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Hortobรกgy and tisza river floodplain

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hungary


crossbill guides

The nature guide to the

Hortobรกgy and Tisza river floodplain Hungary


The Nature Guide to the Hortobágy and Tisza river floodplain Initiative, text and research: Dirk Hilbers Additional text: Maartje Bakker, John Cantelo, Rob de Jong, Albert Vliegenthart Additional research: Kim Lotterman Editing: John Cantelo, Brian Clews, Cees Hilbers, Riet Hilbers, Rob de Jong, Tibor Juhász, Kim Lotterman, Atilla Molnár, Zsolt Molnár, Manuela Seifert Illustrations: Horst Wolter Type and image setting: Gert Jan Bosgra Print: Ponsen en Looijen, Wageningen ISBN 978 90 5011 276 5 © Crossbill Guides Foundation, Arnhem, The Netherlands All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by print, photocopy, microfilm or any other means without the written permission of the Crossbill Guides Foundation. This book is published in association with WILDGuides, KNNV Publishing, Hortobágy National Park and the Saxifraga Foundation. www.crossbillguides.org www.wildguides.co.uk www.knnvpublishing.nl

SAXIFRAGA foundation


crossbill guides foundation This guidebook is a product of the non-profit foundation Crossbill Guides. By publishing these books we want to introduce more people to the joys of Europe’s beautiful natural heritage and to increase the understanding of the ecological values that underlie conservation efforts. Most of this heritage is protected for ecological reasons and we want to provide insight into these reasons to the public at large. By doing so we hope that more people support the ideas behind nature conservation. For more information about us and our guides you can visit our website at: www.crossbillguides.org


about this guide

4

About this guide This guide is meant for all those who enjoy being in and learning about nature, whether you already know all about it or not. It is set up a little differently from most guides. We focus on explaining the natural and ecological features of an area rather than merely describing the site. We choose this approach because the nature of an area is more interesting, enjoyable and valuable when seen in the context of its complex relationships. The interplay of different species with each other and with their environment is simply mind-blowing. The clever tricks and gimmicks that are put to use to beat life’s challenges are as fascinating as they are countless. Take our namesake the Crossbill: at first glance it’s just a big finch with an awkward bill. But there is more to the Crossbill than meets the eye. This bill is beautifully adapted for life in coniferous forests. It is used like a scissor to cut open pinecones and eat the seeds that are unobtainable for other birds. In the Scandinavian countries where pine and spruce take up the greater part of the forests, several Crossbill species have each managed to answer two of life’s most pressing questions: how to get food and avoid direct competition. By evolving crossed bills, each differing subtly, they have secured a monopoly of the seeds produced by cones of varying sizes. So complex is this relationship that scientists are still debating exactly how many different species of Crossbill actually exist. Now this should heighten the appreciation of what at first glance was merely a plumb red bird with a beak that doesn’t close properly. Once its interrelationships are seen, nature comes alive, wherever you are. To some, impressed by the “virtual” familiarity that television has granted to the wilderness of the Amazon, the vastness of the Serengeti or the sublimity of Yellowstone, European nature may seem a puny surrogate, good merely for the casual stroll. In short, the argument seems to be that if you haven’t seen some impressive predator, be it a Jaguar, Lion or Grizzly Bear, then you haven’t seen the “real thing”. Nonsense, of course. But where to go? And how? What is there to see? That is where this guide comes in. We describe the how, the why, the when, the where and the how come of Europe’s most beautiful areas. In clear and accessible language, we explain the Hortobágy and refer extensively to routes where the area’s features can be observed best. We try to make the Hortobágy come alive. We hope that we succeed.


how to use this guide

How to use this guide This guidebook contains a descriptive and a practical section. The descriptive part comes first and gives you insight into the most striking and interesting natural features of the area. It provides an understanding of what you will see when you go out exploring. The descriptive part consists of a landscape section (marked with a red bar), describing the habitats, the history and the landscape in general, and of a flora and fauna section (marked with a green bar), which discusses the plants and animals that occur in the region. The second part offers the practical information (marked with a purple bar). A series of routes (walks and car drives) are carefully selected to give you a good flavour of all the habitats, flora and fauna that the Hortobågy has to offer. At the start of each route description, a number of icons give a quick overview of the characteristics of each route. These icons are explained in the margin of this page. The final part of the book (marked with blue squares) provides some basic tourist information and some tips on finding plants, birds and other animals. There is no need to read the book from cover to cover. Instead, each small chapter stands on its own and refers to the routes most suitable for viewing the particular features described in it. Conversely, descriptions of each route refer to the chapters that explain more in depth the most typical features that can be seen along the way. We have tried to keep the number of technical terms to a minimum. If using one is unavoidable, we explain it in the glossary at the end of the guide. There we have also included a list of all the mentioned plant and animal species, with their scientific names and translations into German and Dutch. Some species names have an asterix (*) following them. This indicates that there is no official English name for this species and that we have taken the liberty of coining one. We realise this will meet with some reservations by those who are familiar with scientific names. For the sake of readability however, we have decided to translate the scientific name, or, when this made no sense, we gave a name that best describes the species’ appearance or distribution. Please note that we do not want to claim these as the official names. We merely want to make the text easier to follow for those not familiar with scientific names. An overview of the area described in this book is given on the map on page 13. For your convenience we have also turned the inner side of the back flap into a map of the area indicating all the described routes. Descriptions in the explanatory text refer to these routes.

5 walking route

bike route

car route

beautiful scenery interesting flora interesting invertebrate life interesting reptile and amphibian life interesting birdlife visualising the ecological contexts described in this guide


table of contents

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Table of contents Landscape Geographical overview Geology, climate and soil Habitats Flood forests Cultivated land Puszta Fishponds and reedbeds History Conservation and threats

9 12 16 21 22 31 37 48 53 65

Flora and Fauna Flora Mammals Birds Reptiles and amphibians Insects and other invertebrates

69 72 82 86 106 110

Practical Part Route 1: The Darassa Puszta Route 2: Along the Tisza reservoir Route 3: Boardwalk and boat through the Tisza marshes Route 4: The wet puszta of Egyek-Pusztak贸cs Route 5: The fishponds of Halast贸 Route 6: Biking through the puszta and along the fish ponds Route 7: Guided tour into the protected puszta Route 8: Walking the puszta of Little Hortob谩gy Route 9: The flood forests of Tiszadob and Tiszadada Additional sites and things to do

117 119 125 128 131 134 138 141 143 147 152

Tourist information and observation tips

161

Glossary

174

Acknowledgements

176

Picture and illustration credits

177

Species list and translation

178


table of contents

7 List of text boxes Hungary’s other puszta reserves Steppes in Europe A thirsty forest Puszta - natural splendour or agricultural blunder? Birds of the fishpond complexes Pushing up daisies Well communicated Invasion of the steppe snatchers List of interesting plant species Rare breeds The calling of the Crane List of interesting bird species List of butterfly species

11 18 28 38 52 55 60 76 81 84 98 105 111


hortobágy

Landscape

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How simple is the puszta Though how magnificent But can anything be magnificent That is not simple? Petőfi Sándor 1847 Hungarian poet

Hortobágy Close to the northern edge of the Great Hungarian Plain lies the famous Hortobágy National Park (pronounced Hort-o-Báádjz). It is renowned for its steppe, or ‘puszta’, as the Hungarians call it. Puszta originally simply meant ‘uncultivated land’, but became, over the years, more narrowly defined as ‘steppe of tough grasses’. Judging from place names, pusztas abound in Hungary, but most of them are far from being uncultivated. They have been turned by the plough years ago and have been tamed into square-angled grain and sunflower fields. But not the Hortobágy. The Hortobágy is the largest unbroken steppe left in central Europe. In fact, it is the second-largest steppe area west of the Ural Mountains. As such, it is of tremendous value both for nature conservation and Hungarian culture. The Hortobágy National Park covers an area of 82,185 hectares, or, to provide a more tangible image, over half the size of the greater London area. Besides its size, Hortobágy is unique within Europe for being the westernmost protrusion of the vast Asian steppes that extend to Mongolia and Manchuria. As such, it is the easiest way for western Europeans to get a taste of the fascinating ecology, flora and fauna of the oriental steppe. What you encounter on the Hortobágy puszta appears, at first glance, to be no more than an enormous uniform, empty and pancake flat plain. But closer inspection reveals a highly varied mosaic of different grasslands, harbouring a wealth of plants, animals and, above all else, an exceptionally rich birdlife. By any standards - the number of birds or, more pragmatically, the chances to see them - the Hortobágy ranks in the top 10 of best birdwatching destinations of Europe. To the Hungarians themselves, the Hortobágy is primarily an emblematic remnant of the ancient and dwindling Hungarian way of life. For centuries, herds of the traditional Racka sheep (pronounce Ratsj-ka) and long-horned

landscape

The ultimate romantic vision of the puszta - an old well in the setting sun.


hortobรกgy

10

Hungarian Grey Cattle roamed the Hungarian pusztas. Proud horsemen and tough shepherds withstood the hardships of the open country, as they still do in the Hortobรกgy. This is why UNESCO placed it on the World Heritage List: as an outstanding example of coexistence of and interaction between nature and man. These things alone make the Hortobรกgy a must-see place for both naturalists and anyone with an interest in history.

Shallow temporary marshes (bottom) abound in the Hortbรกgy. They attract many aquatic birds, such as the Whiskered Tern (top).

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hortobágy

Yet Hortobágy is much more than puszta. The name Hortobágy does not refer to puszta but to a river; it translates into ‘small river in the Hort region’. There are several forest-fringed rivers that lazily meander through the open country, the Tisza River being the most important one. This river habitat adds yet another dimension to the nature of the Hortobágy region. Hungary’s other puszta reserves The Hortobágy is the best known Hungarian puszta, but it is not the only one. Three other National Parks protect the other surviving patches of puszta in Hungary. Körös Maros National Park consists of 13 separate reserves covering 42,000 hectares scattered throughout south-eastern Hungary in the region of the rivers Körös and Maros. The Körös Maros NP is particularly rich in loess puszta (see page 43). It boasts an impressive wildlife and flora and just like Hortobágy, houses important riverine habitats. Kiskunság National Park lies between the Danube and Tisza rivers in south-central Hungary, not far from Budapest. It consists of 9 separate reserves covering 53,000 hectares. The reserves protect a wide range of landscapes, including sandy puszta, a type not present in the Hortobágy. Kiskunság also comprises some huge, bare sand dunes, saline and loess pusztas and riverine and agricultural land. Most saline steppe lakes lie in this region. Fertő-Hanság National Park lies in the small Hungarian plain (Kis-Alföld), on the border with Austria. It comprises the southern part of Lake Fertő, better known by its German name Neusiedler See. Fertő-Hanság comprises extensive brackish marshes, some forests and grasslands, which are a man-made version of the puszta. Remnants of the puszta are also present in adjacent Austria, Serbia and Romania.

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geographical overview

12

Geographical overview The Hungarian Plain is divided in two by a series of low hills. This ridge runs through the middle of the country from the north to the southwest. West of this central Hungarian ridge lies the Kis Alföld (Kísh al-fult; the ‘u’ like the ‘e’ in her) or small Hungarian plain. In the middle of this plain on the Austrian-Hungarian border is Europe’s largest inland brackish lake, the famous, bird-rich Neusiedler See. East of Budapest lies the Nagy Alföld (Nigh-e al-fult), or the glorious Great Hungarian Plain. In fact, the plain extends beyond Hungary’s borders and continues into western Romania, northern Serbia and eastern Croatia. Mountains embrace the Nagy Alföld. The Dinaric Alps of the Balkans lie to the south of this plain whilst to the north and east are the Carpathians. The Hortobágy National Park is situated in the northern section of Great Hungarian Plain, close to the foothills of the Carpathians. On clear evenings, when the setting sun paints the grasslands flaming yellow, the Bükk hills, a southern extension of the Carpathians, are visible as a bluish-grey rim on the horizon. Bükk is also a National Park, and lies less than fifty kilometres towards the northwest. To the north-east, and a little further afield, are the Zemplén hills, another prelude to the Carpathians. Bükk and Zemplén are of great interest to both birdwatchers and more generally interested naturalists, making the entire north-eastern part of Hungary a very attractive area for naturalists. The nearest city to Hortobágy is Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest city, which lies some 30 kilometres further east.

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Hortobágy N.P. hajdúszoboszló nádudvar

kunmadras kunhegyes karcag

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Overview of the Hortobágy.


geographical overview

14

Herdsmen roamed the plains of the Hortobágy. Today, their traditions are kept alive and are regularly displayed at festivals and on holidays. In the background lie the Bükk Hills.

