Monday, November 5, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Last October, I had the opportunity to join a group of mammalologists who study the lesser mole rats of the Carpathian Basin. In the Hajdúság region in East-Hungary (traditional county of the Hajdús) and in the Transylvanian Plain in Romania, an endemic (sub)species of mole rats is found: Nannospalax (leucodon) transsylvanicus. This blind rodent was once widespread, now only relict populations remain - it is strictly protected now. They spend their entire life underground, digging an extensive system of branched burrows and feeding mostly on roots. For studying the population in a military-owned area near Hajdúhadház, 2 specimens were dug out, examined and released back.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Biogradska Gora National Park, Montenegro (Nationalpark Biogradska Gora, Montenegro) (Biogradska Gora Nemzeti Park, Montenegró) 09.2012.
As we travelled through Montenegro, we stopped for a night in the Biogradska Gora National Park in the northern, mountainous region of the country. It was raining the whole day long, so we just set up our tents and spent the whole night listening to the roaring of local brown bears. Taking photos was not possible, than, however, one interesting arthropod species turned out in the tents in great numbers: the orange harvestman Opilio ruzickai.
On the way back from Albania in September 2012, we stopped on the Bojana Island (Ada Bojana) for a day, which is located at the Montenegrin side of the boarder river of the same name. There are sandy coasts, coastal forests, salt swamps and a large number of interesting reptiles on this small island.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Sarandë District, Albania III. (Kreis Sarandë, Albanien III.) (Sarandë járás, Albánia III.) 09.2012.
We spent our last days in Albania between the villages of Kulluricë and Kodër. The landscape dominated by only 100-300 m high mounds is spectacular (and there is a nice view on the hills of Corfu), the vegetation was diverse even in the autumn and we managed to find many reptiles and arthropods here.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
We spent a day in the vicinity of Shalës in South-Albania, camping on the shore of a small river between 500-700 m high hills, covered with maquis shrublands. The area is used by goat herders, who roam around with the herd and their dogs on the steep hills - the landscape is just idyllic. Of course the local fauna offers some interesting discoveries as well.
We spent the second half of our Albanian field trip in the southernmost part of the land. We drove to Sarandë and from there through the Butrint National Park (Parku Kombëtar i Butrintit), which is famous for its archeological sites of different eras. First, we stopped near Shkallë to search for reptiles. This landscape differs greatly from the mountainous, forested areas we visited earlier during the trip. It is covered by maquis shrublands and of course the fauna is also different.
Syri i Kaltër, or the Blue Eye is a karst spring and lake in the Mali i Gjerë mountains near Sarandë in the Southern part of Albania. It is a popular tourist attraction: clear blue water bubbles forth from a more than fifty-metre-deep pool under great pressure. The round shape of this pool gave the place its name.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
The second area we visited in Albania was the Mount Gramoz (Gramos in Greek). This mountain is at the border of Albania and Greece and with its 2520 metres height, it is a prominent sight. We arrived in the late afternoon to a small village not even present on our maps: Kreshove. We camped here at 1200 m a.s.l. In the morning, we climbed up to the Gramoz and found a wonderous landscape with many interesting plants and animals.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Fir of Hotova-Dangell National Park, Albania (Nationalpark Tannenwald von Hotova-Dangell, Albanien) (Hotova-Dangell Fenyvese Nemzeti Park, Albánia) 09.2012.
We visited the termal ponds of Ura ë Kadiut in the Fir of Hotova-Dangell National Park (Parku Kombëtar Bredhi i Hotovës-Dangelli) and spent two days here. The rapid-flowing river, Lëngarica that flows through the national park created a valley with sludgy rift and the thermal springs are found on the sides of this valley. They are very popular among tourists and local people as well. Some of the thermal springs have dense vegetation, while others are simple rock pools. The chemical composition of the thermal waters varies greatly. After heavy rains, the river even covers some of the thermal pools.
Near Fir of Drenove National Park, Albania (Neben Nationalpark Tannenwald von Drenove, Albanien) (A Drenove Fenyvese Nemzeti Park mellett, Albánia) 09.2012.
