Spring is very eventful in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park. Its beginning is vague. It can be quite warm already early in March. On the other hand there can be cold and snowy days until the middle of April. Sometimes temperatures can reach up to 30°C and more in May.
Water levels of the saline lakes and the Neusiedler See normally reach the annual maximum after the winter precipitation. Low meadows and pasture land are more or less flooded. Water levels drop as temperatures rise and evaporation begins.
It is impossible to name all the spectacles nature offers. Here you can find a selection of the many interesting things characteristic of springtime in the National Park.
Spring in the Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park offers countless new wonders every day: Bustard courtship, the first goslings, breeding and migrating birds, wading birds, birdsongs everywhere, frog chorus in the evening, meadows in bloom, arrival of Bee-eaters in May etc.
First Lapwings and Redshanks arrive at the end of February. Many other waders arrive starting in March: Avocets, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Golden Plover etc.
It is spectacular to watch Avocets doing their display flight. Spring migration can best be observed in May, but can last until June for some bird species.
While birds that are breeding here, like Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Avocet, are already busy with parental care, other birds, like the Curlew Sandpiper, are still on their way to their northern breeding areas.
Seewinkel is an important resting area for wading birds in Central Europe and up to 30 different shorebird species can be found there.
One of the most interesting ornithological events is the courtship of the Great Bustard. The male of this huge bird is the heaviest extant bird capable of flight. They can weigh up to 15 kilos and do their best to attract the females’ attention.
In courtship plumage, the male looks like a huge white ball made of feathers. It takes a close look to find the front and backside of the bird.
Spring is not only mating and breeding season for the birds, it is also spawning season for the eleven different amphibians living in the region. Especially after a winter with a lot of precipitation, one can hear Fire-bellied Toads and Green Toads during the day. At night, Water Frogs and Tree Frogs tend to be even louder.
From the botanical point of view, there are the salt-plants and the early blooming orchids that are worth seeing. Saltwort (Salicornia prostrata) and Lepidium cartilagineum can tolerate salt concentration in the soil like no other plant. Orchids need a lot of light in spring.
Mowing and pasturing are important measures to keep the landscape open and provide enough light for plants. Mowing and pasturing are scheduled according to the needs of breeding birds and rare plants. Only when breeding birds have finished and plants yield fruit, mowing and pasturing can take place. Other rare plants in spring are Austrian Flax (Linum austriacum), Perrenial Sage (Salvia nemorosa) or Pannonic “Star of Bethlehem” (Ornithogalum pannonicum).