General overview of the Hortobágy region

This guidebook describes the Hortobágy and the surrounding lowland plains with its small-scale agricultural land, remnant patches of alkaline puszta, marshland and, of course, the Tisza River. The latter runs through Eastern Hungary like a green ribbon. The Tisza is lined by a heavily forested maze of old river arms, reed islands and temporarily flooded meadows. They are remnants of old hardwood forest, notably in the upper section, near Tiszadob (route 9). The river section closest to the Hortobágy was dammed in the 1970s, creating the 140 square kms Tisza reservoir (Tisza-tó; routes 2 and 3), near the small towns of Poroszló and Tiszafüred. Some reservoirs are of limited interest to the naturalist, but the shallow, marshland-fringed Tisza reservoir is an exception. It is a beautiful, albeit almost inaccessible, bird sanctuary. Part of the reservoir is used for angling and water sports, but about half of it is managed by the Hortobágy National Park. East of the Tisza lies a broad belt of loess soils, intersected by levees (route 1 and 8), which provide good agricultural land. Here are the villages of Egyek, Tisza-csege and further north, the town of Polgár. This region is characterised by a mixture of grain and sunflower fields, meadows, shrubby fields, small marshes, lanes and little woodlands. It does not have a protected status, but nevertheless harbours and interesting flora and fauna, especially for visitors from Western Europe. East of this belt the open plain of the Hortobágy National Park stretches out (routes 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7). Its steppes and shallow marshlands can be divided

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geographical overview

15

into two areas to the east and west of the Hortobágy River. The Park is also dissected in a northern and southern half by the large and busy N33 road, from which most of the routes described in this book depart. Over most of its length the N33 follows the old east-west trading route between Budapest and the Transylvanian hinterland (also known as the Transylvanian salt route). In the heart of the open plain where the N33 crosses the Hortobágy river lies, like a small oasis, Hortobágy village (See map on page 13). The Hortobágy puszta contains a mixture of different kinds of puszta (see page 37), marshes and small woodlands. These landscape features tend to blend into one another, but the puszta can, nonetheless, be roughly divided into three sectors. The Darassa Puszta in the north (route 1), is the most vegetated, with fairly large areas of tall-grass steppe and a fair number of small woodlands. The south-eastern sector (route 7) is dominated by a scanty puszta of short-grass steppe where gullies cut into the salt-stained soil and the horizon is unbroken by trees. In the western section the puszta is interrupted by a multitude of marshes, large and small, such as the Egyek pusztakócs (route 4) and the Kunmadaras puszta (route 7). In the central sector are two large fishpond complexes (route 1, 5, 6; page 48), where the lion’s share of the Hortobágy’s marshland bird colonies can be found. West of the Tisza river and just north of the little village of Tiszabábolna, lies a smaller, lesser-known puszta reserve, Borsodi Mezőség or Little Hortobágy (route 8). This area is essentially similar to the Hortobágy, but is more accessible.

landscape


geology, climate and soil

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Geology, climate and soil The Hungarian Plain is a land-locked lowland surrounded by mountains. Between 230 and 140 million years ago, the basin was part of the huge Tethys Sea, the mother of the present day Mediterranean Sea. A part of this ancient sea was isolated by the formation of the Alps, Dinaric Alps and Carpathians to create the smaller Pannonian Sea, an inland water body, similar to today’s Black Sea. The Pannonian Sea reached its maximum size in the late Pliocene era, some two million years ago, and is thought to have covered most of the present-day plain. The sea deposited a layer of up to 3,000 metres of marine sediment. In a later period of tectonic upheaval, the fringes of the lowland plateau started to rise and the sea retreated to the south-east. Increased input from rivers turned the remaining sea into a freshwater lake that eventually emptied into the Black Sea through the Iron Gates gorge, the grand gateway through the Balkan mountains on the border of Serbia and Romania where today the Danube River flows. During the Ice Ages, a broad belt of loess -a very fine-grained, silty-loamy soil- was deposited over the Hungarian Plain. Loess is formed when sheets of ice grind the underlying bedrock. When dry, loess is easily wind-blown. After the ice ages it has spread over a great belt on the southern edge of the former ice sheet, including the Hortobágy region.

Only a thin vegetation of herbs and grasses can grow on the alkaline soils of the Hortbágy. Wild Chamomile is one of them and occurs locally in abundance.

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geology, climate and soil

Later, the rivers and streams that run down from the mountains into the Great Hungarian plain washed parts of the loess away, leaving a complex mosaic of clay and loess de­­­­posits that characterises the Hortobágy today. In the seclusion of the mountains a climate developed in the Hungarian Plain that is different from the surrounding regions. Biologists classify this unique natural world the Pannonian Plain, one of eleven great natural (eco)regions in Europe (see also pp. 69-71). The Pannonian plain has a predominantly continental climate. The winters are cold and the summers hot. Many hours of sunshine and about 500 mm of rain per year -a relatively low precipitation- characterise the Plain and define a type of weather that is similar to the climate of the steppe regions of Russia and the Ukraine. Indeed, the romantic traveller with some ecological awareness and an active imagination can discern a distinctly central-Asian spirit in the landscape of the Hortobágy. Given that this was the ancestral home of the Magyar (Hungarian) people, this isn’t such an excessive flight of fancy (see text box on page 18). The (semi) steppe character of the Pannonian plain is magnified in the Hortobágy, because of the salinity of its soil. The Hortobágy soils have high concentrations of alkaline (high pH) salts. These salts come from the Carpathians and are transferred by massive underground water movements from the precipitous mountains to the deeper soils of the Pannonian plain. In a kind of ‘super-seepage’ process, the alkaline salts are pushed close to the surface. But not all the way: the Hortobágy has no marshes that are fed directly by seepage like the ones you can find throughout temperate Europe. Instead, rainwater and

landscape

17 The origin of a unique saline environment Autumn rains fill the depressions in the plain. The shallow marshes freeze up in winter. During the spring melt, water seeps into the upper layer and comes into contact with the deeper saline ground water where it takes up salt. When the marsh pools have evaporated at the beginning of summer, the now saline water in the upper soil layer is drawn upwards by the sun. Here it evaporates leaving a thin layer of alkaline salts.


geology, climate and soil

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Steppes in Europe For the romantic traveller, steppes invoke the image of a relentless sun beating down on vast desolate plains. A single, lonely road climbs up to the horizon where it disintegrates in the heat shimmer. Every place along that road is invariably the middle of nowhere. The beauty of the steppes lies in this romance of emptiness, yet at the same time the steppes hold the promise of an exciting flora and fauna. Somewhere in that open landscape rare birds and animals hide and beautiful plants grow. Steppes are typical for inland areas. The low precipitation and extreme temperature fluctuations form a climate that is pretty much the opposite of that of moist, temperate Western Europe. With cold and long winters and hot summers with extreme evaporation, only the brief spring and autumn period remains favourable for growth. With such a short growing season, trees are either sparse or absent, but herbs and grasses are not hindered by such conditions. Hence the appearance of a steppe. Steppes give way to semi-deserts and deserts where the climate becomes more extreme (within Europe such conditions are found only in the south-east of Spain and in the extreme south-east of Turkey and European Russia). On the other hand, in areas with more rain and more constant temperatures, a steppe woodland takes over. Steppe woodlands form a mosaic-like landscape of grasslands, solitary trees and several warmth-loving species of shrubs, many of which are closely related to Buckthorn and Rowan. Forest steppe soil (often loess) is perfect for the cultivation of cereals, so most of the original vegetation has been cleared. Nevertheless, remnants of steppe woodland are found in Bulgaria, Romania and in the Ukraine and in Hungary and Slovakia, particularly near Zemplén and Slovensky Kras, just a little further north from the Hortobágy. To most people, steppes invoke images of Asia rather than of Europe. This is understandable, since immense parts of central Asia are dominated by steppe. From there, the realm of the open grassland surges through the Ukraine to the west and covers a fair area within eastern Europe. These are the Pontic steppes, which reach their western extreme on banks of the Black Sea in Romania and Bulgaria. Upland Turkey is dominated by yet another form, the Anatolian steppe. Deeper into the heartland of Europe there are two other types of steppe - the Pannonian and Mediterranean. The Pannonian steppes, of which the Hortobágy is a part, resemble the Pontic steppes in several ways and cover the lowland

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geology, climate and soil

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plain in Hungary. Today, the Pannonian plain is largely converted to arable land. But before this, it was dominated by a mixture of forest steppes, open marshland, open ‘true’ steppes and heavily wooded river floodplains. The originally rather modest area covered by steppes in Europe has increased considerably through the hand of man. In the Mediterranean basin, in particular, large areas of man-made steppe can be found. These ‘pseudo’-steppes are not natural and were created by the clearance of the Mediterranean scrub and forests. The Mediterranean ‘pseudo’ steppes cover large regions in central Spain where they have become very important breeding areas for steppe birds. Today the populations of steppe birds like great and little bustards, stone curlews and Montagu’s harrier in Iberia exceed those of the natural steppes in Eastern Europe.

Pannonian steppes

Pontic steppes

Mediterranean steppes Anatolian steppes

In central Europe, human tribes introduced a degraded type of steppe when they occupied Europe from the east: the cereal fields. Our grains stem from wild relatives that grow in the steppe-like mountains of Iran and adjacent countries. Together with the grain, short-living weeds invaded temperate Europe from the east, including many of our familiar roadside plants. Whereas the ‘cereal’ steppes increase in size (but not in abundance of plants and animals), the true steppe, including its unique landscape, flora, birdlife and wildlife is being badly damaged by the encroachment of modern agriculture. Today, the steppes are now among the most threatened landscapes of Europe.

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Steppe regions in Europe.


geology, climate and soil

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During the summer the hot and dry Hortobágy is sometimes soaked by violent storms. These are superb and humbling events.

melted snow sinks into the soil and picks up the minerals from the ground water. In summer, when evaporation is high, the now alkaline water rises up to the surface through capillary action. Here it evaporates and leaves behind a layer of salt (see figure on page 17). Alkaline or saline soils are a severe test for the adaptability of vegetation. Except for a limited number of hardy grasses and small herbs -which are present in abundance- there is little vegetation. Trees cannot survive in areas of such high salt concentration (see text box on page 28), which of course adds to the steppe feel of the Hortobágy. But relief from the salt comes in the form of loess, which overlies the alkaline soils in some areas. Within the Hortobágy, loess forms small patches scattered throughout the landscape. The loess works as a protective layer sealing off the saline groundwater. Therefore, the loess ‘islands’ support taller, more vigorous vegetation, although rarely trees or shrubs as the loess layer is too thin for extensive root systems. Thicker belts of loess are located west and east of the National Park, but those have all been cultivated. Over In the last 15 000 years, woodlands were restricted to the floodplains of rivers (see page 22), where the constant influx of fresh water keeps the salt at bay. At present, small planted woods -mostly with sorry looking trees- are found throughout the Hortobágy, but on a macro scale the original landscape of an open plain, loosely veined with wooded streams, remains intact.

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habitats

Habitats

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The Hortobágy region is situated in the lowlands of the Great Hungarian Plain, but the vicinity of the Carpathians hill of northern Hungary clearly influences the natural world of the area. The Tisza river directly flows down from the Carpathians into the Hungarian plain, creating a ribbon of freshwater habitats in the plain. Although the densely vegetated river swamps with their chaotic flood forest may create an exotic impression, the river ecosystem is quite similar to that of other lowland rivers in Europe, only more intact and with a few distinctly south-eastern European species. In contrast, the different kinds of puszta have a truly ‘central-Asian’ character, with extensive grass swards and temporary marshlands that vary in

size and depth depending on the annually fluctuating precipitation. Next to the river and the puszta, there are two other extensive habitats of interest to the visitor, both of which are man-made. First, there are the large, reedy fishponds, which, with their artificially high nutrient levels, are a paradise for birds. Secondly, there is the cultivated land which has a natural richness due to the presence of many small woods, shrubs, weedy corners, marshes and tracts of fallow land. The following section describes these habitats in more detail.

landscape

Overview of the habitats of the Hortobágy.


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Birds Routes 1 and 5 are particularly suited for finding marshland species, with the addition of route 4 during wet years. Route 1 and 8 should be scheduled for the steppe birds, in particular the raptors. To see the rare steppe birds (including Great Bustard) you should book a guided tour (route 7). Birds of the river floodplain are best observed along route 9 and, to a lesser extent, routes 2 and 3. A birdwatching guide is provided on page 169.

The Hortobágy has an attractive landscape, a fascinating natural and cultural history and an interesting flora, but its international fame lies in its birdlife. On any list of the best bird-watching sites in Europe, the Hortobágy would appear in the top ten. There are only few areas with such a year-round wealth of birds. Moreover, in the Hortobágy many species are almost handed to you on a platter, making the area one of the classics that any self-respecting birdwatcher should have visited. From an ornithological perspective the area’s strong point lies in the presence of several ‘eastern’ bird species that have their westernmost occurrence in the Hortobágy. These are joined by a large number of temperate European and Mediterranean species. Furthermore, the Hortobágy is a major stepping stone in the central European bird migration route, adding yet another dimension to the bird list.

