour of one week or longer, the deposit/payment is refundable. If notice of cancellation is received between 10 weeks and 5 weeks (35 days) before departure, half of the deposit/payment is not refundable. If notice of cancellation is received 5 weeks or less before departure the deposit/payment is not refundable.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour Dates Tour Availability From Price Spaces Left
11/06/2021 - 17/06/2021 guaranteed USD 1,390
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7 Days

Price & Availability

From 1,490
USD1,390 / per person
Based on twin/double room
Single Supplement USD 160
Group Discount Available
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Refer to Group Discount Terms
This tour is operated by: Ecotours Kondor EcoLodge
4.94 based on 13 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.94 Based on 13 reviews
Tours
Wildlife
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Value

Tour Facts

  • Kiskunsag National Park, Hungary
  • Set Departure
  • Set Departure Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8 pax
  • 7 Days
  • May to July
  • Moderate
  • English, Spanish, (Italian)
  • Budapest Airport
  • Budapest Airport