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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

Over the years we have offered avariety of tours to Hungary,focusing on such wide-rangingwildlife delights as birds, butterflies andflowers. This unique holiday, however,focuses on a different aspect of theMagyar natural world and offers afascinating insight into the life of bats andother mammals - mainly rodents - whichare typically elusive and usually difficult tosee. We will visit huge cave- and house-dwelling bat colonies, and also join batresearchers as they mist-net bats at'swarming caves' and feeding sites. Wewill also join small mammal experts fromthe national parks and be on hand whenthey check their study traps (all animals,naturally, being released unharmed!). In all,we hope to see between 15 and 20species of bat on this week-long tour, aswell as up to 10 species of mouse, shrewand vole and perhaps three species ofdormouse. Larger mammals such as WildBoar, European Beaver, Brown Hare,Badger and both Red and Roe Deer arealso possible, together with an abundanceof birds and other wildlife. Wolf, EuropeanLynx and Wild Cat also occur in thisregion, but are unfortunately usually onlyseen by a lucky few! We begin our holiday with a flight toBudapest, Hungary's scenic capital city.From here we journey to the AggtelekNational Park, our base for the firstthree nights of the tour. Aggtelek issituated in the north-east of the countryand was one of the first national parks tobe designated in Hungary, primarily onaccount of its fine limestone scenery, karstlandscapes and extensive caves. Duringour time here we will visit bat coloniesclose to our hotel to see Geoffroy's, andboth Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats,and we will spend the evenings mist-netting with researchers, hoping forGreater and Lesser Mouse-eared, Serotineand Grey Long-eared Bats. We will alsoinspect small mammal traps to sample thelocal rodent fauna. Amongst the specieswe might see are Common, Pygmy, LesserWhite-toothed, Bi-coloured White-toothed,Water and Miller's Water Shrew; StripedField, Wood, Yellow-necked, Herb Field,Harvest, Steppe and House Mouse; andBank, European Pine and Common Voles.Along a stream we could catchBechstein's, Mediterranean Horseshoe,Brandt's, Pond and Natterer's Bats andwith luck even Parti-coloured Bat. There is,of course, plenty of other wildlife to enjoy in addition to the mammals andduring our time here we will not beignoring butterflies such as Pallas'sFritillary, Large Blue and Large Copper,and such birds as Imperial Eagle, GoldenOriole, Red-backed Shrike and BlackWoodpecker. On one day we will also paya short visit to an old vineyard and enjoy atypical Hungarian goulash prepared by itsfriendly owner.For the latter half of our holiday we willmove south to our second base in theBükk National Park, stopping en route tovisit an old Cistercian Abbey, home to animportant colony of Lesser HorseshoeBats. The Bükk National Park protects alandscape of gentle forested hills andmeadows, noted particularly for its gorgesand numerous caves. This region holds anexceptionally diverse bat fauna, and onoccasions up to 14 different species canbe observed on a single night! During ourtime here we will visit a large house toobserve a colony of Geoffroy's, GreaterHorseshoe, Mediterranean Horseshoe andLesser Mouse-eared Bats and we willspend time one evening studying bats atone of Hungary's most important'swarming caves'. Species to look out formay include Alcathoe's, GreaterHorseshoe, Lesser Horseshoe,Mediterranean Horseshoe, Daubenton's,Pond, Bechstein's, Brandt's, Whiskered,Greater Mouse-eared, Lesser Mouse-eared, Geoffroy's, Natterer's, Barbastelleand Common Long-eared Bats. We willalso visit the baroque town of Eger toobserve a huge Noctule Bat colonyroosting under a road bridge.On one day we descend from the hills totake an evening boat trip on Lake Tisza tosearch for European Beaver. The numerouscanals, oxbow lakes and ponds here arehome to a wide variety of other wildlifeincluding plentiful dragonflies and birdssuch as Purple, Night and Squacco Herons,Great and Little Bitterns, Pygmy Cormorantsand Penduline Tits. En route we will stop atan expanse of grassland steppe known asthe 'Little Hortobágy'. Here we should beable to add European Souslik -a smalland endearing ground squirrel -to ourmammal tally along with Brown Hare andperhaps Muskrat or even the bizarre LesserMole Rat. Back in the hills we will join another smallmammal researcher to check dormousenestboxes in the hope of finding Edible,Forest or Hazel Dormouse. Then, finally,we must head back to Budapest to catchour flight home, although you might like toconsider extending your holiday for a fewdays to enjoy the sights and sounds ofHungary's beautiful capital city.Hungary's Bats, Mammals &other WildlifeAn unusual 8-day mammal-watching holiday to the rolling woodlands and meadows of northern Hungary in search of bats, rodents, larger mammals and an abundance of other wildlife.Monday 2nd September - Monday 9th September Cost: £1,495Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Budapest andtransfer AggtelekNational Park.Day 2/3Aggtelek National Park. Day 4/7Bükk National Park, andLittle Hortobágy.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationComfortable, but simple, hotels. Allrooms with private facilities. FoodAll included in the price.GradingA/B. Easy to moderate day walks. FocusMammals (especially bats androdents), plus birds, butterflies andother wildlife.LeaderJon Stokes or Ed Drewitt, plus localguides.Single room supplement£165.Web quick search: HUN0578Call now or visit your free Trip ItinerarySLOVAKIAAUSTRIACROATIAROMANIABUDA HILLSBUDAPESTRIVER DANUBELAKETISZAAGGTELEKNATIONAL PARKTISZAFÜREDHORTOBÁGYNATIONAL PARKDEBRECENRIVER TISZALAKE VELENCELAKE BALATONHUNGARYKISKUNSÁGNATIONALPARKBÜKK HILLSNATIONAL PARKGeoffroy's BatsEuropean SouslikBükk National ParkSerotine Bat