At the end of November, we traveled to Ómassa, a small village in the Bükk mountains to make a small trip in the beech forest. The temperature was -6 °C, here it is always a bit colder than in other parts of the Bükk. Different types of frost crytals covered the fallen leaves and stones on the ground...
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Ómassa, Bükk Mts., Hungary (Ómassa, Bükk Gebirge, Ungarn) (Ómassa, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 10.2011.
During winter I made some microscope and macro photos of the tiniest animals that live in the forest soil and leaf litter that I collected during last autumn in the Bükk mountains. For that, I simply have keeped the probes wet, and I took out a bit of these into a Petri dish filled with water to find the small worms and mites using a stereo microscope. These minute animals - annelids, rotifers, nematodes, water bears and minute mites are otherwise invisible. Despite their microscopic size, these stange creatures are important parts of a healthy forest ecosystem and they are also a significant part of a habitat's biodiversity.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Aggtelek National Park, Hungary (Aggtelek Nationalpark, Ungarn) (Aggteleki Nemzeti Park, Magyarország) 09.2011.
In the middle of September I went on a cycling tour to the Aggtelek National Park in north-eastern Hungary. I took all my photography equipment with me, because I wanted to take some pictures in the unique peat bogs of Kelemér and at a little lake in Jósvafő. I started my tour in the town of Putnok and cycled up towards the peat bog. There are two such bogs close to each other near the village called Kelemér, and both of them are strictly protected. There are very few peat bogs in Hungary and these are the easternmost ones. The bogs are hidden in a dense forest and inside them so many trees (Downy Birches, willows, poplars) are growing that it is quite easy to walk past them without even noticing them. That is probably one of the reasons that these bogs remained quite intact throughout the ages. They are truly unique habitats in Hungary, where climate and the lack of high mountains do not favour the persistence of such bogs (see here).
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
On the last day of August we drove out from Debrecen eastwards, towards Újléta, to a characteristic sandy habitat surounded by lowland forests and agricultural landscape. On the way we stopped at the Fancsika lakes where we searched for insects and spiders using a sweeping net in the patches of swamp habitats and the cattail vegetation by the water. Even here numerous spectacular species were found that I've never seen before, but the real sensation was found during the night-lamping.
Friday, August 19, 2011
In the second half of August we drove to the Keleti Canal, near the town Balmazújváros (at the edge of Hortobágy National Park) for night-lamping. Countless biting and non-biting midges were swarming near the water and the lamp attracted many other insects. Only common moth species came, but from other insect groups a couple of rarer species showed up.
Monday, August 15, 2011
In the middle of August, with some friends we traveled to an area of the Great Hungarian Plateau quite well known among tourists: the Puszta. We spent 2 days in a nature reserve called Bugac-Puszta near the village of Bugac. The nature reserve is part of the Kiskunság National Park, which is in turn part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are characteristic sandy plains and patches of White Poplar - Juniper woods which form a floristic association. The climate is arid and very hot in the summer. These characteristics and the unique fauna make Bugac-Puszta an excellent destination for nature photographers (but the best time to travel here is probably not August).
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I spent only one and a half hour in Kisgyőr this summer. This is a small village near Miskolc in north-east Hungary that I regularly visit for taking photos. It is surrounded by a protected landscape of warm, submediterranean slope-steppes, bush-forests and old orchards, called The Galya. The area constitutes the southernmost part of the Bükk-mountains, but its flora and fauna is more like that of the submediterranean slopes in the Balkans. Despite the very short trip, I managed to find several nice themes to photograph and I think this is a good proof that one does not have to travel far from home to find an astonishing nature.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Øvre Pasvik, Finnmark, Norway (Øvre Pasvik, Finnmark, Norwegen) (Øvre Pasvik, Finnmark, Norvégia) 07.2011.
