For birdwatchers, Irota offers two important advantages. Firstly it is very tranquil: it is possible to walk for hours without seeing another person, or to stand still and just watch nature fly by. Secondly, the landscape is very diverse: there are meadows, forests, fields, orchards, wild vegetation, shrubs, and everything in close proximity to each other. In other words: Irota is everything that a monoculture is not.
Generally, birdlife in Irota is comparable to any continental village before industrial farming. In that sense, the distance from home is measured in years rather than miles. There are many species that may not be spectacular, but also not common, and they are all in one place. Goldfinch, wryneck and black redstart are regular garden visitors, but also nightingale, hawfinch and golden oriole. Within ten minutes walking or cycling from the EcoLodge there is enough variation to look out for: stonechat, skylark, common redstart or red-backed shrike. Furthermore, the region is home to every European species of woodpecker. And there is always room for pleasant surprises, like garganey or black stork. Click here for a list of birds that have been spotted in Spring 2015.
The unchallenged fan favourite and pride of Irota is the bee-eater colony at the village entrance. These colourful and gregarious birds are easy to observe from the road and they are a joy to watch. For those who can't get enough of them, there is another colony in Múcsony a half hour drive away.
For those who are looking for more species of the forests and hills, it may be useful to seek higher grounds. The Esztramos hill at a half hour drive away is home to rock bunting and common rock thrush among many others, and less than one hour drive away are the National Parks of Aggtelek, Bükk en Zemplén. Birds of prey do visit Irota, but their presence is unpredictable. For a better chance of spotting - for example the imperial eagle – you may choose to descend to the plains. The Hernád-valley can be reached within half an hour, the Nature Reserves of Kesznyéteni and Tokaj-Bodrogzug are about one hour away and can easily be combined with a visit to Tokaj. For the real die-hard, a visit to the legendary Hortobágy National Park is an absolute must.