Great White Egrets are probably the most conspicuous birds of the Hortobágy.

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birds

For a region that has the reputation of being a dry steppe area, it might come as a surprise that the prime avian attraction lies in the wealth of marshland birds. The Hortobágy is host to large numbers of herons, Spoonbills, cormorants and waterfowl, which are often present in easily surveyed spots, such as the fishponds. British bird expert and traveller, Dave Gosney, has said of the Hortobágy fishponds that “You haven’t done Europe, if you haven’t been here”.

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Spoonbills feed in the shallow parts of the fishponds.

The birdlife of the puszta is perhaps the most exotic, featuring several eastern birds of the steppes and steppe woodlands of eastern Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine (see page 93).

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The woodlands and flood forests of the Tisza River support a different but equally attractive birdlife, both in the breeding season, and during migration, since the Tisza is an important flyway. Finally, the meadows, little marshes, ploughed fields and orchards surrounding the villages support a varied birdlife with colourful Mediterranean delights.

Spoonbills and Bearded Tits: marshland birds

Sedge Warblers are perhaps the most numerous songbirds in the reedbeds.

The combination of food-rich fishponds with extensive reedbeds, densely forested riverside swamps and the vast amount of marshy puszta make the Hortobágy not only a large, but also a highly diverse wetland area. This of course reflects positively on the birdlife. The most emblematic bird of the marshlands is the Great White Egret. In the past, this graceful egret had declined tremendously because of the regulation of water flow, draining of marshes and a lively trade of plumes (for women’s hats). At the beginning of the 20th century, there were no more than a few small colonies left in the south-western part of the country. Better protection and wetland management heralded the recovery of this species. The population grew rapidly and the first pairs bred in the Hortobágy again, after a long absence, in the mid 1970’s. Today, with over a thousand pairs, it is the most numerous heron species in the Hortobágy. Driving along the N33 you will see dozens of these graceful birds standing in the marshy pusztas. The recovery of the Great White Egret is a Hungarian success story and it therefore became the logo of the Hungarian National Parks and reserves. Spoonbills and Pygmy Cormorants have similar histories. They used to breed in the Hortobágy region (in the 18th century, shepherds used the bills of the Spoonbill as cutlery). Due to water regulation, they disappeared, and only came back to breed in the National Park in the early 1940s, roughly 40 years after the creation of fishponds, profiting from the expansion of reedbeds and reed islands in the ponds. The Spoonbill population has been increasing, albeit with major fluctuations, reaching 520 pairs in 2005. The population in the National Park today is the largest in Hungary, which in turn has the third largest Spoonbill population in Europe after the Netherlands and Spain.

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There are also good numbers of Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Little Egret, Squacco Heron and Great Bittern. The latter -known for being secretive and restricted to large reedbeds- is, with 200 - 400 breeding pairs, very common in the Hortobágy. It occurs not only in large reedbeds but also from very small patches of reed in the wet pusztas. Its presence is often best indicated by the far-carrying call, aptly described as booming, and somewhat reminiscent of the bellowing of a bull, hence its scientific name Botaurus, meaning oxen. The Little Egret and the Little Bittern are the rarest of the herons, but the Hortobágy nevertheless hosts healthy populations. Glossy Ibis is a rare and irregular breeding bird of the mixed heron colonies on the fishponds. The wetlands support a rich collection of different species of brownish warblers that are difficult to tell apart. There are Sedge, Moustached and Aquatic Warblers which have a similar plumage, but can be distinguished by the head pattern, song and choice of habitat. Sedge Warblers are present wherever there is a patch of reeds, while Moustached warbler is much more picky and tends to inhabit the edges of reedbeds and lower vegetation. The rare Aquatic Warbler breeds in open sedge marshes of the wet puszta. This bird has a small breeding range, extending eastward from eastern Germany to western Russia and from the Baltic states south to the Hortobágy. The Hortobágy population, the only one in Hungary, is large enough to put the country third on the list of countries with sizable Aquatic Warbler populations (after Poland and Russia). Savi’s Warbler is

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The Little Crake (top) is a secretive but fairly common reedbed birds. The Night Heron (bottom) is the most arboreal of the European herons. It often hunts from branches in the flood forests.

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again a bird of reedbeds. Its plumage is of an indistinct brown colour, but its song is all the more peculiar: an ongoing, vibrant rrrrrrrr. Similar to the Savi’s Warbler’s song is that of the Grasshopper Warbler, which occurs mostly in damp grasslands and sedge marshes. Both birds belong to the group of Locustella warblers, a reference to their curious, grasshopper-like songs. There are in total three Locustella warblers in Europe and all three can be found in the Hortobágy. The third is the River Warbler and occurs mostly in the floodplains. Its song is much like a cricket (see page 100). In contrast to the other warblers, the beefy, thrush-sized Great Reed Warbler is distinctive. It produces a song that is more of a racket than a melody and inhabits the reedbeds, together with its smaller relative, the Reed Warbler, the aforementioned Sedge, Savi’s and Moustached Warblers and some other songbirds, such as Penduline and Bearded Tits and Reed Buntings. Where reed is interrupted by willow bushes, they may be joined by Chiffchaff and Bluethroat, the latter being surprisingly uncommon in the area. Most of these birds are best found in spring when, newly arrived from Africa, they sing on exposed reed stems or branches. After this period, they live a secretive life, deep in the vegetation.

White Storks breed in most villages and hunt in the meadows and wet puszta for frogs and Grass Snakes.

Rails and Crakes are also well represented. These beautiful but very secretive birds occur invariably in dense, marshy vegetation. The reedbeds are home to Little Crakes and Water Rails, which breed in abundance. Little Crake is especially numerous, and can easily be heard (a speeding and descending Tree Frog-like croak) on spring evenings, although they hardly ever show themselves. The other rail species, Spotted Crake and Baillon’s Crake, breed in very low, fluctuating numbers on the marshy puszta. Corncrake occurs in soggy meadows along the Tisza, most commonly at

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Pintails are common on the marsh during migration. There is a small breeding population, hidden in the wet marshland.

Tiszadob (route 9). This species’ stronghold in Hungary lies a little further north, along the River Bodrog near Tokaj. Little, Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes break cover much more often than the rails do. They are found in shallow marshlands with a lot of aquatic vegetation and are most easily seen on the fishponds and the Egyek marshes (routes 1, 4, 5 and 6). On the open water, Great Crested Grebes and a variety of ducks can be found. In early spring and late autumn, there are flocks of Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pintail and a few Goosander and Smew. In spring and summer, the Goosander, Smew, Wigeon and all but a few Pintails (some stay to breed on the puszta) have left for their northern breeding grounds. They are replaced by breeding species, such as Gadwall, Shoveler and the chocolaty brown Ferruginous Duck. The latter is a scarce duck occuring in fluctuating numbers and with a primarily southeast European distribution. Usually it is not too hard to find them. Among the ducks, the graceful Garganey, also a summer visitor, is the puszta duck par excellence; it breeds in the shallow, vegetated marshes on the plain.

Black Storks and Golden Orioles: flood forest birds

From the air the Tisza appears as a densely forested ribbon cutting through the predominantly treeless AlfĂśld. The dense foliage of the Tisza flood forests supports, just like the woods around the villages in the plain, a population of familiar temperate-European forest birds. You can encoun-

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ter Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps, Wrens, Robins, Short-toed Treecreepers, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chiffchaffs and various finches. Apart from these common woodland species, flood forests boast several less familiar birds. Among them is the Penduline Tit, which makes a pouch-shaped nest of plant down (mainly willow and poplar seed; see page 22) and is therefore tied to willows in the breeding season. The willows and poplars are also favoured nesting sites for Hobby and Golden Orioles. The latter are very common, but, despite the males’ brilliant yellow and black plumage, it takes some effort to detect them in the dense foliage. Their exotic song resounds throughout the woods, as does their far less flattering loud, coarse shriek.

The Tisza River has one of the highest concentrations of Kingfishers in Europe.

The richest variety of birds is found in mature well-developed flood forests with large Willows and White Poplars, or better yet, with ‘hardwood’ trees, such as Elms, Maples and Oaks (see flood forest section on page 22). Away from human disturbance, the strong canopies of these trees are used as nesting sites by large and shy birds such as Black Storks, White-tailed Eagles (about 10 pairs breed in the area) and Black Kites. The Black Stork is, both in coloration and in behaviour, the opposite of the familiar White Stork. It breeds near quiet waters in undisturbed forests far from human habitation, unlike its roof haunting, pasture loving white congener. Despite secretive habits, Black Storks can frequently be seen soaring over the flood forest. Black Kites are rather rare in the Hortobágy region, breeding primarily along the Tisza River.

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Most of the hardwood forests in the floodplain have been cleared for utterly dull Poplar plantations. The few areas of mature hardwood forest that remain, like the alkaline forest of Ohat (route 1) and the forest of Tiszadob, support such typical forest species as Black and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker; respectively Europe’s largest (Crow-sized) and smallest (Sparrow-sized) woodpeckers. Middle Spotted Woodpecker typically inhabits mature oak woodland, whilst Grey-headed Woodpecker is found at forest edges. With Wryneck and Syrian Woodpeckers occurring in the villages, the Hortobágy region is home to eight species of woodpecker - not bad for a region that is renowned for its open, treeless character! Along the river itself one can see Kingfishers dashing by and Sand Martins wheeling overhead. Both species excavate breeding holes in the banks of the river. Former river banks of old meanders are used as nesting sites by Bee-eaters.

Great Bustard and Red-footed Falcon: birds of the Puszta

The Eastern touch of the Hortobágy’s birdlife is most pronounced on the pusztas. The grass swards are home to a number of birds that are absent in Western Europe and scarce in other parts of Eastern Europe, thus a major attraction for birdwatchers. However, unlike the fishponds, the puszta doesn’t reveal its secrets easily. There are few obvious sites to head for and these can only be visited under the special guidance of a park official (see page 164). This makes the puszta a notoriously difficult habitat for birdwatchers. Apart from Skylarks and Blue-headed (Yellow) Wagtails, which are virtually everywhere during the summer months, the puszta can appear rather empty. But when travelling around over the minor roads, the list of encountered birds gradually grows. The bulk will be familiar and widespread species: foraging White Storks, a pair of Northern Wheatears, some Whinchats and Stonechats, a hovering Kestrel, a Little Owl perched on a well, some Buzzards circling in the sky, the occasional flock of Lapwings, Curlews, Starlings, Rooks and Hooded Crows. Of the puszta specialities only Red-footed Falcons,

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The elegant Redfooted Falcons hunt in groups for grasshoppers on the open puszta.


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The Great Bustard (here a male in display) is the avian jewel of the Hortobágy.

Lesser Grey Shrikes and Rollers are at all common. All three are summer visitors that feed on large insects and often hunt from a perch. The Redfooted Falcon is restricted to the steppe and steppe woodlands of Eastern Europe, with the Great Alföld as its most western distribution. Nevertheless, the Hungarian population is Europe’s largest. Red-footed Falcons breed in loose colonies in old rookeries on the plain. They hunt in small groups, catching grasshoppers and dragonflies, which they often consume on the wing, a magnificent sight! Lesser Grey Shrikes often hover over the fields while scanning for food, like a tiny, pied Kestrel. Like Rollers and Red-footed Falcons, they frequently rest on roadside wires. The puszta -more precisely, the puszta rodents like Susliks- attracts a large variety of birds of prey, including such delights as (Eastern) Imperial Eagle, Saker and Long-legged Buzzard. The latter is a bird of the steppe woodlands and lightly wooded hillsides of Turkey and the southern Balkans. A different race of Long-legged Buzzard inhabits North Africa. It is a newcomer to Hungary, which migrated from its range in eastern Bulgaria into the Pannonian Plain and started to breed in the Hortobágy in 1992. Only a few breed, which later are joined by specimens from the southeast that wander in after the breeding season. The Imperial Eagle is a breeding bird of the Carpathian foothills and has spread over the Great Plain quite recently after years of absence. Imperial Eagles are still far more common in the densely forested Bükk and Zemplén hills than in the Hortobágy, but they have discovered large trees and especially pylons in the lowlands as nesting sites.

