THE steppes and wetlands of eastern Austria were the focus of Nikolaus Filek who is a Vienna-based biologist and wildlife guide.
The range of habitats - along a border shared with Hungary - embraces alluvial forests, flooded meadows, marshlands and shallow lakes, most of which are accessible to birders.
Cultivated farmland consists largely of vineyards - Austria produces some excellent wines.
Vienna is the point of arrival for many, but Illmitz is a good hub for first-timer fact-finding.
The Austrians and (to a lesser extent the Hungarians) are gradually developing a network of wildlife-watching hides.
“One day we hope they will be comparable to those at Rutland Water,” enthused Nikolaus. “They’re really cool.”
Nikolaus’ special area of expertise is the area around Lake Neusiedel.
Among the birds he detailed in his fascinating talk were: Syrian woodpecker, moustached warbler, pygmy cormorant and a range of wildfowl, wading and crake species.
|Nikolaus Filek: Rutland Water's hides are 'cool'|
Nikolaus emphasised that the area was also excellent for wildflower, such as orchids,
amphibians, butterflies and reptiles.
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