One of the most interesting destinations to visit on our spider-excursion in Finnmark was the so-called Pasvikdalen, the valley of the Passvikelva river located at the southernmost tip of the county. This is not really a valley, but instead a comlpex network of lakes and rivers and streams. The area is at the triple border of Finnland, Norway and Russia. It is also home of the Øvre Pasvik National Park that is famous of its brown bears. We visited this area on two occasions. The National Park is located more than 100 kms Southwards from Kirkenes in a largely uninhabited area.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Pasvik Valley, Finnmark, Norway (Pasvik-Tal, Finnmark, Norwegen) (Pasvik-völgy, Finnmark, Norvégia) 07.2011.
On the last week of July we - 3 members of the German Spinnen-Forum - traveled to Finnmark (Finnmárku), the extreme Northeast county of Norway. We were invited there by three Norwegian arachnologists and we spent there a whole week. Our aim was to investigate the really poorly known spider fauna of this county and to find species of spiders that have never been recorded from Norway before. With a loaned car we traveled to many breath-taking landscapes in Sør-Varanger commune (Máttá-Várjjat in Sami) and spent every daytime with collecting and photographing the remarkable local fauna and flora. And luckily, daytime here in summer is really a long period. In a series of posts I will report about this journey.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Grense Jakobselv, Finnmark, Norway (Grense Jakobselv, Finnmark, Norwegen) (Grense Jakobselv, Finnmark, Norvégia) 07.2011.
On one day on our field trip in Finnmark, we traveled some 60 kms eastwards from Kirkenes to the border area of Norway and Russia. The border is along the small Jakobselva river, and one of the main villages here is Grense Jakobselv (basically just some houses). The avarage population density in Sør-Varanger is 3/sq km, but that of the border area and the adjacent easternmost part of Sør-Varanger is definetly lower! During this trip, we stopped at Jarfjordfjellet, collected some spiders at the Jakobselv river and at the shores of the Barents sea, and than traveled to the uninhabited tundra zone of the border area.
Jakobselv tundra, Finnmark, Norway (Jakobselv Tundra, Finnmark, Norway) (Jakobselv Tundra, Finnmark, Norvégia) 07.2011.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Færdesmyra, Finnmark, Norway (Færdesmyra, Finnmark, Norwegen) (Færdesmyra, Finnmark, Norvégia) 07.2011.
On the last week of July we - 3 members of the German Spinnen-Forum - traveled to Finnmark (Finnmárku), the extreme Northeast county of Norway. We were invited by three Norwegian arachnologists and we spent there a whole week. Our aim was to investigate the really poorly known spider fauna of this county and to find species of spiders that have never been recorded from Norway before. With a loaned car we traveled to many breath-taking landscapes in Sør-Varanger commune (Máttá-Várjjat in Sami) and spent every daytime with collecting and photographing the remarkable local fauna and flora. And luckily, daytime here in summer is really a long period. In a series of posts I will report about this journey. The territory that we visited is the easternmost part of Finnmark, its main city is Kirkenes with a population of 7300 (with nearby villages included) connected to the Barents Sea through the Varangerfjorden, situated 400 kms Nort of the Arctic Circle. The landscape is quite different from other parts of Norway, there are much lower mountains than on the Western coasts facing the Norwegian Sea. There are some tundra-like areas, but real arctic tundras are only found near the Nordkapp. The Southern part of Sør-Varanger is the westernmost part of the Russian taiga region, and it is also the triple border of Norway, Finnland and Russia. Climate is relatively mild especially along the coast. In summer one can observe the midnight sun and the temperature is quite comfortable, ranging from about 8 to 20 degrees Celsius when the sun is high. We visited the huge bog called Færdesmyra on the second day's morning. The protected areas of this is about 3 by 3 kms wide! The special feature of this bog is that it is partially a palsa-bog, so it has parts with permafrost. The ever-frozen ground water in the palsas forms ice-rich layers (lenses) in palsas and in the next winter another lens is formed, which pushes the older one downer, while pushing the ground above it upwards. This forms the characteristic landscapes of palsas. Because of the summers getting more and more hot this habitat type is under serious threat in Southern Finnmark. The flora here is characterized by peat forming sphagnum mosses, sedge, and other acid-water plants. On the top of palsas, several delicious berries can be found. Location: Færdesmyra. Date: 26.07.2011.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
As we traveled to Finnmark via Oslo in July, 2011, I spent a day by the Airport of Oslo in Gardermoen. I went out to take some photos, as the weather was nice. But than a heavy shower came and I returned to the bread-and-breakfast hotel, so there are only a few photos to show. Regardless of the short time I spent there, I found the Southern-Norwegian boreal pine forest to be a really interesting habitat, that differed quite a lot from the forests of Finnmark. Location: Gardermoen. Date: 24.07.2011.
