Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hungarian Rhapsody...Part Three...A Plateau

By day four I must have been looking a bit jaded as Sam was telling me that there was no need for me to get up so early.  No way was I staying in bed and allowing him the chance to have sightings I missed!  Just as well, as we had Middle Spotted Woodpecker in the garden this morning along with the regular Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Marsh Tits et al.  A Red Squirrel was also visiting.  After breakfast we watched numbers of Essex Skipper Butterflies visiting the lavender along with the likes of Comma Butterfly.  Today we again watched a flyover of Eastern Imperial Eagle.  This time a pair of them!  Also watched was a fly over Short Toed Eagle.  Oh, and Sam found a Lesser Purple Emperor Butterfly in the garden.

Essex Skipper Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

We decided to have a relaxing day by walking up onto the plateau above Farm Lator.  In 2008 Graham and I had done this amidst torrential rain and my boots took a week to dry out.  Today it was dry and hot.  Very hot at times.  This meant that the butterflies were out in numbers.  The most heavily represented were Heath Fritillary, Great Banded Grayling and Meadow Brown.  I won’t list all of the other species, but they included Wood White, Marbled White, Small Heath, Peacock, Red Admiral, High Brown Fritillary, Scarce Copper and Brown Argus.  Butterflies gave us some good photographic opportunities.  Mammal sightings here included four Red Deer and a Shrew species.

Meadow Brown Butterfly
Great Banded Grayling

As we had begun our walk we were soon listening to the calls of Turtle Doves.  Finding them proved far harder, but we did eventually get some decent sightings.  Quail was heard nearby at one point, as were Cuckoos and Golden Orioles.  Hoopoe was heard and briefly seen and the sound of Skylarks, Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers was with us throughout the walk.  Hooded Crows were becoming accepted now as common birds as were the Jays, as we had such good sightings in the garden.

Mating Heath Fritillary
Heath Fritillary en-masse

We found our first Stonechat of the trip and warblers heard and/or seen were Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, and Chiffchaff.  We were on the look out for Barred Warbler in what is good territory for this species and we did think that we may have picked up its alarm call.  I have just checked it out on the CD and although after over a week it becomes a little difficult I do think we had it.  I won’t add it to the list until I have spoken with Sam and Graham and have them confirm it too.  What were in no doubt were the numbers of Tree Sparrow we saw today and most days of the trip.  Reed Bunting was also found.

Scarce Copper Butterfly 

Colourful Insect

Colourful insect
One of the better sightings of the day had to be our first Red Backed Shrikes of the trip.  More surprising however was the fact that we bumped into a couple who were also staying at Farm Lator.  We found that it wasn’t often that we saw anyone at all in this area.  We were able to put them onto mating Heath Fritillary Butterflies and they pointed out where they had just minutes earlier seen Hoopoes.

Map Butterfly (summer brood)
Well the above just gives a taste of the day.  We marched down hill hot, but happy and still listening to Turtle Doves.

Believe me, it would have made a great image if it hadn't run off!

Just seen a Great Reed Warbler!

We had previously decided that later in the day we would visit the reed-beds near the village of Saly.  We were soon watching Marsh Harriers and Common Buzzard here and during what was a pleasant walk between the reed-beds and cultivated farmland we counted numbers of Red Fox.  More Cuckoos were heard and this time we managed to briefly see one of them.  Both Sedge Warbler and Great Reed Warbler were both seen and heard and although I’m not so sure that Cetti’s Warbler is meant to be in the area I’m positive that we heard one singing.  I took a few hits from biting insects here, but happily we were never bothered by mosquitoes throughout our time in Hungary.  White Wagtail was found again, Savi’s Warbler heard as we were preparing to return for dinner and Map Butterfly gave us a very good sighting.  This is an ideal patch for any birdwatchers living in Saly.

As we ate dinner we listened to the chorus of Marsh Frogs and agreed with Rob that we would join a small group on a quest for a Hungarian Glider the following day.