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The Imperial Eagle present in the Hortobágy is the Eastern species. Particularly since it was widely ‘split’ from the Iberian (western) race, it is much sought after by visiting birdwatchers. So too are Sakers. This impressive large falcon has a wingspan only slightly less than Buzzard and is, together with the Gyrfalcon, Europe’s largest falcon. It also uses pylons and large trees as nesting sites, but can be found hunting over any part of the puszta. Like the Imperial Eagle, Sakers prey on Susliks, and, in addition, on birds. The numbers of both Sakers and Imperial Eagles are increasing. In addition to the above mentioned ‘big three’, there is a good number of other raptors present as well. In fact, counting migrants and wintering birds, covering all its habitats, the Hortobágy plays host to no less than 25 species of bird of prey. The pusztas are also home to a group of ground-dwelling birds of very open grasslands and bare soils, such as Rose-coloured Starlings, Shorttoed Larks, Tawny Pipits, Stone Curlews, Collared Pratincoles and the avian centrepiece of the puszta: the Great Bustard. Unfortunately, all of them are rare and hard to find. The Rose-coloured Starling, with its Barbie-pink belly and shaggy black

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The agricultural land in Little Hortobágy and on the levees of the Tisza is rich in neglected corners with lots of herbs and wildflowers, which in turn attract a varied birdlife.

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crest, is the odd one out in the bird world. Its lifestyle is entirely different from its humanity dependent relative, the Common Starling. The Rosecoloured Starling is a nomadic bird (like many true steppe birds) of the Ukrainian and Asian steppes that devotedly follows the movements of its main food source, grasshoppers. On average it breeds in the Hortobágy only every 10th year, but in most springs a few small flocks pass through the area. When grasshoppers are more numerous in the west than in the east, the starlings make it into the Hortobágy and can be quite numerous. Most years, however, it stays well east of the Carpathian mountains. With about ten pairs, the Stone Curlew is a surprisingly rare -and declining- breeding bird of the Hortobágy. It is most easily located in the evenings when it gives its eerie kur-li-lii call from which its name is derived. Together with the more numerous Tawny Pipit, it favours scanty terrain with lots of Sziks. The Short-toed Lark and the Collared Pratincole used to breed in the Hortobágy as well, but have now left the National park altogether. When the livestock population of the park shrunk, the favoured breeding sites for these species became more overgrown, and thus unsuitable, the birds moved to the vast bare ploughed fields to the south and east of the park. Finally, there is the Great Bustard, nicknamed the Hungarian Ostrich. An exaggerated analogy perhaps, but in European terms the Great Bustard is indeed a massive bird. The males can reach a length of a metre, roughly the size of a stork, but with the heavy build of a Turkey. The males are up to 30% larger and heavier than the females. Full grown males of this species are -together with their African relative the Kori Bustard- the world’s heaviest flying birds. These birds can weigh well over twenty kilos. The Great Bustards are like the Corn Cockles in the fields: they originate from the eastern steppe regions and spread through Europe when agriculture created large open fields and meadows. Great Bustards became fairly numerous in parts of Germany, France, Spain and of course the Pannonian plain. But, again like the Corn Cockle, it disappeared with the intensification of agricultural practices. Today, the most sizable populations are found in Spain, followed by the Ukraine and Hungary. There is also a relict population in Brandenburg, eastern Germany. Great Bustards are found in undisturbed tall-grass steppes and extensive cereal and alfalfa fields (the latter affinity is also a big threat to this bird, see page 66). Most of the Hortobágy’s alkaline puszta is too meagre to the bustard’s liking, which is why it is a relatively scarce bird in the region. The Hortobágy and Little Hortobágy together support a little over 100 birds, which is around 10% of the Hungarian population.

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Rollers and Red-backed Shrikes: birds of agricultural land After the wild flood forests, extensive pusztas and vast reedbeds, the agricultural land may seem the least interesting area of the Hortobágy region. The blank areas on the map. However, from a birdwatcher’s perspective, this agricultural land is far from uninteresting. Granted, the most sensitive, localised species are not the ones you will find in the rural areas, but for the visitor from western Europe the rural areas offer just as many good birds as any of the other habitats. The fields and meadows are the prime areas for a great number of familiar species, such as White Stork, Black Redstart, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Quail, Stonechat, Serin, Goldfinch and Greenfinch, as well as a number of -from a western European perspective- more exotic species, such as Roller, Hoopoe, Bee-eater and Syrian Woodpecker. The strength of the rural side of the Hortobágy lies in the scale of the landscape: plots are often small and neglected corners with high herbs, a marshy depression, a pond or a few trees are frequent (see conservation section on page 65). Some of these plots are abandoned, or left unused for some years, or are bordered by shrubby terrain. It is in these ‘untidy’ corners that birds find food and nesting facilities and the variety of landscape elements is reflected in the diversity of bird species. The weedy fields, for example, are alive with Corn Buntings, Quails and -to lesser extent- Grey Partridges, which feed on the seeds of the weeds; Stonechats, Whinchats and Blue-headed (Yellow) Wagtails search out the small insects, while Common Buzzards, Kestrels, Barn and Long-eared Owls hunt for mice, voles and shrews.

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Birds of the cultivated land: Yellowhammer (top) and Stonechat (middle) are found near bushy corners; Blue-headed Wagtails (bottom) are numerous in wet meadows.


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The calling of the Crane The Crane is without doubt one of Europe’s most impressive birds, not in the least because of their formidable congregations during migration. Cranes breed in undisturbed marshes and bogs in northern Europe and European Russia and winter in southern Europe and North Africa. There are two main routes to the Cranes’ winter quarters: a western passage runs from Scandinavia over northern Germany, central France, the Pyrenees to south-western Iberia, and a central-European flyway comes down over Poland, Hungary (east of the Tisza) and further south over the Adriatic sea, Sicily, and into Tunisia. The vast majority (over 95%) of the latter group passes the Hortobágy, were they roost for approximately six weeks, creating one of the greatest bird spectacles in Europe. In the peak period in the second half of October, up to 70,000 birds (!!) are present in the area, flying back and forth between feeding and roosting sites in large V’s and filling up the evening skies with their melancholic rolling call. In contrast to the geese, the numbers of Cranes have seen a steady increase over the past decades, rising from between 5-10,000 birds some 30 years ago to over 70,000 a year at present. The number of summering birds has increased as well. The reason for this is not entirely clear, but one factor might be that the Crane’s preferred breeding habitat -undisturbed, wooded bogs- is extending northwards, due to climate change. This, however, cannot be the sole reason. Better conservation and a ban on hunting are probably more important contributors to the population growth. Cranes have a straightforward daily routine. During the night they roost in large groups in the shallow fishponds and muddy marshes and during the day they disperse over the puszta and arable land to feed on maize stubbles and other agricultural leftovers. When feeding, the Cranes are almost invariably in small family groups: two adults and one or two young, which are recognisable by their brown heads. At the end of the day, the families merge into large groups and fly back to the roost. This evening commuting is the most spectacular aspect of the Crane’s lifestyle. Within less than two hours, thousands upon thousands of birds pass overhead and the sound of the calling birds completely fills the open sky (point 4 of route 1 is the place to witness this; see page 121). The peculiar call of the Crane is legendary. As early as 1270, in the bird encyclopaedia of Jacob van Maerlant (the first encyclopaedia not written in Latin, so to address a larger audience), the migration and the sound of the Cranes was described. The birds in Van Maerlant’s book reflected, in true medieval fashion, either a vice or a virtue of Man. The Crane is a bit special in this respect,

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because it seems to reflect both a good (courage) and a bad (obtrusiveness) character trait. According to van Maerlant, the ‘leader of the flock stands guard and ‘screams loudly when people are approaching.’ ‘During migration’, he continues ‘it is only relieved by another bird when it gets hoarse from continuous screaming.’ Van Maerlant also states that the call of the Crane ‘awakes everybody’. Jacob van Maerlant’s encyclopaedia should not be taken too literally (take for example the delightful statements that Cormorants are so hot that they have to fan themselves with their wings, Great Bustards kill cattle and devour them on the spot and that Great Bitterns retract their necks like dirty old thieves, but smell good when they are roasted). Nevertheless, the statement that Cranes awake people seems to hold some truth. Sixteenth century accounts claim that Cranes were kept in Hungarian strongholds to raise the alarm in the event of attack. These writings mention that Cranes were kept on the outer walls, and would raise the alarm even at night, thus waking everybody in the settlements. They functioned as watchdogs as do the farmyard geese today. The captive Cranes were taken as chicks, indicating that Cranes formerly bred in Hungary. Some local names in the Hortobágy region also refer to Crane breeding sites. With the increase of summering Cranes, hopes are high that the Crane will return to the puszta as a breeding bird.

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Roosting Cranes on the fishponds.


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Bushy terrain and hedgerows are favoured by Red-backed Shrike, Yellowhammers, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, River and Barred Warblers. River Warbler is a typical eastern European species, occurring mostly in bushes in clear-cuts close to the river. Like its relatives the Savi’s and the Grasshopper Warbler (both also occurring in the Hortobágy), the River Warbler is an inconspicuous brown warbler that stands out for having a peculiar song. The song of a River Warbler is very reminiscent of that of a bush cricket or an over-sized sewing machine. In spring, River Warblers are not difficult to spot as they sing from the top of a bush but later in the season they take cover deep inside the brushwood. The Barred Warbler is another typically eastern European bird. It is a species of hedgerows and shrubs, and often shares a bush with a Red-backed Shrike.

Little Owls occur both on the puszta and in cultivated land. They usually hunt from a pole or a well.

Even the villages, with their open structure, large gardens and small orchards, are interesting for birdwatchers. The orchards and open woods support Wryneck, Syrian (and Great Spotted, so check carefully!) Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher, Hoopoe, Serin and Black Redstart. The major loess areas are much more monotonous and open, and attract -though on a very modest scale- birdwatcher’s highlights like Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit and Collared Pratincole.

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Birds on passage

There are three major migration routes over the European continent and the Hortobágy is a major stepping stone in the central one, which runs from Finland over Poland, the Carpathians, across Hungary and along the Adriatic coast over Sicily to Tunisia. During migration, the Hortobágy attracts thousands of waders. Along the coast, they visit mudflats of river estuaries, but inland, the artificial habitat of the drained fishponds provides an ideal substitute. During migration periods you can find hundreds of foraging Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Wood Sandpipers (5-10,000 individuals in spring), Greenshanks, Dunlins, Ruffs (50-200,000 individuals in spring) and Curlews. From a western birdwatcher’s point of view, the most interesting migrant waders are the strictly eastern European species, like Broad-billed Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper and -very rare- Terek Sandpiper. These birds

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Cranes on passage.

do not use the western migration route (through the Wadden Sea and along the French, British and Spanish coasts) and are therefore hardly ever seen in western Europe. Their numbers are not high in the Hortobágy either (most pass through along the western and eastern shores of the Black Sea), but they regularly turn up in small numbers, mostly during autumn migration between mid August and mid September. The Hortobágy is one of the few sites where the critically endangered Slender-billed Curlew has been reported in recent years, but with a mere 10

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reports in a 15 year period, the species is on the brink of extinction. Another interesting migrant is the Dotterel, which usually stays for a few weeks in October, before moving on to North Africa. During the migration periods (April-May and mid August-October), the Hortobágy is an enchanting place, which turns up much more than waders alone. In spring, breeding birds of the Carpathian mountains make their last stop before flying up to their breeding quarters. In the woodlands on the plain and along the wooded corridor of the Tisza River, you can find Grey Wagtails and typical forest birds, like Wood Warblers and Red-breasted, Collared and Pied Flycatchers. Lesser Spotted, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, which breed in the Carpathian foothills or beyond, migrate through the Alföld, roughly following the Tisza. In August, Bee-eaters follow the river southwards and linger on to feast on the profusion of dragonflies over the river water. Most years, when the breeding season has ended and birds start to drift, the odd Pallid Harrier and Great Black-headed or Pallas’s Gull -rare birds from the eastern extremity of Europe and central Asia- wander into the Hortobágy. Yet the greatest migratory spectacle in the Hortobágy -and one of the greatest in the whole of Europe- is the passing of the Cranes (see text box on page 98). Migrating Cranes can be found throughout spring, with nonbreeding birds remaining in summer. From mid September and throughout October around 70,000 of these majestic birds use the Hortobágy as a stopover to regain strength on their travels towards Tunisia.

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The majestic Whitetailed Eagle breeds in the Hortobรกgy, but the highest concentrations are to be found in autumn and winter when they roost on the ice on the fishponds.

