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Hungary has long been establishedas one of Europe's top birdwatchingdestinations, but this beautifullandlocked country, at the heart of thecontinent, is less well known for its otherwildlife treasures, in particular itsbutterflies. Although modern farmingpractices are on the increase, many areasare still farmed using a variety of lowintensity, wildlife-friendly techniques,unchanged for generations. As a resultbutterflies still flourish and dancing cloudsof these colourful sprites are still acommon sight over flower-filled meadowsand sunny woodland glades. Nearly 200species occur here, well over three timesthe number to be found in Britain, andHungary is sure to become a favourite withthe lepidopterists amongst us, as it hasalready become with ornithologists.Indeed, it is one of the aims of this holiday,run in conjunction with ButterflyConservation (to whose conservation fund10% of the holiday cost will be donated),to raise the interest in butterflies overseas. We begin our holiday with a flight to thenation's capital, Budapest, a beautiful citythat merits a few extra days for sightseeingprior to, or at the end of our tour, shouldyou so wish. From here we travel to theAggtelek National Park, which lies alongHungary's border with Slovakia, about fourhours' drive from the capital. Aggtelek issituated within one of the most scenicparts of Hungary, a region rich in wildlife,history and folklore. Here, amongst alandscape which predominantly consistsof rolling meadows that are still mown byhand and ploughed by horse, prettyvillages lie scattered, together withpatches of deciduous woodland, limestonekarst and, along the River Bódva, dampwater meadows. This diversity of habitatsis home to a wealth of butterflies, as wellas other fauna and flora, and we have twofull days here to thoroughly explore theregion in search of the numerous blues,whites, coppers, graylings, hairstreaks andfritillaries that abound. Species to look outfor include Pallas's Fritillary, High BrownFritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, Duke ofBurgundy, Map Butterfly, CamberwellBeauty, Purple Emperor, Hungarian Glider,Dryad, Great Banded Grayling, ScarceSwallowtail and many, many others. Thebirdwatchers amongst us will no doubtkeep an eye skyward in case a Goshawkor an Imperial or Short-toed Eagle shouldpass overhead whilst, at lower levels, suchspecies as Barred Warbler, Red-backedShrike, Woodlark and Rock Bunting maybe seen. Leaving Aggtelek National Park, we nextdrive the short distance to the BükkNational Park, our base for the final fournights of this holiday. The Bükk Hills lie atthe southern edge of the Carpathians andrise gently from 300 metres above sealevel to a maximum elevation of 960metres. Although an upland area, most ofour time will be spent exploring thedeciduous woodlands and valleys in thelower reaches of the park and thus nostrenuous walks will be necessary to fullyappreciate this rich area. During our threefull days here we will explore, amongstother areas, the Hoy Valley and the Nagy-mezo and Omassa regions of the BükkPlateau. This is an extremely rich park forbutterflies. Amongst the woods and overthe flower-filled meadows and verges flyScarce and Common Swallowtails, WoodWhites, Chestnut Heaths, both Brown andPurple Hairstreaks, Poplar Admirals, Large,Sooty and Purple-edged Coppers, Queenof Spain Fritillaries, Purple and LesserPurple Emperors, Berger's CloudedYellows, and Chalk-hill, Short-tailed,Chequered, Turquoise and Reverdin'sBlues amongst many others. Woodlandedges host Scarce Fritillaries and BlackHairstreaks whilst the Bükk's fine oldBeech woods are home to CamberwellBeauty and Hungarian Glider. The greatHungarian Plain begins at the foot of theBükk Hills and we will also visit thegrasslands and wetlands here in the hopeof adding such species as Silver-studdedBlue and Chapman's Blue to our tally. Forthose with an interest in other wildlife,birds to look out for include Hawfinch,White-backed, Black and Grey-headedWoodpeckers, whilst dragonflies includeSouthern and Small Emerald Damselflies,Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common andMigrant Hawkers, White-tailed Skimmerand Vagrant Darter.This north-eastern region of Hungary isalso famed for its full-bodied red and whitewines, the fruity red Bull's Blood being oneof its more famous exports. There aremany old wine cellars cut into the hillsideshere and an evening's wine-tastingexcursion to one of the very best will bearranged for those who are interested.Here you will be free to sample the localproduce . and perhaps raise a glass tothe quality of the Magyar wildlife enjoyedduring the week! Butterflies ofHungaryAn 8-day butterfly holiday, run in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation, to the Aggtelek and Bükk National Parks in north-eastern Hungary. Tuesday 18th June - Tuesday 25th June Cost: £1,395 Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Budapest andtransfer to AggtelekNational Park.Day 2/3Aggtelek National Park.Day 4/7Bükk National Park.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationComfortable hotels throughout; allrooms with private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA. Easy day walks.FocusButterflies, dragonflies and otherwildlife.LeaderRob Parker, plus local guides.Single room supplement£160.ExtensionsArranged on request. Extra nightsin Budapest recommended andworthwhile.Web quick search: HUN0276Call now or visit your free Trip ItinerarySLOVAKIAAUSTRIACROATIAROMANIABUDA HILLSBUDAPESTRIVER DANUBELAKETISZAGYÖRGYÕSMISKOLCTISZAFÜREDHORTOBÁGYNATIONAL PARKDEBRECENRIVER TISZALAKE VELENCELAKE BALATONHUNGARYKISKUNSÁGNATIONALPARKBÖRZSÖNYHILLSBÜKKHILLSAGGTELEKNATIONAL PARKSwallowtails10% DONATIONTOSooty CopperScarce Fritillary

