Friday, 27 June 2014

Hungarian Rhapsody...Part Four...High on a Hill

Not a lonely goat-herd today, but a Hungarian Glider!

The day began with an early watch from the garden hide where we again watched Middle Spotted Woodpecker amongst the usual visitors.  We also had the now usual overhead flight of Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Garden action...Middle Spotted Woodpecker

...and Great Spotted Woodpecker
Our quest today was for Hungarian Glider Butterfly and I knew this would mean a quite steep climb on what was another hot day so well topped up with water we set off with Rob leading in anticipation of finding many butterfly species.

Did we find the Hungarian Glider?  Well to cut a long climb short I can confirm we did although it only gave a brief sighting.  The circumstances gave us one of many laughs on this trip.  We’d reached the top of what I began to call Mount Everest and Rob suggested that we spread out and search.  Graham continued the search along with Rob whilst Sam and I and our Dutch companions on the trip sat down for lunch in the sun after our long walk.  We heard shouts from Rob of Hungarian Glider and it flew close to us as we ate our sandwiches.  Graham had nicely flushed it out towards us, but sadly missed having a good sighting.  All I can say is that it pays to rest, sit and wait.  Rob explained that the changing seasonal patterns meant the Hungarian Gliders (quite uncommon anyway) were thin on the ground. 

Graham decided eating and resting is for the best after glider escapes him!

Southern Festoon Caterpillar

Mount Everest had offered us some interesting sightings and it wasn’t just butterflies on the wing that we saw.  The Southern Festoon Caterpillar had cameras in action as did the very attractive blue headed Green Lizard and a variety of unnamed insects.

Green Lizard
We did have quite a number of birds on the climb too the most interesting being Hobby, Raven and Tree Pipit.  The best sighting of Tree Pipit I’ve ever had.  It gave us a fine display and song.  Red Backed Shrikes were seen today, but I can’t remember quite where.  Sam caught sight of what was either Pied or Collared Flycatcher in the woodland we passed through.  All of this, and of course splendid views from a-high.

Blue Spot Hairstreak???

Insect Action

Rob Shows us a Woodland Graying
A beer was most welcome once we had returned to the village, but this wasn’t the end of the trip, as we stopped off at another good butterfly area on our return.  With Rob’s help the butterfly day list continued to rise.  I can handle the bird identification, but I certainly required Rob’s help with the butterflies.  We heard our first Nightingale of the trip here, although I’m told that there was one singing outside of our accommodation at Farm Lator.  What really had us excited towards the end of the day was the sight of the unexpected Bee-Eater colony.  This species was one of a number of lifers for Sam and I can’t think of a better situation to add a species to your life list.  These birds showed stunningly well in the bright sun as they perched on trees on the ridge in full sunlight and flew across the area we were standing.  It was one of the many highlights of the trip and the atmosphere is all coming back to me as I type.  Very special.  We later made plans to revisit the colony with the loan from Rob of a two man hide.   This would mean a climb up to the ridge around sunset, but some good images might be possible.  Sadly we never did return as time simply beat us.  You never know it may happen some day.

Nice strip.  Name the team!
Lists can be boring, but just for the record I’ll list the butterflies seen today…Large White, Small White, Marbled White, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Peacock, Comma, Small Heath, Pearly Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Hungarian Glider, Great Banded Grayling, Woodland Grayling, Adonis Blue, Mazarine Blue, Silver Studded BlueReverdin’s Blue, Purple Shot Copper, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Twin Spot Fritillary, Silver Washed Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Lesser Marsh Fritillary, Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Weavers Fritillary, Glanville’s Fritillary, Blue Spot Hairstreak, Lesser Purple Emperor, and Sloe Hairstreak

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Hawk Moth we stumbled across whilst checking out the moth trap before using it the following evening.

Dinner tasted good after such a long days walking.  Red Fox had been seen again and as we relaxed in the evening and as Sam examined the moth trip he added Hedgehog to our mammal list.  We completed our lists for the day and decided that tomorrow we would visit the Little Hortobagy never anticipating that tomorrow would be such a wonderful experience for us all.

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