Wintering birds

In winter, there is nothing left of the warm, yellow-brown tones of the summer puszta. The thin snow cover is blown into drifts in wind-free corners, uncovering the scanty vegetation. In winter, the puszta is like a tundra and is thus inhabited by several tundra birds, which have come down from northern Scandinavia and European Russia. Snow Bunting is the most common of the tundra visitors although with a total of several hundred birds thinly spread over the entire Hortobรกgy puszta, calling them numer-

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The frozen puszta could be mistaken for a tundra.

ous would be too optimistic. They move around in loose flocks and are occasionally joined by the much rarer Lapland Bunting. Several hundred Twites also spend the winter here. Shore Larks have become rare, probably because populations sharply declined in their breeding quarters in Finland and European Russia. In general, the number of wintering birds depends on the weather further north. In cold Scandinavian winters, the number of birds in the Hortobágy increases. Waders and ducks are sparse in winter, because most open water freezes over, but several species of raptors are present in good numbers. The most spectacular is the massive Whitetailed Eagle, with a wingspan of almost 2½ metres the largest European eagle. It breeds in the Hortobágy as well, but the winter congregations -up to 70 birds gather in the fishponds to catch waterfowl and fish- are spectacular. In the plain a few hundred Hen Harriers and Rough-legged Buzzards inhabit the open puszta. Merlins are regular guests but in small numbers, just like Great Grey Shrikes. The Hortobágy is, like other parts of Hungary, traditionally an important area for wintering geese. However, due to the increasingly mild winters, many geese stay on in the north European Plain (Poland, Germany, the Netherlands) and therefore, the numbers in the Pannonian Plain are decreasing. Nevertheless, the numbers remain spectacular, with almost 50,000 wintering White-fronted Geese and a little under 10,000 wintering Greylag Geese (peak counts). The Hortobágy is also an important wintering area for the highly endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose, although numbers have dropped considerably during the last decades, and fewer than a hundred birds currently winter. A few of the beautiful Red-breasted Geese, usually wintering on the Black Sea coast, are present in the Hortobágy each year.

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List of interesting bird species r = rare, i = invasive Eastern birds and steppe species Pygmy Cormorant, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Montagu’s Harrier, Pallid Harrier (i, r, migrant), Redfooted Falcon, Saker Falcon, Great Bustard, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, White-winged Tern (i), Great black-headed Gull (r, m), Syrian Woodpecker, Roller, Tawny Pipit, Short-toed Lark, Aquatic Warbler, River Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler (r), Lesser Grey Shrike, Barred Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling (r, i) Other interesting breeding birds Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Bittern, Great Bittern, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis (r), Greylag Goose, Garganey, Gadwall, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Marsh Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Black Kite, Quail, Grey Partridge, Little Crake, Water Rail, Little Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Whiskered Tern, Black Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Short-eared Owl (i), Long-eared Owl, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Bee-eater, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Black Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker (r), Wryneck, Crested Lark, Skylark, Bluethroat, Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat, Penduline Tit, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Savi’s Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Bearded Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole, Serin Migratory species Red-throated Diver (r), Black-throated Diver (r), Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Booted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Osprey, Common Crane, Dotterel, Golden Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Dunlin, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper (r), Broad-billed Sandpiper (r), Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Whimbrel, Snipe, Jack Snipe (r), Rednecked Phalarope, Ruff, Black Tern, Red-throated Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Wood Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher (r) Wintering birds Greylag Goose, White-fronted Goose, Bean Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose (r), Red-necked Goose (r), Hen Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Short-eared Owl, Horned Lark, Great Grey Shrike, Twite, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting (r)

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route 5: the fishponds of halastรณ

Route 5: The fishponds of Halastรณ

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!

Shade is sparse on this route, take precautions to avoid sunburn. Permit is required. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance here.

4-6 hours easy One of the largest fishpond complexes of Europe. Superb birdlife of freshwater marshes, with plenty of observation platforms. Habitats along this route: fishponds and reedbeds (p. 48).

Although the Halastรณ fishpond complex is primarily a birdwatching site, a visit is almost obligatory for every visitor. This fishpond complex ranks amongst the largest in the world and the huge artificial lakes are bordered by impressive reedbeds hosting incredible numbers of birds, including eight species of heron, Spoonbills, Cormorants, Pygmy Cormorants, ducks and four species of grebes. There is a large variety of small, reedbedinhabiting birds and a few White-tailed Eagles also breed in the area. For each pond, there is at least one large observation tower, giving good opportunities to get a glimpse of the hidden reedbed birdlife. Not to be missed!

The borders of the Halastรณ fishponds are a wild marshland with reeds and willow scrub.

crossbill guides

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hortobรกgy


route 5: the fishponds of halastó

Departure point Hortobágy village

0

1

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km

Getting there From Hortobágy

village, follow the N33 west towards Tiszafüred. After five kilometres, turn right to Hortobágy Halastó. After the railroad crossing, follow the road to the left leading to the parking place and departure point for the tourist train. Park here.

Kondás Pond w

4 w

3 w w w

Follow the track that runs parallel to the central channel (alternatively, you can take the tourist train into the fishpond complex; the train tracks are on the other side of the channel).

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5

w

w

w

1

The first few hundred metres lead over a dam between a series of small fish ponds, some completely overgrown, some almost devoid of vegetation. This central part of the fishpond complex is a good area to find Squacco and Night Herons, Ferruginous Ducks and Little Bittern. In spring, Savi’s, Sedge and Great Reed Warblers sing from the reeds and willow bushes.

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3

1 w halastó

tiszafüred

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6

N33

Further ahead are the large ponds where large willow trees and reeds border the open water. Here, in the reeds from May onwards, you can find, Reed Warblers, Great Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Savi’s Warblers and Moustached Warblers (the latter mostly on the edge of reeds and bulrushes or other low aquatic vegetation; quite hard to spot). In the willow bushes and trees you can find Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and other passing warblers. Hence this is a great place to practise your warbler identification skills. Also present are Bearded and Penduline Tits and Reed Buntings. From the many observation platforms you have a more panoramic view. Marsh Harriers -always majestic birds- scout the marshes. Check the skies for the ‘flying barn door’ silhouette of hunting White-tailed Eagles. In win-

practical part

hortobágy

w = watchtower


route 5: the fishponds of halastó

ter, up to 80 White-tailed Eagles gather here on the ice. Ducks of all sorts are present year-round. Take special notice of the borders of the reedbeds and the small ponds amongst the reeds, for these are the areas where you might find the more secretive reed birds: Rednecked and Black-necked Grebes, Little and Great Bitterns, or a fishing Pygmy Cormorant. With luck you might even catch a glimpse of a Water Rail or a Little Crake.

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The Shoveler is one of the more numerous ducks of the fishponds.

3

The fishponds are rotationally drained to harvest the fish (see page 49). In summer and autumn, one of the ponds of the complex is usually drained. This one is worth checking for waders. In late August, when the wader migration is at its peak, you can expect Ruffs, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Marsh Sandpipers, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Avocets, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers. Rare, but annually present, are Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers. When the track ends on the edge of the furthest point, turn right. To your left there is a hide overlooking the last and largest pond.

4

The last pond, called the Kondás pond, is the largest and the most spectacular, especially in autumn and winter, because this is the main night roost of Cranes and geese in the Hortobágy. Tens of thousands of Cranes flock in during sunset, together with an equal number of Greylag Geese and White-fronted Geese. The Hortobágy forms the most important wintering ground for the highly endangered Lesser White-fronted Goose, which breeds in a narrow strip in the European and Asian Arctic. In the midst of winter over a hundred Lesser White-fronted Geese (roughly 2 % of the world population) winter in the area and roost on this pond. There is an observation hut on the edge of the reeds, from which you have good views over this last pond.

5

Continue on the dam and then right, following a dam that marks the eastern border of the fishpond complex. To your left you have good views of the puszta.

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hortobágy


route 5: the fishponds of halast贸

6

After the last fishpond, follow the track to your right (check for Pond Turtles in the channel to your left), until you reach a bridge over the canal to your left. Cross it and walk back to the Halast贸 village. This last part of the route offers you a similar scenery of fishponds and observation towers as described at point 4.

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Additional remarks The route sketched above is the largest possible

loop and brings you to the last two ponds, which are usually the most interesting. However, a shorter loop or an evening stroll along the central track is already enough get a good taste of the fishponds and their inhabitants. Since 2007, a tourist train operates between Halast贸 village and the last fishpond, making it possible to reach this pond without a lengthy walk. The route can be done by bicycle as well, and may be incorporated into a bike trip to the hamlet of Szasztelek (route 6). Halast贸 village can be visited by train as well.

Mute Swan flying over the central track of the fishpond complex.

practical part


tourist information & observation tips When to go

The Hortobágy has something to offer in every season, but least in the dead of winter, when the landscape is dominated by snow and freezing gales. This however, should not discourage the avid birdwatcher, who can see large groups of White-tailed Eagles (up to 80 birds at the Halastó fishponds) and such arctic delights as Lapland Bunting and Shorelark (see page 103 for more wintering birds) at this time. The best time for these species however is late autumn - early winter, when the larger water bodies are not yet frozen. This is also the best time for watching Cranes and geese. Amphibians and reptiles are present throughout the summer months, but the first half of spring (early April to late May) is best for amphibians. Spring truly kicks off in the first half of May, when many migrants pass through and breeding birds are arriving. Altogether, May and June are the best months to visit the area. Summer is more quiet, but still very beautiful with a good level of bird activity. The vegetation is at its modest peak, with flowering Hungarian Sea Lavender* and other salt plants in July, August and early September. This is also the time of impressive thunderstorms accompanied by apocalyptic images of a dust-dry landscape against a sinister, slate-grey sky. In late August, the wader migration is at its peak, followed by the other migrants between mid-September to early November. The end of September heralds the arrival of the Cranes, whose numbers peak in the second half of October. At this time, more modest numbers of Dotterel and Lesser White-fronted Geese pass through as well and the first winter visitors arrive. Together with the months of May and June, October is the best period to visit Hortobágy.

Accommodation

The Hortobágy has the best of both worlds: enough accommodation of every price class, but without being an obvious tourist hot-spot. Broadly speaking the Tisza villages, Tiszafüred and Poroszló, are centres for the anglers and visitors of the thermal baths, whilst Hortobágy village serves the same function for birdwatchers and naturalists. This shouldn’t keep you from choosing the Tisza villages as your base, though. They are pleasant, have plenty of accommodation (both hotels and camp sites) and facilities. A more rural alternative for campers is the basic campsite in Tiszavalk (with beautiful surroundings) on the Tisza River. In comparison to Poroszló and Tiszafüred, Hortobágy village is quieter and has a more rural ambience. There are two campsites and one expensive and luxurious hotel, but for this there is a very good, if more basic, alternative on the N33 five kilometres

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west of the village, a few metres from the turn to the Halastó fishponds. Most campsites also have basic wooden chalets for rent. The small towns east of the park, Nádudvar and Balmazújváros, are not very touristy. Here and there you will find ‘Bed and Breakfasts’ (look for ‘Zimmer Frei’ or ‘Szoba Kiadó’ signs) where you can spend the night. Balmazújváros is a good alternative to Hortobágy village. There are two hotels here. A new venue, especially for visiting ecotourists, is under construction in Balmazújváros. It is due to open in 2009, and looks set to be a perfect base with good birdwatching on its doorstep, tailor-made tourism services for both birdwatchers and naturalists plus bike rentals and honest local food. For info write to: ecohabitat.hu@yahoo.com. A good alternative lies further afield in the southern foothills of the Bükk Mountains. This lovely guest house / rural campsite is well situated -very close to little Hortobágy and Bükk- but the ‘real’ Hortobágy requires a fair drive. Apart from the surroundings and the proximity of the forests of Bükk (you are practically in them), the great attraction is that the owner (Dutch, but English and German speaking) is a nature guide who supplies his guests with up-to-date information about birds, plants and butterflies and -if booked in advance- will guide excursions into the Hortobágy and Bükk. The guest house also has a very good supply of nature books on the area. Contact: phone + 36 49 336133 (ask for Rob or Barbara); e-mail farmlator@hotmail.com; website www.farmlator.hu. Bikes are for rent here too. Near Kesznyetén, just north of Tiszaújváros, is a new accommodation of the Tiszataj Foundation. It is nicely situated in a rather unspoilt part of the Tisza river: phone + 36 42 278 910 , + 36 42 278 204; e-mail bmtk@freemail.hu and tiszatajair@ominet.hu.

Means of transport

The car is by far the easiest way to travel in the region. Given the fair distances between sites, the fierce wind and merciless sun, and the speeding on the N33, from which several routes depart, the bike is not recommended as a means of transport, although some routes are perfectly cut out for the bike. For these occasions, there are bikes for rent (see page 152). A legacy of communist days is that the Hortobágy, like most of rural Hungary, is very well served by public transport. Poroszló, Tiszafüred, and Hortobágy village are connected by a regular train service (the old machines are an attraction in themselves), with a stop at the Halastó fishponds (www.elvira.hu; in Hungarian, English and German). Bus services to nearby areas are good as well, making it possible to visit many parts of the Hortobágy by public transport. (see www.menetrendek.hu; click Volán; Hungarian only).

crossbill guides

hortobágy


Language

People are generally very friendly and helpful, but only occasionally speak English. German -if you master it- is a good alternative. The staff of the National Park information centre, as well as that of some of the hotels, speak English. Booking an English speaking guide at the information centre is not a problem either, although it is always wise to double check. If you are stranded somewhere and are in need of directions, try asking the younger people who often speak English fairly well.