Monday, June 27, 2011
At the end of June we were on vacation in Greece, in the middle peninsula of Chalkidiki called Sithonia Peninsula. This is a mostly arid region, with quite few inhabitants characterised by mediterranean pine forests, olive groves and rocky sea shores. The highest point of the peninsula is about 900 ms. As we were there quite late in the summer, the whole area was very dry, meaning that very few flowers were blossoming and most arthropods were already past their active cycle. Most mediterranean animals are active from winter to spring and from autumn to winter, meaning that adult specimens either aestivate in summer or they die at the end of spring and only eggs or larvae survive. However, I did manage to find some intersting animals even on the land. Location: Neos Marmaras. Date: 21-27.06.2011.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Aegean Sea at Sithonia, Greece (Ägäisches Meer bei Sithonia, Griechenland) (Égei-tenger Sithoniánál, Görögország) 06.2011.
At the trip in Greece, Sithonia Peninsula, I spent a lot of time searching for animals in the sea surroundung the village of Neos Marmaras. Luckily, the water was clean, the area was beautiful and I managed to find and photograph quite a lot of echinoderms, fish and molluscs. As I do not have an underwater camera, I took photos and videos of animals in small tidal pools and in shallow water. Location: Neos Marmaras. Date: 21-26.2011.
Friday, June 17, 2011
We visited the Kácsa-Island in June 2011, a remnant of the floodplain of the River Tisza, near the town Tiszacsege. This protected area is managed by the Hortobágy National Park and its flora and fauna represent how much of the Hungarian Plain looked like before its great rivers were controlled. The small 'island' is enclosed by the river and its oxbow. Location: Tiszacsege. Date: 17.06.2011.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sebesvíz, Bükk Mountains, Hungary (Sebesvíz, Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Sebesvíz, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 06.2011.
Közép-Garadna - Bükk Mountians, Hungary (Közép-Garadna - Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Közép-Garadna, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 06.2011.
In June 2011 we visited the Bükk mountains in North-East Hungary. The nice, sunshiny day was perfect for taking photos and we managed to find some very rare animals. We spent some time searching at Közép-Garadna, at a place where we had managed to find the strangest harvestman of Hungary back in 2009. We were succesful at the end, we found a male and a female Holoscotolemon jaqueti specimen. This is the only harvestman in our country that belongs to the primitive suborder Laniatores. It is easily recognised from its orange colour and its huge, spiny pedipalps. Holoscotolemon and hence the suborder Laniatores are only known since a couple of years in Hungary, exclusively from some places in the Bükk mountains. Due to its life habits it is really difficult to find this species. I found it under piles of stone, some 50 cm deep. This harvestman reaches maturnity slowly and its reproduction rate is certainly very low. Its population number is hence never high. There is page of the species – and of the other harvestmen - in the SpinnenWiki here. Location: Bükk, Közép-Garadna. Date: 13.06.2011.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
In the middle of June I took a short trip to Komlóstető, a small hill partially covered with houses that belongs to the city of Miskolc. There is a small, arid meadow, which does not seem to be of interest at first sight, howewer it has a suprisingly interesting animal life. Many invertebrates live here that I’ve never seen before anywhere else. Location: Miskolc, Komlóstető. Date: 12.06.2011.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
On the Čiovo island I spent only about an hour with photographing animals and plants on the seashore, but yet I managed to find many interesting species. The Adriatic is a popular destination for scuba divers, but even without special equipment one may make a short walk on the shore for exploring sea life - even without getting wet. The low tide is most suitable for this, when many animals are trapped in small pools remaining on the surface of rocks. The Mediterranean Sea, which the Adria is a part of, covers only 0.7% of the worldwide marine surface area and yet it holds 9% of its biodiversity according to present knowledge. This is even more surprising considered that the so-called Messinian salinity crisis ended only about 5.3 million years ago and this enormous biodiversity was formed only after this event. The Mediterranean Sea Marine Ecoregion is also part of WWF's Global 200, just as the Mediterranean Basin. Location: Čiovo Island. Date: 22-26.05.2011.
