Sunday 2 June 2024

Hungary Day 5 - 22nd May 2024 for Bird's Wildlife & Nature Tours

We were outside our hotel in Noszvaj at 6am after a night of heavy rain. It was meant to be clearing... Our walk up the gloomy road revealed hungry, ‘dzipping’ Hawfinches feeding on the verges along with White Wagtails and our first Grey Wagtail. Great Spotted, Green and Black Woodpeckers were heard and a Middle Spot flew over which was a good way to start the day. Two male Wood Warblers were in fine song and a male Collared Flycatcher flicked across the road which we had to keep an eye on avoid treading in the countless huge and glorious Roman Snails. The heavens then opened and the whole day plan changed.

I was quite taken by the Roman Snails if you hadn't noticed

Our route took us up into the mid Bükk Hills and actually into the cloud base before we stopped to investigate a stand of very fine old Beech trees (which is what Bükk means) that reminded me of the monsters in the mist in the Spanish Pyrenees where we were looking for Lilford's Woodpecker with Gerard and the late Julen nearly ten years ago. This time it was White-backed and amazingly we heard one immediately and soon found it feeding very high up on a dead snag. We had now encountered all nine possible species.

Wondering if this is White Backed Woodpecker damage?

White Backed Woodpecker 

White Backed Woodpecker 

White Backed Woodpecker - the above three by Neil Colgate

There were plenty of interesting flowers - many familiar to the UK along with Narrow-leaved and White Helleborines and Deadly Nightshade.

Narrow-leaved Helleborine - Cepalanthera longifolia

Narrow-leaved Helleborine - Cepalanthera longifolia

White Helleborine - Cephalanthera damasonium

Greater Celandine

Greater Stitchwort - Rabelera holostea - these confused me as had gone over

Green Hellebore - Helleborus viridis

Jewelweed - Impatiens noli-tangere


Deadly Nightshade

The rain returned once again so we pushed on upwards and made another stop at a little meadow for another short walk. We thought the weather was clearing but it was trying to lure us in to removing coats. Yellowhammers sang and a Short-toed Treecreeper was unusual at this elevation and as we got back to the van a Grey Headed Woodpecker flew across the clearing looking like a Green Woody jammed into a Great Spot body.  The flowers were wonderful and just needed some sun to bring the insects out.

Yet another Roman Snail

Bastard Balm - Melittis melissophyllum 

Bladder Campion - Silene vulgaris

Bloody Crane's-bill - Geranium sanguineum

Bulgarian Columbine - Aquliegia nigricans


Dusky Crane's-bill - Geranium phaeum

German Ipecac - Vincetoxicum hirundinaria

Nottingham Catchfly

Oriental Goat's Beard - Tragopogon orientalis

Paper Bellflower - Campanula persicifolia

Spreading Bellflower - Campanula patula

On again to another spot where Wood Warblers trilled in melodramatic crescendos and a Common Treecreeper made it the double and then lunch at the newly opened astronomical observatory although the view was still hampered by the very low cloud and rain. They did do a good coffee and donut.

Hungarian cloud rain forest

Wood Warbler high above - Neil Colgate

Spotted Dead Nettle - Lamium maculatum

Turk's Cap-  Lilium martagon 

Yellow Archangel

A Barred Warbler and Serin sang and Black Woodpeckers were whining while the lull in dampness tempted out Buzzard and Honey-Buzzard and a fine male Red-backed Shrike that began to chatter from a briar arch.

Down again and onto a very bumpy track where Hawfinches flicked up ahead of us flashing white wing bars and tail corners before pulling off at a t-junction for a lengthy walk up a side valley where the meadows would have been alive with insects if the weather had given us a chance. 

We did quite well with Chequered Skipper, Small Pearl Bordered Frits, Chapman’s Blue and a Clouded Apollo which was a good find. There were Nine Spotted Burnet, Silver-Y, Black-veined and Speckled Yellow day flying moth and a few familiar Beetles, Shieldbugs and other interesting inverts. Feel free to correct or tell me missing names!

Endothenia gentianaeana moth larva in Teasel just like back home

Red & Black Leafhopper

Firebug - Pyrrhocoris apterus

Looks like Cantharis rustica

Pisaura mirabilis

One of the Marbled Bush-crickets

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Green Veined White

Green Veined White

Chequered Skipper

Harlequin Ladybird

Rose Chafer

Dionconotus confluens


Bombus sp - looked like B pratorum

Wasp Beetle - Clytus arietis or similar

Pyrochroa serriticornis

A very large and impressive Soldierfly - working on it!

Green Shieldbug

Roman Snail - blonde

Roman Snail

A large insipid grey slug

Roman Snail - up for a challenge

Large Orange Slug - an Arion sp?

Nettle Tap or similar

Cauchas fibulella or similar

Small Argent & Sable?

Synema globosum

Synema globosum

Chapman's Blue - Neil Colgate

Chapman's Blue 

Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum odoratum

Perennial Honesty - Lunaria rediviva

Birdwise it was unsurprisingly quiet given the weather but we did find a family of Marsh Tits, a Sparrowhawk mobbing a Honey Buzzard and heard Black and White-backed Woodpeckers once again.

Sparrowhawk Honey Buzzard - Neil Colgate

Song Thrush - Neil Colgate

Our search for Ural Owls drew a blank and an incoming thunderstorm hit suddenly but thankfully only a couple of minutes from the van. We bumped our way out and stopped near the end to check a cliff area in a lull in the weather for Rock Bunting which we swiftly found - albeit at range and scanned for Eagle Owl only to have one give a loud 'whoooo' as we literally got back into the van.  

Rock Bunting

Two Red Deer watched us - Neil Colgate

We lingered a while but could not find the Owl and so wended our way back to the hotel to try to dry off and wonder what we were going to do with our shoes.

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