Booking guides

Hiring a guide enables you to visit the restricted areas of the National Park. You can make your reservations on the spot, in the National Park Visitors centre in Hortobágy village, by telephone (+ 36-52-589-321 or + 36-52-589-000) or in advance by sending an email to Hortobágy@tourinform.hu. The duration of a trip can vary from a couple of hours to half a day or even a full day, depending on your level of interest, but generally takes about 3-4 hours. The costs are 15,000 HUF (≈ € 60,-) for a trip up to 4 hours and an additional 3,500 HUF (≈ € 14,-) per hour for longer trips. This price is regardless the number of people joining the excursion, so it pays to team up with others. It is recommended to book a week in advance. Trips in the morning or evening hours are usually more rewarding for observing birds and the light is much more beautiful. However, remember that nature is unpredictable. No guide can guarantee the presence of a certain bird species. Alternatively, you can opt for an excursion with an independent tour guide and local resident Rob de Jong (see accommodation section), who guides (in English, German and Dutch) in the Little Hortobágy (Borsodi Mesőzég) and the hills in Northern Hungary. He is a specialist in birds and butterflies. Booking well in advance is necessary phone + 36 49 336133; e-mail farmlator@hotmail.com; website: www.farmlator.hu. Sakertour is the leading Hungarian bird guiding company. Apart from high quality birding holidays in eastern Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and further afield, Sakertour can also guide private tours in and around Hortobágy. Booking well in advance is re­commended: phone + 36-52-457-394; mobile + 36-30995-7765; e-mail saker@szarvasnet.hu; website www.sakertour.hu. All mentioned organisations (The National Park, Rob de Jong and Sakertour) have been indispensable contributors to this guidebook.

Maps

There is a very good map of the Hortobágy for sale (800 HUF, ≈ € 3.25) at the information centre in Hortobágy village, which also covers the Tisza reservoirs and the southern part of Little Hortobágy (routes 1 to 8). Use it together with a general map of Hungary.

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species list & translation The following list comprises all species mentioned in this guidebook and gives their scientific, German and Dutch names. Some have an asterisk (*) behind them, indicating an unofficial name. See page 5 for more details. The Saxifraga and Crossbill Guides Foundations have created a unique online picture database of the plant and animal species mentioned in this guide book. You can visit this database either at www.crossbillguides.org or at www.saxifraga.nl.

Plants English Scientific German Dutch Alfalfa/ Lucerne Medicago sativa Luzerne Luzerne Almond, Russian Prunus nana Zwergmandel Dwergamandel Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia Gewöhnliches Pfeilkraut Pijlkruid Ash, Green Fraxinus pennsylvanica Rot-Esche Amerikaanse es Ash, Hungarian Fraxinius angustifolia Ungarische Hongaarse Narrow- leaved* pannonica Schmalblättrige Esche* smalbladige es* Aster, Pannonian Aster tripolium Steppen-Salzaster* Pannonische pannonicum zeeaster* Bedstraw, Lady’s Galium verum Echtes Labkraut Geel walstro Betony Stachys officinalis Echter Ziest Betonie Birthwort Aristolochia clematitis Osterluzei Pijpbloem Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara Bittersüsser Bitterzoet Nachtschatten Blackthorn Prunus spinosa Schlehe Sleedoorn Bladderwort, Greater Utricularia vulgaris Gewöhnlicher Groot blaasjeskruid Wasserschlauch Bugle, Blue Ajuga genevensis Genfer Günsel Harig zenegroen Bulrush Typha sp. Rohrkolben Lisdodde Bur-marigold, Nodding Bidens cernua Nickender Zweizahn Knikkend tandzaad Buttercup, Steppe* Ranunculus pedatus Steppen-Hahnenfuss* Steppeboterbloem* Camphor, Annual* Camphorosma annua Kampferkraut Kamferkruid* Catchfly, Sticky Silene viscosa Klebriges Leimkraut Kleverige silene* Celandine, Lesser Ficaria verna Scharbockskraut Speenkruid Chamomile, Wild Matricaria chamomila Echte Kamille Echte kamille Cherry, Ground Prunus fruticosa Steppenkirsche Steppenkers* Chestnut, Water Trapa natans Wassernuss Waternoot

crossbill guides

hortobágy


Chicory Cichorium intybus Gemeine Wegwarte Wilde cichorei Clary, Austrian Salvia austriaca Österreichischer Salbei Oostenrijkse salie* Clary, Balkan Salvia nemorosa Steppensalbei Bossalie Clematis, Entire-leaved* Clematis integrifolia Glocken-Waldrebe Klokclematis* Club-rush Schoenoplectus lacustris Flechtbinse Mattenbies Cockle, Corn Agrostemma githago Kornrade Bolderik Cucumber, Wild Echinocystis lobata Stachelgurke/Igelgurke Stekelaugurk Dock, Patience Rumex patientia Garten-Ampfer Spinaziezuring Dogwood Cornus sanguinea Blutroter Hartriegel Rode kornoelje Elder, Box Acer negundo Eschen-Ahorn Vederesdoorn Elm, Small-leaved Ulmus minor Feldulme gladd Elm, White Ulmus laevis Flatterulme Fladderiep Eryngo, Field Eryngium campestre Feld-Mannstreu Wilde kruisdistel False Indigo, Desert Amorpha fruticosa Bastardindigo Amorpha* Fern, Floating Salvinia natans Gemeiner Schwimmfarn Vlotvaren Fescue, False Sheep* Festuca pseudovina Salz-Schwingel Zoutschapengras Fleabane, Meadow Inula britannica Wiesen-Alant Engelse alant Forget-me-not, Water Myosotis scorpioides Sumpf-Vergissmeinnicht Moeras vergeet-mij-nietje Frog-bit Hydrocharis Froschbiss Kikkerbeet morsus-ranae Glasswort, Prostrate Salicornia prostrata Niederliegendes Liggende zeekraal* Glasschmalz Grape, Wild Vitis vinifera Wilde Weinrebe Wilde wijnstok Grass, Torch Koeleria glauca Blaugrünes Schillergras Blauw fakkelgras* Gromwell, Field Lithospermum arvense Acker-Steinsame Ruw parelzaad Gypsophila, Wall* Gypsophila muralis Mauer-Gipskraut Muurgipskuid Hare’s-ear, Slender Bupleurum tenuissimum Salz-Hasenohr Fijn goudscherm Hawthorn Crataegus sp. Weissdorn Meidoorn Henbane, Black Hyoscyamus niger Schwarzes Bilsenkraut Bilzekruid Hog’s Fennel Peucedanum officinale Echter Haarstrang Varkenskervel Hollowroot Corydalis cava Hohler Lerchensporn Holwortel Hop Humulus lupulus Echter Hopfen Hop Horehound, Marrubium peregrinum Ungarischer Andorn Hongaarse Eastern White malrove* Horse-radish, Panonian Armoracia macrocarpa Pannonischer Pannonische Meerrettich* mierik* Hound’s-tongue Cynoglossum officinale Gewöhnliche Hundszunge Veldhondstong Iris, Blue Iris spuria Bastard-Schwertlilie Blauwe lis Iris, Yellow Iris pseudacorus Sumpf-Schwertlilie Gele lis

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Ivy Hedera helix Efeu Klimop Knawel, Annual Scleranthus annuus Einjähriger Knäuel Eenjarige hardbloem Larkspur, Eastern Consolida ajacis Garten-Rittersporn Tuinridderspoor Larkspur, Forking Consolida regalis Acker-Rittersporn Wilde ridderspoor Lindernia, Creeping* Lindernia procumbens Gemeines Büchsenkraut Lindernia* Liquorice, Hedgehog Glycyrrhiza echinata Russisches Süssholz Steppezoethout Liquorice, Wild Glycyrrhiza glabra Süssholz Zoethout Locust, Black Robinia pseudoacacia Gewöhnliche Robinie Robinia Longleaf Falcaria vulgaris Gemeine Sichelmöhre Sikkelkruid Loosestrife, Lythrum virgatum Ruten-Weiderich Losbloemige Loose-flowered* kattenstaart* Lucerne /Alfalfa Medicago sativa Luzerne Luzerne Madwort Asperugo procumbens Scharfkraut Scherpkruid Maple, Field Acer campestre Feld-Ahorn Spaanse aak Maple, Tatar Acer tataricum Tatarischer Tataarse esdoorn Steppen-Ahorn Milfoil, Woolly Achillea setacea Feinblättrige Wollig Wiesen-Schafgarbe duizendblad* Mint, Water Mentha aquatica Wasserminze Watermunt Mousetail Myosurus minimus Mäuseschwänzchen Muizenstaart Mudwort Limosella aquatica Schlammkraut Slijkgroen Mugwort, Steppe* Artemisia santonica Duftraute Welriekende alsem Mullein, Purple Verbascum phoeniceum Violette Königskerze Paarse toorts Oak, Pedunculate Quercus robur Stieleiche Zomereik Oak, Turkey Quercus cerris Zerr-Eiche Moseik Olive, Russian Elaeagnus angustifolia Schmalblättrige Ölweide Smalle olijfwilg Orache, Spear-leaved* Atriplex prostrata Spiessblättrige Melde Spiesmelde Pepperwort, Hungarian* Lepidium crassifolium Salz-Kresse Steppe kruidkers* Phlomis, Tuberose* Phlomis tuberosa Knollen-Brandkraut Knolbrandkruid* Pink, Hungarian* Dianthus pontederae Pannonische Pannonische anjer* Karthäuser-Nelke Plantain, Plantago Strand-Wegerich Strandweegbree* Schwarzenberg’s* schwarzenbergiana Plantain, Plantago tenuiflora Dünnähren-Wegerich Dwergweegbree* Sparse-flowered* Pondweed Potamogeton sp. Laichkraut Fonteinkruid Poplar, Black Populus nigra Schwarzpappel Zwarte populier Poplar, Hybrid Populus x canadensis Kanada-Pappel Canadapopulier Poplar, White Populus alba Silber-Pappel Witte abeel

crossbill guides

hortobágy


Priver, Common Ligustrum vulgare Gemeiner Liguster Reed Phragmites australis Schilfrohr Rest-harrow, Spiny Ononis spinosa Dorniger Hauhechel Rose, Dog Rosa canina Hundsrose Rowan Sorbus sp. Mehlbeere/Eberesche Rush, Flowering Butomus umbellatus Schwanenblume Saltmarsh-grass, Puccinellia limosa Sumpf-Salzschwaden Eastern* Scabiose, Yellow Scabiosa ochroleuca Gelbe Skabiose Sea Lavender, Limonium gmelini Ungarischer Hungarian* hungaricum Strandflieder* Sea Lavender, Steppe* Limonium gmellini Steppen-Strandflieder* Seablite, Common Suaeda maritima Strand-Sode Seablite, Transylvanian* Suaeda salinaria Transsylvanische Sode* Sedge Carex sp. Segge Snowflake, Summer Leucojum aestivum Sommer-Knotenblume Speedwell, Long-leaved Veronica longifolia Langblättriger Ehrenpreis Speedwell, Prostrate Veronica prostrata Niederliegender Ehrenpreis Spurge, Cypress Euphorbia cyparissias Zypressen-Wolfsmilch Squill, Vindobons* Scilla vindobonensis Wiener Blaustern Star-of-Bethlehem, Ornithogalum Grüner Milchstern Green-flowered boucheanum Sunflower Helianthus annuus Sonnenblume Sweet-grass Glyceria sp. Schwaden Thistle, Musk Carduus nutans Nickende Distel Thistle, Thin Carduus acanthoides Weg-Distel Toadflax, Bieberstein’s* Linaria biebersteinii Biebersteins Leinkraut* Vetch, Hairy Vicia villosa Zottige Wicke Vetch, Hungarian Vicia pannonica Ungarische Wicke Vetch, Hybrid Vicia hybrida Haarfahnen-Wicke Vetch, Large-flowered* Vicia grandiflora Grossblütige Wicke Viper’s Grass, Podospermum canum Ausdauerndes Grey-leaved* Stielsamenkraut Viper’s Grass, Scorzonera parviflora Kleinblütige Sparse-flowered* Schwarzwurzel

species list & translation

Wilde liguster Riet Kattendoorn Hondsroos Meelbes/Lijsterbes Zwanenbloem Moeraskweldergras* Geel duifkruid* Hongaars lamsoor* Steppe lamsoor* Klein schorrenkruid Transsylvanisch schorrenkruid* Zegge Zomerklokje Lange ereprijs Liggende ereprijs Cypreswolfsmelk Vindobons sterhyacint* Groenbloemige vogelmelk* Zonnebloem Vlotgras Knikkende distel Langstekelige distel Biebersteins leeuwenbek* Bonte wikke Hongaarse wikke Basterdwikke Grootbloemige wikke Grijze schorseneer* Kleinbloemige schorseneer*