At the end of May 2011 we visited the Balkan on a trip organised by the Spinnen-Forum (there is a common trip report here at the Forum). Our aim was to find as many spider species as possible and to get to know the mediterranean fauna. The base during the trip was the island Čiovo. This island is located between Trogir and Split in the region of Middle-Dalmatia, it has an area of 28.8 square kilometers, its highest point is 217 m. Some smaller settlements are located on the island and the town of Trogir (which is on the World Heritage list) expands partly onto it also. Its area is – luckily – still mostly covered by natural vegetation. There are plenty of natural or semi-natural dry, coastal pine forests intterrupted by olive groves. A beautiful rocky seashore is found on the southern part. Location: Čiovo Island. Date: 22-26.05.2011.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bugojno, Bosnien und Herzegowina) (Bugojno, Bosznia és Hercegovina) 05.2011.
In the mountainous area near Bugojno, central Bosnia we made many interesting discoveries. Meadows with blossoming orchids interrupted the dense Illyrian forests, brooks were flowing nearby, and due to the rather high elevation above sea level the local plant life was in a much fresher state than the one in Croatia. The fauna is very diverse. Here, the animal world of Central Europe and the Mediterranean Region meet and there are also several endemic species. Location: Bugojno. Date: 24-25.2011.
Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Livno, Bosnien und Herzegowina) (Livno, Bosznia és Hercegovina) 05.2011.
We travelled from Čiovo to Southern Bosnia for one and a half days where we got to kwnow this land rich in interesting landscapes. After leaving the border, we traveled past karst landscapes in a mostly uninhabited region in the traditional county of Herzeg-Bosnia. The first area that we searched through was a field at the edge of a shrubby forest dominated by Downy Oak, near Zagoričani, Livno. Than we visited a large open limestone pavement landscape nearby. Location: Zagoričani, Livno. Date: 24-25.05.2011.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
In Middle Dalmatia we found a fascinating flora and fauna, a part of which I’ll try to present in this post. We searched through the hills surrounding Trogir, here the landscape is mostly characterised by arid slopes with large rocks, mediterranean plant communities, and an insect fauna typical of arid areas. Location: Surroundings of Trogir. Date: 23.05.2011.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
May is usually one of the best months for photographing plants and animals. I show some plants and insects that were photographed in gardens, parks and in the forest called Nagyerdő in Debrecen (some insects where collected when I did not have my camera with me and photographed later). Location: Debrecen. Date: 09-19.04.2011.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Bükkszentlélek, Bükk Mts., Hungary (Bükkszentlélek, Bükk Gebirge, Ungarn) (Bükkszentlélek, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 05.2011.
In May, 2011 we traveled for night-lamping into the Bükk mountains, to an area named Szentlélek. We chose a suitable point to set up the lamp that would attract moths and other insects, and until the night came we also took some photos of in the nearby forest. The weather was nice and moths came, but mostly common species (at least common during night-lamping - these moths are very hard or almost impossible to find by just searching in the vegetation in daytime). However, almost all specimens were still in a very nice shape, with intact wings still covered entierly with scales. Specimens of these spring species are usually very 'worn-out' and scuffed by the beginning of summer. Location: Szentlélek, Bükk Mts. Date: 11.05.2011.
