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Hungary's Bats, Mammals & other Wildlife

Tour Code: HUN05

An unusual 8-day mammal-watching holiday to the rolling woodlands and meadows of northern Hungary in search of bats, rodents, larger mammals and an abundance of other wildlife.

8 days from £1795(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1595 SRS: £195


This is a unique holiday focusing on the life of bats and other mammals in Hungary’s Aggtelek and Bukk National Parks. We’ll join local researchers and naturalists to look for cave and house-dwelling bats in a number of settings, as well as hope to see up to 15 species of vole, mouse and shrew. We begin in Aggtelek National Park, where we’ll search for colonies of Geoffroy’s, and both Lesser and Greater Horseshoe Bats, as well as sample the local small mammal fauna using (harmless!) traps. This region is also full of non-mammalian charms – butterflies abound, and bird songsters such as Golden Orioles will serenade our evening meals of hearty goulash washed down with tasty local wines!

  • 15-20 species of bat possible
  • Watch researchers mist-net bats at ‘swarming caves’ & feeding sites
  • Grey Long-eared, Serotine & mouse-eared bats in mist-nets
  • Up to 15 species of mouse, & up to 3 species of dormouse
  • European Souslik, Wild Boar, Muskrat, Beaver & European Hamster possible
  • Pygmy & Water Shrews, plus Harvest, Striped Field & Yellow-necked Mice
  • Bechstein’s, Natterer’s & Parti-coloured Bats along streams
  • Visit a huge Noctule Bat colony under a bridge in the baroque town of Eger
  • Purple, Night & Squacco Herons, plus Great & Little Bitterns
  • Led by expert naturalist guides

Food

All includes in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable, but simple hotels. All rooms with private facilities.

Geoffrey's Bat (Ecotours)

Geoffrey's Bat (Ecotours)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Budapest and transfer Aggtelek National Park.

Day 2/3 Aggtelek National Park.

Day 4/7 Bükk National Park, and Little Hortobágy.

Day 8 Fly London.

Over the years we have offered a variety of tours to Hungary, focusing on such wide-ranging wildlife delights as birds, butterflies and flowers. This unique holiday, however, focuses on a different aspect of the Magyar natural world and offers a fascinating insight into the life of bats and other mammals which are typically elusive and usually difficult to see. We will visit huge cave- and house dwelling bat colonies, and also join bat researchers as they mist-net bats at ‘swarming caves’ and feeding sites. We will also join small mammal experts from the national parks and be on hand when they check their study traps (all animals, naturally, being released unharmed!). In all, we hope to see between 15 and 20 species of bat on this week-long tour, as well as up to 10 species of mouse, shrew and vole and perhaps three species of dormouse. Larger mammals such as Wild Boar, European Beaver, Brown Hare, Badger and both Red and Roe Deer are also possible, together with an abundance of birds and other wildlife. Wolf, European Lynx and Wild Cat also occur in this region, but are unfortunately usually only seen by a lucky few!

We begin our holiday with a flight to Budapest, Hungary’s scenic capital city. From here we journey to the Aggtelek National Park, our base for the first four nights of the tour. Aggtelek is situated in the north-east of the country and was one of the first national parks to be designated in Hungary, primarily on account of its fine limestone scenery, karst landscapes and extensive caves. During our time here we will visit bat colonies close to our hotel to see Geoffroy’s, and both Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats, and we will spend the evenings mistnetting with researchers, hoping for Greater and Lesser Mouse-eared, Serotine and Grey Long-eared Bats. We will also inspect small mammal traps to sample the local rodent fauna. Amongst the species we might see are Common, Pygmy, Lesser White-toothed, Bi-coloured White-toothed, Water and Miller’s Water Shrew; Striped Field, Wood, Yellow-necked, Herb Field, Harvest, Steppe and House Mouse; and Bank, European Pine and Common Voles. Along a stream we could catch Bechstein’s, Mediterranean Horseshoe, Brandt’s, Pond and Natterer’s Bats and with luck even Parti-coloured Bat. There is, of course, plenty of other wildlife to enjoy in addition to the mammals and during our time here we will not be ignoring butterflies such as Pallas’s Fritillary, Large Blue and Large Copper, and such birds as Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike and Black Woodpecker. On one day we will also pay a short visit to an old vineyard and enjoy a typical Hungarian goulash prepared by its friendly owner.

