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Kisbalaton - BirdForum Opus

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After Hortobagy, Lake Balaton is the best wetland in Hungary although the birding interest lies mainly in Kisbalaton, a Ramsar Site and Landscape Protection Reserve. Here, at the south-western end of one of the largest lakes in central Europe, is a marsh with extensive reedbeds, sedges and willow scrub at the mouth of the Zala River. Viewing can be difficult but there are fishponds at nearby Boglarlelle which harbour much the same birds.


Notable Species

Breeding herons include both bitterns, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron and Squacco Heron, also Eurasian Spoonbill and occasionally Glossy Ibis.

Among the waterfowl there are Greylag Goose, Ferruginous Duck and Garganey, Great Cormorant are numerous as are Black-necked Grebe, rails, crakes, Pied Avocet and terns.

Raptors include White-tailed Eagle and Marsh Harrier and Montagu's Harrier and there are Short-eared Owl, Common Kingfisher and various woodpeckers and Long-eared Owl in the surrounding woodlands.

Passerines are numerous including many warblers, flycatchers and shrikes, Penduline Tit and Bearded Tit.

On passage small numbers of Pygmy Cormorant are regular, and it is an important site for White Stork, Great White Egret, waterfowl, especially Bean Goose, and raptors.

In winter there are White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier and Bean Goose.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver (W), Black-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Pygmy Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Grey Partridge, Common Quail, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Baillon's Crake, Corncrake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Common Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Wren, Common Nightingale, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Eurasian River Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

Kisbalaton is situated 10km south of Keszthely and there is a ringing centre at nearby Fenekpuszta where guides can be arranged.

There are two parts to Kisbalaton, the marshland, which requires permit and guide, and the Kisbalaton Tarozo, a reservoir, part of which needs a permit.

Observation towers on Kanyavari Island can be visited without a permit.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve