Wildlife: Butterfly & Dragonfly Tour with Birds, Mammals, Wildflowers

3 National Parks inHungary, 8 days

The butterfly list of Hungary contains almost 200 species and there are about 3400 moth species in the country. The dragonfly list has 65 species, including some really exciting rarities such as Common Winter Damselfly, Green-eyed Hook-tailed Dragonfly, White-faced and Bulbous White-faced Darter.

Our Hungary trip takes us to the best wildlife spots in the country, visiting 3 strikingly different areas. First we travel to the famous steppe or "puszta"of Kiskunság National Park, followed by the limestone hills of Bükk National Park and rolling country of Aggtelek National Park.

Nicer still lesser known than Hortobágy, the scenic Kiskunság  preserves the Westernmost parts of the once continuous Eurasian steppe with the biggest populations of Great Bustards, localized butterfly and moth species like Freyer's Purple Emperor, unique, endemic wildflowers such as Onosma arenaria, rare dragonflies like Spotted Darter or Lilypad Whiteface and interesting mammals like Souslik or Steppe Polecat.

On the other hand Bukk Hills is a fantastic place for many sought after owl & woodpecker species including Ural & Eagle Owl or White-backed & Black Woodpecker; the Southern slopes & valleys are one of the best butterfly habitats with amazing species from Poplar Admiral through Camberwell Beauty to Purple-shot Copper; Norfolk Hawker and Vagrant Darter.

In Aggtelek National Park we explore a mixture of habitats ranging from very dry hillsides to wet valleys. These areas boast a terrific list of butterflies and dragonflies andwe should be in for quite a treat. We expect to find many rare Eastern European species.

 

 

Fact File

- 8 days in Hungary, visiting 3 wildlife-rich, contrasting National Parks

- start and finish in Budapest

- using 3 accommodations, all literally on site, 1 is our own charming Kondor EcoLodge



Highlights

- visiting 3 National Parks for a wide variety of habitats

- around 100 butterfly species possible

- long list of dragonflies including rarities

- rare birds: Pygmy Cormorant, Imperial Eagle, Saker, Great Bustard



Accommodation

3 nights in the Kiskunsag NP at our own wildlife-rich Kondor EcoLodge

2 nights in Aggtelek NP

2 nights in a tranquil village in Bükk NP



Departure Dates

http://www.ecotours.hu/calendar


Price

Ask for the actual price.

Our price includes:

- all travel as noted in the itinerary;

- all accommodation based on shared rooms (most rooms are twin bedded), at most locations there are single rooms as well for extra charge (Please ask for a single room at the time of booking!);

- 3 meals per day, generally breakfast at the accommodation, packed lunch, dinner (consists of at least two courses);

- services of the leader(s);

- trip materials.

Not included:

- optional programmes to places of interest and its entrance fees

- passports and visas

- airport and other departure taxes, tips

- food beyond generally 3 meals/day mentioned in the itineraries

- excess baggage charges,

- telephone calls,

- alcoholic beverages,

- compulsory personal insurance

If you have questions about the inclusion of any cost item, please contact us



Activity level

Easy walks at great habitats; some days can be hot



Optional programmes

Boat tour on Lake Tisza

Horse-drawn carriage ride and evening Puszta Party into the steppe of Hortobágy

Evening bat detection and identification

Evening moth trapping and identification

Marvellous tour into the Baradla dripstone cave system, a World Heritage Site

Cultural visit of the charming historical town of Eger

Wine tasting at the famous Thummerer cellar, wine maker of the year with famous Bull's Blood

Short sightseeing in the charming capital of Budapest



Itinerary

 

butterflies hungary eastern

1-4

After arriving at the Budapest Airport we head towards the Kiskunság National Park. Great Bustard, Saker, Red-footed Falcon, Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Collared Pratincole and Stone-Curlew will be our main targets. In the garden of our charming Kondor EcoLodge and walking distance from it we can have Rollers, Bee-eaters, Golden Orioles, Common and Black Redstart, Scops and Little Owl, Nightjar, just to mention a few.

Alkaline lakes and temporary flooded areas of grassland, channels and the 2 largest rivers in the country and their oxbow lakes are all perfect habitats for different dragonfly species, including Migrant Spreadwing/Southern Emerald Damselfly, Lesser Emperor and Emperor Dragonfly, Common & Ruddy Darter, Norfolk Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, White & Black-tailed Skimmer. Depending on timing and some luck we might find even Spotted Darter or Lilypad Whiteface alongside the rivers and lakes.

Butterflies range from Eastern short-tailed Blue through Lesser Fiery & Large Copper till Lesser Purple Emperor and even such localized species as Freyer's Purple Emperor.

The grasslands are colourful with Viper's Bugloss, large Blue Alkanet and Field Eryngo. Close to the Kondor EcoLodge we can find fields with Cornflower, Corn Gromwell and Corn Cockle. Large areas can be covered by Field Poppy dotted by Scented Mayweed. Yellow and White Bedstraws are really common and we should find a very nice Speedwell, Veronica longifolia as well. Alongside the shores of alkaline lakes because of the high salt concentration we regularly can see Sea-Lavender Limonium gmelinii, while at the sandy areas it is possible to find Dark Red Helleborine and lots of Euphorbia seguieriana. At other points Cut-leaved Self-heal and Scabiosa ochroleuca can be found side by side.

Mammals can be found sometimes even in or around the hotel garden includes Roe Deer, Eurasian Hare, Eastern Hedgehog, Red Squirrel and we also have a huge area with a big population of Sousliks, major food-source for Saker Falcon.

4-6

On the way from Kiskunsag to Bukk Hills we visit a fantastic wetland, breeding site of Pygmy Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, herons, Ferruginous Duck. Black Stork and White tailed Eagle breed in the "gallery forest" of the River Tisza and Spotted and Little Crake calls from the reeds, Corncrake from the wet meadow where at the edges we can find River Warbler as well.

Most of the Bükk Hills is characterized by vast beech woods and open limestone meadows with all the different karst forms produced by erosion such as fissures, sinkholes, underground streams and caverns. It is a perfect area for birding, where raptors soar above the valleys and dense deciduous woodlands provide home for woodland species such as owls, warblers and woodpeckers including Ural Owl, Black, White-backed, Grey-headed, Green, Great Spotted, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted and Syrian Woodpecker, plus Wryneck. Other attractive species in the Bükk Hills are Barred Warbler, Hawfinch, Red Breasted Flycatcher, Imperial Eagle and Collared Flycatcher. Eagle Owl might also be seen with a bit of luck.

6-8

After a final morning at the Bukk Hills we drive towards Aggtelek National Park through Uppony Hills, where we visit a spectacular valley in search of Hungarian Glider, White Admiral, Safflower and Orbed Red-underwing Skippers. Late afternoon we reach our family-run hotel in a tranquil village in the Aggtelek National Park.

Over the course of our stay we explore a mixture of habitats ranging from very dry hillsides to wet valleys. These areas boast a terrific list of butterflies and we should be in for quite a treat. We expect to find such rare species as Eastern Short-tailed, Osiris, Mountain Alcon, Large, Chapman's and Anomalous Blue, Lesser Spotted and Pallas's Fritillary, Hungarian and Common Glider, Purple Emperor and Large Tortoiseshell. Aggtelek NP is a fantastic place for dragonflies as well. We will have good chances for Beautiful and Banded Demoiselle, Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, Green-eyed Hook-tailed Dragonfly, Migrant Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Scarlet Skimmer and Ruddy Darter. Raptors are also widespread here including Honey Buzzard, Imperial and Short-toed Eagle.

On the last day we travel back to Budapest for our flight home. If time permits we can offer a professional sightseeing before we reach the airport.