For the latter half of our holiday we will move south to our second base in the Bükk National Park, stopping en route to visit an old Cistercian Abbey, home to an important colony of Lesser Horseshoe Bats. The Bükk National Park protects a landscape of gentle forested hills and meadows, noted particularly for its gorges and numerous caves. This region holds an exceptionally diverse bat fauna, and on occasions up to 14 different species can be observed on a single night! During our time here we will visit a large house to observe a colony of Geoffroy’s, Greater Horseshoe, Mediterranean Horseshoe and Lesser Mouse-eared Bats and we will spend time one evening studying bats at one of Hungary’s most important ‘swarming caves’. Species to look out for may include Alcathoe’s, Greater Horseshoe, Lesser Horseshoe, Mediterranean Horseshoe, Daubenton’s, Pond, Bechstein’s, Brandt’s, Whiskered, Greater Mouse-eared, Lesser Mouse-eared, Geoffroy’s, Natterer’s, Barbastelle and Common Long-eared Bats. We will also visit the charming town of Eger to observe a huge Noctule Bat colony roosting under a road bridge.

On one day we descend from the hills to take an evening boat trip on Lake Tisza to search for European Beaver. The numerous canals, oxbow lakes and ponds here are home to a wide variety of other wildlife including plentiful dragonflies and birds such as Purple, Night and Squacco Herons, Great and Little Bitterns, Pygmy Cormorants and Penduline Tits. En route we will stop at an expanse of grassland steppe known as the ‘Little Hortobágy’. Here we should be able to add European Souslik — a small and endearing ground squirrel — to our mammal tally along with Brown Hare and perhaps Muskrat.

Back in the hills we will join another small mammal researcher to check dormouse nestboxes in the hope of finding Edible, Forest or Hazel Dormouse. Then, finally, we must head back to Budapest to catch our flight home, although you might like to consider extending your holiday for a few days to enjoy the sights and sounds of Hungary’s beautiful capital city.

Hor valley, Bukk National ParkEarly morning Beech woodlands (Jon Stokes)Jon Stokes and Naturetrek group (Sandor)Erecting a mist net outside a bat swarming cave (Roy Taylor)Serotine BatPond Bat (Jon Stokes)Fire Salamander (Jon Stokes)European SouslikMediterranean Horseshoe Bat (Jon Stokes)Lesser Mouse-eared Bat (Roy Taylor)Lesser Mole Rat caught by researchers (Roy Taylor)Lesser Mole Rat caught by researchers (Roy Taylor)Western Barbastelle (Roy Taylor)Greater Mouse-eared Bat (Roy Taylor)Roosting Grey Long-eared Bats (Roy Taylor)Fire Salamander (Roy Taylor)Bechstein's Bat (Roy Taylor)Naturetrek group (Sandor)Familly of Edible Dormice (Roy Taylor)Forest Dormouse in box (Sandor)Forest DormouseMediterranean Horsehoe Bat (Roy Taylor)Tree Frog (Roy Taylor)Roosting Greater Horshoe Bats (Roy Taylor)Geoffroy's BatsGeoffroy's BatsGeoffroy's BatsGreater Horseshoe Bat (Jon Stokes)Greater Horseshoe Bat (Jon Stokes)Red Squirrel (Jon Stokes)Water Shrew (Jon Stokes)Fire Salamander (Jon Stokes)Agtelek lightening (Jon Stokes)Naturetrek clients enjoying a boat trip in the Black Valley (Sandor)Eastern Hedgehog (Jon Stokes)Praying Mantis (Jon Stokes)Green Toad (Jon Stokes)Hungarian Mole Rat (Jon Stokes)Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Jon Stokes)Bechstein's Bat (Jon Stokes)Edible Dormouse (Jon Stokes)Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat (Jon Stokes)
S.P.
Greater London
This was an excellent way to see bats and small mammals, expertly shown and explained by Sandor.
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Tue 4th September 2018 - Tue 11th September 2018

YES

£1795

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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1595 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Hungary

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Paul Stanbury
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Mammals

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Tour Reviews

This was an excellent way to see bats and small mammals, expertly shown and explained by Sandor.
S.P., Greater London