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Water-lily, White Nymphaea alba Weisse Seerose Water-plantain, Alisma plantago-aquatica Gewöhnlicher Common Froschlöffel Watersoldier Stratiotes aloides Krebsschere Waterwort Elatine sp. Tännel Willow, Crack Salix fragilis Bruch-Weide Wormwood, Sea Artemisia maritima Strand-Beifuss Woundwort, Marsh Stachys palustris Sumpf-Ziest Yellow-rattle, Greater Rhinanthus angustifolius Grosser Klappertopf

Witte waterlelie Grote waterweegbree Krabbenscheer Glaskroos Kraakwilg Zeealsem Moerasandoorn Grote ratelaar

Mammals English Scientific German Ass, Wild Equus hemionus Asiatische Esel Aurochs Bos primigenius Auerochse Bear Ursus arctos Braunbär Beaver Castor fiber Biber Deer, Roe Capreolus capreolus Reh Fox Vulpes vulpes Rotfuchs Hamster Cricetus cricetus Feldhamster Hare Lepus europaeus Hase Jackal Canis aureus Goldschakal Lynx Lynx lynx Luchs Marten, Pine Martes martes Baummarder Mouse, Pygmy Field Apodemus uralensis Ural-Waldmaus Mouse, Steppe Mus spicilegus Ährenmaus Mouse, Striped Field Apodemus agrarius Brandmaus Otter Lutra lutra Fischotter Polecat, Steppe Mustela eversmanni Steppeniltis Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus Wildkaninchen Shrew Soricidae Spitzmaus Squirrel, European Ground see Suslik Stoat Mustela ermina Hermelin Suslik Citellus citellus Ziesel Tarpan Equus caballus gmelini Tarpan Vole Arvicolidae Wühlmaus Wolf Canis lupus Wolf

crossbill guides

hortobágy

Dutch Wilde ezel Oeros Bruine beer Bever Ree Vos Hamster Haas Gewone jakhals Lynx Boommarter Kleine bosmuis Steppemuis Brandmuis Otter Steppebunzing Konijn Spitsmuis Hermelijn Siesel Tarpan Woelmuis Wolf


Birds English Scientific Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta Bee-eater Merops apiaster Bittern Botaurus stellaris Bittern, Little Ixobrychus minutus Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Bluethroat Luscinia svecica Bunting, Corn Miliaria calandra Bunting, Lapland Calcarius japonicus Bunting, Reed Emberiza schoeniclus Bunting, Snow Plectrophenax nivalis Bustard, Great Otis tarda Bustard, Kori Ardeotis kori Bustard, Little Tetrax tetrax Buzzard, Common Buteo buteo Buzzard, Long-legged Buteo rufinus Buzzard, Rough-legged Buteo lagopus Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Coot Fulica atra Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Cormorant, Pygmy Phalacrocorax pygmeus Corncrake Crex crex Crake, Baillon’s Porzana pusilla Crake, Little Porzana parva Crake, Spotted Porzana porzana Crane Grus grus Crow, Hooded Corvus corone cornix Curlew Numenius arquata Curlew, Slender-billed Numenius tenuirostris Curlew, Stone Burhinus oedicnemus Diver, Black-throated Gavia arctica Diver, Red-throated Gavia stellata Dotterel Charadrius morinellus Duck, Ferruginous Aythya nyroca Duck, Tufted Aythya fuligula Dunlin Calidris alpina Eagle, Booted Hieraaetus pennatus Eagle, Greater Spotted Aquila clanga

German Dutch Säbelschnäbler Kluut Bienenfresser Bijeneter Rohrdommel Roerdomp Zwergdommel Woudaapje Mönchsgrasmücke Zwartkop Blaukehlchen Blauwborst Grauammer Grauwe gors Spornammer IJsgors Rohrammer Rietgors Schneeammer Sneeuwgors Grosstrappe Grote trap Riesentrappe Koritrap Zwergtrappe Kleine trap Mäusebussard Buizerd Adlerbussard Arendbuizerd Rauhfussbussard Ruigpootbuizerd Zilpzalp Tjiftjaf Blässhuhn Meerkoet Kormoran Aalscholver Zwergscharbe Dwergaalscholver Wachtelkönig Kwartelkoning Zwergsumpfhuhn Kleinst waterhoen Kleines Sumpfhuhn Klein waterhoen Tüpfelsumpfhuhn Porseleinhoen Kranich Kraanvogel Nebelkrähe Bonte kraai Grosser Brachvogel Wulp Dünnschnabel-Brachvogel Dunbekwulp Triel Griel Prachttaucher Parelduiker Sterntaucher Roodkeelduiker Mornellregenpfeifer Morinelplevier Moorente Witoogeend Reiherente Kuifeend Alpenstrandläufer Bonte strandloper Zwergadler Dwergarend Schelladler Bastaardarend

species list & translation

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Eagle, Imperial Aquila heliaca Kaiseradler Eagle, Lesser Spotted Aquila pomarina Schreiadler Eagle, Short-toed Circaetus gallicus Schlangenadler Eagle, White-tailed Haliaeetus albicilla Seeadler Egret, Great White Egretta alba Silberreiher Egret, Little Egretta garzetta Seidenreiher Falcon, Peregrine Falco peregrinus Wanderfalke Falcon, Red-footed Falco vespertinus Rotfussfalke Falcon, Saker Falco cherrug Würgfalke Flycatcher, Collared Ficedula albicollis Halsbandschnäpper Flycatcher, Pied Ficedula hypoleuca Trauerschnäpper Flycatcher, Red-breasted Ficedula parva Zwergschnäpper Flycatcher, Spotted Muscicapa striata Grauschnäpper Gadwall Anas strepera Schnatterente Garganey Anas querquedula Knäkente Godwit, Black-tailed Limosa limosa Uferschnepfe Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Distelfink Goosander Mergus merganser Gänsesäger Goose, Bean Anser fabalis Saatgans Goose, Greylag Anser anser Graugans Goose, Lesser Anser erythropus Zwerggans White-fronted Goose, Red-breasted Branta ruficollis Rothalsgans Goose, White-fronted Anser albifrons Blässgans Goshawk Accipiter gentilis Habicht Grebe, Black-necked Podiceps nigricollis Schwarzhalstaucher Grebe, Great Crested Podiceps cristatus Haubentaucher Grebe, Little Tachybaptus ruficollis Zwergtaucher Grebe, Red-necked Podiceps grisegena Rothalstaucher Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Grünling Greenshank Tringa nebularia Grünschenkel Gull, Black-headed Larus ridibundus Lachmöwe Gull, Greater Larus ichthyaetus Fischmöwe Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Larus melanocephalus Schwarzkopfmöwe Gull, Pallas’s see Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Larus michahellis Weisskopfmöwe

crossbill guides

hortobágy

Keizerarend Schreeuwarend Slangenarend Zeearend Grote zilverreiger Kleine zilverreiger Slechtvalk Roodpootvalk Sakervalk Withalsvliegenvanger Bonte vliegenvanger Kleine vliegenvanger Grauwe vliegenvanger Krakeend Zomertaling Grutto Putter Grote zaagbek Rietgans Grauwe gans Dwerggans Roodhalsgans Kolgans Havik Geoorde fuut Fuut Dodaars Roodhalsfuut Groenling Groenpootruiter Kokmeeuw Reuzenzwartkopmeeuw Zwartkopmeeuw Geelpootmeeuw


Gyrfalcon Harrier, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Pallid Hawfinch Heron, Grey Heron, Night Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Hobby Honey Buzzard Hoopoe Ibis, Glossy Jackdaw Kestrel Kingfisher Kite, Black Lapwing Lark, Crested Lark, Shore Lark, Short-toed Linnet Magpie Mallard Martin, House Martin, Sand Merlin Moorhen Nightingale Nuthatch Oriole, Golden Osprey Owl, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Partridge, Grey

Falco rusticolus Circus cyaneus Circus aeruginosus Circus pygargus Circus macrourus Coccothraustes coccothraustes Ardea cinerea Nycticorax nycticorax Ardea purpurea Ardeola ralloides Falco subbuteo Pernis apivorus Upupa epops Plegadis falcinellus Corvus monedula Falco tinnunculus Alcedo atthis Milvus migrans Vanellus vanellus Galerida cristata Eremophila alpestris Calandrella brachydactyla Carduelis cannabina Pica pica Anas platyrhynchos Delichon urbica Riparia riparia Falco columbarius Gallinula chloropus Luscinia megarhynchos Sitta europaea Oriolus oriolus Pandion haliaetus Tyto alba Athene noctua Asio otus Asio flammeus Perdix perdix

Gerfalke Kornweihe Rohrweihe Wiesenweihe Steppenweihe Kernbeisser

Giervalk Blauwe Kiekendief Bruine kiekendief Grauwe kiekendief Steppekiekendief Appelvink

Graureiher Nachtreiher Purpurreiher Rallenreiher Baumfalke Wespenbussard Wiedehopf Braunsichler Dohle Turmfalke Eisvogel Schwarzmilan Kiebitz Haubenlerche Ohrenlerche Kurzzehenlerche

Blauwe reiger Kwak Purperreiger Ralreiger Boomvalk Wespendief Hop Zwarte ibis Kauw Torenvalk IJsvogel Zwarte wouw Kievit Kuifleeuwerik Strandleeuwerik Kortteenleeuwerik

Bluthänfling Elster Stockente Mehlschwalbe Uferschwalbe Merlin Teichhuhn Nachtigal Kleiber Pirol Fischadler Schleiereule Steinkauz Waldohreule Sumpfohreule Rebhuhn

Kneu Ekster Wilde eend Huiszwaluw Oeverzwaluw Smelleken Waterhoen Nachtegaal Boomklever Wielewaal Visarend Kerkuil Steenuil Ransuil Velduil Patrijs

species list & translation

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Peregrine Falco peregrinus Wanderfalke Phalarope, Red-necked Phalaropus lobatus Odinshünchen Pintail Anas acuta Spiessente Pipit, Meadow Anthus pratensis Wiesenpieper Pipit, Red-throated Anthus cervinus Rotkehlpieper Pipit, Tawny Anthus campestris Brachpieper Plover, Golden Pluvialis apricaria Goldregenpfeifer Plover, Kentish Charadrius alexandrinus Seeregenpfeifer Plover, Little Ringed Charadrius dubius Flussregenpfeifer Plover, Ringed Charadrius hiaticula Sandregenpfeifer Pochard, Common Aythya ferina Tafelente Pratincole, Collared Glareola pratincola Rotflügel-Brachschwalbe Quail Coturnix coturnix Wachtel Rail, Water Rallus aquaticus Wasserralle Redshank Tringa totanus Rotschenkel Redshank, Spotted Tringa erythropus Dunkler Wasserläufer Redstart, Black Phoenicurus ochruros Hausrotschwanz Robin Erithacus rubecula Rotkehlchen Roller Coracias garrulus Blauracke Rook Corvus frugilegus Saatkrähe Ruff Philomachus pugnax Kampfläufer Sandpiper, Broad-billed Limicola falcinellus Sumpfläufer Sandpiper, Common Actitis hypoleucos Flussuferläufer Sandpiper, Green Tringa ochropus Waldwasserläufer Sandpiper, Marsh Tringa stagnatilis Teichwasserläufer Sandpiper, Terek Xenus cinereus Terekwasserläufer Sandpiper, Wood Tringa glareola Bruchwasserläufer Serin Serinus serinus Girlitz Shoveler Anas clypeata Löffelente Shrike, Great Grey Lanius excubitor Raubwürger Shrike, Lesser Grey Lanius minor Schwarzstirnwürger Shrike, Red-backed Lanius collurio Neuntöter Skylark Alauda arvensis Feldlerche Smew Mergus albellus Zwergsäger Snipe Gallinago gallinago Bekassine Snipe, Jack Lymnocryptes minimus Zwergschnepfe Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Sperber Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Löffler Starling Sturnus vulgaris Star

crossbill guides

hortobágy

Slechtvalk Grauwe franjepoot Pijlstaart Graspieper Roodkeelpieper Duinpieper Goudplevier Strandplevier Kleine plevier Bontbekplevier Tafeleend Vorkstaartplevier Kwartel Waterral Tureluur Zwarte ruiter Zwarte roodstaart Roodborst Scharrelaar Roek Kemphaan Breedbekstrandloper Oeverloper Witgat Poelruiter Terekruiter Bosruiter Europese kanarie Slobeend Klapekster Kleine klapekster Grauwe klauwier Veldleeuwerik Nonnetje Watersnip Bokje Sperwer Lepelaar Spreeuw