In September of 2012 I had the opportunity to take part in a herpetological research trip in Albania organised by the Herpetological Group of the University of Debrecen. We drove from South Hungary all the way down in one day to Korçë in the middle of the country. Here we found a camp site near the village of Boboshticë, at 1000 m above sea level (during the whole 10-day-long trip we camped in the wilderness). Next morning, we started to search through the area near Boboshticë, than, after visiting the famous bazaar of Korçë, we drove up the incredibly steep serpentine road to the beautiful little village of Dardhë, located on the Dardhë Scenic Route. Both areas that we visited are located near the National Park called Parku Kombëtar Bredhi i Drenovës (Fir of Drenove). This park has untouched fir forests and steep slopes with mediterranean bush vegetation.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
I always try to keep an eye of the arthropod fauna in cities - sometimes I find the most peculiar species in parks or gardens. This summer I focused on a small park located between two buildings of the University of Debrecen. This park is only 150 by 120 metres big (less than 2.5 acres) and planted with old Pedunculate Oaks. These old trees provide a valuable habitat for many kinds of insects. Almost all species shown here were found there.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
In June, 2012, we traveled to the Austrian Alps with members of the German Spinnen-Forum and the Austrian Spinnenstammtisch for a spider-expedition, with the back-up of some local National Parks. However, we started our expedition outside the Alps, in the beautiful natural-cultural region of the Wachau, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It is a picturesque valley formed by the Danube. Near the town of Dürnstein, we found species-rich xeric slope steppe habitats among the vineyards.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Peaks of the High Tauern, Austria (Gipfeln der Hohen Tauern, Österreich) (A Hohe Tauern csúcsai, Ausztria) 06.2012.
We spent 3 days in the higher parts of the Großglocknerstraße in the Hohe Tauern mountains. Our base was at 2300 meters above sea level, over the tree line in the true alpine zone. The plants and animals here are real specialised ones, they are able to survive the hard winters and the rapid changes in temperature during the short summer. We encountered many species that we've never seen before and I made so many photos that I have split this trip report into two parts: in the first, I only show plants and lichens.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
High Tauern National Park, Austria (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Österreich) (Hohe Tauern Nemzeti Park, Ausztria) 06.2012.
The last place we visited in Austria was the High Tauern National Park, an UNESCO World Heritage site. The High Tauern is the highest mountain range in Austria, the country's highest peak, the Großglockner (3798 m) is located here. There is a famous mountain road, the Großglockner Hochalpinstraße, which is built to give the best panorama on the mountains of the Glockner-Group. The highest point of the road is at 2571 m, well over the tree line. Here, the mountains are composed mainly of crystallised rocks and schist, not of limestone, as in the Totes Gebirge. This allows the trees line to reach about 1800-2200 meters. The landscape is beautiful and the national park has a very interesting flora and fauna. First, I will show photos from the subalpine conifer forest areas we visited.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Our next destination in Austria was the Loser Mountain (1837 m), which lies at the southern endpoint of a part of the Totes Gebirge, meaning that it is a limestone mountain. There is a panorama road, the Loser-Panoramastraße that leads almost to the peak, to 1600 m. Here we searched through the tree-less landscape and enjoyed the beautiful panorama.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
The Laudachsee is a mountain lake with drinking water quality between the Katzenstein and the Traunstein (it lies 894 ms a. s. l.) in the Salzkammergut in Upper Austria. It is a popular hiking destination. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily the whole day long, as we were there. Nevertheless, we had a nice day here and I also managed to take some photos.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Kalkalpen National Park, Austria (Nationalpark Kalkalpen, Österreich) (Kalkalpen Nemzeti Park, Ausztria) 06.2010.
The next stop in the Alps was the river Reichramingbach at the edge of the Kalkalpen National Park, where we searched for spiders on a small meadow, in the spruce forest and also on the bank of this ice-cold mountain river.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Almtal and Totes Gebirge, Austria (Almtal und Totes Gebirge, Österreich) (Alm-völgy és Holt-hegység, Ausztria) 06.2012.
We visited the Almtal (Alm valley) during our spider excursion in Austria, and from the Almsee (Alm lake) we went on hiking towards the Rotgschirr, a 2270 m high peak. This area is part of the Totes Gebirge (literally: Dead Mountains), which belongs to the Northern Limestone Alps. Here, on the limestone mountains the vegetation is very much different compared to the rest of the Alps, the tree line is much lower and above 1200-1500 m very few plants are found: the mountains are barren, hence the name. Of course, it proved to be a very interesting place for nature photography, despite the almost constant rain that day.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
This May we traveled to the Hundsheimer Mountain near the border of Austria and Slovakia. This 480-meter-high mountain belongs geologically to the Little Carpathians, yet it is located on the other side of the Danube. Its flora and fauna resembles that of the Carpathians and the Pannonian Plain, so it is unique in Austria's wildlife. The soil is based on limestone and the vegetation is composed mainly of species typical of the calcareous grasslands in the Pannonian Floristic Province. Hundsheimer is a nature protection area which borders the Nationalpark Donau Auen.