Friday, May 6, 2011
At the beginning of May I spent a few days in Smolenice, in the Western part of Slovakia, in the Little Carpathians. These are an about 100 km long, rather low-lying mountain range, covered mainly by decidous forests and a few pine forests. The most famous attraction of the town is the Smolenice Castle, which was rebuilt by the Hungarian Graf József Pálffy in neo-gothic style. The surrounding forests have a rich insect fauna. Location: Smolenice. Date: 03-06.05.2011.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
In April I traveled to Nyírábrány in East Hungary to some moors and to some open sandy grasslands nearby to take photos. The flora and fauna of this area is typical of the Nyírség landscape area, which is an north-eastern part of the great Hungarian Plain. There were once extensive birch moors (the lands got its name after the Hungarian word for birch), swamps, lowland oak forests and open sandy grasslands here. Nowadays the land is mostly agricultural, but there are still many places for taking nature photos here. Several such areas are protected also. Location: Nyírábrány. Date: 07-16.04.2011.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Sebesvíz II., Bükk Mountains, Hungary (Sebesvíz II., Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Sebesvíz II., Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 04.2011.
At the end of April 2011 I cycled up from Miskolc to the Sebesvíz brook in the Bükk mountain and Bükk National Park. This is one of my favourite places for nature photography, and it is definetly one of the most interesting brooks in Hungary because it is the steepest, it has a unique fauna and it is well hidden in the forest from most tourists. I was there at the beginning of April also, see that post here. Location: Sebesvíz-brook. Date: 23.04.2011.
Friday, April 22, 2011
April is usually one of the best months for photographing plants and animals. I show some plants and insects that were photographed in gardens, parks and in the forest called Nagyerdő in Debrecen (some insects where collected when I did not have my camera with me and photographed later). Among the plants there will be quite common herbaceous ones that can be found all around Europe in ruderal plant communities - but I'll try to show them in a different perspective. Most people never notice how nice these common plants may be. And by showing some rare insects, I'd like to demonstrate that sometimes there is a suprising, hidden biodiversity even in cities. Sustaining a healthy environment in city parks and gardens (e.g. avoiding insecticides, leaving some decaying wood in parks, propagating native plant species, etc.) may be a great help for animal and plant biodiversity. Beside its intrinsic value, insect biodiversity has an economical value also: different bee and fly species pollinate different types of garden and agricultural plants; many insects prey on agricultural/horticultural pests; many help by accelerating the decomposition of dead organic material, etc. Location: Debrecen. Date: 09-22.04.2011.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Sebesvíz I., Bükk Mountains, Hungary (Sebesvíz I., Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Sebesvíz I., Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 04.2011.
The brook Sebesvíz in the Bükk Mountains is one of my favourite places for nature photography. It is a short but very fast-flowing mountain brook, flowing into the brook Garadna. Sebesvíz and its surroundings are home to many interesting and rare invertebrate species, some of which occur only here in Hungary. Location: Sebesvíz-brook. Date: 02.04.2011.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
At the beginning of March, there are usually still only common spring insects that are active in lowland forests, like in the so-called Nagyerdő forest (part of the Natura 2000) at the northern edge of the city of Debrecen. Most beetles have not yet ended their winter hibernation and this makes them quite easy to find, if one knows where to look for them. The Nagyerdő has many different tree species - it is partly a park, so there are many alien trees as well. The most important tree species for the insects are the old Pendunculate Oaks that grow here in a large number. These trees support a suprising diversity of insects. Many wasps, ants, bugs and beetles require oaks: either they feed from the oaks, or they prey on the plant-eaters. Also, decaying oak wood is the sole food source for many endangered beetles. And in winter, many arthropods hybernate under the barks of old oaks. The majority of these is still inactive in March, and one can find many rare species under the pieces of bark. Some other trees like pines and sycamores host an entirely different collection of arthropods under their barks. Location: Nagyerdő, Debrecen. Date: 03.2011.
Monday, January 31, 2011
In January, there's usually not much to photograph (in Europe), mostly not when one spends his time in a city. But there are some opportunities to blow off the dust on the camera. In winter I regularly collect small pieces of moss from house walls or from tree barks so that I can search for microscopic animals in them later. For that, I use a stereo-microscope and if I find something, I take photos of it. Location: Debrecen. Date: 01.2011.