This summer tour to Hungaryconcentrates on two of the country'svery best national parks, the Bükkand the Hortobágy. The latter will alreadybe familiar to many Naturetrek travellers asone of Europe's finest bird areas and thecentre-piece of our spring and autumntours. For this holiday, however, we visit inAugust, when warm weather is the norm,when many butterflies and dragonflies areon the wing, and when Hungary'sbreeding birds are supplemented by returnpassage birds from northern Europe. Our holiday begins with a flight to theHungarian capital of Budapest. From herewe drive to the Bükk National Park in thenorth-east of the country and stay for threenights on the edge of a small, quiet villagesurrounded by flower-filled orchards andvineyards. Our hotel has its own grounds,complete with woodpeckers andHawfinches, and an adjacent lane linedwith fruit trees that attracts both birds andbutterflies. The Bükk is an upland area,comprised mainly of forested hills which,in effect, are the foothills of theCarpathians. The region was givennational park status in 1976 in order toprotect its geological (including many cavesystems), archaeological, historical(several castle ruins), floral and faunaltreasures. The hills rise gently from some300 metres above sea level to a maximumheight of 960 metres, so no strenuouswalks will be necessary to fully appreciatethis rich area. Most of our time here will be spent in thesouthern Bükk, where we will explore themixed hornbeam-oak forests, fine oldbeech woods, oak-dotted pastures, rocky dolomite-limestone slopes andhand-managed vineyards that all createsuch a diverse patchwork of habitats. This is one of Hungary's most famed wine producing areas - the red, fruityBull's Blood being one of its more famous exports. There are many oldcellars cut into hillsides and an evening'swine-tasting excursion to one of the verybest cellars will be arranged for those whowish! The flower-laden southern slopes ofthe Bükk are also blessed with a goodrange of butterflies. Various whites,yellows, blues, coppers, skippers,graylings and fritillaries are to be foundhere, including clouds of Silver-washedFritillaries. The forests and hills of the Bükk are also home to a wide diversity ofbirdlife. Raptors such as Imperial Eagle,Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle,Goshawk and Honey Buzzard soar onrising thermals and in August are oftenseen in the company of their newlyfledged young. The forests are alsoexcellent for woodpeckers, indeed up tonine species may be seen on this tourincluding Black, Grey-headed, White-backed and Syrian Woodpeckers. The second part of our holiday focuses onthe famous Hortobágy National Park. Thisflat region lies at the north of the GreatHungarian Plain and is typified by grazedsteppe-grasslands (the so-called 'puszta'),marshes, fish-pond systems, Robiniacopses and farmland. August is one of thevery best months in the year to visit; at thisseason the already phenomenal birdlifehere is joined by wildfowl, waders andraptors from thenorth and eastcrossing andloitering in the areaas they move southwardson migration. Each day we will explore thevery best habitats in search of the region'sspecialties. Wetlands hold PygmyCormorant, Glossy Ibis, numerous herons,crakes and grebes, Spoonbill, Black Stork,White-tailed Eagle, Ferruginous Duck, allthree 'marsh terns', Penduline Tit andmany others. Drained fish-ponds attractflocks of migrating waders. Dragonfliessuch as Southern Emerald, Small Emeraldand Blue-tailed Damselflies, SouthernMigrant Hawker, White-tailed Skimmer, andRuddy, Vagrant and Southern Darters willbe on the wing. The puszta is home to parties of GreatBustard, Stone Curlew, Common Crane,Tawny Pipit and hunting raptors such asLong-legged Buzzard, Saker and Red-footed Falcon, whilst roadside wiresprovide perches for Rollers, Bee-eaters,Lesser Grey Shrikes and Corn Buntingsamongst others. During our stay, we willbe based near Lake Tisza. Here, birdpassage will be in full swing, dragonflieswill be hawking over the lily-pads andbutterflies feeding on the grassy banks.There is much to see, and we are sure toencounter some of the region's traditionallivestock - Mangalica Pigs, Racka Sheepand Hungarian Grey Cattle, often tendedby shepherds with 'puli' dogs. Indeed, thisitinerary has been specifically designed totake in the very best of Hungary's hill andplain landscapes and habitats, folklore,cuisine and wildlife and is sure to remainin the memory a long while after we returnto Budapest to catch our flight home.Hungary in SummerAn 8-day natural history tour to eastern Hungary in search of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and plants.Tuesday 6th August - Tuesday 13th August Cost: £1,395Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationSLOVAKIAAUSTRIACROATIAROMANIABUDA HILLSBUDAPESTRIVER DANUBELAKETISZAGYÖRGYÕSAGGTELEKNATIONAL PARKMISKOLCTISZAFÜREDHORTOBÁGYNATIONAL PARKDEBRECENRIVER TISZALAKE VELENCELAKE BALATONHUNGARYKISKUNSÁGNATIONALPARKBÖRZSÖNYHILLSBÜKKHILLSOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Budapest andtransfer to BükkNational Park.Day 2/3Bükk National Park.Day 4/7Hortobágy NationalPark.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationComfortable hotels with privatefacilities throughout.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA. Easy day walks only.FocusBirds, plants, butterflies anddragonflies.LeaderPaul Harmes, plus local guides.Single room supplement£160.Web quick search: HUN0477Saker FalconLarkspurHortobágy fish-pond