In January, flocks of geese of different sizes can be observed – in some years, there are up to 35,000 birds in the Austrian and Hungarian National Park area.
In February, the gray geese begin to breed, the first migratory birds such as lapwing or redshank arrive, ducks start to migrate, and the Nordic geese slowly move on.
In March, winter guests such as shrike or hen harrier depart, while the bustard begins to breed and the first storks arrive. In April, you can hear the song of the nightingale and skylark for the first time, the spectacular courtship of the lapwings, as well as the redshank and godwit. Ground squirrels emerge from their nests and the first orchids bloom.
The delightful month of May inspires visitors with a heavy influx of different migratory species of bird and is therefore high season for passionate birdwatchers. Young birds begin to hatch, the breeding season is in full swing, the reed warblers start their concerts, and the mowing of the meadows begins at the end of May.
Around June, some of the ponds dry up and the first salt efflorescences can be seen. Many small and large dragonflies buzz through the air, and at low water levels, there are large groups of herons and spoonbills in the reed bed. From July, birds congregate in the ponds that still have water. In August, the first species such as white stork or bee-eater come together for their departure. There are also large flocks of starlings.
The fall bird migration begins in September, and when the weather is nice, you can also see bats such as noctules during the day. The first winter guests arrive again in October, just as fall migration gradually subsides. The edges of the salt ponds and salt marshes are covered with a carpet of purple sea asters. At the end of October and beginning of November, the cries of the cranes can be heard as they head to their winter quarters, before large flocks of geese shape the landscape again in late November and December.
The experienced rangers at the Illmitz National Park Center can tell you when and where to observe certain animals and plants.