Sunday, 20 January 2008

Destinations: Aggtelek - Hungary

Aggtelek (aka Aggtelek Karst) lies in the NE of Hungary right up against the Slovakian border. It is about 240km from Budapest and 60km from Miskolc. Much of the area is a National Park with fantastic cave systems (which can be visited) being the centre-piece. Habitats include karst hillsides (some open, some covered in scrub), mixed forests, pastures and flood-plain meadows along the River Bodva. Typical birds in summer are White Stork, Wryneck, Nightjar, Woodlark, Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole, Barred Warbler, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting. Raptors include Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Short-toed Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle. Eight species of woodpecker are resident: Syrian Woodpecker is in and around most villages and Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers in the more mature forests. Some forests hold breeding Black Stork, White-backed Woodpecker and Ural Owl, though these three are not always easy species to find here. The National Park is crossed by a series of well-marked, colour-coded trails.

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