New Report: A Hungarian Wet Weekend

aggletek national park
Bódva Valley

I returned to Hungary for a weekend in mid May. Balazs Szigeti who I travelled with last time was busy, so he fixed me up with Sandor Boldogh who works at Aggtelek National Park in northern Hungary and runs occasional tours. Sandor was excellent: a lovely guy and a great naturalist. But even his super-mammal-powers weren’t enough to compensate for the terrible weather. It hardly stopped raining the whole weekend and the weather was 10C cooler than usual too.

Sandor did manage to show me two of my target species, beginning with a Common Bentwing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersi) which we saw at a secret location
Miniopterus schreibersi
Common Bentwing

Followed by a Ural (Pygmy) Field Mouse (Apodemus uralensis) which we caught that evening in one of the locally made mammal traps (great in the dry weather but not so effective in the rain).

apodemus uralensis
Ural (Pygmy) Field Mouse

Over the course of the weekend we also saw several Brown Hares, Common Noctules and Daubentons (during an otherwise fruitless hour’s mistnetting in Sandor’s village), as well as Lesser Mouse-eared and Geoffroy’s Bats near the Miniopterus colony and a colony of Mediterranean Horseshoe Bats too.

rhinolophus euryale
Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat

With better weather I feel sure we would have seen Steppe Mice (Mus spicilegus) which Sandor has a failsafe spot for viewing, Hamsters (which are a pest animal especially in the Autumn) and Particolored Bats: we visited a quarry where they may have been roosting but couldn’t locate the roost perhaps because the animals were in torpor and not calling. Sandor also thought there would be a very good chance of catching some of several species of Shrews – European and Miller’s Water Shrew, and Bi-colored and Lesser White-toothed Shrews. I will have to go back.

Despite the rain I remain a big fan of all things Hungarian!

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