Starling, Rosy Sturnus roseus Rosenstar Stint, Little Calidris minuta Zwergstrandläufer Stint, Temmincks Calidris temminckii Temminckstrandläufer Stonechat Saxicola torquata Schwarzkehlchen Stork, Black Ciconia nigra Schwarzstorch Stork, White Ciconia ciconia Weissstorch Swan, Mute Cygnus olor Höckerschwan Teal Anas crecca Krickente Tern, Black Chlidonias niger Trauerseeschwalbe Tern, Common Sterna hirundo Flussseeschwalbe Tern, Whiskered Chlidonias hybridus Weissbart-Seeschwalbe Tern, White-winged Chlidonias leucopterus Weissflügel-Seeschwalbe Tit, Bearded Panurus biarmicus Bartmeise Tit, Blue Parus caeruleus Blaumeise Tit, Great Parus major Kohlmeise Tit, Long-tailed Aegithalos caudatus Schwanzmeise Tit, Penduline Remiz pendulinus Beutelmeise Treecreeper, Short-toed Certhia brachydactyla Gartenbaumläufer Twite Carduelis flavirostris Berghänfling Wagtail, Grey Motacilla cinerea Gebirgsstelze Wagtail, White Motacilla alba Bachstelze Wagtail, Yellow Motacilla flava Schafstelze (Blue-headed) Warbler, Aquatic Acrocephalus paludicola Seggenrohrsänger Warbler, Barred Sylvia nisoria Sperbergrasmücke Warbler, Grasshopper Locustella naevia Feldschwirl Warbler, Great Reed Acrocephalus Drosselrohrsänger arundinaceus Warbler, Marsh Acrocephalus palustris Sumpfrohrsänger Warbler, Moustached Acrocephalus Mariskensänger melanopogon Warbler, Olivaceous Hippolais pallida Blassspötter Warbler, Reed Acrocephalus scirpaceus Teichrohrsänger Warbler, River Locustella fluviatilis Schlagschwirl Warbler, Savi’s Locustella luscinioides Rohrschwirl Warbler, Sedge Acrocephalus Schilfrohrsänger schoenobaenus Warbler, Willow Phylloscopus trochilus Fitis

species list & translation

Roze spreeuw Kleine strandloper Temmincks strandloper Roodborsttapuit Zwarte ooievaar Ooievaar Knobbelzwaan Wintertaling Zwarte stern Visdief Witwangstern Witvleugelstern Baardman Pimpelmees Koolmees Staartmees Buidelmees Boomkruiper Frater Grote gele kwikstaart Witte kwikstaart Gele kwikstaart Waterrietzanger Sperwergrasmus Sprinkhaanzanger Grote karekiet Bosrietzanger Zwartkoprietzanger Vale spotvogel Kleine karekiet Krekelzanger Snor Rietzanger Fitis

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Warbler, Wood Phylloscopus sibilatrix Waldlaubsänger Wheatear, Northern Oenanthe oenanthe Steinschmätzer Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Regenbrachvogel Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Braunkehlchen Whitethroat Sylvia communis Dorngrasmücke Whitethroat, Lesser Sylvia curruca Klappergrasmücke Wigeon Anas penelope Pfeifente Woodpecker, Black Dryocopus martius Schwarzspecht Woodpecker, Dendrocopos major Buntspecht Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Picus viridis Grünspecht Woodpecker, Picus canus Grauspecht Grey-headed Woodpecker, Dendrocopos minor Kleinspecht Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos medius Mittelspecht Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Dendrocopos syriacus Blutspecht Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Zaunkönig Wryneck Jynx torquilla Wendehals Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella Goldammer

Fluiter Tapuit Regenwulp Paapje Grasmus Braamsluiper Smient Zwarte specht Grote bonte specht Groene specht Grijskopspecht Kleine bonte specht Middelste bonte specht Syrische bonte specht Winterkoning Draaihals Geelgors

Reptiles and Amphibians English Scientific German Dutch Frog, Agile Rana dalmatina Springfrosch Springkikker Frog, Common Rana temporaria Grasfrosch Bruine kikker Frog, Edible Rana kl. esculenta Teichfrosch Bastaardkikker Frog, Marsh Rana ridibunda Seefrosch Meerkikker Frog, Moor Rana arvalis Moorfrosch Heikikker Frog, Pool Rana lessonae Kleiner Wasserfrosch Poelkikker Frog, Tree Hyla arborea Europäischer Laubfrosch Boomkikker Lizard, Balkan Wall Podarcis taurica Taurische Eidechse Taurische hagedis Lizard, Eastern Green Lacerta viridis Östliche Oostelijke Smaragdeidechse smaragdhagedis Lizard, Sand Lacerta agilis Zauneidechse Zandhagedis Lizard, Viviparous Lacerta viviparia Bergeidechse Levendbarende hagedis

crossbill guides

hortobágy


Lizard, Wall Podarcis muralis Mauereidechse Newt, Common Triturus vulgaris Teichmolch Newt, Crested Triturus cristatus Kammolch Newt, Danube Crested Triturus dobrogicus Donau-Kammmolch Salamander, Fire Salamandra salamandra Feuersalamander Snake, Aesculapian Elaphe longissima Äskulapnatter Snake, Dice Natrix tessellata Würfelnatter Snake, Grass Natrix natrix Ringelnatter Snake, Smooth Coronella austriaca Schlingnatter Spadefoot, Common Pelobates fuscus Knoblauchkröte Terrapin, European Pond Emys orbicularis Europäische Sumpfschildkröte Toad, Common Bufo bufo Erdkröte Toad, Fire-bellied Bombina bombina Rotbauchunke Toad, Green Bufo viridis Wechselkröte Toad, Yellow-bellied Bombina variegata Gelbbauchunke Worm, Slow Anguis fragilis Blindschleiche

Muurhagedis Kleine watersalamander Kamsalamander Donaukamsalamander Vuursalamander Esculaapslang Dobbelsteenslang Ringslang Gladde slang Knoflookpad Europese moerasschildpad Gewone pad Roodbuikvuurpad Groene pad Geelbuikvuurpad Hazelworm

Insects English Scientific German Dutch Admiral, Red Vanessa atalanta Admiral Atalanta Baskettail, Eurasian Epitheca bimaculata Zweifleck Tweevlek Bee, Carpenter Xylocapa violacea Holzbiene Houtbij Beetle, Blister Meloidae Ölkäfer Oliekevers Blue, Common Polyommatus icarus Hauhechel-Bläuling Icarusblauwtje Blue, Cupido decolorata Östlicher Oostelijk staartEastern Short-tailed Kurzschwänziger Bläuling blauwtje Blue, Reverdin’s Plebejus argyrognomon Kronwicken-Bläuling Kroonkruidblauwtje Blue, Short-tailed Cupido argiades Kurzschwänziger Bläuling Staartblauwtje Blue, Silver-studded Plebejus argus Geissklee-Bläuling Heideblauwtje Bluet, Azure Coenagrion puella Hufeisen-Azurjungfer Azuurwaterjuffer Bluet, Variable Coenagrion pulchellum Fledermaus-Azurjungfer Variabele waterjuffer Butterfly, Map Araschnia levana Landkärtchen Landkaartje Chaser, Blue Libellula fulva Spitzenfleck Bruine korenbout Clubtail, Common Gomphus vulgatissimus Gemeine Keiljungfer Beekrombout

species list & translation

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Clubtail, Yellow-legged Gomphus flavipes Asiatische Keiljungfer Rivierrombout Copper, Large Lycaena dispar Grosser Feuerfalter Grote vuurvlinder Copper, Lesser Fiery Lycaena thersamon Östlicher Feuerfalter* Oostelijke vuurvlinder Copper, Small Lycaena phleas Kleiner Feuerfalter Kleine vuurvlinder Copper, Sooty Lycaena tityrus Brauner Feuerfalter Bruine vuurvlinder Darter, Red-veined Sympetrum fonscolombii Frühe Heidelibelle Zwervende heidelibel Darter, Southern Sympetrum meridionale Südliche Heidelibelle Zuidelijke heidelibel Darter, Spotted Sympetrum Sumpf-Heidelibelle Kempense heidelibel depressiusculum Demoiselle, Banded Calopteryx splendens Gebänderte Prachtlibelle Weidebeekjuffer Emerald, Downy Cordulia aenea Gemeine Smaragdlibelle Smaragdlibel Emperor, Blue Anax imperator Grosse Königslibelle Grote keizerlibel Emperor, Lesser Anax parthenope Kleine Königslibelle Zuidelijke keizerlibel Emperor, Lesser Purple Apatura ilia Kleiner Schillerfalter Kleine weerschijnvlinder Emperor, Vagrant Anax ephippiger Schabrackenlibelle Zadellibel Featherleg, Blue Platycnemis pennipes Blaue Federlibelle Blauwe breedscheenjuffer Festoon, Southern Zerynthia polyxena Osterluzeifalter Zuidelijke pijpbloemvlinder Fritillary, Knapweed Melitaea phoebe Flockenblumen- Knoopkruid Scheckenfalter parelmoervlinder Fritillary, Queen of Spain Issoria lathonia Kleiner Perlmutterfalter Kleine parelmoervlinder Fritillary, Scarce Euphydryas maturna Maivogel Roodbonte parelmoervlinder Hairstreak, Black Satyrium pruni Pflaumen-Zipfelfalter Pruimenpage Hairstreak, Brown Thecla betulae Nierenfleck-Zipfelfalter Sleedoornpage Hairstreak, Green Callophrys rubi Grüner Zipfelfalter Groentje Hairstreak, Ilex Satyrium ilicis Brauner Bruine eikenpage Eichen-Zipfelfalter Hairstreak, Purple Quercusia quercus Blauer Eichen-Zipfelfalter Eikenpage Hawk-moth, Spurge Hyles euphorbiae Wolfsmilchschwärmer Wolfsmelkpijlstaart Heath, Chestnut Coenonympha glycerion Rostbraunes Roodstreep Wiesenvögelchen hooibeestje Heath, Small Coenonympha pamphilus Kleines Wiesenvögelchen Hooibeestje Lady, Painted Vanessa cardui Distelfalter Distelvlinder

crossbill guides

hortobágy


Leach, Eastern Medicinal Hirudo verbana Ungarischer Blutegel Mayfly, Long-tailed Palingenia longicauda Theiss-Eintagsfliege Mosquito Culex pipiens Gemeine Stechmücke Peacock Inachis io Tagpfauenauge Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa Gottesanbeterin Red-eye, Large Erythromma najas Grosses Granatauge Scarlet, Broad Crocothemis erythraea Feuerlibelle Skimmer, Black-tailed Orthetrum cancellatum Grosser Blaupfeil Skimmer, Keeled Orthetrum coerelescens Kleiner Blaupfeil Skimmer, Southern Orthetrum brunneum Südlicher Blaupfeil Skimmer, White-tailed Orthetrum albistylum Östlicher Blaupfeil Spider, Orb Web Argiope bruennichi Wespenspinne Spider, Steppe Wolf Lycosa singoriensis Südrussische Tarantel Spreadwing, Common Lestes sponsa Gemeine Binsenjungfer Spreadwing, Dark Lestes macrostigma Südliche Binsenjungfer Swallowtail Papilio machaon Schwalbenschwanz Swallowtail, Scarce Iphiclides podalirius Segelfalter Tarantula see Spider, steppe wolf White, Black-veined Aporia crataegi Baumweissling White, Eastern Bath Pontia edusa Östlicher Resedafalter White, Wood Leptidea sinapis Senfweissling Yellow, Clouded Colias croceus Postillon Yellow, Colias erate Östlicher Gelbling Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow, Lesser Clouded Colias chrysotheme Steppe Gelbling* Yellow, Pale Clouded Colias hyale Goldene Acht

flora and fauna

Hongaarse medicinale bloedzuiger* Rivierhaft* Gewone steekmug Dagpauwoog Bidsprinkhaan Grote roodoogjuffer Vuurlibel Gewone oeverlibel Beekoeverlibel Zuidelijke oeverlibel Witpuntoeverlibel Wespenspin Steppe tarantula* Gewone pantserjuffer Grote pantserjuffer Koninginnepage Koningspage Groot geaderd witje Oostelijk resedawitje Boswitje Oranje luzernevlinder Oostelijke luzernevlinder Steppeluzernevlinder Gele luzernevlinder

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crossbill guides foundation

region

The Hortobágy is the largest of the Hungarian pusztas - an immense plain with steppes and shallow marshlands, laced with forested valleys. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with impressive numbers of waterfowl and a range of species typical of the eastern European steppes. In autumn, flocks of tens of thousands of Cranes gather here, creating one of Europe’s top avian spectacles.

But the Hortobágy is important for much more than its birds alone. Rare plants and animals live in the waving grasslands. Traditional herdsmen and their grey longhorn cattle roam the open plains where time seems to have a different pace. Its unique rural culture and the special peacefulness that is so typical of the eastern European countryside are also part of its appeal. Combine all these features and mix them with a fascinating ecology and ancient landscape and you know for sure you are in the Hortobágy, one of those European regions you simply have to visit. This guide is part of a series of innovative guidebooks for nature enthusiasts. Crossbill Guides combine an insight into the wildlife and landscape of an area with up-to-date and practical tourist information. Detailed descriptions of walking trails are conveniently linked to information on everything you want to know about the splendid nature of the Hortobágy.

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